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‘Let the baby die’ sign posted in response to dad’s fundraising plea for disabled son


America is not earning lots of points for compassion these days, but a recent sign responding to a father’s fund-raising plea in a Toledo mall seemed to drop the bar to a new low.

“Stop asking for money. Let the baby die,” read the stenciled sign propped underneath KC Ahlers’ flyer asking for money to help his disabled infant son. “It’s called Darwinism. Happy Holidays.”

Ahlers had posted notices around a mall in Toledo, Ohio, to draw attention to some rare disorders that his new baby had been born with.

Randy James, known as RJ, entered the world in July with two rare conditions, according to Huffington Post: Agenesis of the Corpus Callosum, in which the tissue connecting the left and right brain hemispheres is underdeveloped or missing, and Trisomy 9 Mosaic Syndrome, in which some of the body’s cells have three rather than two copies of the ninth chromosome, which often causes developmental and intellectual disability, as well as physical abnormalities.

Scrambling to provide the best care for their child, RJ’s parents have started a GoFundMe online and are seeking personal donations in the analog world as well, posting flyers.

After the harshness of learning about their son’s condition, RJ’s parents thought they had experienced the worst. The last thing they expected was a response like that.

“It shocked me. I mean it really shocked me that somebody would have that kind of cruelty,” Ahlers told WTVG-TV.

While Ahlers noted that the person was most likely “disturbed,” disability advocates who caught wind of the sign online said such sentiments are not as rare as one might think.

“Health insurance is an abomination, so people seek monetary supports to avoid financial ruin,” tweeted disability writer and activist Emily Ladau. “And then in their most desperate moments, they’re told that they should just let their loved ones die because that’s how little society thinks of disabled people.”

“My daughter has serious life-threatening problems,” tweeted someone in reply. “After having multiple strokes and losing a kidney we started to have fund-raisers to get her to a surgery. One lady said God obviously wants her, just let him have her. It was one of the few times I’ve been speechless.”

The sentiments aren’t just expressed in writing, either. People with disabilities are at least 2.5 times more likely to experience violence than those without, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, calling it “the invisible hate crime.”

“Sadly, this doesn’t surprise me,” writer and activist Melissa Blake told the Daily News, referring to the sign. “Despite all the progress that’s been made when it comes to things like accessibility and inclusion, society still views people with disabilities as ‘other’ and even ‘less than.’ ”

The sign “brings to light how people with disabilities are viewed,” said Jessica De La Ros of the Brooklyn Center for Independence of the Disabled, an independent-living center in New York City. She was born with osteogenesis imperfecta, a genetic anomaly that weakens the bones.

“It’s always a burden, it’s always a negative thing, like we have no purpose in life,” she said. “And that was just a man trying to do the best thing for his kid.”

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