When a child is killed by a parent the word “but” does not apply

13 Sep

Isabelle Stapleton is an autistic teenager. Thankfully we get to say “is” as, you see, her mother tried to kill Isabelle (“Issy” to her friends). The mother took her daughter to a remote area and lit two charcoal grills in her van so that the carbon monoxide would poison them both.

It has been reported that at times Isabelle has been violent. Keep in mind most of those reports seem to source back to the mother, the mother who tried to kill her. I’m not trying to downplay Isabelle’s struggles. Some in our community have very great needs.

“Dr. Phil” has interviewed Isabllele’s mother. People Magazine has a story up on it. Whenever these stories go online I cringe. Rarely are they handled well. And I cringe even more at the comments I know will be there.

One can just bet that many comments will take the form, “no one should kill her child…..but…..”

There is no “but” in this. No one should commit murder. No parent should kill her child. Full stop. Period. “But” does not apply.

Variants of this are “don’t judge her” and “until you walk in her shoes”.

“Judge” means to form an opinion.

For those who write that: the mother tried to kill her daughter. I will form an opinion about this–this is wrong. I don’t have to “walk in her shoes” to say that. Why won’t you form an opinion? Why does her daughter’s disability have anything to do with forming this opinion?

Just in case you are wondering: I did purposely write this without mentioning the mother’s name. The mother is not the story. When autistics have been murdered in the past there have been news stories that never mention the name of the victim.

By Matt Carey

9 Responses to “When a child is killed by a parent the word “but” does not apply”

  1. chavisory September 13, 2014 at 18:40 #

    This is a great post to refer people to when they say that we can’t judge until we’ve walked in the shoes of parents like Kelli Stapleton:


  2. Science Mom September 13, 2014 at 20:19 #

    I read Shannon’s article that you linked to and was excellent as is this. Yeah, I’ll judge and also judge the people (unfavourably) who make excuses for harms of disabled people perpetrated by caregivers.

  3. Tara September 13, 2014 at 22:49 #

    And there is also the unfortunate tie-in with the topic you covered on Sep 4th, Nazi Germany Action T4. It is worth nothing how it all started – not by some remote Nazi paper-pusher’s order but on parent’s request…

    So, you are right, no “buts” here…

  4. lilady September 14, 2014 at 17:43 #

    I’m really upset that so many of the comments on the People Magazine blog are sympathetic to Issy’s mother, who attempted to murder her child.

    Every State has crisis intervention staff who are very competent to offer respite care, and foster care for parents who may be burned out. It is a far different situation, than the situation that existed when my son was born with a rare genetic disorder and autistic-like behaviors…not autism, 38 years ago, when resources for parent/caregivers were scant or non-existent.

    There is no excuse, no situation, no justification, for that woman to snuff out her daughter’s life.

  5. BA September 16, 2014 at 21:52 #

    Essentially I agree with :there are no buts” except when there is a tragic accident. An unintentional act is different than an intentional act. There are no buts when there is intention. I, unfortunately, personally know of a tragic accident that led to a parent killing their child. Not murder but an accident. That parent could not live with the grief.

  6. Emmy September 18, 2014 at 17:31 #

    Buts are precursors to all sorts of dangerous dumbassery!

  7. Sheogorath September 22, 2014 at 03:31 #

    Here’s a ‘but’ sentence you might like: Mothers should never kill their children, but neither should fathers or other legal guardians.


  1. judgment | a diary of a mom - September 15, 2014

    […] Carey at Left Brain Right Brain wrote brilliantly over the […]

  2. Pushing my new hashtag | autismjungle - September 19, 2014

    […] two charcoal fires inside the van to try and suffocate the both of them. They survived. Matt has more details. Earlier this week, a Singaporean woman was charged with murder after her autistic son fell […]

Leave a Reply to BA Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: