Dear Jules etc etc, and an explanation this should remain anonymous...
I KNOW SOMEONE who is being murdered. He doesn’t know it, but he is. And the
perp, his killer, is walking free, and probably will continue to do so. You see, many
years ago, in a place I cannot name there was a company whose identity is unknown.
It had an accident, and there was a toxic leak which polluted the water table for miles
around for years afterwards. The victim, Stephen, lived nearby as a young boy and so
he bathed, showered in and drank this water. The poisons and heavy metals were
absorbed and integrated into his growing body, causing mutations and storing up
major problems for later in life.
This is nothing to do with his murder.
He is an innocuous, almost invisible kind of man. You know the sort… you see
plenty of them in bus queues on rainy days, and your eyes just kind of slide off them.
If you work in an office – which is where a lot of them seem to congregate – you will
leave your desk to fetch coffee or run an errand, and he’s the one you’ll either bump
into or find lurking at the back of the lift.
At the monthly evening out at the pub, you’ll almost sit on him, yet find that when
you actually talk to the guy he’s a pleasant, well-spoken and slightly shy kind of
fellow with a wicked wit and sharp mind… only to have forgotten all about him by
Monday morning despite your best intentions. He’s the one in the office who is
If you work in a shop, you’ll find him tucked away, quietly getting on with whatever
it is he does – and usually it will be a complete mystery to you until his day off – then
you know. You find out by experience, but again, it turns out that by the next day,
with his presence restored, his invisibility has returned.
None of this is anything to do with his death.
You see, Stephen’s health has deteriorated to such a point that he is now in hospital
full-time, hooked up to machines draining the poisons from his non-functional liver.
It isn’t because Stephen drank alcohol to excess, it’s the result of the toxic spill all
those years ago that no one knows about because the company had ‘connections’
(allegedly). Again, though, it isn’t anything to do with Stephen that his killer has just
signed his death certificate in advance.
Stephen has a brother, called Michael. Michael has also been suffering with
deteriorating health, but in varied and different ways, and he finally – having run out
of savings to live off – put in a claim for social security, being too ill for work. The
claim went in during the summer. Due to the top-down incompetence of the system
supposed to provide a safety net, and due to the backlog of applications requiring
assessment, Michael only heard about any decision just after Christmas, and went to
meet his appointed contact at the social security place.
Yet again, this is nothing to do with Stephen’s murder. Michael explained his health problems to the appointed contact, who could see quite
clearly that Michael is not a well man… and that the health problems are severe
enough to prevent any commitment to anything which is considered to be
employment, and the meeting went cordially.
A couple of weeks later, Michael was called by Atos to attend a Work Capability
Assessment, and after rearranging the appointment, went on the due date – only to
find, once he had travelled for nearly two hours to get to the town where the test
centre is, that they phoned him and asked to cancel. He declined, and insisted that as
he had made such a Herculean effort to get there, he must have this dreaded W.C.A.
After a while, he was phoned again with a slightly later time. He went and had the
assessment, which he considered to be mostly irrelevant, but felt he was dealt with in
a courteous and genteel manner. Far different from what he had been led to believe.
Once more, this is disconnected from Stephen’s murder.
A month after the W.C.A, someone, a Decision Maker at the social security phoned
Michael to make an appointment for a ‘telephone interview.’ Michael thought it was
because the original application for payments and W.C.A. did not quite match up due
the Michael’s doctor diagnosing and investigating more ailments since the form went
it, all made worse by worrying about his brother Stephen’s near-terminal condition.
The time came, the phone rang, and Michael answered it. During the conversation, he
was told that he was disqualified from illness payments because they knew the
distance from that bus stop to the test centre, he was deemed as fit to be working.
This was regardless of the pain, the anguish and length of time it took to do it, and
because he had actually attended the W.C.A. He commented on the absurdity of it:
attend the interview or get no payments, but by attending it proves you fit to work and
your payments get stopped. There was silence on the other end of the phone. The
Michael’s world fell apart so fast he couldn’t even begin to understand what had
happened. His interim payments were now stopped, and that meant his housing
assistance would end. With no money at all coming in, he wouldn’t be able to pay the
rent, which meant he would be evicted and homeless. But there are more points in
this puzzle to connect to get the picture.
The only thing that will save the life of his brother, Stephen, is a liver transplant –
which is one of the reasons he is in hospital. The only reason he is on the transplant
list is because Michael is his designated care-giver after transplant… but because he
most likely will lose his home, he can’t actually do that. You can’t look after
someone if you have nowhere to do it, so Stephen will come off the list once all these
threads tie together.
And once off the transplant list, Stephen has no hope of life, so he will at some point
sooner rather than later… die.
It isn’t Michael’s fault that Stephen is going to die. It isn’t the fault of the Atos
operatives, nor of the Decision Maker at the social security. It’s mine. It’s my fault because I should have advised Michael to walk away from the
assessment, but I didn’t. I insisted that he put his foot down and made sure it got done.
That was only on the day, though. I should have insisted all those months ago that I
hekped with the initial claim form. I could have ensured he had other – proper –
advisors back when they were still able to take on new cases in this area. But I didn’t.
Dear God and Sonny Jesus, in the Names of All The Blessed Prophets I cannot name,
I DIDN’T. I KNEW BETTER AND I LET HIM GO ON AHEAD WITHOUT
SUPPORT. So Michael will lose everything, and Stephen will die, and I might just as
well as strangled him with my own bare hands.
I am Stephen’s murderer.
The writer of this ISNT a murderer. Why are they made to feel SO much this way?
Because the SYSTEM IS BROKEN> THATS WHY.
IMPACT? YOU WANT IMPACT?