May 26, 2014

Autism Is Not A Crime

If you've seen the news lately, you've heard the heinous crime committed by a young man who killed six people in a drive-by shooting in the US. My policy in this blog is I don't mention murderers by name, because I don't believe they deserve any more press or notoriety. I choose to focus on victims. Also a shame that this blog has already covered so many murders.

My issue at the moment with this particular murder is how the media has chosen to portray him. It is obvious from his videos prior that he was disturbed and troubled. Unfortunately, the fact his parents merely suspected he had Asperger's was enough to get the media to decide he was actually diagnosed as such. So it's important to note that his parents are not psychologists. He was apparently in therapy, but no diagnosis of Asperger's or ASD had been made.

What is even worse is that his parents were disturbed by the videos he made and contacted police. Police decided he posed no harm. Aside from his own crime, the negligence of the police to take these threats seriously is also a huge failing.

It should be noted that there is no correlation between violent crime and ASD. It should be noted a person with an ASD is much more likely to be a victim of violent crime.

Just for fun, let's entertain the possibility that he had Asperger's. I would argue he also had something else wrong with him that prompted him to murder, but Asperger's alone would not do it.

Being socially awkward or inept or different, is not a crime.

The media does not think of the ramifications of what having a stigma of "violent murderer" attached to "people with ASD" can do to us. It places us in increased danger for harassment and ostracization. They are contributing to the myths and misunderstandings that already surround us.

Let's put the blame on the murderer. Let's put the blame on the police. Let's not put the blame on a subset of the population who haven't done anything other than have a different brain.

This post is a contribution to the Autism Is Not A Crime Flashblog.

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