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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Misguided remarks

I'm not going to try to demonize Joe Scarborough, who made comments saying that the shooter in Aurora sounded like he was on the autistic spectrum, more specifically someone with Aspergers. I know he has a son with Aspergers himself, and I don't think he meant the comments to be cruel or hurtful. But they were very misguided. I don't think he must really understand what at least the vast majority of people with autism are like.

On a very basic level, the reason I don't think someone on the spectrum could or would commit a heinous mass murder is because they quite simply are not motivated by much of anything that involves other people. They would not have the kind of hatred that would lead someone to kill others. That kind of sick hatred is in a very twisted way a social feeling. It's a crazy social feeling, but it's a social feeling. I don't think Janey would, even if she were higher functioning, have enough interest in people she didn't know to want to hurt them. If you go to Janey's summer school and see the hundred or so autistic kids there, you will notice very, very little if any fighting or arguing or teasing or annoying of kids toward each other. The kids do their own thing. Sometimes they imitate each other, and some do show affection to each other, mostly higher functioning girls. But I don't see meanness, or even mild purposeful annoying. That's not in their make-up.

I am not saying that someone with autism or Aspegers could never kill anyone. I think if they ever did, it would be an isolated event, probably having something to do with a special interest. This sounds like it might have been the case in an awful situation in our state, where a boy with Aspergers killed a classmate at his school. He was fascinated with CSI type shows and criminality, and he took it to a criminal level. He is in prison, and he should be. But that is nothing like the Aurora killings.

I am sickened by the Aurora case. I won't write more about it, because it's outside the scope of this blog. But I do want people to understand that it was not an act of someone with any kind of autism. I would be willing to bet the crime rate for people with autism is the lowest of any demographic you could think of. And Joe Scarborough should have known better than to say what he did.

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