Hoping Asperger’s Does Not Get Linked to Newtown Tragedy

Oh, great.  Now in the process of figuring out why Adam Lanza shot up the elementary school, his Asperger’s has been revealed.

Then, of course, there’s the usual refrain when someone does something horrific: He was a quiet person, kept to himself….It makes those of us who are quiet, shy, peaceful and gentle, get lumped in with murderers.

“He also said he met Adam Lanza, who did not make eye contact or engage in conversation” (CNN).

I used to be absolutely terrible with eye contact, and it is hard for me to engage in conversation, but I’m not going to go shooting up a school.  I can’t even bear to hold a gun, let alone shoot one.  No, I take out my frustrations through writing novels, memoirs and blogs with fake names….  😛

Also, when I hear, “He was quiet and kept to himself,” I can’t help but think, Was he really keeping to himself, or was he just too shy to make the first move, and kept hoping somebody else would do so?  Did he feel marginalized, ignored?

A mother has already written a blog post about this, Special Education: An Overlooked Factor to the Newtown Tragedy

As one commenter wrote,

I was twice devastated by this tragedy–devastated by the innocent lives lost and devastated by the implications that Adam Lanza had Asperger’s.

I worry that this will trigger the kind of reactive prejudices toward Aspies that we saw in America towards Muslims after 9/11, or towards Japanese Americans after Pearl Harbor.

I worry it will make our schools and society even more reluctant to serve the needs of challenging children, and more quick to push them out the door.

As written on CNN.com,

Russ Hanoman, a friend of Lanza’s mother, previously told CNN that Lanza had Asperger’s and that he was “very withdrawn emotionally.”

CNN has not been able to independently confirm whether Lanza was diagnosed with autism or Asperger’s, a higher-functioning form of autism. Both are developmental disorders, not mental illnesses.

Many experts say neither Asperger’s syndrome nor autism can be blamed for the rampage.

“There is absolutely no evidence or any reliable research that suggests a linkage between autism and planned violence,” the Autism Society said in a statement.

“To imply or suggest that some linkage exists is wrong and is harmful to more than 1.5 million law-abiding, nonviolent and wonderful individuals who live with autism each day.”

Dr. Max Wiznitzer, a pediatric neurologist and autism expert at Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital in Cleveland, also said the gunman’s actions can’t be linked to autism spectrum disorders.

“Aggression and violence in the ASD population is reactive, not preplanned and deliberate,” he said.

Also see Groups: Autism Not to Blame for Violence

What shocks me is not the gun control debate–that always happens after a mass shooting–but people suggesting we should arm teachers.  (See the above CNN article.)  Are you kidding me?  Allow people in a classroom with guns?  Heck no!

And as for who can buy guns–Those guns belonged to Adam’s mother, so it would’ve made no difference if a background check was done.  While I do agree with background checks and banning assault rifles, let’s not bring in irrelevant details from this case.

I have Asperger’s; I am just like you

Leave autism out of mass shootings