DEATH BY MUCK
For People Who Neglect Poor Elderly and Mentally Challenged ALF Residents
David Arthur Walters
THE MIAMI MIRROR
MIAMI BEACH—My heart was already racing from my second cup of coffee when I read the Miami Herald’s lead story on the front page this morning. By the time I had finished ‘Grand jury probes troubled ALFs’ the latest article in the rag’s “NEGLECTED TO DEATH,” I was infuriated, fit to indict, try and execute anyone at all involved in the abuse of poor elderly and mentally incapacitated persons wasting away in assisted living facilities in the swampy State of Florida.
Presuming that the Herald has gotten the facts right that led to the official investigation, the neglectful ALFs are chambers of horror into which poor helpless people are dumped. Those who resist are tied down and left to die of blood clots from the restraints, just for example. I felt my skin crawl at the thought of bloodthirsty bedbugs, and of rats scurrying across the floors, not to mention frustrated angels of death. I imagined Salpetriere, long before Princess Diana died there, when it was the dumping ground for Paris’ elderly and insane, a holding pen for prostitutes, and for criminals awaiting deportation to North America, before Dr. Phillippe Pierre stepped in with humanitarian reforms. I remember how the hospital was stormed during the Revolution, and compared the mob to Tallahassee politicians; 134 prostitutes were released, but 25 mentally ill women were dragged out into the streets in their chains and murdered.
Presuming the Herald’s horrendous accounts to be true, which I would fain do even though I have found a portion of a previous award-winning muckraking series to be untrue and probably libelous, I would first of all give the newspaper journalists, starting with investigative editor Mike Sallah, the highest possible award for muckraking, the Mucky-Muck Medal.
And then, still in a fit of rage, I would throw the caretakers, supervisors, executives, owners, regulators, legislators, and top officials, anyone for that matter who neglected or allowed the neglect to continue, into the foulest muck, having in mind the practice of ancient Chinese dynasts, who amputated the arms and legs of royal traitors and tossed them into latrines.
Yes, the penalty I would have imposed in all my fury, neglecting my liberal ideological religion, was certainly draconian: death by muck: eat the muck or not, the offenders shall die in the muck. Everyone is equally liable for the deaths in ALF. The charges would include both kinds of involuntary manslaughter: criminal negligence and constructive homicide, and aiding and abetting the same. As for those persons abused but not killed, the charge would be attempted manslaughter, with the same penalty upon conviction: death by muck.
Draconian indeed; let the punishment be a warning to voluntary murderers and abusers! The defense, “We accidentally put these persons to sleep forever because they wanted to take a nap,” shall only compound the crime wherever celebrities and propofol are not involved.
Now that I have calmed down somewhat, my liberal principles are coming to the fore. Let the matter be handled as it should be according to the current letter of the law, provided that the grand jury is supplied with Cuban coffee and runs amuck. As for the facts, whether or not they are true, everyone had better check on their elderly and mentally disturbed relatives confined to institutions; if you have none, go to an ELF, say you have an elderly relative, take a tour of the facility, post the infractions on the Internet and report them to the authorities.
If you are poor and getting old, and still have some wits about you, you might consider doing some research, leaving Florida in the muck if you can find a place where the elderly are treated better. Some parents in primitive times had their children stone them to death after thanking them for coming over to do the merciful deed, but that is illegal in this so-called civilized state.