23 November, 2009

Something I posted elsewhere

In response to a post about this (an article about a guy with Asperger's who ran over, raped, and stabbed a woman; it has been decided, because of his disability, that he won't be sentenced to death, with rulings about intellectually disabled people being cited).

So of course the post is full of comments saying "WHAT? Asperger's isn't the same as mental retardation! Maybe he's retarded too?"

I said this:

Okay, I'm commenting again because I have more time than I did before, and also the "well, it would make sense if he was retarded" comments are really baffling me. Do the people saying that actually know anyone who is retarded?

There is a way that I think autism spectrum disorders and intellectual disabilities can cause people to be violent. This is when a person experiences rage that comes from being overwhelmed and not knowing a good way to deal with it. For example, I know a severely intellectually disabled guy who sometimes gets upset for reasons he can't explain (he doesn't really talk), and when this happens he will sometimes kick or hit people or break things. His actions are no more evil than a child's tantrum, but they are more dangerous since he is 30 years old and fairly large. On the ASD front, when I was a kid, I would get very upset when I thought that people didn't respect me, were interrupting my routines, or were touching me too much or standing too close to me, and I would react by hitting them very hard. Fortunately I have learned better ways to deal with these problems. But I understand that some people with ASDs and intellectual disabilities can be overwhelmed by this kind of thing and become violent.

But it doesn't seem that this is what's going on in this situation. It seems like this guy went out of his way to hurt someone, and kept hurting her for a long period of time, and killed her on purpose. So I don't see how it is related to his disability.

As I'm sure I've said before, all this "ASPERGER'S PEOPLE AREN'T RETARDED!!!" stuff really grosses me out. Maybe because I get along with intellectually disabled people well and find that some of the ID people I know are more like me, in terms of personality, than anyone else I know. Especially the guy I used as an example. The way he reacts to certain colors and images that he loves is something I can really relate to, and I can relate to his anger and his strong emotional attachments. There are some intellectually disabled people who I feel more myself with than I do with anyone else. I feel that a lot of my struggles, in school for example, relate to issues that are similar to those many intellectually disabled people have. I understand that our IQs are really different but at the same time, I don't find them to be especially foreign to me and I feel very bound up in that community, if not actually a member of it.

But you know, that's not even it; I don't even think it's just my personal experience. It's just like, how can you be advocating for your own rights while dumping on another group of people. Implying that it would make sense if he had an intellectual disability! Like intellectually disabled people go around raping women and running them over with cars.

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