I was talking to a like minded parent friend via pm the other day. She pm’d me after reading my post, yesterday. And she was, understandably, distraught that friends of Kelli were trying to blame Autistic people for this tragedy by asking, “Where were you?”
I agreed with my friend. Friends of Kelli have two choices.
They can either acknowledge that they have blood on their hands. They can acknowledge that they have created and nurtured a culture of deep hatred for Autistic people. They can acknowledge that these Autistic hating ways are what lead to Kelli’s attempted murder of her own daughter. And that they too are already on that very slippery slope which lead to the worst case scenario for one of their friends.
Or they can try to make this about anything but murder. They can pretend that this is about lack of services. Mental Illness. PTSD. Autistic people not helping way back when. Anything but the fact that they were part of the support system, the culture, that not only allowed this to happen but precipitated it.
But either way. This is rock bottom.
Some of Kelli’s friends have gone all out defending the murder and trying to blame anyone and anything but the people that are actually responsible for this attempted murder–Kelli and those that are part of the Autistic hating faction. These people seem not to realize that their bigotry and ridiculous are showing.
But I have to believe that there are others at rock bottom who are not actually the bottom feeders–they’ve just been sucked in and down. That they will recognize that they need to climb out of this pit of wretchedness and despair.
And it is to these people that I want to say…
There are people waiting with hands outstretched. Eagerly waiting to help you pull yourself out from that abyss. We’ve been here waiting the entire time. Waiting. We know that the bottom feeders will continue to claw at your legs while you ascend–try to pull you back into their sordid pit.
I know it takes courage and strength to leave that place. People can learn to take comfort in misery when it is shared. But you can leave.
I’m afraid for you. Really afraid for your child. Because there will be more Kellis. There will be more Issys. But if you start climbing out now–reaching for a place of acceptance and love and all of the honest to goodness happiness that comes with it, I know it will not be you. It will not be your child who is next.
I think that you know this to be true. If you are uncertain, please look at what I am saying my life is like. What other families, that have chosen love, have said that their lives are like. And then look at Kelli’s blog. Look at the words of those that are part of the hate culture. Despairing over Autistic children. Miserable. Jealous. Unhappy.
You’re already at rock bottom. Is that where you want to stay? Or would you like to come up here?
I am from Tumblr via actuallyautistic, I am a maintainer of prism*song on blogspot and I am an autistic transman…..
intro aside, I really stopped talking to parents, mostly because I just stopped trusting them. I have been used and betrayed and I have become rather cynical. This hate culture seems blind to the fact that one) child rearing is always hard and two) its not our fault. It seems also Beth that every time autistics try to reach out, we get our hands bit…repeatedly.
Bard, you’re so right. Parenting ANY child is hard. I feel like we expect Autistic children to be less child-like than Non-Autistic children. And you’re wrong about the hand slapping. It actually looks more like beat to the ground when you reach out. Yet, I see so many stand back up, time after time, and try again. Which is amazing and beautiful. ❤
Reblogged this on Organizing Chaos And Other Misadventures and commented:
I love this woman’s mindset. And I agree wholeheartedly.
You are right – there will be more Issys and more Kellis unless we at least try to understand why. Just saying she was evil or hated autism excuses everyone from making change. We can do this. We can try to understand WHY without excusing or blaming Issy.
This is not about not valuing autistic people. People kill and abuse typical children. They commit terrible crimes for all sorts of reasons. Doesn’t make it right, but we have to understand the psychological and sociological reasons why. There is no one answer to a complex problem.
It is about valuing Autistic people, but it’s also about how people see kids in general – not as their own full people with interests that are both separate from their parents and equally and sometimes even more legitimate, but instead as statements about or extensions of their parents. Being Autistic (or otherwise disabled, or transgender, or fat, or (in some communities) gay, etc.) gets a kid treated worse by people who see children in this way, because they don’t see the issue being what the kid is, wants and needs, but what expectations they have and how those are or aren’t being met. As long as parents not getting the kid they wanted (however that’s framed) is seen as the bigger issue and tragedy than a kid being rejected, even violently rejected, by the people who were supposed to care for them by default, harm to and death of Autistic and other kids is going to keep occurring.
People who kill and abuse “typical children” don’t get off with a slap on the wrist. This post is all about the sociological reasons as to why these murders are committed and it has everything to do with hating Autism.
Kelli was arrested without bond. What makes you think she will just get a slap on the wrist? That’s an awfully big assumption.
There is no evidence that autistic children are murdered any more frequently that non-autistic, so to claim that all abuse of autistic people is because autistics are not valued has no basis. All forms of child abuse are tragedies, certainly.
The wrist slap comments were in reference to the fact that when autistics reach out to parents, their hands get slapped. And so you know, if you start yammering about how autistic people are mean to parents, I will delete your comment. I’m a parent too. And time after time I see other parents angrily rejecting autistic voices.
I feel like the “why” is more than obvious.
I reread your post, and it’s not clear to me. So, she tried to kill her child because she was evil? Too simple. Because she hated her child? Too simple. Because she participated in Autistic Hate Culture, okay. But when you tell me that a women is killed because of our misogynist culture, I’m still going to ALSO ask why.
If she had killed her child and not also tried to kill herself, sure hating her daughter could be a straightforward reason. I don’t know enough about her situation (and certainly don’t trust her blog enough) to know how she participated in Autistic hate culture, but do understand why you are accusing others of this. And there is hundreds of years (thousands) of human culture to show that we can, indeed, hate and/or kill the people we also love. Just most people don’t do it, and when killers try to blame the victim we often say NO!
After the first week of horror, I am finally able to participate in this discussion because it took me so long to understand it. I couldn’t blame Issy, but I also find the horror of killing a child so intense that I struggled with how to understand Kelli without excusing her. I, too, have included “why” in my process of understanding. And, why other usually people also at the end of their rope don’t do that. We need a better understanding of why the disable are so at risk from their caregivers. Unless we assume that in our society the people who choose to be caregivers of the disabled are disproportionately prone to evil, which I reject out of hand, there is a lot of work to do. Understanding why will *save people’s lives.* Happily there is already a lot of existing scholarship and activism about caretaker burnout, how do we translate that into action?
However, as I’ve said elsewhere, this debate could be very well informed by the discussions feminists misogyny (women hate culture). Feminists have had years to confront our culture of victim blaming, and we have so much work to do. (The next time you hear about a woman being raped and killed because she was a prostitute, or dressed wrong, or drunk, or trusting, or a woman, look at the internet comments!) I’m okay with simple judgements, “she is a bad person because she tried to kill her child.”
I reject caregiver burnout as the answer. I believe she participated in hate culture–which lead to her trying to kill Issy. And either hated herself… or didn’t intend to die (which could explain the differences in the way the carbon monoxide affected her and and Issy.
My last comment was supposed to have one more sentence at the end. “I am not okay with simple reasons.”
Yes, people also kill and abuse typical kids. But the way public discourse about autism is conducted feeds into the *justification* and excusal of parental murders of autistic kids, that simply is not there when typical kids are killed or abused.
Read, side by side, a news account of the murder of a non-autistic child and then of an autistic child. Note the difference in tone towards the victim. Autistic kids are often not made out to be the victims, but the causes, of their own murders. The crime is called understandable because of lack of parental supports, and we’re urged to put ourselves in the shoes of the parent who killed a kid. Seriously, please try to find me even one news article, about the murder by a parent of a non-autistic or non-disabled child, that has even one comment asking readers to put themselves in the shoes of the perpetrator….and one about the murder or attempted murder of an autistic kid that doesn’t. I dare you.
I think it because almost every time a parent or care giver murders an Autistic or otherwise disabled person thats what happens. It’s not about the number of Autistics murdered versus the number of “normal” people murdered, its about the motivation behind the murder. If you can’t see that we live in a culture of hatred towards Autism and therefore Autistics you need to take your blinders off.
When a case of suicide murder involving children comes in the news, think custody, endebtment or other problems that solely relate to the individual parent, usually, after the initial shock, people go quiet. There is investigation, and if survivors, counseling, criminal persecution or psychological measures. We do not relate to neither perpetrator or victim. The case might be discussed but there is no “public debate”.
I agree with most of your blog posts I have read so far. I understand the voices of those who are upset and say “hate crime” – because for them this case is just the extreme expression of how they see parent fighting a “war against” autism, every day. This seems to be particularly true for the US, but I also see similar approaches here in Australia, in the UK (anglophone countries being very represented online, for others we would need to dig deeper).
My opinion on what people believe is “the autism community” has taken it’s final hit with the public discussion of the possible reasons behind the attempted murder of Issy Stapleton. I have spoken too, about my discomfort upon reading her mothers extremely wordsy, public and intense blog, months ago.. I can’t say I felt myself responsible in any way for not acting although I saw how extremely unhealthy it all seemed. I was also asked where were you. I am right here.
I am here, raising my child with autism. I want to connect with other parents but not for a “cause”, for a cure or for one size fits all programme to condition my child something that will eat up the potential he has inside him. I am attentive to the words of adult autistics. I can understand why some of them are very angry. Our biggest mistake would be not to listen to them, to refuse their input about extreme cases as much as over daily things like language, attitudes, learning tools.
I am not one of the parents who tries to celebrate the autism of their child as a superpower or a gift, I see it as a clear handicap in our society. But my goal in raising my child is not to turn his autism around (and he is high functioning, so it could feel possible) but to help him live with it, to give him tools to gain confidence, resistance and joy from Within Himself. As long as parents of autistic children still fight their own battles rather than addressing obstacles and finding solutions that really work, we will continue to have tragedies like that in the Stapleton family.
Thankfully, all over the world, there ARE parents that chose to be different, that listen, observe and reflect even when they are emotionally hit hard, by their own difficulties or by a very public case like this. They are harder to find, they don’t SPEAK (..) so loud. I am happy to connect with them, and with the adult autistics who are all different, so different than my son but who clearly can teach us all so much. I am really glad I found this blog. All my love to you and parents who think, listen and act like this everyday. They are out there. I know now.
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Re possible explanation (s) for why autists (of all apparent levels of ‘severity’) are hated:
At the deep levels of the unconscious in most ‘Normal’ people – at the core of instinct – is an image, one having a vast number of time-and-circumstance-variant dimensions. In some circles, this image is simplified into a vast collection of simpler images named Archetypes.
In reality, there is but one such image; and this image is present in the vast majority of people. It functions as a lookup table, one where only a FEW inputs are needed to prescribe any sort of thought or behavior possible.
The chief inputs are ‘ is this THING before me HUMAN?’ and ‘If so, then what is its Social Rank relative to my own’?
Note that the Normal person’s default state presumes absolute humanity for themselves, and the Possibility of humanity for ALL others; and the status of human is not given lightly.
It must be EARNED.
The process of ‘earning that status, however, is VERY simple for most. When in sufficient proximity, the interrogator asks a simple ‘harmless-seeming question or comment, I.e. the usual forms of small-talk that seems meaningless to the autist.
It seems so because the content is immaterial,. The hidden – occult – processes are the key here: Mere behavior can be faked. ( any autist who passes for normal to any degree know this). Since maintaining the group’s integrity is crucial ( psychologically crucial, and ‘magically’ as well) then ‘fakes’ must be kept out, and traitors removed as well. It’s more than merely scarce resources – it’s also the magical thinking that’s a big part of Normal instinct.
Difference dilutes magical power; and the greatest power is found among a group of identical beings having the precise same nature. Finally, that magical power has its greatest potency when all the particles present in a group are as perfect as possible – in short, when they are maximally conformed to that inward Archetype-Image found within instinct.
Archetypal beings have the correct quantity and quality of instinct; and hence, their brain waves have a certain pattern. When the chance occurs ( sufficient proximity) then ” Archetype calls to Archetype – and when there is no response – only the correct one is heard by the interrogator – there is no Archetype’.
No archetype – not human.
Not human – no ranking.
No rank signifies an enemy, a traitor, evil incarnate, the source of all trouble. This is a demon, a
continued from previous post
a changeling, a traitor – in short, all of the bad things possible – and, according to the magical thinking of Normal people, then whosoever destroys such a ‘ witch-tool’ does himself and his fellows a great boon. More, when all such Pollutants are expunged, then all the world shall be once more Perfect: all Normal people will become ‘Alpha / gods’ / potent magicians ( think Crowley, not Potter) – and the true age of Utopia shall FINALLY become manifest.
Note that the above is what is believed. It is not true.
However, anyone who preaches this type of rubbish will find many itching ears; and if enough people hear such a message and run with it, then…
Then, there shall be a replay of Aktion T-4. Hadamar and the other places like it will send forth soot from their crematoria. There will be no end to the killing, unless someone says enough.
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