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!