I do not have epilepsy myself, but I know someone who does so I have educated myself about the condition. One of the things I have found out is that people with epilepsy have a tough way to go. Leaving aside the debilitating effects of epilepsy – especially for those with seizures that are hard to control – there is also a cultural stigmata associated with the condition. There is also a lot of ignorance about the condition. This appalling story on ABC News is a case in point. Here are the relevant parts of the article:
On most days Daniel lives the normal life of a 48-year-old single man. But roughly once a week, he loses total control of his body and mind to an epileptic seizure.
A seizure took over Beloungea’s body while walking through his suburban Detroit neighborhood last April. When an onlooker in a neighbor’s house saw Beloungea having the seizure, which includes rapid repetitive arm motion, she misinterpreted it as criminal conduct. Specifically, she thought Beloungea was masturbating in public.
With that misconception in mind, she called the Oakland Police Department. When police arrived on the scene, Beloungea was still undergoing his seizure, acting disoriented and not responding to questions.
When officers couldn’t get through to Beloungea they drew their weapons, shocked him with a high-voltage taser, hit him with a baton and wrestled him to the ground. They then handcuffed him and put him in a police car.
The officers put Beloungea in jail, citing assault of a police officer and resisting arrest. Throughout the incident Beloungea, was wearing a medical alert bracelet identifying him as an epileptic, stating his name and the contact numbers of people who can be reached in case of an emergency.
Later, Michigan state psychologists who examined Beloungea would confirm that he was having a seizure at the time of his arrest and that he was no danger to himself or to others.
You would think that at that point the police would have dropped the charges, apologized profusely and let Mr. Beloungea go. Such was not the case:
Beloungea was ultimately found not guilty by reason of insanity. Beloungea is not insane — he’s simply epileptic. But his lawyer, Otis Underwood, told ABC News there was no other way to get Beloungea off the charges than the insanity defense. The catch: He had to spend 20 days locked in a criminal mental facility.
Which is simply fucking barbaric. The man has a medical condition, which is not against the law. He was tasered and forced to spend time in a criminal mental facility and now has a criminal conviction with the word “insanity” attached. The fact that he has epilepsy won’t appear on any background check he may have to undergo in the future – say when the cops check his I.D. the next time he has a seizure and some fool calls the cops.
People, it is hard enough for people with epilepsy without having this kind of psychotic over-reaction on the paart of the public, the police and whatever asshole prosecuting attorney handled this case. How would the fucktards feel if someone showed up and tasered them the next time they had a medical emergency (yes, this story really pisses me off)?
At any rate to learn more about epilepsy you can go to:
NINDS Epilepsy Information Page
Added Later: There is more here:
The case in Michigan involved Daniel Beloungea, who was taking a daily walk in his neighborhood when he experienced a complex partial seizure, which left him in a state of semi-consciousness. Complex partial seizures are associated with repetitive involuntary movements, sometimes for up to 30 minutes, with post-seizure disorientation. Beloungea needs to walk daily as a form of rehabilitation to help restore functioning in his legs; this functioning was impaired following brain surgery to treat his seizures. A person passing by noticed Mr. Beloungea acting erratically and called police to report his behavior. When officers arrived on the scene, they apparently assumed that his failure to respond to their questions and his erratic involuntary movements amounted to resistance, and failed to recognize the obvious signs of a seizure. Furthermore, they failed to inspect the medical alert bracelet he was wearing, which indicates clearly that he has epilepsy.
According to police reports, when Mr. Beloungea was unresponsive to police direction, the bag he was carrying was kicked by police from his hand, and when he flailed his arms involuntarily, he was tasered, sending 50,000 volts of electricity through his body (risking serious injury or death); hit with a police baton; threatened at gunpoint; and handcuffed behind his back. (The handcuffing itself is dangerous for persons experiencing a seizure, as it can lead to further seizure-related agitation and struggling, possibly causing asphyxiation or even cardiac arrest.) He was then prosecuted for assaulting police officers and disorderly conduct, notwithstanding considerable evidence, including the state’s own mental health evaluation, confirming that his actions were involuntary and solely the product of a seizure.
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