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Sat Dec 22, 2012, 02:26 PM

 

Stop linking autism to violence

By Sarah Darer Littman

I've just listened to NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre suggest we need guns in our schools because "our society is populated by an unknown number of genuine monsters."

I cringed.

After his further suggestion that the United States create a nationwide database for the mentally ill, I got angry. Leaving aside the issue of medical privacy laws, I found it ironic that an organization so vehemently opposed to gun registration would propose such a measure.

As a parent, it's been heartbreaking to watch television coverage of the shooting of 20 innocent children, six teachers and the gunman's mother in Newtown, Connecticut. But as the parent of a wonderful young man with Asperger's syndrome, coping as pundits and journalists link this diagnosis to the crime in an attempt to find meaning has added another layer of anger and grief to an already stressful situation.

LaPierre's remarks were the latest salvo in a campaign of misinformation and fear mongering about mental illness, sparked by news reports that shooter Adam Lanza had been diagnosed with Asperger's, a type of autism.

More: http://www.cnn.com/2012/12/22/living/littman-mother-autism/index.html

17 replies, 1207 views

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Arrow 17 replies Author Time Post
Reply Stop linking autism to violence (Original post)
UnrepentantLiberal Dec 2012 OP
pinboy3niner Dec 2012 #1
Drale Dec 2012 #2
Major Nikon Dec 2012 #3
duffyduff Dec 2012 #4
Major Nikon Dec 2012 #7
lumberjack_jeff Dec 2012 #5
HereSince1628 Dec 2012 #6
UnrepentantLiberal Dec 2012 #8
Squinch Dec 2012 #9
ck4829 Dec 2012 #10
HereSince1628 Dec 2012 #12
UnrepentantLiberal Dec 2012 #13
HereSince1628 Dec 2012 #14
UnrepentantLiberal Dec 2012 #15
intaglio Dec 2012 #11
Chemisse Dec 2012 #16
Rozlee Dec 2012 #17


Response to UnrepentantLiberal (Original post)

Sat Dec 22, 2012, 02:33 PM

2. "I found it ironic that an organization so vehemently opposed to gun registration

would propose such a measure." They would do anything to protect their God, the gun. They would damage, destroy or kill, anyone or any organization that would do anything what so ever to take away what they perceive as their God given right to own a penis extender that can kill dozens of people in seconds.

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Response to UnrepentantLiberal (Original post)

Sat Dec 22, 2012, 02:34 PM

3. This type of rhetoric only serves to propagate ignorance and further stigmatize

Asperger's syndrome doesn't explain what happened in Newtown.

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Response to Major Nikon (Reply #3)

Sat Dec 22, 2012, 02:41 PM

4. It's not even known for a fact Adam Lanza had AS

Last edited Sat Dec 22, 2012, 03:36 PM - Edit history (1)

Even if he had been diagnosed as such, there are other "disorders" that are very similar to AS but not on autism spectrum, and he could have been misdiagnosed as AS. Furthermore, he may have had other problems where he needed medication.

I have a brother who I am trying to get SSI for. It's still in the process of being appealed to an ALJ. The psychologist referred to by SSA diagnosed him as AS (he had never been diagnosed with anything but has suffered a great deal throughout his life, including not being able to be gainfully employed and is now 54), but the psychologist referred to us by attorneys we may be using to represent us said he had schizotypal personality disorder, with ADHD and general anxiety disorder as other problems.

Lots of similarities with a number of personality disorders and autism-type disabilities. Misdiagnosis is always a possibility.

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Response to duffyduff (Reply #4)

Sat Dec 22, 2012, 02:50 PM

7. Good point

A number of people have said his mother told them he had AS, but certainly all sorts of possibilities exist including what you mentioned as well as other diagnoses that haven't been disclosed. It's also entirely possible that whatever drove him to do this had nothing to do with mental illness at all.

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Response to Major Nikon (Reply #3)

Sat Dec 22, 2012, 02:48 PM

5. Exactly. n/t

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Response to UnrepentantLiberal (Original post)

Sat Dec 22, 2012, 02:50 PM

6. And for practical purposes every other mental illness...

Last edited Sat Dec 22, 2012, 03:28 PM - Edit history (1)

even serious mental illness such as schizophrenia and affective disorders (emotional disorders such as bipolar and major depression) show very little increased risk of criminal violence in society.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2686644/

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Response to HereSince1628 (Reply #6)

Sat Dec 22, 2012, 03:00 PM

8. True.

 

But when have right wing nuts ever been concerned with being truthful?

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Response to UnrepentantLiberal (Original post)

Sat Dec 22, 2012, 03:16 PM

9. K & R. That makes me furious.

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Response to UnrepentantLiberal (Original post)

Sat Dec 22, 2012, 03:31 PM

10. Creating a 'list' to register the mentally ill like that will effectively destroy treatment

This list will suffer from 'leaks' and will be unofficially used as a hiring filter for jobs and for housing.

Now put yourself in the shoes of a person who does suffer from a mental illness, in particular schizophrenia, delusions, or paranoia; and now you are told there is something you can't do or have because you are on a 'list'.

People who are sane enough to know what this mean will never seek treatment or will try to keep it a secret as much as possible. Even worse, it will actually enable their mental problems, something that is insane in itself.

It's almost like LaPierre views the person with the mental illness as more of an enemy to gun rights than the mental illness itself. Of course, though, it's not 'almost', is it?

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Response to ck4829 (Reply #10)

Sat Dec 22, 2012, 03:49 PM

12. The law seeking to list mental illness already exists,

most states refuse to comply because there are conflicts in that law with other law guaranteeing privacy rights of to medical records.

The 14th Amendment to the Constitution guarantees everyone due process.

Currently states typically use a court hearing to get a judgement of lack of competency to have a weapon. Such hearings allow due process. That is a fair way to proceed.

Having some software grovel through billing and prescription records mindlessly flagging and adding data to be merged with a criminal database without a person's knowledge doesn't seem like due process.

We have all seen access to government databases expand to those with "valid interests".

We might think in the chatrooms of a progressive bulletin board there would be no question about 14th amendment protections for the privacy rights of the mentally ill.

But even on DU, fear is powerful.

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Response to HereSince1628 (Reply #12)

Sat Dec 22, 2012, 04:05 PM

13. Is there anyone saying that on DU

 

who isn't a right wing troll?

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Response to UnrepentantLiberal (Reply #13)

Sat Dec 22, 2012, 04:17 PM

14. I have no way of telling rightwing trolls from other DUers

It's been stated many times by DUers with thousands of posts, sometimes tens of thousands of posts.

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Response to HereSince1628 (Reply #14)

Sat Dec 22, 2012, 04:38 PM

15. Well it's wrong.

 

I have no respect for anyone who would say that.

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Response to UnrepentantLiberal (Original post)

Sat Dec 22, 2012, 03:34 PM

11. I thought Wayne Le Pew

was talking about NRA board members and gun manufacturers

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Response to UnrepentantLiberal (Original post)

Sat Dec 22, 2012, 05:10 PM

16. I think it is safe to assume the CT killer was mentally ill.

But that is in addition to having Aspergers (if he did have that disorder).

It's also safe to assume that his mental illness contributed to his decision to shoot all those people.

But it is not safe to assume that all people who are mentally ill are capable of violence, so the problem is, how do you keep really sick people away from guns without trampling on the rights of other, completely nonviolent, mentally ill people?

Obviously the NRA's abhorrent suggestion is not the way to go. It would stigmatize people and prevent them from seeking treatment. It really doesn't even deserve serious consideration.

What can be done instead?

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Response to UnrepentantLiberal (Original post)

Sat Dec 22, 2012, 06:00 PM

17. Will someone please Google "Famous People With Asperger's"

and then tell me what kind of "monsters" they are?

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