Mother who withheld cancer treatment from autistic son sentenced

16 Apr

Kristen LaBrie was sentenced today to 8 years in prison in the death of her son. Her son was autistic and developed cancer. Doctors thought the cancer (non-Hodgkins lymphoma) was treatable, and gave the child a 90% chance of surviving. His mother didn’t give him the chemotherapy and he developed leukaemia. In the end, the leukaemia killed him.

Courtroom video is here (I can’t figure out how to embed the video).

The announcer in that video states “her mental state was weakened after providing 99% of his care”

Her attorney is shown towards the end of the video stating: “She made a decision in her mind to stop the medication. But the decision was not made consciously. It was a result of her losing her ability to be objective”

From the Boston Herald:

LaBrie’s lawyer, Kevin James, told the jury LaBrie was depressed and overwhelmed by caring for her son. She made a “tragic mistake” in stopping her son’s at-home medication, James said, but her actions were not criminal.

From the Boston Globe:

LaBrie, 38, told the jury she stopped giving him the medications because she couldn’t bear to see how sick the side effects made him.

Prosecutors portrayed her as a single mother seething with resentment because she had to care for Jeremy alone.

TIME Magazine posed this question:

Was justice done? It’s hard to know. Certainly, disabled children have rights. But moms do too, and it appears that LaBrie did not have adequate support. Being a single mother of a healthy child is tough enough. Factor in autism and a kid who can’t communicate makes it that much harder. Add non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and the burden is fierce.

Do autistics get enough support? No.
Do parents get enough support? No.
Is this an excuse for withholding medication? No.

There are cases through the years of parents of disabled kids either actively or passively assisting in the deaths of those children. How can we as a people figure out ahead of time that these parents are making these tragic, and criminal, decisions?

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33 Responses to “Mother who withheld cancer treatment from autistic son sentenced”

  1. daedalus2u April 16, 2011 at 02:47 #

    This is quite sad. The state will now spend many times more to incarcerate this woman than they spent trying to help her care for her son. She is not a threat to anyone else.

    I see this as making her a scapegoat, blaming her so they can “other” her and then “cluck cluck cluck” to themselves that they would never do such a thing themselves when no one knows what desperate thing they would do when put in a desperate situation.

    Is the “safety net” in Massachusetts so good that parents and children can get the health care and services that they need? Can an overwhelmed single parent get respite care when they need it? Are there people checking to see if people need respite care? Or other care?

    A camel driver doesn’t wait until until the camel’s back is broken before lightening its load. A compassionate society doesn’t wait until people have become broken before making their lives easier, unless breaking them is the objective.

    Why do we tolerate a society that has the objective of othering and breaking people?

  2. Passionlessdrone April 16, 2011 at 03:17 #

    Hello friends –

    It has been a tough couple of days on the news.google.com?autism feed. “losing the ability to be objective” is certainly something I can relate to. Very sad.

    – pD

  3. David N. Andrews M. Ed., C. P. S. E. April 16, 2011 at 18:38 #

    Actually, I find myself agreeing with daedalus2u – not because agreeing with him would be an objectionable thing, but because, as a professional in the autism field, I know that the correct supports are very rarely available to this sort of family… a family that has very little influence on local politics or economy. Much as I despise the un-necessary death of any person (autistic or not), I cannot stay silent on the fact that local authorities are – very much mostly – so reluctant to provide the support that is needed in order to survive; and this lack of support can – and inevitably will – fuck up people’s ability to remain objective. Many people may feel entitled to sit in judgement over this woman and who she is (which is more than her actions). But that is because they have not been in her exact situation. And I don’t fucking care if they feel justified in condemning her: they are STILL wrong to do so.

    The reason why they are wrong to do so is this: total individual responsibility for action is a complete fucking myth. Nobody’s behaviour is independent of factors outwith themselves. This much we know from Kurt Lewin’s mathematical psychological statement:

    B = f(P x B) – behaviour is a function of the interaction between person variables and environmental variables.

    This is not to say that I condone her withdrawal of treatment as correct: do not. But – remember – she was responsible for the vast majority of the boy’s care, and with that sort of stress and no fucking safety net from the people whose jobs her taxes fund and whose wages they pay, yes – she would be likely to end up with some fucked up thinking.

    Because – had those people done their jobs properly – the woman would not have experienced the stress that made her task of deciding so difficult that she lost the objectivity she needed in dealing with the problem she had in front of her: that of keeping her son alive. They are as much to blame as she is for this lad’s death. And yet they get to keep their fucking jobs and they fucking precious liberty – and does anyone know why?

    Belied in a just world: the biggest fucking hypocrisy that the western world has invented as a way to ostracise and otherwise out-group people.

    Up to me, yes- she would have had a sentence but it would have been a very useful one. But, in addition, those people who let her down by failing to provide what her tax dollars should have guaranteed her would be facing prison time and the issue of paying her back PERSONALLY the tax she paid for them to have kept their jobs.

    Why does nobody ever hod the fucking authorities accountable for their fuck-ups?

  4. David N. Andrews M. Ed., C. P. S. E. April 16, 2011 at 18:44 #

    hod -> hold

    (if my original comment ever gets through)

  5. stanley seigler April 16, 2011 at 20:37 #

    what daedalus2u say!

    when there is an autism DX (for that matter any disability issues) is counseling recommended for parents…

    stanley seigler

  6. Rae of Sunshine April 17, 2011 at 08:23 #

    Uh. I had more sympathy for Andrea Yates. There’s no evidence that this woman ever sought out help. There IS evidence that she was willing to put her son through painful treatment that involved doctor participation and supervision, but then deceptively refused him his at home treatment. She was A-Ok with her son suffering so she could keep up her charade that she was doing everything possible to help him! Do y’all get that? She totally let him go through painful procedures JUST so that nobody would suspect her of deliberately letting her son die. Because if she just “snapped” and didn’t show up for radiation treatment at the hospital, that would have been a big red flag. Who CARES if she isn’t a threat to anyone else? Her son deserves justice.

  7. Julian Frost April 17, 2011 at 11:49 #

    “Do autistics get enough support? No.
    Do parents get enough support? No.
    Is this an excuse for withholding medication? No.”
    QFT.
    I blogged about LaBrie getting convicted. The key point mentioned in the press was that she had taken Jeremy to his scheduled chemotherapy sessions at hospital, but had failed to give him his meds at home, and that appeared to be the decider for the jury.

  8. David N. Andrews M. Ed., C. P. S. E. April 17, 2011 at 15:53 #

    “There IS evidence that she was willing to put her son through painful treatment that involved doctor participation and supervision, but then deceptively refused him his at home treatment. She was A-Ok with her son suffering so she could keep up her charade that she was doing everything possible to help him! Do y’all get that? She totally let him go through painful procedures JUST so that nobody would suspect her of deliberately letting her son die. Because if she just “snapped” and didn’t show up for radiation treatment at the hospital, that would have been a big red flag.”

    “Who CARES if she isn’t a threat to anyone else? Her son deserves justice.”

    He does. And he should get it, dead or not. But there’s a whole host of reasons why people end up not adhering to agreed medication regimes and other treatments and so on. And since we do not – unless we are present at the actual trial – get the information about the offence first-hand, there’s a serious chance that the facts have been tainted by ‘interpretation’ on the parts of those presenting it for the prosecution. Ergo, one has to be very circumspect about what one hears and how one attends to it.

    “Do autistics get enough support? No.
    Do parents get enough support? No.
    Is this an excuse for withholding medication? No.”

    This I agree with. I’m not trying to excuse what the woman did. But what I am saying is that her actions are no excuse for the sort of condemnation that people by their very nature are wont to sling at someone in her position. The courts have decided on her sentence and any other issues to do with her case: it is not for anybody else to say what they think ‘should’ have happened to her.

    That’s all.

  9. daedalus2u April 17, 2011 at 17:04 #

    I didn’t look at any of the links, they are too depressing for me.

    The purpose of the criminal justice system is never justice, it is to “other” people charged with crimes. That is why the justice system doesn’t really care when innocent people are punished or when people at the bottom of the social hierarchy are treated more harshly than those at the top. That is the whole point.

    Harming someone who has done something bad doesn’t result in “justice”. There is no “conservation of harm” by which harming one person undoes the harm done to someone else.

    Real “justice” would be using the information gathered to cause changes such that similar harms are less likely to occur in the future. Rather than punishing people who harm the disabled, there should be better proactive monitoring of people responsible for preventing harm to the disabled such that the harm does not happen in the first place.

    But preventing harm to the disabled doesn’t provide the same social rewards to prosecutors that harshly punishing perpetrators does. Preventing the maltreatment of this child would have been a much better outcome for everyone involved except the prosecutor who would not have been involved had the maltreatment not happened.

  10. McD April 17, 2011 at 21:24 #

    There is something quite ickky about this case. She persisted in this deception for at least several months and possibly for years. The lad was in remission, and apparently would have almost certainly survived if she had continued with the treatment.

    There is something about her behavior that suggests she was attempting to preserve an image of a noble mother caring for her dying disabled child, but got caught out. His illness gave her a socially acceptable escape from her situation – a noble free pass.

    They say we all love our kids a bit more when they are asleep, in this case she would have had ample opportunity to ponder the future during the early stages of his treatment, and imagine a future both free of severe autistic behaviors, and with the admiration of society for her courage under the weight of not one but two devastating situations. Then the child spoiled it by recovering, and she had to take a more active role.

    I do agree strongly with DNA above. I am sure she loved her child, but she was clearly in a situation lacking the support she needed, and maybe if she had had more support, she would not have taken the path she did. What I find chilling appears to have been crucial to the jury as well – the sustained deception.

    Support over here (NZ) is a nightmare as well, in the past few years, a mother has killed her autistic daughter, and an elderly mother killed herself and her adult Down’s syndrome son (those just off the top of my head). Deaths of autistic children due to accidents seem to be very frequent, but maybe that is just salience. I have always suspected that some of these accidents, and one in particular near where we live, are suspicious. I won’t go into any detail obviously.

    This one in Australia made the papers after the parents had asked about euthanizing the child shortly before she drowned in their blow-up pool.
    http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/parents-greatly-irresponsible-over-baby-maias-death-coroner-20110119-19vuc.html

    I wonder how accidental deaths compare for other DDs and autism.

  11. Audrey April 18, 2011 at 13:52 #

    There is a very good reason that she be punished. We imprison criminals for two reasons: we want to prevent them from committing future crimes AND we want to send a message to everyone else that we as a society won’t stand for this sort of behavior. That message is part of parents’ environment as well and, as has been well explained thus far, environment effects behavior. We all have impulses to engage in less-than-ideal behaviors and different things stop us at different times. I often see an object that I would like to have but don’t want to pay for. Sometimes I don’t take it because stealing is wrong, but other times I’m tired or in a foul mood or simply not very taken with the moral strictures of the situation. At those times, I don’t take it because the knowledge that society won’t tolerate stealing.

    Many parents get really frustrated with their kids – not just parents of developmentally disabled youth (look at shaken baby syndrome). Usually, they don’t express those frustrations with violent or physically harmful actions because they love their children and believe in a moral precept against that sort of behavior. But sometimes parents get frustrated enough that the moral argument isn’t sufficient, even if just for one tired moment. And in that moment, knowing that society would condemn your behavior and would punish you for it is the backup you need. Knowing that this act will not cause people to sympathize with your plight but will instead bring the force of law to bear on you.

    The other reason why she should most certainly be punished is because the laws of a society reveal its character, what it values and what it condemns. Laws used to allow husbands to beat and rape their wives because there was an underlying belief wives were the property of husbands. It is criminal to pointlessly mutilate a dog, but permissible to pointlessly mutilate a beetle because we believe that dogs have some cognitive capacity, some ability to experience pain and pleasure, that exceeds that of a beetle. If we as a society allow parents to kill their developmentally disabled children, what underlying belief does that reflect about us as a society? It ultimately suggests the offensive and morally problematic belief that developmentally disabled individuals are not quite full people under the law, that their lives are not quite worth as much. I know that no one who posts on this blog believes that, but I respectfully ask that you imagine what it might be like to be an individual with autism and to listen to people pardon a woman who repeatedly, consciously, made the choice to end her autistic son’s life.

  12. daedalus2u April 18, 2011 at 15:17 #

    Audrey, I am not in the slightest way condoning what she did.

    But if we as a society have put such pressure on families that the only thing that keeps parents from killing their disabled children is fear of prosecution and punishment, then our society has failed.

    When people are in desperate situations they will do desperate things. Making desperate peoples situation even more desperate makes it worse, not better.

  13. Audrey April 18, 2011 at 15:38 #

    I agree with what you are saying, Daedalus – we shouldn’t let parents get to that point, we should be providing more support earlier on. I should be clear that I am not at all arguing that we should just work from the punishment angle, not the prevention one. What I am saying is that different things regulate our behavior at different times. The decision to kill is a particularly important decision to regulate because it cannot be undone. Ideally the urge would never be there, but if fear of punishment keeps a parent from acting out against their child in a moment of weakness, then that is better than the alternative.

    (In this case, I feel even more strongly in favor of punishment because the act was repeated and premeditated.)

    Look at shaken baby syndrome, a very clear example of a parent acting out when under extreme stress. All of the literature emphasizes the importance of prevention, parent training, support lines, etc. and that is absolutely vital. But there is also a reduction in risk to babies when you have anonymous report hotlines (a post-incident, punitive measure). It’s weird to think about, but there are times when the reason “it’s wrong” doesn’t give you quite enough restraint, but the reason “I’ll be punished” does.

    I also want to point out that she may have felt like there was no other choice, but that just isn’t the case. Tunnel vision is a well-known phenomenon when people are very stressed and upset or in crisis mode. They can only see one solution. This is (one reason) why desperate people sometimes do very stupid things like kidnap their noncustodial children or stage ridiculous robberies. It’s worth noting that tunnel vision is not usually given status in a court of law – if there are other options, it doesn’t matter that you ignored them. It should be recognized that she did have a choice, even if a crappy one: she could have put her son up for adoption, ceded him to the state. I have known a parent of a developmentally disabled boy who made that choice after she had a stroke and was no longer able to care for him. Obviously this is a far from ideal choice. But one of the reasons that we generally look at killing children as worse than killing adults is that a child victim has so many more years of life taken away from them, so much potential squandered. I very much worry that in this case, the years of life that this boy would have otherwise had are being undervalued. If he had lived in an adoptive home, even a mediocre one, he would have gone on to have many moments of happiness at various points in life (and yes, many moments of sadness, that’s why it would have been a hard choice, but it was a choice).

  14. stanley seigler April 18, 2011 at 20:58 #

    [Audrey say] There is a very good reason that she be punished. We imprison criminals for two reasons: we want to prevent them from committing future crimes AND we want to send a message to everyone else that we as a society won’t stand for this sort of behavior.

    two reasons…neither have worked…there is an opine that if one going to kill he/she doesn’t consider the consequences…most dont get the message…the worst punishment, the death penalty surely hasnt worked.

    believe if a parent reaches the point he/she intends to kill a child they dont consider the consequences…time/funds spent on punishment would be better spent on prevention…eg;

    recommend/provide counseling for parents when autism is DXed…in days of yore the recommendation was the institution…has it changed for the current generation…

    [daedalus2u say] But if we as a society have put such pressure on families that the only thing that keeps parents from killing their disabled children is fear of prosecution and punishment, then our society has failed.

    society has/is failed/failing…vice proving support legs pander to society’s baser nature…eg, cutting support in favor of tax breaks for rich folks and corporations.

    BTW am i supposed to leave my beautiful daughter to the “slings and arrows of outrageous” societies/bureaucracies…

    stanley seigler

  15. sharon April 18, 2011 at 23:37 #

    This is a great philosophical debate. As I once worked within the female prison system here in Australia (save the convict jokes all you English readers) I have some strong views on the value or otherwise of the prison system. All above have made excellent points. However when you look at the demographic of any prison population all over the world you will see that poverty and mental illness are the two most common factors in the backgrounds of those who find themselves in prison. So although Audrey is correct in terms of social intention in creating prisons, daedalus2u is also correct in that the social fabric is often the determining factor in whether or not you find yourself there. Lack of support and resources for those most vulnerable, at the time they are most at risk is not available in many cases. Prison often becomes the fall back for those who cannot manage within society. The prison experience institutionalises people so that they are even less capable of managing after release, thus high rates of recidivism. Prison has not been a successful concept, after all we keep building more. But unless governments are willing to spend a whole lot extra on those who are at risk in our communities then little will change. Jails are storehouses of tragedy.

  16. stanley seigler April 19, 2011 at 01:14 #

    [sharon say] This is a great philosophical debate…

    well I guess…but seems more like a moral, common sense, debate…but no one said legs, society, have any common sense…or morality.

    ”little will change”…the collective we aint too smart.

    “Jails are storehouses of tragedy”…sad but so true.

    stanley seigler

  17. daedalus2u April 19, 2011 at 01:19 #

    If they spent half as much on prevention, they wouldn’t need to spend so much on prison.

    In the US, prisons make things worse. They take non-violent drug offenders, put them in with violent offenders so they have to learn to be violent to survive. Then they leave more violent than they came in.

  18. David N. Andrews M. Ed., C. P. S. E. April 19, 2011 at 01:34 #

    Audrey:

    “It’s worth noting that tunnel vision is not usually given status in a court of law – if there are other options, it doesn’t matter that you ignored them.”

    Indeed. And have you noticed how it is the politicians who set up the legislation on this sort of thing who expect us to accept their own tunnel vision experiences when they go into illegal warfare with other countries?

    The fundamental attribution error is alive and kicking, and muchly kicking shit in forensic settings.

    “Prison often becomes the fall back for those who cannot manage within society.”

    Because society is by its very nature a lazy beast: wants people it sees as outside of it to be the ones to make the effort whilst refusing to make any effort in return. It’s no coincidence that modern societies are becoming the sorts of places they’re becoming… which is places: in which being a disabled person, or the principal carer of such a person, gets you punished by that society actually ignoring its own laws in order to limit your role in it. Prison is an option way too late in the system, if it is an option at all. It’s – yeh – a sign of society’s laziness to do anything useful to prevent offending behaviour.

    “But unless governments are willing to spend a whole lot extra on those who are at risk in our communities then little will change. Jails are storehouses of tragedy.”

    Absolutely.

    There’s a reason why Skinner was absolutely against punishment: it does not work. It is one of society’s most egregious ways of wasting money. The money that societies spend on various ways of punishing people after offending behaviour would be better spent on providing appropriate supports before offending behaviour can be learned and reinforced.

    But, as you say, “unless governments are willing to spend a whole lot extra on those who are at risk in our communities then little will change.”

    I gave up on believing in the inherent good of ‘society’ long ago.

    daedalus2u:

    “But if we as a society have put such pressure on families that the only thing that keeps parents from killing their disabled children is fear of prosecution and punishment, then our society has failed.”

    An accurate appraisal.

    Stanley:

    “two reasons…neither have worked…there is an opine that if one going to kill he/she doesn’t consider the consequences…most dont get the message…the worst punishment, the death penalty surely hasnt worked.”

    Correct, correct, correct and correct. The research is clear on these points.

    “society has/is failed/failing…vice proving support legs pander to society’s baser nature…eg, cutting support in favor of tax breaks for rich folks and corporations.”

    Correct all the way. Recently, what piss-poor services I was able to get were cut… just at the time that the local council voted its higher-up members a pay-rise of 500 euros/month. That is more than I get to live on. I get to do occasional freelance work, sure, but I end up losing anything up to 80% of what that brings in. Cutting support for those who need it, in favour of financial benefits to the rich and to corporations… as you correctly point out.

    “am i supposed to leave my beautiful daughter to the ‘slings and arrows of outrageous’ societies/bureaucracies…”

    I fucking hope not! Because, if you are, then it could be argued by extension that I am as well.

    Fuck that!

    McD:

    “There is something about her behavior that suggests she was attempting to preserve an image of a noble mother caring for her dying disabled child, but got caught out. His illness gave her a socially acceptable escape from her situation – a noble free pass.

    They say we all love our kids a bit more when they are asleep, in this case she would have had ample opportunity to ponder the future during the early stages of his treatment, and imagine a future both free of severe autistic behaviors, and with the admiration of society for her courage under the weight of not one but two devastating situations. Then the child spoiled it by recovering, and she had to take a more active role.”

    You could be right. What people often fail to do when judging someone’s actions – like this sort of thing – is to actually realise that so-called ‘normal’ thinking processes are not in place.

    Societies continue to make me want to vomit. We just got a new parliament in Finland: the far-right just got five times the national support that it had in the last election and … well, the far right anywhere are not known for their critical thinking abilities. Nor are they particularly understood to be the most empathic people towards the disabled…

    At this point, I better stop. Won’t be long before I get dangerously close to skating around Port Godwin…. dangerous waters.

  19. David N. Andrews M. Ed., C. P. S. E. April 19, 2011 at 01:38 #

    d2u: ”
    April 19th, 2011
    01:19:53

    If they spent half as much on prevention, they wouldn’t need to spend so much on prison.”

    Comment in moderation agrees with that.

    Stanley: “the collective we aint too smart.”

    IQ dilutes as group size increases. Basic fact of intelligence test design…

  20. stanley seigler April 19, 2011 at 01:38 #

    [du2 sat] In the US, prisons make things worse.

    they are graduate school for minor offenders…and juvenile halls are the worst

    but i digress from mother kills subject…apologies.

    stanley seigler

  21. Audrey April 19, 2011 at 14:00 #

    I think for the most part, all of the posters here agree with each other on nearly all of the points made.

    I agree wholeheartedly on the subject of prison reform, though I reiterate that there is evidence that punishment from the law does have *some* impact on behavior. (At the same time, I agree with the sentiment emphasized in many of the above posts that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of prison time.) Many of the problems in the US prison system, such as the large scale incarceration of low-level nonviolent drug offenders, really aren’t relevant to this situation.

    I supposed what I am reacting to is the fact that this debate, here and elsewhere, has come up so intensely for this particular crime, but not for plenty of other crimes (or at least not in the forums I’ve read). I wonder, cynically perhaps, if it is because it is easier for many NTs to imagine and understand the experience of the NT mother than that of the autistic son.

    What I really want is to hear, perhaps not so much from this forum as from the comments on several news sites carrying the story, is that their call for leniency is in no way based on an underlying bias, however subtle, that this boy’s pain (dying of leukemia hurts!) was not quite real, did not quite count. That they have truly scoured the recesses of their minds to ensure that they were not secretly thinking that the decades of life he was robbed of were a bit less of a loss because they felt he had less to look forward to, less potential, less of a life to lose. I have regard and respect for the regular posters on this blog and I am in no way insinuating that any of you believe that message or intend to convey it. What I perhaps want to express, however, from my perspective as a person with autism, is that I perceive that message from the sum total of the coverage and commentary from this story, from the milieu, not from any one contributor.

  22. David N. Andrews M. Ed., C. P. S. E. April 20, 2011 at 01:15 #

    Audrey,

    I do not deny that this is an horrendous event. Someone died, and – regardless of disability status – un-necessary death is never easy to accept (and nor should it be!), but … it’s always easier for others who are not in the position of the perpetrator in these situations to come up with alternative courses of action which they then use to justify condemnation of the person who has actually gone through whatever it is that led them to this outcome (a phenomenon related to the availability heuristic). I do not condone the killing of anyone. But I cannot – as a psychologist with an interest in development, learning and teaching (including forensic applications of psychology) – not speak out against the tendency of people to engage in behaviour that isolates the perpetrator in a demeaning manner: they were not in that situation, and – because of what is known as the fundamental attribution error – I can confidently say that many who would condemn this woman as evil would then attempt to explain similar behaviour on their own part as being situationally determined (in other words, ‘… but I did it for a totally different reason’).

    As for people in that sort of position thinking clearly about the legal ramifications… this is what James McGuire (forensic psychologist) has much to say on the matter (McGuire, J. [2004] Understanding Psychology And Crime: Perspectives On Theory And Action, Open University Press, Maidenhead, UK).

    Basically, it is not that simple that fear of legal retribution/punishment will definitely cause a person to refrain from pursuing a given course of action; and nor is it guaranteed that the person is even thinking of the legal consequences of an action at the time at which they commit it.

    “What I really want is to hear, perhaps not so much from this forum as from the comments on several news sites carrying the story, is that their call for leniency is in no way based on an underlying bias, however subtle, that this boy’s pain (dying of leukemia hurts!) was not quite real, did not quite count.”

    Trust me, that is not where I’m coming from – the idea that his life meant nothing. I’m coming from a position that – had his mother been afforded what she had a right to expect from the state to whom she paid her taxes – this might not have happened. Maybe it’s a big might – I do not care. Fact remains that those of us who do not go the way that this lad’s mum went are maybe in a better situation that she felt that she was at the time she committed the offence. Nothing else. Ergo, the job of judging her and her actions is not ours, and for very good reason. So we have absolutely fuck all sensible to say about it. Period.

    And… as Wittgenstein said: ‘whereof one cannot speak, thereof one should remain silent!’

  23. David N. Andrews M. Ed., C. P. S. E. April 20, 2011 at 01:23 #

    Audrey,

    There’s a comment in moderation that tries to explain – at 3am – what I am saying, and gives a very good reference on forensic psychology (very appropriate, given the topic). I agree that the lad’s life has to have meant something to at least someone, and that it didn’t have to end this way.

    Sadly, a lot do – and often they end because the autistic person him/herself chose that to happen. This is not to condone the mother’s actions in this case; but I would say that her action should be understood as fully as possible. And that most of us were not in the place she was when she allowed all this to happen. Ergo, we are not in a position to judge her: that is for the courts, and they have done that job. And I gave a reason why we are not in a position to judge. AT least – not the mother.

    If we can judge anyone, then it is those to whom we pay our taxes and who let us down at just about every turn these days. It is the politicians at national and local level against whom we should direct our anger and our vehement distaste. For it is they who let this sort of situation get out of control and develop into the sort of tragedy we end up reading about.

  24. stanley seigler April 20, 2011 at 22:53 #

    [DNA say] correct, etc, etc…(David N. Andrews M. Ed., C. P. S. E.
    April 19th, 2011 01:34:31)

    unfortunate that we disagree stringently on one issue, as we agree on so many others…99 out of 100 aint bad tho…i respect your intelligence and committment to the cause…and apologize for my ad homs…perhaps;

    one day we could spend time listening to sibelius and solving the world’s problems…or

    taking hostages until the mover and shaker a-holes, admit their bs…but the next week society would remember or care why we took hostages.

    that said, hope the a-holes get IT (humanity) in time to make life easier for you-etal…and provide the support to prevent parents from takeing the unspeakable end step.

    stanley

    ps. are you happy…just saw (CNN): finland was the 5th happiest country in the world…denmark #2, sweden #1, USA #12.

  25. stanley seigler April 21, 2011 at 03:38 #

    CORRECTION

    [seigler say] but the next week society would remember or care why we took hostages

    should read; but the next week society would NOT remember or care why we took hostages

  26. David N. Andrews M. Ed., C. P. S. E. April 21, 2011 at 09:17 #

    “ps. are you happy…just saw (CNN): finland was the 5th happiest country in the world…denmark #2, sweden #1, USA #12.”

    Am I hell happy. Much of the ‘happiness’ in Finnish people is because they swallow readily the bullshit that the government feeds them. Plus, the culture here is to be subservient to government and to lie in foreign surveys.

    No, I am not happy. And – for a country with such a high drug/alcohol abuse problem and such a high suicide rate to be seen as the 5th happiest country in the world – either all the other countries are extremely pissed off or the Finnish respondents are lying. Of course, they may have just polled people who are in the higher income brackets.

  27. David N. Andrews M. Ed., C. P. S. E. April 21, 2011 at 09:18 #

    And Stanley … thank you.

  28. stanley seigler April 21, 2011 at 17:03 #

    [DNA say]they may have just polled people who are in the higher income brackets…

    bet on it…they poll and make policies faavoring the higher income brackets…they (speaking for USA, assume it’s universal) are clueless as to how middle/low brackets live…and are even more clueless re how those who have a disability live…get by…i so admire their (mid/lo brackets) tenacity/attitudes (except for mine) to make the best of life.

    stanley seigler

  29. David N. Andrews M. Ed., C. P. S. E. April 21, 2011 at 17:18 #

    Stanley: “and are even more clueless re how those who have a disability live…get by…”

    Absolutely. My situation just now is – as it always has been – very shitty indeed; my friends here have seen it in serious detail and are not happy that their country is treating their friend so badly.

    “i so admire their (mid/lo brackets) tenacity/attitudes (except for mine) to make the best of life.”

    Well, to be honest, Stanley – I get the impression that you try hard to get the best life you can get for your daughter… and I admire that. As for the universality of the policy-making problem, I’m fairly convinced that it is a universal, really. Maybe I should blog about it and explain it in psychological and anthropological terms sometime.

    Best wishes,
    David

  30. Donna April 21, 2011 at 19:50 #

    As a parent who had to watch my son going through chemo it is not an easy task. But we made it through with not only the help of his doctors, family and friends but most importantly God. Where was the father and family to help her care for her son. This is not something you can do by yourself you have to separate yourself from the situation for a couple of hours so that you can re-energize. No one person should never be the primary caregiver for 24 hours. This mother who is already living in her own personal prison she shouldn’t have to go to prison.

  31. Chris April 21, 2011 at 21:08 #

    From the second link in that above article: “After doctors discovered LaBrie had withheld the medications, Jeremy went to live with his father for the last year of his life. Eric Fraser was killed in a motorcycle accident seven months after his son died.”

  32. stanley seigler April 21, 2011 at 21:47 #

    [DNA say] Maybe I should blog about it and explain it in psychological and anthropological terms sometime.

    a good idea…a good science study on human nature aka man’s inhumanity to man.

    stanley seigler

  33. Ella April 24, 2011 at 13:22 #

    Wow she is a bitch….
    I have autism.. if i get cancer should my mum kill me ? ^o)

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