In the aftermath of #CTshooting, a word about autism

Posted by: ST on December 17, 2012 at 6:16 pm

With all the misinformation that continues to flow freely from the mainstream media and (mostly) Democrats in the aftermath of the Friday’s horrific events in Newton, CT – and as discussions of the murderer and his alleged state of mind ramp up – I thought it would be a good idea to link to this piece to help clear up some misconceptions about autism:

(CNN) — Since news first broke about the shooting at a Connecticut elementary school, people began wondering how something so horrible could happen.

Within a few hours, before the magnitude of the tragedy was fully known, reports began to surface that the shooter, Adam Lanza, was autistic or had Asperger’s syndrome in addition to a possible personality or anxiety disorder such as obessive-compulsive disorder.

A relative told investigators that Lanza had a form of autism, according to a law enforcement official, who spoke under condition of anonymity due to the sensitive nature of the investigation. CNN has not been able to confirm independently whether Lanza was diagnosed with autism or Asperger’s syndrome, a higher-functioning form of autism.

Russ Hanoman, a friend of Lanza’s mother, told CNN that Lanza had Asperger’s syndrome and that he was “very withdrawn emotionally.”

However, national autism organizations cautioned against speculation about a link between violence and autism or Asperger’s.

While the motive for this crime is still unknown and may never be fully understood, what is clear, according to experts, is that autism cannot be blamed.

There is absolutely no evidence or any reliable research that suggests a linkage between autism and planned violence,” the Autism Society said in a statement. “To imply or suggest that some linkage exists is wrong and is harmful to more than 1.5 million law-abiding, nonviolent and wonderful individuals who live with autism each day.”

Peter Bell of Autism Speaks said, “Autism did not cause this horror.” Bell, executive vice president for programs and services for the advocacy and research group, is also the father of a son with autism.

Bell said it’s not unusual to want to figure out why someone would commit such a heinous crime, but he also cautioned people to do so responsibly.

And by definition, he said, people with a diagnosis of autism or Asperger’s are not inclined to commit an act of violence. The likelihood of this happening would be no different than the rest of the population, he added.

Make sure to read the whole thing.  And please continue to keep the devastated families in your thoughts and prayers.  The first of the funerals started today.

Newton, CT shooting victims.


RSS feed for comments on this post.

3 Responses to “In the aftermath of #CTshooting, a word about autism”


  1. Carlos says:

    I know it is different, but when I read the article it sure sounded (if one changes the references to “autism” to references to “Islam”) like what we were flooded with in the aftermath of such “incidents” as the Fort Hood massacre/murders.

    You know – the typical “Nothing to see here, folks, just move along…”

  2. Nancy says:

    As an old Clinical Nurse Specialist in psychiatric nursing, and a Clinical Social Worker, I can say with certainty that the incidence of violence is no higher among those with mental illness or brain disorders like autism and Asperger’s than among the general population. The capacity to commit heinous violence and murder is no more related to having a mental illness or autism spectrum disorder than to having diabetes, osteoporosis, or heart disease. There is and always has been, a huge stigma associated with mental illnesses and brain disorders.

  3. At a high school where I coached we employed some of the special needs boys as equipment managers for the varsity football team. They were at every practice and game with specific duties but most of all were included in the mainstream of student life. One boy was autistic and his only complication was crowds. His dad would swing by the school and give him his prescribed medication along with some words of encourgement to settle his nerves. Other than the fact the kid was funnier than all hell there was nothing unusual about his demeanor and was certainly no danger to himself or anyone else.