trigger warning: violence against autistics

Apparently I Actually Have To Say This

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.”

[Image description: A stone cross planted in the ground, surrounded by light green plants and grass. Another grave marker is in the back left of the photo, almost totally overgrown by weeds, possibly kudzu.]

[Image description: A stone cross planted in the ground, surrounded by light green plants and grass. Another grave marker is in the back left of the photo, almost totally overgrown by weeds, possibly kudzu.]

(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.

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An Open Letter To Jim Carrey

Dear Jim,

Normally one uses surnames for people they haven’t met, but given the appalling way you’ve just behaved and the ignorance you’ve displayed, I don’t have enough respect for you to bother.

Let’s get down to brass tacks.

I am an autistic adult, and I am angry.

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And I Am Telling You

I was going to try and be really highfalutin’ with this post. I was going to ask my roommate the English major about Lacanian theory and semiotics, and explain that. Then I’d make some allusion to the fact that we all perceive words differently, and it can sometimes mess up discourse on a fundamental level. Then I would tie it back to the fact that the word ‘disability’ is routinely interpreted as something hugely dire by the non-disabled, and explain that ‘disability’ is in fact a social construct. Then, to close, I’d make some quasi-profound point about how we could all do a bit better at understanding that we all have different perceptions.

But today is the Disability Day of Mourning, and I’m not going to do that.

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A Defense Against Libel

I know it’s been a while since I posted. The reasons are about evenly split between life happening, and being threatened with doxxing over my Stapleton post. My life has calmed down somewhat since, but I still had to debate posting this. Eventually I decided in favor of posting it, because frankly, it needs to be said.

London McCabe was a six year old boy living in Oregon. His mother murdered him last week by throwing him off a bridge. After the murder, NBC reached out to “autism experts.” They found Dee Shepherd-Look, who is a professor of psychology at Cal State Northridge. She had this to say. (Very triggering, be warned.)

““I’m frankly surprised this doesn’t happen more often. These children are really unable to be in a reciprocal relationship and the moms don’t really experience the love that comes back from a child — the bonding is mitigated … That is one of the most difficult things for mothers.””

I and most of the autistic community was appalled. This is the e-mail I sent to her. -cec

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Sometimes, The Law Is Not Enough

NB. Any news media links contained herein come with a massive trigger warning for ableism and dehumanization of autistics. I provide them in the context of attempting to be thorough, but I do not endorse any of the content therein. They’re fairly disgusting, to be honest.

NB #2. In the interests of full disclosure, a few edits have been made upon receiving new information.

NB #3. G-d help you if you try to defend Kelli Stapleton on my blog. I mean it. 

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A Self-Evident Truth

I worried when I last posted (Housekeeping post notwithstanding) that I was getting too stuck into righteous anger. That I was becoming one of those people, who finds offense in everything. And I’ve tried to surround myself with joy more often, if only for my mental health. There is a lot of joy in the world.

Also, it’s possible to have an opinion on something without being offended. You can be sad. Scared. Disappointed. Worried. Lately, I’ve been all four, and the straw that broke the camel’s back was the response in the aftermath of an appalling Washington Post article. Only one question came to mind.

Do people really need constant reassurance that autistic people are in fact human beings?

It really, really seems like they do.

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