Monday, July 23, 2012

How about a Cup O' Joe?!?

I'd intended on blogging tonight about the 10 lbs I've gained since the Mrs. Texas Pageant back in January.  I was going to explain how I had a whole bunch of excuses for it - stress, my sprained ankle I'm rehabbing, etc.  Then I was going to tell you that there are no excuses - that I've been lazy and watched the scale creep up over the last several months.  I was going to wrap up the blog by telling you I've decided to get my groove back and get my lazy behind back in the gym.  Well, now that I've done that, I figure I can address something a little more important.

I woke up last week (like everyone else) to news of the mass shootings in Aurora, CO.  24-year-old James Holmes methodically unleashed hell during a midnight showing of the new Batman film.  As I write this blog, the death toll is at 12 with 58 others injured - several of them critically.  The youngest of the victims was only 6 years old.

What kind of sick person commits a mass shooting?  What kind of person plans the attack for months, purchasing handguns and assault rifles and stockpiling ammunition?  What kind of person assembles over 30 explosive devices and sets them throughout his apartment hoping someone will come in and trigger them?  Well, according to MSNBC's Joe Scarborough, that person might be on the autism spectrum.

When I first read about this today, my jaw dropped.  Here is what Scarborough said this morning during his MSNBC broadcast:

"As soon as I hear about this shooting, I knew who it was. I knew it was a young, white male, probably from an affluent neighborhood, disconnected from society -- it happens time and time again. Most of it has to do with mental health; you have these people that are somewhere, I believe, on the autism scale...I don't know if that's the case here, but it happens more often than not. People that can walk around in society, they can function on college campuses -- they can even excel on college campuses -- but are socially disconnected."

Scarborough essentially postulated that mass murderers are on the autism spectrum.  Why, because they are socially disconnected?  Wait, so all people with autism are socially disconnected?  I'm confused... and concerned.  For folks who don't know any better, will they now associate the words "mass murderer" with "autism."  I sure hope not.

And a couple other things bothered me about Mr. Scarborough's hypothesis.  Autism is colorblind - it is not a white person's affliction.  And it certainly isn't unique to affluent communities.  You'll find autism in homes all over the U.S. - socio-economic status isn't indicative of one's chances of having autism.  And I'll say it again - just because someone is "disconnected" from society doesn't mean they are on the autism spectrum.  

So what makes Mr. Scarborough an expert on this subject?  Well, he's got a son with Asperger's.  I guess he thought that gave him the right to make such an irresponsible generalization with absolutely NO PROOF whatsoever.  Hearing his comments just sucked the air out of me today.  We in the autism community are constantly battling stigmas and stereotypes - our kids are retarded, ride the short bus, etc.  Now they are socially disconnected, mass murderers.  When this sort of irresponsible rhetoric comes from within the autism community, it just stings more.  Old Joe should know better...

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