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I am a below knee amputee. More importantly, I am also Mommy to two boys, a very active eight year old (Robby) and an infant (Timmy). I have learned that being a parent with a disability can create some unusual and sometimes humorous situations. This blogger is available for hire! Let's talk and learn how a blog can expand your business.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Trolls

The past few days have been an emotional roller coaster. Perhaps I have been more sensitive because I was out of my home environment when the events unraveled. I read the most hateful words directed towards me on my mother-in-laws computer. I am sure most can imagine the awkwardness in the living room as I was checking my email to find my inbox overflowing with hate messages. I am not typically a person whom people hate!

My blog on TSA was hijacked by what I have learned are referred to as "Internet trolls." I must admit I think that is an apt description. The anonymity of the Internet lends itself to angry and mean-spirited people.

I was reminded of the negative feedback I received when my three year old nephew was lying in a hospital bed after being struck by a car. Somehow, a troll felt it was an appropriate time to criticize my sister. As I wrote in her defense, I became the subject of their venom. I have not forgotten the words written by "common-tater" and I still fantasize about meeting him someday.

Unfortunately, one of the by-products of living with a disability is dealing with slurs from ignorant people. I have had my limp mimicked in front of me, been referred to as a gimp and told that I was a "drain on society" despite the fact that I do not receive any disability payments etc..

I've lost a leg, but I've developed a thick skin. I am aware of, but no longer hurt by, the stares I receive when I wear shorts. I hear the whispers as my prosthetic is discussed, but I am no longer feel the need to reply. Once I was informed that I will not go to heaven because I am "incomplete." Yes, my name is Peggy and I have lost my leg. Trust me, PegLegPeg is no longer original. At times, being "different" lends itself to becoming the target for judgmental, arrogant and ignorant individuals from both sides of the political spectrum.

I know that these individuals are not worth the breath it would take to make my argument. When my son was brought into the mix and was becoming the victim of the scorn, my "mommy heart" began to break.

I want to believe that most people are good-hearted and well meaning. I have learned that some are not. I refuse to be fodder for their negativity, so I temporarily removed the post. I have not abandoned the effort to affect change. I simply felt like the message was being lost and the situation was imploding. I plan on republishing the post as soon as the trolls move on to their next target.

I have witnessed both the good and the bad in people. Always trying to be the perpetual optimist, I am choosing to concentrate on the positive. I am proud of what I wrote, and I do not regret that I spoke out about what happened to me. I appreciate all of the support I received from friends, family and strangers. I am appreciative and overwhelmed by the support.

I have received harsh emails criticizing my decision to temporarily remove the post. I was told that I was "cowardly and weak." Anybody who knows me would testify that the description is wholly inaccurate. I have survived cancer and an amputation. My strength has been proven and is not at issue.

TSA has been informed of the incident. Agencies are typically not equipped to police themselves, and I am not expecting this situation to yield a different result. I also have received notice that my blog post has been read by both senators and congressmen involved with the agency. To my delight, they expressed outrage.

My story received more press because of the ACA press release detailing the dissatisfaction of amputee passengers. I do not want this information to be lost! This coalition is working towards change, and I am proud to be a part of their efforts.

I am tired of writing about the trolls, but I am not tired of writing!

9 comments:

  1. Keep writing. Glad to see another post from you!

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  2. it saddens me to think that my son will also receive 'brainless' comments that you have gotten. But they are best ignored, you can't argue with idiots :0) Yesterday I took my twins to the YMCA which has a big pool with diving boards and slides. Usually the first few times are hard to deal with as my son pops off his leg and hops up two flights of stairs (which he does without thought) or hops on a diving board (which is terrifying to watch as a mom because with each hop the board sends him higher and higher till he gets to the end) Usually we have the kid stares--the what happened to you or the little girls or boys in a group saying ewww and whispering about him. This year I only noticed one little boy, who didn't say a word but just watched as my son slipped his leg on to go to the bathroom (which I suspect was his wanting to go check out the vending machine) In fact an amazing thing has happened since last year--my preteen's hormones have kicked in lol. I watched as both my twins showed off for bikini clad teenage girls, and I watched as my one legged son leaned on a fence waiting his turn to hop off the diving board, while leaning he was talking to girls and they were talking with him--not about his leg--about how cool he was on the diving board! I know we won't go the whole summer at a public pool without someone saying something, we are surrounded by children there, but for the first time, the first swim was a pleasant one without remarks or major stares :0)

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  3. Wow! You've just now heard of trolls, and trolling? I got on the 'net fairly late, in 1997, and they were widely known even then. I do suspect that what you got was more flaming than trolling, though. Both can be done non-rudely. I suspect that was not the case here.

    I recommend that you google "Flame Warriors" (hilarious and informative) and if brave enough, spend some time at Encyclopedia Dramatica.

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  4. P.s. Flaming and trolling on a newsgroup or forum are not the same as doing them in the comments of someone's personal blog. The later is identified with a particular person, and his property, and its owner is entitled to enforce standards and eject people who don't come up to said standards.

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  5. That is disgusting. I can't even imagine why anyone would say such hurtful things. Clearly they have nothing better to do than try to bring people down and make them feel as bad as they do themselves. Thankfully they will never be able to do that to you. You are an inspiration. I admire your determination and strength. Keep on writing! We love to read!!

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  6. Tina,
    I'm very happy for your "ladies man" son. I think girls are going to be more apt to overlook the amputation than boys. Of course, I'm sure he is quite a good flirt. You're going to have your hands full!

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  7. Peggy, please consider the possibility that you were not attacked by trolls but rather shouted down by apologists for the TSA. The story was just starting to get legs when you removed it. Your detailed first hand report was much more gripping than the summary presented by ACA. Restoring the story would be a great way to take a stand. Of course if you don't want to use this blog for political activism that's perfectly legitimate. But someone needs to hold the TSA's feet to the fire.

    I suggest that amputees traveling without children with them go to the airport plenty early to allow time to educate screeners and their management. Simply refuse all bizarre and disgusting requests.

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  8. Illegitimi non carborundum.

    There may be more people in your corner than you think. I got to your page via a link on another blog http://www.theagitator.com/2010/06/29/late-afternoon-links-2/
    "Almost enough to make me want to turn in my humanity membership card. What pointless cruelty." Well, they're Libertarians over there and eat up stories about TSA abusing citizens.

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  9. Please repost your TSA blog. The intent of trolls is to control the message. When you do what they really want, they win, and YOU LOSE. Figure out how to control comments to your blogs, if needed.

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