Sunday, July 24, 2016

Special People

Special. The word applies to people, underpaid and under appreciated, that work with those with special needs. Charles Kinsey is one of those people. A behavioral therapist at MacTown Panther Group Home in Miami, he assists the autistic and others with special needs. One of those group home members is Arnaldo Rio-Soto. Here is a photo of Arnaldo.

Most now have heard about what happened. Rio-Soto wandered off from MacTown and Kinsey went after him to try and coax him back to the facility. An unfortunate 911 call was made about a suicidal man with a gun, which in reality was a toy truck. Police responded and Kinsey was shot and wounded.

The president of the Police Benevolent Association in Dade County said Jonathan Aledda, a four-year veteran of the North Miami Police Department, was actually aiming for Rio-Soto because Aledda believed Kinsey was in danger. 

All this has been sifted over in the media at large. Originally, this post was going to be about the larger context of the law surrounding excessive force. I decided instead to write about what Kinsey, and people like him do. It is personal to me.

When a member of your family is special needs, individuals like Charles Kinsey change your life. It is a weary trope to write that unless you have walked in someone else's shoes you cannot know their struggles. The difficulties in being a caregiver to a child who is not likely ever to be self sufficient is hard to communicate. All the things large and small. All the ways it affects your life, and those around you. People like Charles Kinsey are special gifts. Thus, I was paying attention when Kinsey's boss, at MacTown, Clint Bowser, said this of Kinsey:
 This individual he was caring for [Rio-Soto] is a person with significant behavioral issues, and Charles was specifically chosen to work with this individual as his one-on-one staff, because he is that much of a skilled employee...
It is all too easy for me to envision it in my own mind's eye. I see my son in the street instead of Arnaldo, with his own toy. I picture the caregiver who would follow him into that street and stay with him knowing they were both in danger from forces both known and unknown.

That takes a special person.

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