By Adriana Gamondes
Smile not so sweet my bonny babes—all alone and so loney
Not to give anything away for those who haven’t yet read “Callous Disregard”, but Dr. Wakefield is one of the few to write about the issue without leaving the wrong fingerprints on it. He manages to depict bleakness with great empathy. It’s very important not to strike the wrong note: though there’s genuine pathos in the stories of several parents who’ve killed themselves and their children, many of us resent the “siren song” of murder/suicide and have an aversion to any attempts to romanticize it because we’ve staked every choice on the principle that all life has value. In a world that seems bent on destroying our children—with an excessive and excessively toxic vaccine schedule; with deadly mainstream “autism drugs”; toxic toys, products, food, pollution; restraint, seclusion and abuse in schools and vicious legal attacks on any doctor who offers real help—we’re leaning into the wind to save our kids and become all the more committed.
The price of this, though, is having no shield of indifference against the increasing number of stories of suicide, murder and suffering. But before any of us are done reeling from thoughts of the last, lonely moments of the victims’ lives, we can go from shocked bystanders to prospective suspects in a flash.
I didn’t remember the “Greenwood” murder ballad because I thought it exactly fit the recent crime. I remembered it because I was thinking about how perception is stronger than truth; I’m afraid it’s what the public increasingly perceives when parents kill their children with autism.
There were few at the scene, but they all agreed
That the slayer who ran, looked a lot like me ~ The Long Black Veil, Wilkens & Dill
I don’t like the implication at all and I think it’s grossly unfair. But read the comments to any online news story on the subject. Put this together with press attacks on parents’ claims of cause for their children’s autism; Brian Deer’s and the New York and London Times’ insinuations that vaccine injury parents have inherent “mental problems”; the endless industry funded studies equating genetic mental illness in parents with risk of autism among offspring. The inference is clear: we’re all crazy. Neither parent gets off the hook in the New York Times ; it’s mostly mothers who are mentally ill in Reuters and the Washington Post ; older autism dads married late because of genetic “liability” according to Geschwind. ( HERE ). And autism itself is being increasingly linked to violence, particularly since autism “expert”, vaccine defender and Wakefield-basher Michael Fitzgerald pronounced that Hitler had it ( HERE ), despite the fact that many of the idiosyncrasies listed by Fitzgerald can be explained by Hitler’s methamphetamine habit.
Dan Olmsted’s and Mark Blaxill’s new book, The Age of Autism , couldn’t be coming out at a better time. I haven’t read it yet but I heard around the schoolyard that the authors make short work of genetic theories for both autism and schizophrenia. In fact, it seems the rate of adult mental disability in general has risen exponentially—from 1/5000 in 1850 to 1/71 today – according to Robert Whitaker’s research in Anatomy of an Epidemic .
But the average person might not have thought through the logic of a “genetic epidemic”. And I wonder if it’s convenient to certain industries that modern murders of autistic children are framed in a way that silences the horses’ mouths as a whole—the families who saw their children regress from vaccines—by painting them as not credible and even genetically violence-prone by vague association.
As with the GMC trial, all the really filthy undermining is done by inference. The depiction of autism families as desperate, irrational and “fervent”, coupled with slanted “research” and sensational but shallow coverage of violence threaten to paint autism as a social problem only in the unhelpful sense of being a “danger to the public”—making it so that anyone from an “autism family” can fall under suspicion for dangerous mental illness.
It’s extraordinarily tempting for the public to buy into a content-and-destined stereotype of autism when the reverse revelation—that there is an epidemic; that it could claim one of their own; that it was preventable; that the condition involves great suffering for many— might only bring terror and a haunting sense of social obligation at first. For this reason, occasionally poking the microphone in the direction of someone painting the joys of their “beautiful autism journey”—as Jenny McCarthy phrased it—only intensifies the false inferences in key ways. That doesn’t mean that no one living with autism should make peace with it; but to pull the ladder up behind themselves and their “peace” ignores all the genuine hardship faced by others. This in turn serves up one precarious little ledge of acceptability for most autism families to perch on: that of embracing autism as destiny with a floppy grin. Since so few can balance there convincingly enough, the rest of us are cast in deeper shadows of social doubt for failing to make it all look like fun. Some will crack open that much faster for being unable to keep up the obligatory act.
The sum total of these inferences might be increased public fear and reduced sympathy, which could serve to take pressure off the system to provide positive (but expensive) services and inclusion, while creating pressure to generate social controls—for which industry has many profitable solutions, such as more vaccine mandates (vaccines have been promised for autism and schizophrenia) and more social pressure to drug in order to curb “dangerous” tendencies.
As more and more cases of “autism murders” mount up in the press, I’m afraid that industry is creating its own “murder ballad”.
It would go something like this:
It isn’t just autism parents at risk for violence on the drugs, but their children as well: