Friday, 11 March 2011

For the love of Gary

Janis Sharp the fierce and wonderful mother of Gary McKinnon demonstrates how a mother's love should be an inspiration to everyone.
Gary is facing extradition after his Asperger’s Syndrome prompted a spectacular and for the US highly embarrassing hacking into their computer systems thereby highlighting a flaw in their firewall. Janis is fighting everyday to make sure the world stays aware of the case.
He did no harm, and hurt no one except perhaps the career prospects of the person who assured everyone their system was safe
I personally would have thanked him but the American authorities have gone another way and this vulnerable, seemingly harmless man is now facing extradition to a future in maximum-security prison.
The fact the our government seem to be allowing this speaks volumes about our relationship with our bigger cousins across the pond,
Clearly criminal activity can’t be condoned however shouldn’t humanity dictate Gary should face trial in his own country? I’m sure any disability equality impact assessment would say it should. 
It should also be stated that there are many in the US who disagree with their decision makers treatment of Gary and are concerned by this extreme and disproportionate response.
At the moment it feels that if the world was a school playground, the British Government is the kid holding the coat of the bully while he punches Gary in the face.
It also highlights the gaping gap in society’s knowledge of hidden disability.
Not all disabled people use a wheel chair or cane. Not all disabled people have the social skills to determine the difference between a mate and a predator.
Not all disabled people have the physical ability to show restraint when their obsessions are set to maximum. That is a major component of Asperger’s Syndrome and requires protection not punishment.
The final irony lies in the disproportionate weighting of the judicial scales.
Disabled people who are victims of crime often see their tormentors unpunished, even if that results in death, however Gary a disabled perpetrator of crime, sees the full weight of expensive legal fury unleashed.
To Gary and Janis I send my love and support. To all governments involved in this case I send a plea to apply common sense.
They could be anyone of us who are, or who love someone, with a disability.