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Attacks on the vulnerable

Deidre Williams' story today on local people with developmental disabilities being the victims of taunting, assault, rape and theft is very disturbing.

The agencies that offer services and employment report that their clients are not only taunted on buses by strangers, but also taken advantage of and physically harmed by friends and members of their own families.

The most publicized case happened last summer when three developmentally disabled friends were harassed by some teens at a McDonald's in Cheetowaga, then forced into a crash when the teens chased them in their car.

There have been more cases since; several each month, in fact.

Said one woman in the story: [Everyday on the bus] "they call me retarded. I let it go in one ear and out the other. It hurts inside sometimes, but I don't say anything. Sometimes I think they're crazier than I am."

What does it say about our community that a person with a developmental disability can't even ride the bus or eat in a restaurant without someone making fun of him or her?

What does it say that young men feel free to scare three others who have developmental disabilities so much they lose control of their car?

And what does it say about us that a man is injured severely just because he is developmentally disabled and walking down a city street?

-- Susan LoTempio

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