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The Angel in the Engine: Reports of Restraint, Seclusion and “Special Treatment” in Special Ed—Part 2

Posted Aug 30 2009 12:00am

Crossing guard 18 By Adriana Gamondes

Where There’s Smoke there’s an Analogy
In the sieve of history, all the perpetrators’ justifications, moral relativism and even victims’ irrational sense of shame are filtered away, leaving only the bare truth of what happened and that it was wrong. That’s the value of historical comparisons—but no one more than parents of vaccine-injured children wishes that so much of what surrounds autism didn’t lend itself so easily to certain analogies. 

My friend Cassandra’s explanation for why the abuses go on—because some in society are distancing themselves from the epidemic in order to feel “safe” from it and dehumanizing the collateral—rang with my own sense that there’s something sort of “T4-esque” about the deadly practices towards disabled, particularly autistic children in schools. Call it “T4-II”.  As some may know, “T4”—an acronym for the program’s address at Tiergartenstrasse 4 in Berlin— was Hitler’s code name for the systematic murders of the disabled which proceeded and acted as a model for the Final Solution. For the sake of accuracy, the “children’s euthanasia” program was a somewhat separate operation; the T4 program was actually the “adult” killing program. But since the collective operation is referred to as “T4” by many modern sources, that’s what I’ll call it. 

The T4 program had several phases, the first two of which—sterilization and killing— were the supposedly secret-but-officially-sanctioned phases. The official medical murders of the disabled spanned from October, 1939 until August, 1941, when Hitler issued a stop order due to public disapproval and church objections. This was followed by the secret-but-not-officially-acknowledged phase of “wild” euthanasia in German and occupied territories in which the killings of adults became more surreptitious, while the killing of children went on unabated until after the end of the war.

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