I need to be writing my submission for the LHP right now. Now that I got myself off to a good start on a topic I can actually get into. Rather than trying to recombine old tumblr posts creatively.
But I have to say this.
I am devastated over the woman in Sunnyvale who murdered her autistic son.
I am further devastated over the usual responses. “It was lack of services.” (She had turned down services.) “She must have been mentally ill, because you know how violent and scary They are when They aren’t treated properly.” “Every parent of a child with autism wants to kill their child now and then. Anyone who says otherwise is lying. It could have been any of us. Let’s sympathize, not condemn.” “People don’t know how awful it is to have an autistic child. They can drive you to murder.” “It’s better to be dead than autistic. This was a mercy killing.”
I know it all by heart. I helped with the research for the first place that tried to chronicle and memorialize as many murders of autistic people as possible. We got hate mail. From the families of those killed. Saying we just couldn’t understand the murderers or we wouldn’t sympathize with the autistic people. I’m dead serious.
Every time this happens it cuts me to the core.
Every time this happens I know we are not safe anywhere.
If my parents got an ethics transplant and decided to kill me. They could fly out here and do it. They could show the world how bad I look on paper. Autism societies would rally around them and collect money for their defense fund. They would be charged with manslaughter, if anything. Their sentences would be shorter than those of anyone otherwise similar to them who murdered a nonautistic, nondisabled person otherwise demographically similar to me. It’s not that I expect justice out of a system as terrible as our “justice” system, but these disparities show something seriously wrong.
A woman’s daughter comes home from her residential school for the holidays. The girl begins to repeat the words “The sun is rising”. The mother, who has been thinking about murder for years, decides now is the time. She tries to get the girl to walk off a bridge but she refuses. She strangles the girl with a cord. She wishes the girl would die faster, saying “Let go, just let go.”
She turns herself in to the police. The entire country’s autism community comes to her aid while actual disabled people look on in horror. She claims that her daughter’s repetitive speech caused her to “snap”. She is finally convicted of manslaughter and given a few years in prison. Other parents of autistic children protest even this. As a result she gets out after five months. People have been jailed for longer for merely planning to murder their nondisabled kids.
True story. Typical of the people who get sentenced to anything at all. The way to get away with murder is to kill someone society doesn’t care about, and be someone society sympathizes with. You can say you were driven to it by having to care for us, even if you were not at all responsible for caring for us ever. People will eat it up.
Also understand this if you understand nothing else: When people use murders for telling people we need better services for parents, this does two things once it gets into the media. It holds disabled people hostage. And it means the murder rate against us goes up. Lobby for better services on your own time — not using our dead bodies as justification.
It’s a little over fifteen years ago that caregivers (not my family) tried to murder me. They knew I was having an anaphylactic reaction so they just made it clear they wouldn’t treat it and nobody would know that it wasn’t an accident. They carefully noted my swollen tongue and throat, and what that meant, and they insulted me thoroughly and walked out the door. If it weren’t for someone from the outside seeing me collapsed on the floor struggling to breathe, I wouldn’t be here.
That’s typical of caregiver-induced murders in mental institutions. They often simply don’t get help after it’s clear someone’s going to die. This is known because of times when they slip up and get caught. Other times they deliberately kill someone but blame it on seizures or heart disorders. Other times, during restraint, they disregard someone’s complaints that they can’t breathe — often their last words.
I know these things because I’ve made it my business to know them. But it never gets easier. Never.
i believe this this to be an extremely important post. please click through and read the whole thing.
My sister has Down’s Syndrome and my mom was a lawyer for people with disabilities and their family members. I’ve heard a lot of stories like this, but they never get any less upsetting.
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