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Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Autism and the Portland Attack

In The Politics of Autism, I write:
People with disabilities are victims of violent crime three times as often as people without disabilities. The Bureau of Justice Statistics does not report separately on autistic victims, but it does note that the victimization rate is especially high among those whose disabilities are cognitive. 
Michael Edison Hayden reports at ABC:
Micah Fletcher, the survivor of a Portland, Oregon, stabbing attack that allegedly involved hate speech and left two people dead, issued a statement honoring the two who died and offering support to the city's Muslims.
"I want the Muslim community to know that they have a home here in Portland and are loved," Fletcher said in the statement. "I want to honor the families who lost their brave fathers, sons, and brothers and I want the media and the country to honor those families. I want to send my condolences and honor those families."
The 21-year-old Fletcher is a poet who won a 2013 poetry competition with a poem that condemned the mistreatment of Muslims, according to The Oregonian newspaper.
He was taking a light-rail train from Portland State University where he is a student to his job at a pizza shop at the time of the attack Friday, the paper reported.
Fletcher was slashed in the throat but survived, the paper reported.
Fletcher is autistic.  At Forbes, Emily Willingham writes:
Autistic people have often been accused of lacking empathy. It's an easily disproved canard that autistic advocates have long and repeatedly explained. As with many things having to do with autism, non-autistic people mistake non-neurotypical responses to emotional situations as evidence that autistic people lack emotions or don't sense or identify with the emotions of others. Those who like to rely on convenient narratives connecting what seems to be obvious instead of digging deeper--or, you know, asking autistic people--propagate the false impression that autistic people lack empathy. They don't.