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Our biggest dream is to be useful and to be just like everyone else.
Thank you for your helpful insights--I had a friend in grade school named Jeff White, so I cannot help wondering if you are him. I think it is much harder to look at ourselves, than to profile the "killers amongst us." My fear is that despite our better intentions, we will continue to discard those needing our friendship, even those whom we have participated in damaging, for we falsely believe that to help bring about healing is too tough and time consuming. I also fear that after all the dust has settled from this tragedy, we'll merely have a few new token gun laws, and more sadly still, most parents will be even more vigilant in seeing "strangers" everywhere waiting to harm their children. People with Asperger's won't be reached out to but shunned, and anyone who wants a gun has 300 million to choose from in the USA. I hope I am wrong--and I'll try to be a better friend when the opportunity arises. Peace to you Jeff.
Maybe it boils down to this: we lack love in our society. We've focused too much on "success", meaning financial success, and forgotten about how to be human. Thank you Jeff White for giving a voice to the pain of difference.
Many on CNN's site- particularly in their iReports (I have one there, too- Autism Awareness), have echoed your [Zippo] fears that we'll just go nuts for a few days or weeks and end up doing nothing but passing laws and ostracizing people. I share that concern. Thanks for the comments.
A disturbing article. As far as what motivated the killer, his ASD spectrum diagnosis is as relevant as his hair color. Not relevant.
Thank you to Mr. White for the most helpful essay I have read this week.
Americans with autism and other disabilities are no more likely to commit acts of violence than those without disabilities. Bullying people, with or without autism, creates isolation.
Diane S. Cross
President and CEO of Fraser
Asperger's didn't cause this tragedy. Adam's mother should have understood the risk of having the guns in proximity to Adam regardless of the Asperger's. Was he mature enough to understand the danger, and aware enough to know the damage they could cause. No doubt Mom thought that going to the gun range would bind them together as she wrestled with how to introduce Adam to the real world, but in hindsight, that was wrong. Living lives in the rear view mirror is impossible, so best advice is if you have guns, keep them tightly secured and do not share combinations and passwords with your children, even if you believe they can be trusted with them.
Good article. When I was growing up in the 60’s the term Aspberger’s didn’t exist, but I lived it every day with 2 members of my family. Now I have 2 children who have this condition, plus a nephew, and I know well how difficult it is for both sides – the Aspberger person trying to fit into a world that he/she does not understand, and the rest of us completely befuddled by their different way of looking at this life.
So many things about Aspberger folks are difficult – the writer’s statement “People like me have a natural inclination to rebel against what we are told unless the reasoning is explained to us” is pretty much universal for them, but causes problems in mainstream society – in particular, school and the military.
My son is living with relatives – going to school, holding a job, exhibiting a great attitude – but being forced to leave because he has the audacity to question what he does not understand.
Please know that no one posting here is condoning the killings. Aspberger people do have a choice – to make an effort to fit in, as best as they are able, or take the easy path to total self-absorption. My many experiences with Aspberger folks tell me that 99% of them simply move on from those they perceive as wounding them – misunderstood and rejected, yes, but they are seldom vindictive or violent.
Autism is a catch-all diagnosis for when there are behavioral problems that parents don't want to deal with. Along with the diagnosis comes a ton of federal and state aid to the schools and the parents. There is no scientific cause or actual proof that autism is a disease or condition, just like asthma.
Thank you, thank you, thank you for speaking out. Very enlightening.
A father of one of the victims, Robbie Parker, gave a moving remembrance of his daughter Emilie that included a message of compassion for the family of the shooter. He and his wife also forgave the shooter and acknowledged the pain that was his life . The full version of the video is well worth a look.
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