In the beginning of July, the Cincinnati police department decided to use a new scare tactic to attempt to get through to teens who had been involved in drugs and/or gang related activity. They felt that it would be a good idea to use pictures of gunshot victims with colostomy bags, in an effort to show these teens that there is a fate worse than death and having to live your life with an ostomy is just that.
The article is available at the link below:
The lieutenant in charge tells the boys, “You’re not killed, but you’re walking around with a colostomy bag and that’s just not the way to get a girl’s attention by limping down Warsaw Avenue with a colostomy bag.”
I have never heard of anything like this before and I find it incredibly sad that something like an ostomy, an oftentimes necessary and lifesaving medical procedure, is being used by those in an authoritative position to attempt to discipline youth.
What kind of message does this send to those kids? What happens if one of those kids already has an ostomy, or a disease that may require one at some point? What if they know someone with an ostomy?
While I can somewhat understand why this would be a good way to scare troubled kids into making better lifestyle choices, I don’t think anyone realizes how this is not only insulting to anyone with an ostomy but it sends an incredibly terrible message of intolerance to these very impressionable teens.
The lieutenant basically said that if you have a colostomy (the seemingly universal term for ostomies), you are therefore unattractive and will not be able to impress any person who you are trying to date. That type of message extends far beyond just ostomies. It tells these kids that being different is undesirable and if you are, no one will love you (or accept you) so you are pretty much better off being dead.
Ostomies have saved countless lives but when these teens hear about them for the rest of their lives they will think about how awful, disgusting and utterly gross they are. They will probably look down on anyone who has one, possibly make fun of them, and that is a completely deplorable thing to engrain in the mind of a young person.
We need people who are in a position of authority to find ways of reaching troubled youth without going to these kinds of extremes. While I do understand that the idea of having a colostomy bag would “scare” a teenage boy, it is completely unacceptable to show these kids that they are better off being dead than living life differently.
To contact City and Stat officials in Ohio, their contact info is:
Mayor Mallory: email@example.com
Lt. Chief (interm) Paul Humpfries: firstname.lastname@example.org
Ohio Governon John Kasich: http://www.governor.ohio.gov/contact/contactthegovernor.asp
Never Stay Quiet!