AANE Statement on the tragedy in Newtown, CT

16 Dec

The Asperger’s Association of New England (AANE) has issued a statement: AANE Statement on the tragedy in Newtown, CT. The statement begins:

December 16, 2012 — At the Asperger’s Association of New England, we share the horror and sadness of people across the world. The shootings in Newtown, Connecticut, were a terrible and incomprehensible act of violence. We convey our deepest sympathy to the victims, their families and friends, and their community.

The AANE acknowledges the media speculation that the shooter had Asperger syndrome, including this statement:

Our overwhelming concern is for the families of the victims through their deep, enduring grief and devastation. We hope too that the conversation around Adam Lanza will be thoughtful and considerate of people who have Asperger syndrome or other forms of autism and their families

AANE is offering services of their staff:

Discussing this tragedy is challenging for families and very upsetting for children who have Asperger syndrome. Our staff is available to give advice or support relating to this issue during normal business hours: (617) 393-3824


The full statement can be found at: AANE Statement on the tragedy in Newtown, CT

By Matt Carey

3 Responses to “AANE Statement on the tragedy in Newtown, CT”

  1. David N. Brown December 16, 2012 at 20:50 #

    In some ways, I am a little disappointed by the responses to the report that the shooter was autistic, because I think there is a real issue here: What I would state as the core problem is that there is clearly a subset of mentally ill offenders, including a number of especially destructive “spree shooters”, with an unusual combination of of evidently delusional thinking yet a high level of ability to plan and organize. It’s my long-standing opinion that at least some of these individuals represent some form of autism, particularly autism in combination with schizophrenia-like symptoms. I believe that one change that the most effective action that can be taken is to renew inquiries into connections between ASDs and schizophrenia. I recently posted an essay about this on my website autismandreligion.weebly.com.

    • Lara Lohne December 17, 2012 at 08:53 #

      A person who is truly mentally ill does not have the functionality to plan and perpetrate this kind of horror. Generally, studies have found that those who have mental disability of some sort can become violent when they reach a particularly bad point in their cycle of mental health and that, combined with substance abuse, will cause them to lash out, but generally those acts of violence are directed at themselves, family or friends, not complete strangers.

      The real problem is the glorification by the media of these events and rather then focus on the grief stricken families who are the real victims of these crimes, they instead sensationalize anything and everything they can find about the killers. It gives them a kind of morbid celebrity status, especially when they dramatize the amount of people who have been killed as a result. All it takes is for one person, who for some reason feels ostracized by society, slighted in some way, to get it into their heads this is the only way they will ever be noticed. So they go out and attempt to ‘out do’ the person who preceded them.

      As one person stated on a blog post I just read, the best thing to do during times like this is turn off the television. Focus on those who we love and care about and the grief this tragedy has caused, not on the perpetrator. When all is said and done, does it really matter why? Knowing why will not bring back the dead, but by focusing on the killer, we devalue the loss of life and the suffering of those left behind.

  2. David N. Brown December 17, 2012 at 21:08 #

    “A person who is truly mentally ill does not have the functionality to plan and perpetrate this kind of horror.”
    That’s a fair generalization, but exceptions do clearly occur. A delusionary belief or perception is most likely to form the basis of a premeditated complex crime if it is developed and sustained as part of an articulated “worldview”. It is also fairly self-evident that to carry out such an offense, the offender is almost certainly going to have enough awareness of the objective world to recognize, at a minimum, that they are doing something illegal. Thus, they would not qualify for an “insanity plea”. I put up a discussion of this here:

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