Newtown, Lanza and an Asperger’s backlash


Will alleged Newtown killer Adam Lanza become the poster child for those who are pointing the finger at sufferers of Asperger’s syndrome? Unfortunately it doesn’t take much at times such as these when feelings are raw for some to seek a scapegoat and the current trend seems to be Asperger’s.

The Toronto Star has a piece on the subject in which they state:

Canadian experts on autism say descriptions of Adam Lanza are classic signs of Asperger’s, a high-functioning form of the disorder.  … But they are quick to point out that undiagnosed or untreated mental illness that often accompanies autism is more likely to blame for Lanza’s deadly rampage at Sandy Hook Elementary School, not the condition itself.

Will that explanation fall on deaf ears? Will a backlash against Asperger’s sufferers and perhaps those with autism in general somehow give vent to the frustrations many feel over the terrible shootings in Connecticut? If so, more’s the shame. That would be a typical knee-jerk reaction and almost a mob mentality; throw science out the window and burn those with Asperger’s at the stake.

According to Dr. Wendy Roberts, co-director of autism research at Toronto’s Sick Children’s Hospital:

Typically, people with Asperger’s are very aware of the rules and are usually reminding people about obeying the rules,” she said. “It goes against their grain to break the rules.

Let’s hope cooler heads prevail and a rational debate can take place once facts are established rather than a knee-jerk backlash against all those with Asperger’s or any form of autism for that matter.

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15 thoughts on “Newtown, Lanza and an Asperger’s backlash

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  2. This is my greatest fear as a father of a 6 year old autistic son. There are enough pre-set assumptions about him that I would hate to add this to the list of things that he has to overcome or prove himself different to.

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  7. Autistic people can’t help it that they are emotionally shortsighted (not blind). Now that Pandora’s Box did spit out the stereotype of the Amok-Aspie, Normals blame them for it anyway. That’s worse than telling your pet off because it doesn’t behave like a human. Having empathy but not use it makes the real monster.

    • Oh thanks for your massive compassion for people LIKE me twix, Jesh I sometimes think people like you have only met 1 person or no people with Aspergers (which I maintain is not autism despite fact its on a spectrum, its like saying a piano is a keyboard, yeah a lot of similarities but you wouldn’t call a piano a keyboard unless your sort of stupid) . I have great empathy up to a point, I don’t have empathy with people that want to kill all imperfect people out of some irrational belief that they themselves are perfect, yes I can understand they have stereotypes etc plastered in their head but that doesn’t mean they cant try to educated themselves. IN fact I find its “normal” people that often lack empathy and are short sighted emotionally. Most of my problems are about practical things like going new places or doing certain tasks, no problems with taking things literally or reading body language except in the case of if an adult female likes me or not as unlike folk I’m not interested because they are under age they do not make it as clear if they like you or not. I once had a boy I believe is undiagnosed assume I take things literally which is kind of funny because this boy actually sort of takes things very literally, I was telling him how another guy at bowling ( a guy definitely on the spectrum and more severe than me) had a row with his girlfriend whom he called a bitch for no reason and blamed for his poor bowling performance ( a performance I would love to reproduce myself….) he said “oh its none of your business” I was like “actually it is if the screaming match is affecting us all who paid money for this “experience”, imagine a couple was screaming in a cinema they would be thrown out”, he was like “oh but that’s not the same, if they where just arguing it was none of your business”, I then pointed out that it wasn’t just a couple who had been in the room together since the start falling out in which case it would be none of our business if it was kept to a non distracting level but was in fact a girl who had came in furious from her home to scream at her idiot, probably autistic spectrum, boyfriend and that at the point it becomes all our business as we are entitled to bowl in peace, that it was as much for others I was raising the issue as myself,I was bowling with a young boy of about 14 who is a bit different too and a guy with slight learning difficulties in the opposing team, so yeah no one was likely to say something but I can bet no one else would have put up with that bizarre behaviour bar possibly his mates, and maybe not even them in this case… I’ve been told just to report such situations to the manager, but given the guy with a bit of oddness is a bowling coach cant see that working, I’d rather take the risk of getting a slap from his crazy girlfriend next time and speak my mind if something as bizare as that happens again as the guy is not the type to react violently more likely he’d go into a shell or at most become verbally aggressive, you may say why only stand up to folk you don’t think are thugs…. well because my face would prefer it, and I’m fed up of letting folk get away with blaming other people for things that are their own fault, like this boy did with his girlfriend (though its not my place to say that IF they are arguing normally not like siren drills…) . If I got banned for other people being Assholes it wouldn’t bother me, after all I’d imagine If something similar happened I wouldn’t have such an oblivious group of players playing with me (thus someone else may say something before I do) as most folks their are “normal” all very few of them are actually “normal” if you know what I mean. Guess bowling attracts more strange folks lol.

      • To Add further Info the boy I mention lacks intonation, my own relative seen his behaviour and thinks he is being a bit weird, that’s why he assumes I “take things literally” its that his own behaviour cues and body language is not their as naturally as it is with other people. I can see hes being an A-hole its funny my relative cant also see though that their are 2 issues going on, he’s trying to be smart but also he lacks the communication, to convey sarcasm or other such intonation. One time I believe he was genuinely trying to be nice, a rarity for him but my relative flew off the hook at him, I felt quite embarrassed then because said relatives heart is 1000% in the right place but actually other times I needed them to have my back they didnt and got in the way of me dealing with a situation which then made a situation look more dangerous and mainly just make me look foolish, they think I don’t know when someone is trying to yank my chain, I do but they cant seem to see I was furious about something and assume I’m trying to give someone a purse or something, my relative is totally “normal” but struggles to see their can be 2 factors to why someone is behaving as they are, and also tends not to see why I’m per suing someone but presumes and gets in the way… But after discussion about this boy she agreed with me that he tends to both take things literally and also doesn’t convey the appropriate emotional response others would. I had a “normal” psychotic type friend who is clearly not on the autistic spectrum but he had NO intonation at all in their voice and so it was hard to tell when he was joking, lying etc, he did have OCD. This guy at bowling is more Aspergers like because its not that he has zero intonation its that he has reduced and ambiguous intonation, so 2 factors are going on he’s being a jerk and he sees things differently from other people.

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