I just received a comment from someone calling himself Jerry, who defended Nicholas Richett’s father – the person who murdered Nicholas. He told me several intimate details of Nicholas’s life, many of which I have absolutely no business knowing about, and stated that “[t]here are no homes that will take an autistic child with Nickys degree of autism.” How do you know, sir? And if you’re so concerned, why didn’t you?
He also said that “If you have a strong opinion of what happened to Nicky don’t run your mouth adopt an extremely autistic child.”(1) You bet your ass I have a “strong opinion” of “what happened to Nicky.” Namely that he had the right to live regardless of what his father thought. I have sympathy for people suffering from depression and anxiety; I truly feel for those who are tormented by so much fear and sadness. That does not give them the right to take someone else’s life. Nothing does. If you can’t understand that, I despair of you as a human being.
(2) Nicholas Richett was in his twenties when he was murdered. That’s not a child; that’s a man. Don’t infantilize us.
(3) Michigan as a state has an absolutely appalling record on the human rights of disabled people. It spawned the woman for whom expletives are too mild. It has bought into the push for medical marijuana to curb autistic “behaviors” (which is not inherently a bad thing, but the insistence on curing behaviors rather than finding out why behaviors happen is infuriating). It has almost no protocols regarding restraint and seclusion of students, which is barbaric. Multiple stories exist about autistic kids being all but pushed out of the school system due to ignorance and unwillingness to accommodate, even though it is mandated by law that they do so.
(4) I now have a “strong opinion” of you, Jerry; first, that you don’t do your research – I’m autistic too, sweetheart – and second, that you have a problem with someone speaking up for a murder victim.
Think about that for a second.
To my audience at large, I’m really hoping I don’t have to say this, but I will anyway: If you are going to comment defending a murderer or attempted murderer of an autistic person, do not waste your time. You will be deleted, and I will rip you a new one for your bigotry.
We are not burdens. We are not tragedies. We are not collateral damage in someone’s depression. We have the right to live regardless of how scared you are that we’re going to be ~burdens.~ Respect our autonomy and agency. We are people, just like you. If you can’t do that, I don’t want to be in the same zip code as you. I’m astonished I got through this with as little profanity as I managed, because the sheer stubbornness these people display in seeing autistics as less than human is both infuriating and terrifying.