(WARNING: This is not a happy post. There is swearing and very little analysis of anything fun. I’ll go back to Christmas posts next time, but I need to do this. You’ll understand in a moment.)
In August, I wrote an article asking for geeks to not support Aurora shooter James Holmes. I argued that just because he was no doubt mentally unstable and fell through the cracks doesn’t mean he should be supported for shooting and killing twelve people in a midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises.
I wanted that to be the first and last real-world disability post about mass killings that I ever wrote. I don’t get my wish, and now I must discuss the death of twenty-seven people, including twenty children, cut down by a mentally deranged man. Oh, and apparently he and I share a disorder.
Yes, apparently the shooter, twenty-year-old Adam Lanza, was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndorme, a mild form of Autism and a bitch to shake off.
There are two reasons I’m using this pulpit to talk about this. For one, I’ve already watched the media begin to portray those with Asperger’s as silent killers in waiting. As someone who not only covers disabilities for this blog, but lives with one as well, I can safely say that I was once an angry young adult, just like Adam. Unlike Adam, I have never killed anyone. Neither has any kid with Autism or Asperger’s that I have met. To say that we are all violent is insulting. This was the act of a mad man, and while I am also a mad man, I am not mad enough to consider shooting up an elementary school as a just decision.
Now, because of Adam Lanza and the media, I will be faced with people worrying that I might snap because I’m “just like that Sandy Hook killer.” I know it will happen. It happened at church Sunday.
But we are not the same. No one with Autism is. Stop comparing us. I’m sick of it.
I also bring this up because I know that there are some people who read this blog are Asperger’s and self-proclaimed “geeks.” Some of you may like anime and manga. Some may like Star Trek. Some might like non-canonical fanfiction. And that’s okay. We are bonded by our love of geek culture, and I’m happy to say that I would support all of you, even the people I disagree with, in your right to like what you want.
But this killing has got to stop. And we have to stop fueling it.
When I was young, I was made fun of for being a geek. I wanted to kill my elementary school bully for making fun of me. But I grew up and realized that the people who teased me are the broken ones. I know who I am. And I’m pretty awesome.
If we as a society do not let go of the hate that comes with being different, whether it be gay/straight, man/woman, black/white, or geek/non-geek, we are going to ruin ourselves. We are killing ourselves slowly with our hate. And, the sad part of this is that, in today’s culture, it’s acceptable to flame someone online or in person as long as it’s a “joke.”
Well, I’m tired of it.
The gun control conversation should happen, but what about the mental illness research and treatment conversation? What about the bullying conversation? What about how broken this world is right now?
We can fix this. We aren’t sheep.
According to USA Today, one victim, six-year-old Avielle Richman, had a blog. In it, she describes her love of Harry Potter, the color red, and parades. This girl is just like me. She may be just like you.
And she’s dead. Because we as a society want to blame and flame instead of fix.
Well, I’m tired of it.
-Tony Sonita (blackout31)