Victims need not apply?

October 30, 2006 at 7:24 am (Allergy News Podcast. Listen free., Allergy News!, social issues)

Once in a while, someone (mostly online, where the REAL bravery lurks) will get aggitated, climb upon his or her high horse, and begin finger-pointing in the direction of children with life-threatening food allergies, and their parents.

“Victim” is a phrase often used as typed.  With quotations.  As if it’s not a legitimate thing.

When someone insinuates that a defenseless child, vulnerable to potential death from a sandwich or candy bar is not at a disadvantage when exposed to the substance that evokes the reaction, it makes me very angry.

If I point a gun at you, and then I shoot, are you not a shooting victim?  Or does that make you a “victim?”

Look, I get it that some people cling to their victimization and get off on it, finding it to the be the only satisfying demarcation of their existence.  Yeah, they get stuck.  Yeah, they need to move on, to learn to deal, to move forward gracefully.

So, why then, when this very group of affected people gets excited about something that helps them resume a normal life–like a candy bar that is nut-free–do other people get on the aforementioned high horse and start name-calling and finger-pointing and acting as though taking pro-active steps to eat safely and other measures are “being a victim”?

I can personally promise you that every child allergic to food that his/her classmates can eat WANTS to be a survivor, not a “victim.”  I can likely assure you that their parents, if they love them, don’t want them to be pitiful, stunted, emotionally weak little heaps of “poor me”-ness, either.  We want our kids to do better, to thrive, to cope, to take responsibility, to keep safe.

I started because my child was THIRTEEN MONTHS OLD when he had his first anaphylactic reaction.  A thirteen month old kid can’t take responsibility for his food allergy.  I also saw quite clearly how my intense reading, preparation, and above-par diligence as a new parent had not been enough to keep him from obtaining this life-threatening situation, which is something he’s not likely to outgrow.

Now, I don’t want my kid to grow up thinking he’s a “victim”–I want him to be strong.

But those of you bitching about Mars in Canada taking peanuts out of their Mars bars–and bitching at me and other food allergy parents for even mentioning it–need to get on your flipping horses and ride off to attack the next cause.

Don’t insinuate we’re wallowing in our “victimization” or censoring valid comments.  When you do that, you only bring division and fire people up and hurt children.  If you create ill-will toward what you say are false victims, you create victims.

Move on, live and let live and leave us alone, for God’s sake.

Or go stand outside the cancer ward and heckle the patients for being “cancer victims.” 

Yes, it IS the same thing.  Death is death.  And nobody asks for either cancer or death by anaphylaxis.

The fact that this sort of issue keeps coming up is one of the reasons I started Allergy News.  It’s a place where you can speak out–and, yes, even dissenting opinions are welcome.


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