ASAN Statement on Media Reports Regarding Newtown, CT Shooting

15 Dec

The Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN) has issued a statement on the school shooting in Connecticut yesterday:

ASAN

Statement on Media Reports Regarding Newtown, CT Shooting

December 14, 2012
In response to recent media reports that the perpetrator of today’s shooting in Newtown, Connecticut may have been diagnosed on the autism spectrum or with a psychiatric disability, the Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN) issued the following statement today:

“Our hearts go out to the victims of today’s shooting massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut and their families. Recent media reports have suggested that the perpetrator of this violence, Adam Lanza, may have been diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, a diagnosis on the autism spectrum, or with another psychiatric disability. In either event, it is imperative that as we mourn the victims of this horrific tragedy that commentators and the media avoid drawing inappropriate and unfounded links between autism or other disabilities and violence. Autistic Americans and individuals with other disabilities are no more likely to commit violent crime than non-disabled people. In fact, people with disabilities of all kinds, including autism, are vastly more likely to be the victims of violent crime than the perpetrators. Should the shooter in today’s shooting prove to in fact be diagnosed on the autism spectrum or with another disability, the millions of Americans with disabilities should be no more implicated in his actions than the non-disabled population is responsible for those of non-disabled shooters.

Today’s violence was the act of an individual. We urge media, government and community leaders to speak out against any effort to spuriously link the Autistic or broader disability community with violent crime. Autistic Americans and other groups of people with disabilities persist in facing discrimination and segregation in school, the workplace and the general community. In this terrible time, our society should not further stigmatize our community. As our great nation has so many times in the past, let us come together to both mourn those killed by acts of heinous murder and defend all parts of our country from the scourge of stigma and prejudice.”

Media inquiries regarding this shooting may be directed to ASAN at info@autisticadvocacy.org.


By Matt Carey

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5 Responses to “ASAN Statement on Media Reports Regarding Newtown, CT Shooting”

  1. Lara Lohne December 15, 2012 at 19:39 #

    I have shared this statement on my Facebook. While the shooting was tragic, one cannot and should not assume that just because this individual is speculated to have an ASD, does not mean that all people everywhere with an ASD are capable and have a propensity toward violence. Quite the contrary actually, as extremes in emotion/noise/sight, etc, can cause sensory overload and eventually lead to complete loss of control from a sensory overload meltdown. A person in the midst of a sensory overload meltdown are not able to have enough control to dress in black fatigues, go to a school, force their way in and begin shooting up a classroom full of children. A person in the midst of a meltdown has completely lack of physical and emotional control and all they can do is wait for their brain to reset to regain control. Many are not even able to walk, but the best motor control they have is extremely overt stimming behavior (pacing endlessly, rocking, hand flapping, humming and/or screaming loudly). It’s time to stop stigmatizing people, just because of one individual that may, or may not, have a certain condition and commits a horrific crime. The personal medical, psychological or neurological conditions of an individual should not be the primary focus. The loss of life of course should be primary, and regarding the perpetrator, the why behind the act, and assumptions should never be made about anything, because you know what they say when you assume…

  2. N S December 15, 2012 at 21:25 #

    Thank You So Much For This Statement. I Wish They Would Read This During The News Broadcasts. As The Parent Of A Child With OCD/Anxiety/Panic Disorder & Bipolar II, One Of My Biggest Fears Is That This May Result In Unfair Treatment By Others Towards Him.
    This Is Such A Heartbreaking Situation And I Don’t Think I Have Prayed This Much In A Long, Long Time.
    Parents … Hold Your Loved Ones Tightly And Love Them Deeply. And Please…PLEASE … Open Your Hearts And Your Minds. Be Aware Of Your Children At All Times.

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