Friday, August 9, 2013

Mystery Notes Point Finger at Portland's Disabled

The growing number of people claiming disability has been in the news A LOT recently, and I've really been avoiding writing about it partly because it's a touchy subject and partly because I'm a little burned out reading about it. However, I just read about this little incident in Portland, and I feel it is worth bringing up, if only for its locality and its eerie creep factor.

Here's the deal: An anonymous person who apparently goes by the name “Artemis of the wildland” is posting charged notes threatening to post the names of individuals in various Portland neighborhoods, like Laurelhurst, Irvington, and Southeast Belmont, who vote and claim disability.

Now, I get irritated every time I see people bragging on Twitter about how easy it is to get “free money” by playing the system and filing for disability, so I can understand the frustration this Artemis may be feeling about people being able “to vote themselves money”*, but isn't this mystery posting a weird invasion of privacy? I don't see why people need to know which of their neighbors are getting help from the government or what would come from knowing that information, except maybe tension or embarrassment. Further, I am led to wonder if this person believes that all people with disabilities should not be allowed to vote for fear that they would use their votes to get unwarranted government assistance. The issue of voting appears to be Artemis's biggest qualm, though it could be that that simply stands out most to my eye.

Perhaps the note poster knows something the rest of us don't, like exactly why certain individuals are making disability claims and which of those individuals are truly in need. Maybe the poster went door to door and asked people if they are on disability and if they have a legitimate reason for being so. It could be that this person is exposing frauds, and I'm completely off base for thinking this whole situation is bizarre. Either way, whose right is it to go around tacking names to doors?

There are people out there who are actually unable to work and need financial assistance; not everyone is playing the system, and it's a shame that so many people do that others may be led to discredit everyone who claims disability, even those who actually are disabled. Many people with disabilities are already regarded differently and put into an oft unpleasant spotlight. Writing their names on a paper isn't doing anyone any favors.

Is it? What do you think? Is this is strange and creepish as it seems to me? Does anybody else think that Artemis of the wildland is an unusual and somewhat silly pseudonym given the context of the situation? Do share your opinions!

*If anyone is curious, the quote cited in the original note is often attributed to Benjamin Franklin, but there is quite a bit of debate whether he actually said this or not.


  1. My thought... my husband is disabled, however if you talk to him, watch him walk and work you would never know it. He hides it well. He struggles daily with pain and comes home and works our property while in extreme pain. My point there are those that do not look disabled but really are. Pinpointing people out without knowing their background is presumptuous and wrong. No one knows everyone's situation - however there are those that cheat the system too...

    1. This is a good point! There is this assumption that disability is always visible when I can think of many disabilities that are very invisible. This whole letter thing feels to me like using a shotgun to try and hammer out one bent nail.

  2. My thoughts exactly! Well said, both of you.

  3. Just got my check for $500.

    Sometimes people don't believe me when I tell them about how much money you can earn by taking paid surveys from home...

    So I show them a video of myself actually getting paid over $500 for doing paid surveys.