While driving in to work today I heard a story on the radio regarding a special needs children's orphanage in Iraq that was recently raided. According to the story, a routine military patrol in Baghdad happened to look over a wall, and saw the following:
...Inside the building, a government-run orphanage for special needs children, the soldiers found emaciated little bodies tied to the cribs, CBS News reports exclusively. They had been kept this way for more than a month, according to the soldiers called in to rescue the dying boys. ...
..."The kids were tied up, naked, covered in their own waste — feces — and there were three people that were cooking themselves food, but nothing for the kids," Lt. Stephen Duperre said. ...
The tone of the article was one of shock and dismay. As if, in a country where its former leader would use nerve gas to kill his own citizens for the crime of being from a different tribe than he, we should be surprised that special needs kids are abused and left to die.
But, my overarching reaction was something more akin to "Hey, where've you been, CBS? You don't have to go to Iraq to see abuse of those who are in institutions." Perhaps you should look a little bit closer to home. For starters, you could look at how UNICEF has cataloged systemic abuse of children in institutions all across the world, including in the West.
One could also go to this web site to see stories from former patients in mental institutions in the US. Another place closer to home would be to read Amanda Baggs' list of ways institutionalized people are abused in institutions. Finally, abuse of autistics both in and out of institutions is cataloged by Joel Smith here.
I guess the bottom line is while I think people should be outraged at the treatment that these children were/weren't receiving, I think that CBS missed an opportunity (responsibility?) to also shed a little light on a lot of abuse that happens a lot closer to home, here in the US.