This is who you hurt when you use the word retard.
I'm not going to write an open letter to Ann Coulter about how wrong she is for this. She knows it's wrong to degrade a whole group of people, deem them worthless, and disregard them completely as she litters the Internet with hateful slurs; but she doesn't care. Even if my tiny little blog did somehow reach her, it wouldn't matter.
I don't have a very long reach. My readers are mostly my friends, my family, neighbors, and acquaintances. Good people who, unlike Anne Coulter, have a moral compass. Yes, good people. People who wouldn't intentionally cause harm to another. People who certainly wouldn't throw stones at someone who was defenseless. But you see, sometimes we don't realize that, even without intention, we can cause harm to another. We can leave scars. We can perpetuate an awful injustice that so badly needs to stop.
I may have a few times during my years casually used the word "retarded." "I can't believe I have to pay this much for new tires on my car; they're made of rubber, that's so retarded." I wasn't aiming to hurt anyone. I would never actually call someone a "retard", or use the word to diminish someone. I am more sensitive to the word now that I am the mother of a child with Down syndrome, and I'm a better person thanks to that. "Retard" is a word that hurts. It's a word that generalizes a whole group of people. It's a word that carries forward a stigma that limits people who have shown themselves to be capable of much more than had once been expected from them.
Our society has come up with nasty names to disgrace just about every "group" of people there is, whether it be race, sexual orientation, social economic status, etc... there's a slur to label you with. Most of them, however, are not socially accepted. They're considered to be discriminatory. Why then, do we accept the word "retard" to be thrown around like it is? Carelessly spoken between friends in line at the coffee shop, plastered on friends' Facebook walls, Tweeted, spewed all over television, the movie theatres, and radio? Why do we allow this word in our vocabulary? Why do we allow it in our homes? In the schools that our impressionable children attend?
Please don't casually use the word "retard" as slang. It should not be socially acceptable in any context other than it's medical use. If it's casual use is no longer accepted, than surely, when an awful excuse for a human, like Anne Coulter uses the word in the manner she did, she'd undoubtedly be knocked right off her platform for her offensive behavior. Do you think if she used the N-word, she'd get away with it? No way! That would be totally unacceptable, the network she works for would step in and shut down the offensive behavior. The R-word is just as hateful, and should not be tolerated in a public forum.
Anne Coulter, here is the person you are trampling over. The person who you have declared is less than you. Here she is as she basks in the glory of a beautiful fall day, rolling joyfully in the grass. She is an innocent child who deserves to grow up in a world that values her life, where she'll be treated with decency, and allowed to blossom to her full potential without the threat of someone like you carelessly stepping on her.