Paris: Bataclan Witness Says Wheelchair Users Were Targeted
Any gun crime is a senseless act of madness. Any murder is a terrible crime which breaks up families, friendships and romantic partnerships without reason or reversal.
I say this having lost a close family member to a senseless act of gun crime several years ago in a non-Western country.
On Friday night, as I watched the midnight news, I was filled with shock and sadness. I was reminded of the pain I have personally experienced. I was reminded of just how senseless guns are and why I hate them so deeply. My heart ached for the family members lost to their families, just because they went out to have the most innocent fun on a Friday night.
To watch a friendly game of international football. To eat nice food outside their own homes. To watch a rock concert at a popular venue.
Instantly, Facebook filled with French flags, peace symbols and tributes.
I wanted to write something here about the events of Friday night. But I struggled through shock to find a disability link in these senseless acts of terror.
Until now, readers. Now, I have just read reports in the Telegraph that Helen Wilson, 49, a survivor of the Bataclan attack, told the publication that she:
witnessed the gunmen deliberately targeting concert-goers in wheelchairs. The gunmen hunted down disabled people who were sat in an area specially set aside for wheelchair users.
As I said, readers, any gun crime, any murder, is a senseless act of madness. But the deliberate targeting of wheelchair users, of disabled people, many who will have been unable to defend themselves, is unthinkable.
There has been much talk on Facebook all weekend about people not wishing to post French flags as profile pictures because similar flags are not available for Middle Eastern countries where gun attacks happen every day.
I posted two French flags on my Facebook. I did so in tribute to all human lives lost to murder, and in sympathy with all their families and friends.
Thankfully, readers, targeted gun attacks on small groups of disabled people do not happen every day. The Bataclan incident as a whole has quite rightly had a great deal of coverage this weekend across all TV channels and papers.
I wonder why only one such media organisation has included the “hunting down” of wheelchair users that took place?
I don’t expect coverage of this above all else to do with the attacks. I feel that would not be reasonable given that the most important thing here has to be the senseless loss of human lives.
However, is the Telegraph really the only publication so far to find this out? And if not, how long would it have taken other publications and outlets to write or say two sentences about this small, but significant, detail?