Isabelle "Issy" Stapleton is fourteen years old. She is in the hospital because her mother tried to kill her. On Wednesday, Issy's mother locked herself and Issy into their van and filled it with carbon monoxide. Issy's mother regained consciousness soon after the attempt. Issy is still in a coma.
Because Issy is autistic, many of the people who heard about the incident are trying to excuse her mother's actions, as though being autistic meant that Issy's attempted murder is excusable. It isn't. Nor does being suicidal yourself excuse murder. I've been suicidal and it has never made me want to kill anyone else--not even my cats, who are shy adults and would have a hard time finding another home if I died. My cats deserve life. So does Issy Stapleton.
The decisions you make when everything's fine don't really reveal much about who you are. When you have more than enough, giving some away is natural. It's what you do when things get tough that really show who you are. Issy's mother, when things got tough, decided to become a murderer. That she didn't succeed is only a matter of luck. What you do when things are tough, when you want to die and the world seems hostile, says a lot about you. Some people ask for help, find a way to get through, or at the worst find a way to keep their own troubles from hurting others. Some people resist the pull of suicide by focusing on the people who depend on them. Issy's mother, when she realized she could not cope, could have taken herself and her daughter to a hospital, explained that she was suicidal and that she could no longer care for her daughter, and asked for help. She did not.
Is it easier for someone to decide to commit murder when things are hard for them? Yes. But is it any less horrible, any less a betrayal of the girl who should have been able to depend on her, because it was more of a temptation to kill than it might have been if Issy were a neurotypical model child? Absolutely not.
Issy's father is asking for prayers. We are all hoping that she survives and thrives and goes on to become a happy, confident autistic adult.