KASSIE BRACKEN AND JOHN WOO
For decades, a group of men with intellectual disabilities seemed happy living in a small Iowa town. Then their neighbors found out the truth. This film is being shown in collaboration with POV.org.
The attached documentary covers a story about a group of men that were mistreated for decades right under the noses of a town of decent, law abiding citizens. It makes me wonder how this could happen. Is it possible to shape normality into any polarity that satisfies an existing condition? Is the mind so adept at adjusting to its environment that it can define events in any number of ways?
The residences of this town thought that everything was stable, that dynamics of men against men were humane, and although the arrangement seemed unusual, the men were productive, clean, church going citizens of this small town.
A decade or more later, to the horror of the townspeople, these men had lived in squalor conditions, imprisoned in their own home with lock and chain, subjected to rats and roaches, and beaten regularly. How did these conditions get overlooked by a group of morally literate individuals?
My son and I had a lively discussion about nuclear bombs (nuclear fission vs nuclear fusion; the atom bomb vs the hydrogen bomb) and as I read through the reference material that I dug up on the internet I took note that Truman was held personally responsible for this calamity. And he honorably assumed sole responsibility despite later discoveries that he had received direction from his advisers. He had surmised that it was the appropriate course of action and took action based on this. As history tells it, the United Nations Charter was signed two months later as a result, to mitigate future international decisions that could affect other nations indirectly. Indeed, now that we know much more about nuclear weaponry and nuclear energy overall, viscerally it seems like a reckless thing to do.
Life is a complex journey of zigs and zags, a web that sometimes is woven so neatly that it’s easy to get caught in it. Over the course of my lifetime I made decisions that, in retrospect, make absolutely no sense. Nevertheless, they were the best decisions that I was capable of making at the time. Evidently, this applies to decisions made by every member of the human race, explaining the violence, the suffering and the apathy. In our inadequate ways, we make a conscious effort to direct our lives in what we consider to be the appropriate direction. Unfortunately the end product does not always comply with our underlying ideologies. The lesson to learn here is to trust and accept, and don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Doing nothing may be as detrimental as doing something, so the risk is worth taking.