DOC vs or, perhaps better, with BLM?

@mrmikelawson shared this article by his friend Lee Ann Thill on FB earlier but I think it’s a good article to discuss here. The article is lengthy but addresses the recent and seemingly tragic death of Michael Robinson, jailed in Missouri for unpaid child support fees who, despite T1D, was denied treatment by his jailers.

article questioning the DOC and urging us to action

I think it’s very valid to question “where is the DOC?” as, the author points out, there were many posts about “Kisses for Kycie”, blue candles, etc. but not a huge outcry about this and other seemingly senseless deaths.

For me the takeaway is that testing blood sugar should be a civil right and that PWD should be supported to work towards normalized blood sugar by insurers and, I suppose, in an instance like this, by jailers, acting in their capacity to provide and support health care. What do you think?


I strongly agree with her point about the problem of the us/them dichotomy of T1 and T2 diabetes. Frankly, I think we’ve been essentially duped into advocating against our own cause in that regard. For quite some time now I have deliberately refused to take that bait… Not knowing anything about this specific case, I don’t see the point of tying together the distinctly separate issues of a diabetic in police custody being denied medical care and dying because of it and the other issues discussed in the article…

I guess I just have a different view of the world. I absolutely think that Black Lives Matter and that there is still fundamental prejudice and mistreatment of blacks. This latest is right in line with the systematic mistreatment of blacks by police and the entire judicial system. But to paint it as simply a black and white issue is misleading. In fact there is a huge problem that anyone with diabetes absolutely will be mistreated as a prisoner. It doesn’t matter if you are white or black. We had member here who spent four years in federal prison who ended up with an A1c of 14.7. Or you may remember the story of James Ward from a couple of years ago. These were white men who had their diabetes mistreated as prisoners.

The sad fact is that anybody who is arrested or put in prison is likely to have their diabetes mistreated. And the treatment of Michael Robinson was another example of the systemic mistreatment of blacks in America. But I don’t think it serves the DOC well to conflate the issues. As far as I am concerned, everyone with diabetes is “us” no matter what the color of their skin, their ethnicity or culture. I don’t think it would be wise for the DOC to abandon the goals of diabetes advocacy in order to work towards BLM. We should all individually consider being active in BLM but it should not preempt the goals of the DOC. The goals of the DOC should be that anybody, independent of color, should have a right to proper treatment when arrested or imprisoned. Actions to deny treatment to someone with diabetes should be considered a crime. Denial of treatment is an “assault.” And withholding insulin resulting in death is “murder.” And the prosecution should be handled that way.


Well said, Brian!

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IMO, ALL LIVES MATTER. It’s a mere coincidence that Michael Robinson was black. Call me naive, but I cannot believe that because he was black they didn’t take care of his D.

Sarah :four_leaf_clover:

Sadly, I think that #BlackLivesMatter is an important movement because it’s all to easy to falsely create causation from correlation. Like the “fact” that we cause our own diabetes by being fat, lazy sugar-ingesting freaks, some will say that because a predominantly black neighborhood has a high crime rate, it must be because the people living there are black. WRONG!

Yes, all lives matter. If we start hiding behind labels (e.g. Black Lives Matter v. Police Lives Matter) we lose the ability to see that fact. Injustice is wrong and it always needs to be identified and rooted out. If our authorities won’t act, then protests may well follow.

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@acidrock23, FWIW, I was struggling with the BLM in the title. I kept reading it as “DOC vs or, perhaps better, the Bureau of Land Management”. I finally clicked because I was curious about how the two related … :grinning:


I was also confused by the BLM in this post but I liked the gist of what @acidrock23 wrote so I “liked” it yesterday without reading the article, thinking the BLM part didn’t really matter to the issue (turns out it was central!). I just read the article and thought it was very well-written.

I agree with what @Brian_BSC says on the issue. However, I do sometimes think that different communities should work together to advocate for a specific issue that affects them both. For example, the issue of people not receiving medical treatment in jail is not limited to diabetes. I participate in the online food allergy community (which has no fancy acronym) and over the past several years have seen articles about people dying of allergic reactions in jail because they were not provided with safe food nor with medical treatment. In cases like this, it would seem that the diabetes and allergy communities could coordinate to advocate for this one issue, while also advocating for thier own respective causes on an ongoing basis.


Dit Toe this, Sarah!
Here I go out on the limb again with a reality check. Jails and prisons don’t know jack about diabetes… they have whatever rules, protocols, practices and they are not designed to ‘treat’ conditions and follow our own distinct methods. When you are incarcerated, your rights are to receive “adequate” care. Who knows what the definition of that is. This is true no matter what you go in wearing. I have to say that the best way for any diabetic to not suffer death or poor management is to not land his/her self in jail or prison in the first place.

There are so many different stories associated with this. This is one of those BIG stories that is full of accusations and sans the what really happened in there. I try to wait for the investigation and some solid facts before I jump on the bus. Of course the family is screaming and blaming and pissed. Making this about BLM is ridiculous.

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Mmm. This one is easy for me…Racism exists—it is rampant here in the USA. We are a gazillion strong as diabetics. Of course there are many of us who are racist. Why wouldn’t there be?..

Some significant number of us, of many hues, die in jail because nobody GETS diabetes, in any form. Some significant number of these die because they are diabetic AND Black. More due to the latter combo, I’m quite sure.

We are human. We are all each other’s caretakers. If not, why bother to live anywhere in any time…So—the DOC needs to weave into a tapestry ALL these things. All of them are of a piece. Period…Blessings…