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Maybe Those “Small Guv’ment” Types are Right

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A padded room at Oswald D. Heck Developmental Center, a home for the developmentally disabled

Commenters occasionally accuse Street Carnage of being a “crypto-conservative” website, which doesn’t make much sense. Not only are Gavin McInnes and Jim Goad not exactly shy about their disdain for the Democratic Party and liberal politics, but they’re also offset by guys like Luke O’Neil, a self-proclaimed progressive, and Benjamin Leo, a New York Jew. (Seriously, the only way that guy could become more liberal is if he finally came out of the closet.)

Similarly, I’m a faggy vegetarian who enjoys reading about anarchist history and instinctively believes Sarah Palin is a worthless moron; basically, I’m one Che T-shirt away from becoming a left-wing caricature. Accordingly, I’ve believed that, of Big Business and Big Government, Big Business was the greater evil — but I started questioning that yesterday, after reading this New York Times article.

For the the TLDR-types: The recent death of a 13-year-old autistic boy while in the charge of Oswald D. Heck, a home for the developmentally disabled in upstate New York, tore the mask off the institution, revealing rampant patient abuse, sadistic caregivers and a savage system so insulated from the light of day that every misdeed, no matter how cruel, went without consequence, even when reported to supervisors and the authorities. There was monstrous taunting, merciless beatings and, ultimately, death.

Now, I know what you’re going to say — “All of those episodes took place at one corrupt government institution, hardly enough to tar the entire concept of government with accusations of sadistic depravity. Besides, you could find a ton of similar examples of wrongdoings at private businesses. P.S. Arv sux.” — but just shut the fuck up for one second and let me finish.

Yes, though longstanding and systemic, only one very corrupt government institution is condemned in this entire article — BUT what this single example does illustrate is the hyper insulation that gives government the opportunity to become uniquely grotesque.

Not only was there no accountability within O.D. Heck itself, but it was also immune to the usual authorities. Mary Maioriello, a trainee who became a whistle-blower after witnessing a multitude of abuses at the center, first approached management about the horrific misconduct. After her supervisors ignored and downplayed the assaults, they went so far as to say that Maioriello should herself call the cops. And Maioriello did just that: She called the local police department. When she spoke to an officer, he told her “he was not sure how to respond to such episodes inside a state facility.” A litany of crimes unmitigated the people who are supposed to be overseeing the institution was also apparently beyond the jurisdiction of the police because it was a “state facility.” Whereas a domestic dispute on private grounds would have officers breaking down your door, the state is beyond policing itself, even in the most dire of circumstances.

This sordid story also illustrates another aspect unique to the relationship between the governing and the governed: trust and betrayal. No one expects Big Business to get their back, but Americans still intrinsically trust their government. The average American today may not believe a single word uttered by politicians on TV, but he does inherently trust his police to protect him, his courts to deliver him justice and the one honest man he voted for to do him right. Regardless of political affiliation and how much Americans love bitching about politicians, most still believe that the entire government, from top to bottom, isn’t all one big bag of shit.

Michael Carey, father of the boy killed at O.D. Heck, trusted the state. He enrolled his son at 9 years old in a privately run school for the autistic, but removed him after a sympathetic employee revealed to him that the school was punishing his son for bad behavior with starvation and extended solitary confinement. The family attempted to care for the boy at home, but that soon became overwhelming; he had tantrums, emotional breakdowns and couldn’t be contained. It became so extreme that he had to be dragged to a local hospital, sedated and physically restrained. Eventually Michael turned to O.D. Heck, in the hopes that “an institution run by the state would be more promising” than the private school. Two years later, his son was asphyxiated in the back of a van by a state employee who said, “I could be a good king or a bad king.”

After I got through the New York Times article, I emailed it to Gavin and Goad, knowing their fetish for tales of government malfeasance. Gavin thought it was brutal, but wondered what my point was. I cried about the horror of unknowingly supporting, through my pitiful tax contributions and ignorant consent, a system of abuse wherein a state facility received $430,000 a head to beat down retards. Gavin responded:

“Oh good. So you’re crossing over to the Dark Side. Welcome aboard, Luke.”

Originally published on Street Carnage.

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  • Doriansokolovsky0

    This is an amazing article man and brings to light a lot of interesting points in a discussion of a top down judgement and standards re-evaluation of big government as a whole.