These statements that include various forms of violence against children are far worse than the inhuman hellfire punishment of a Salem witch trial, more barbaric than the lynching of a person because of their color, and reminiscent of the heartless acts of mass genocide committed by pure evil.
I am both deeply concerned that calls for violence against any type of child - any type of adult for that matter - that is different can escalate into widespread stupidity that leads to physical harm, and cause even greater challenges and worry to a large and growing community of children and their parents who must deal day-in and day-out with seeing the world uniquely because these children were born differently.
From the hours afters the tragedy that has occurred in Newton, Connecticut where innocent children and adults had their lives stolen from them at the hands of bullets that came from semi-automatic, military grade weapons, I have, personally and as a director of the non-profit I CARE Foundation which has helped reunite many internationally kidnapped children while working to create new laws that will protect children from abduction and trafficking, I have called for sweeping gun control reform that will remove the sale of semi-automatic weapons and high-impact bullets, amongst a cache of suggestions that will protect people of all ages.
Sadly, tragically, and unquestionably, bullets shot from guns kill people. I wonder out loud how many of gunmen suffered from depression? How many gunmen who shot at or killed a law enforcement officer murdered a police officer because they had access to a gun?
From my standpoint growing up in Brooklyn, New York, guns kill people. Remove the guns off the street and remove the accessibility to murder. On this note, I can't applaud Hizzoner Mayor Bloomberg and New York Police Commissioner Kelly enough for their indefatigable campaign to get rid of guns on the New York streets. And the I CARE Foundation has strongly supported Mayor Bloomberg's 'Demand A Plan To Stop Gun Violence'.
But back to the hate-mongers and those who may have acted impulsively and who are acting with little compassion, knowledge, and inhumanity in their souls who have suggested that physical harm be brought to children on the spectrum, I urge each of you who have made these statements to think long and hard about what you are suggesting. Think if you had a brother or sister, or son or daughter who was on the spectrum: would you love or hate that person? Would you walk away from their challenges or would you help them? Would you stand up to bullies who try to abuse or take advantage of them when their in school, knowing that your brother or sister, or son or daughter were very trusting - because generally individuals on the spectrum are very trusting.
Unequivocally, any call to violence and bullying against any children predefined by any characteristics would, I imagine, become a rallying cry and call-to-action from parents of these children, and I suspect this is very true of parents who fight day-in and day-out for any child who has a handicap or disadvantage.
There is no room, place, or tolerance for hate crimes in our society - and that is exponentially embraced when we are discussing the safety of innocent children.
Personally, I know many wonderful children who are on the spectrum, including amazing, loving, and gifted family members and children of very close friends of mine. And each of these children are blessings in my life. And I can't even begin to explain how much I have learned because at times these wonderful children remind me and teach me about the wonderment that is in the world because they see the world in the honesty we hope it to be. Nor could I ever begin to share just how deep my admiration goes to the parents of children who are on the spectrum. Their love and commitment toward their child is beyond remarkable.
'Fearing a Stigma for People With Autism' where she writes, "Experts say there is no evidence that they are more likely than any other group to commit violent crimes."
The New York Times article goes on to say, “Aggression in autism spectrum disorders is almost never directed to people outside the family or immediate caregivers, is almost never planned, and almost never involves weapons,” said Dr. Catherine Lord, director of the Center for Autism and the Developing Brain at New York-Presbyterian hospital. “Each of these aspects of the current case is more common in other populations than autism.
- Jessica-Jane Applegate, Paralympic swimmer
- Henry Bond, writer and photographer
- Phillipa "Pip" Brown (aka Ladyhawke), indie rock musician
- Michael Burry, US investment fund manager
- Lizzy Clark, actress and campaigner
- Ryan Cleary, LulzSec hacker
- William Cottrell, student sentenced for fire-bombing SUV dealerships
- Paddy Considine, actor
- James Durbin, finalist on the tenth season of American Idol
- Robert Durst, American real estate developer accused of murder
- Tim Ellis, Australian magician and author
- Paula Hamilton, model
- Daryl Hannah, actress
- Peter Howson, Scottish painter
- Luke Jackson, author
- Heather Kuzmich, fashion model and reality show contestant on America's Next Top Model
- Adrian Lamo, American computer hacker
- Clay Marzo, American professional surfer
- Gary McKinnon, computer hacker who broke into high-security military and government sites
- Travis Meeks, lead singer, guitarist and song writer for acoustic rock band Days of the New
- Les Murray, Australian poet
- Robert Napper, British murderer
- Ari Ne'eman, American autism rights activist
- Jerry Newport, American author and mathematical savant, basis of the film Mozart and the Whale
- Craig Nicholls, frontman of the Australian alternative rock band, The Vines
- Gary Numan, British singer and songwriter (although he has not been medically diagnosed)
- Tim Page, Pulitzer Prize-winning critic and author
- Dawn Prince-Hughes, Ph.D., primate anthropologist, ethologist, and author
- Nicky Reilly, failed suicide bomber from Britain
- John Elder Robison, author of Look Me in the Eye
- Vernon L. Smith, Nobel Laureate in economics
- Raymond Thompson, New Zealand scriptwriter and TV producer
- Liane Holliday Willey, author
- Adam Young, multi-instrumentalist, producer and the founder of the electronic project Owl City
High-functioning autismHigh-functioning autism is an informal term, not an official diagnostic category. Compared to diagnostic criteria for the official ASDs, descriptions of HFA tend to align most closely with Asperger syndrome.
- Michelle Dawson, autism researcher and autism rights activist
- Temple Grandin, food animal handling systems designer and author
- Caiseal Mór author, musician, and artist
- Hikari Ōe, Japanese composer
- Dylan Scott Pierce, wildlife illustrator
- Jim Sinclair, autism rights activist
- Donna Williams, Australian author.
- Amanda Baggs, advocate of rights for autistic people
- Marty Balin, singer and songwriter with Jefferson Airplane and Jefferson Starship
- Lucy Blackman, university educated author
- Luca Brecel, Belgian professional snooker player.
- Alonzo Clemons, American clay sculptor
- Tony DeBlois, blind American musician
- Marc Evers, Paralympic swimmer
- James Hobley, British dancer and 2011 Britain's Got Talent finalist
- Jonathan Jayne, contestant on American Idol
- Christopher Knowles, American poet
- Bhumi Jensen, grandson of Bhumibol Adulyadej, King of Thailand
- Leslie Lemke, blind American musician
- Jonathan Lerman, American artist
- Jason McElwain, high school basketball player
- Thristan Mendoza, Filipino marimba prodigy
- Tito Mukhopadhyay, author, poet, and philosopher
- Derek Paravicini, blind British musician
- James Henry Pullen, gifted British carpenter
- Matt Savage, U.S. autistic jazz prodigy
- Birger Sellin, German author
- Henriett Seth F., Hungarian autistic savant, poet, writer and artist
- Daniel Tammet, British autistic savant
- 50 Tyson, rapper and autism activist
- Richard Wawro, Scottish artist
- Stephen Wiltshire, British architectural artist
For over a decade, CDC’s Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network has been estimating the number of people with an ASD in the U.S. We have learned a lot about how many children in the U.S. have an ASD. It will be important to use the same methods to track how the number of people with an ASD is changing over time in order to learn more about the disorders.
Most of all, we must all remember that any act of violence against another individual is wrong. In light of the heavy hearts we all feel in the aftermath of the tragedy that occurred in Newtown, Connecticut, and with deep respect and compassion for all who have been impacted by what sadly occurred, including the loss of so many lives, and, the deep scarring of so many lives who were there, we must join together and say that no call for violence against any person or any group will be tolerated from the moment words of intolerance are spoken.
And we surely must remember that we do need new gun control laws that will ensure that tragedies such as what occurred in Newtown will not occur again.
My friend Susann Gehring is a highly respecte parenting blogger who has come to the aid of children at risk of international parental child abduction in her advocacy of sharing the I CARE Foundation's social messages about abduction and trafficking. On her wonderful MommaHopper Blog, Susann posted a very important article that begins with:
At 9:30 we took a moment of silence and said a prayer today to remember those that lost their life last week at the horrible event. People want to blame someone. From the time of Adam and Eve, the blame game has begun. I have heard it is the guns fault, the gun makers fault. Now last night I hear people are hurting children who have Autism because the shooter had it. I just want to scream, BAD THINGS HAPPEN…..somethings we can’t explain why. Then I read this last night on Facebook. Darrell Scott, the father of Rachel Joy Scott — a student killed in the 1999 shootings at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado — did make this speech during testimony on May 27, 1999 before the Subcommittee on Crime of the House Judiciary Committee.
The Speech of Darrell Scott follows: I suggest you read it.
Peter Thomas Senese
The I CARE Foundation