Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Missing the Point

 Joe Scarborough speculated on his MSNBC Morning Joe program that James Holmes, the man who just killed so many people in Colorado, may be on the spectrum.
"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," said Scarborough, whose son has Asperger's syndrome. "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."

He did offer some sort of half-hearted , ill prepared statement that was some kind of attempt at a back peddle. It was not an apology.

“During a debate regarding the recent Colorado shootings, I suggested that the Aurora tragedy should make Americans focus more on mental health in this country. I also stated that my own experiences raising a son with Aspergers made me keenly aware of how important strong support systems are to those who might otherwise be isolated.

The growing Autism epidemic is a tremendous burden for children, parents and loved ones to endure. My call for increased funding and awareness for Autism and other mental health conditions was meant to support the efforts of those who work every day to improve the lives of Americans impacted. Those suggesting that I was linking all violent behavior to Autism missed my larger point and overlooked the fact that I have a wonderful, loving son with Aspergers. Perhaps I could have made my point more eloquently …”

I am having a hard time wrapping my head this. How does a parent of a child on the spectrum draw parallels between an obvious sociopath and our children!

Part of me though, gets where he is coming from. You see , Sammy has some very violent tendencies.  We have worked hard to overcome them. However, I don't think they are because he is autistic. I am sure the frustration level is exacerbated by the things that go along with autism.   I wonder if Mr. Scarborough is dealing with some issues in his own heart because of his child's issues.

I don't want people to be afraid of my son. I don't want people think that he is frightening or dangerous. I don't want people thinking that my life with Sammy is such an ugly burden that I would rather not be living it.

I want people to know there is light and sunshine here, right beside the hurdles. I want people to understand that life doesn't end because you get a diagnosis. I want people to know, to really KNOW, that having a child on the spectrum DOES NOT mean they will be isolated.

 I want everyone to see Sammy

The boy who loves to dance. The boy who loves to sing. The boy who has love,empathy, and understanding of those smaller than him. The boy who can make me smile so hard that I cry. The boy who kisses my belly, knowing the baby is there. The boy who reaches out, makes friends slowly. The boy everyone seems to like. I want them to see HOPE. I want them to see LOVE. I NEED THEM TO SEE A BOY... not a spectrum, not a diagnosis, not any of those things. Every part of him is uniquely who he is. nothing less, nothing more.

I won't crucify Mr. Scarborough for his careless remarks. I do however feel sad that his son may have heard his words, comparing him to the man who killed people in a movie theater. I do hope his son can forgive him for telling the world he is a "tremendous burden". I do hope if nothing else, that people will understand that autism can't hurt you, but words can.

If you need more information to understand why words like this are dangerous , you can check out these links...


Also there is a petition asking Mr.Scarborough to retract his statement HERE that was started by Rachel Cohen-Rottenberg