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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Reactions to Scarborough

Yesterday's post described Joe Scarborough's reckless speculation that the Aurora shooter is on the spectrum.  He has managed to unite the community -- against that speculation.

There is an online petition to urge Scarborough to retract his comments.  Here is a small sampling of other reactions:

“Mr. Scarborough’s remarks suggesting that James Holmes, the shooter behind the Aurora movie theater killings, was an Autistic American are as perplexing as they are without evidence. No information on Mr. Holmes has suggested that he displays the diagnostic characteristics of autism and no evidence exists tying autism with violent behavior or threats to public safety. As a parent, Mr. Scarborough should know better than to perpetrate these types of unfortunate stereotypes. Autistic Americans are an integral part of our society and live, work and attend school alongside our non-Autistic peers. There exists no evidence linking autism with violent behavior. By spreading ill-founded and unsupported claims linking autism with violence, Mr. Scarborough does our community real harm. We urge him to reconsider and for him and MSNBC to retract his remarks.”
The recent comments made by Joe Scarborough were a sad yet strong illustration of the prevailing ignorance and bigotry in our culture regarding disabilities, specifically autism. The ICAA has reached out to Mr. Scarborough through our ICAA Radio program, offering a unique opportunity to issue an apology, retraction or other statement to our community. Mr. Scarborough seems to be an otherwise thoughtful individual, who has been awarded authority and opportunity to voice his opinions to millions on a global scale. We hope that Mr. Scarborough will become better educated about autism, and gain some perspective. The marginalization of autistic people, and people with other disabilities, is equally outrageous to the marginalization of people with racial or other differences. Mr. Scarborough and others in the media would do well to join us in our efforts to make the world a better place, rather than continue as a part of the problem.
Jess Wilson at A Diary of a Mom:
Autistic people are not any more nor any less dangerous than their neurotypical peers.
Jumping to conclusions which insinuate that they are can be lethal.
Autism is not dangerous. But words can be. Please, Joe, think before you speak. 
In response to an email inquiry, Mike Elk, a staff writer for In These Times who recently wrote a beautiful essay in which he “came out” publicly as a person with Asperger’s Syndrome, denounced Scarborough’s remarks, and demanded a retraction:
As both a person with Asperger’s Syndrome, as well a journalist, MSNBC must issue an immediate retraction of Joe Scarborough’s unfounded statements accusing the shooter of having autism and linking autism to violence. There is absolutely no evidence that the Colorado shooter has autism, nor is there a single scientific study that links autism to violent outbursts such as the despicable acts of terrorism that occurred last Friday in Aurora, Colorado. As someone who was bullied, beaten, and often a loner as child, I never once though about taking out violent rage against those who bullied me. Instead, I poured my sense of hurt into reporting on workers who were similarly being bullied by big corporations.
It is journalistic irresponsibility to do this, and it affects real people. We are the ones who have to live with the stigma you perpetuate. I am at risk of being killed because you tell the population that I am dangerous-despite that I am one of the 97% of developmentally disabled people who has been the victim of non mentally ill, non disabled violent perpetrators. You make the world more dangerous for me every time you do this. You make it more dangerous for my entire community.