Last week I wrote —>this<— in response to a self-proclaimed crime analyst/profiler/blogger who attacked the family of Mikaela Lynch by blaming the parents for her death. In a nutshell, this was the post: the First Amendment protects your right to be an asshole…that doesn’t mean the First Amendment tells you to BE an asshole. The concept being that although the First Amendment protects your right to free speech, this picture of Moses bringing down the Two Commandments reminds you to temper that free speech with a little compassion.
I was pretty proud of the post, and I got some positive feedback from many parents in the autism community.
Boy, it didn’t take some of them very long to turn the tables right around and be just as vicious, just as cruel, just as mean and cliquey as that self-proclaimed crime analyst who had attacked them just days earlier. Had they turned their emotional anger toward that self-proclaimed crime analyst/profiler/blogger, I would have chalked it up as karma, but these parents have chosen to attack one of their own. Well, that’s not quite right. They have chosen to silence nearly half, yes HALF of the autism community. Which half you may ask? The half that IS autistic. Ironic, isn’t it? The reason? Because the autistic people they are attacking aren’t parents. In these parents’ views, an autistic person who is not the parent of an autistic child can’t possibly know anything about anything that has to do with caring for an autistic person.
One of their arguments compares autistics trying to give their perspective on the emotional topic of wandering to a layman giving medical advice on how to cure cancer. One blogger literally told autistics to, and I quote, “Shut Up!”
So, hmm, let’s use this comparison: a government body of over 500 hundred mostly white, grumpy old men dictating what half of the population (women) can and cannot do with their bodies when it comes to the emotional topic of reproductive rights. Guess what – those moms are NOT the women in this comparison, they are the grumpy, white, old men. Why? Because, going by their argument, how can they possibly know anything about anything in regard to bringing forth bills and passing laws and dealing with lobbyists – they can’t so STFU! Oh, you’ve studied the law? Well, you’re not and never have been a member of Congress, so STFU! Oh, you’ve worked for your local government? That’s cute. You’re not a member of Congress, so STFU!
But that’s stupid, isn’t it? I mean, really. How is it okay to tell the very population you are trying to protect to shut up? Again, kind of repeating what I said last week, if you want to tell people to shut up, I suppose it IS you First Amendment right…but you would be in direct opposition to God’s Two Commandments – 1. Be Cool and most important in my opinion 2. Don’t Be an Asshole. Being mean and cliquey really just reveals that you’re mean and cliquey…and that you’ve broken the 2nd Commandment and are an asshole.
When it comes to the topic of wandering, I agree that we must find a way to make sure our kids are protected, but we must be willing to listen to autistic people, if for nothing else possibly discovering that there might be a reason for some, and I stress the word SOME, of the wandering. This video, made by an autistic person, is not the answer, but it does give perspective, another way to look at the sitation.
What surprises me is that people got upset at this video. In hearing some of the responses, however, I came to understand that they cherry picked what they heard, choosing not to hear the rest.
Sound very Congress-like, no?
Yes, it touches on a subject that most parents’ of autistics cringe at – abuse – but he goes on to say that particular situation is in a very small minority. As Jess asked her readers yesterday, take a moment to listen, really listen! And then I ask you to temper your use of the First Amendment with the First and Second Commandments.
If you don’t want people like Chelsea Hoffman being an asshole to you and your community, then don’t be an asshole to the very community you are trying to protect.
And don’t be a grumpy, old white Congressman who thinks he knows it all.
And remember, just because the First Amendment protects your the right to be an asshole…it doesn’t mean you HAVE to be an asshole.