I really didn't want to have to write about the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting. I don’t want to look back. It is too awful and thinking about it gets me very depressed. At the same time I have an observation that is worth sharing. It has taken me a while to sort through the layers of my own feelings so that I could express myself properly, but I think I have hashed it out.
I would like to address the link made by many in the media that the shooter had Asperger's Syndrome and why it is both dangerous and sad. When I mentioned to a co-worker the fears of the autism community that people may draw conclusions that autistic people are violent by nature of their diagnosis, his reply was, “I don’t think you have to worry about that. Most people are smart enough to know that is not the case.”
Most people? Maybe. But there are people out there that are easily swayed. People who are lazy. People who don’t want to spend time researching something through credible resources. People that want a headline and the more salacious that headline the better. So when THOSE people see that the killer’s brother says the killer was autistic, that is all they need to seal shut their already closed mind.
And once that decision is made, the hate speech starts to fly. Here are a couple of the more popular examples floating around the net...
The media can follow up with every Aspie from coast to coast, and those people won't care. Alex Plank can write an incredible editorial on CNN, Kerry Magro can post a wonderful video and Peter Bell of Autism Speaks can go on television and that will probably help with Google searches, but those that have their minds already influenced by the earlier coverage have no need to follow up on their belief that autistic people are prone to horrible acts of premeditate violence.
And that brings me to my point. I wonder… What do these people think of the fact that at least two of the children killed in this horrible act were autistic? Dylan Hockley, age 6 and Josephine “Joey” Grace Gay who had just turned 7 three days prior were both victims in the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting, yet what name do you think comes to mind for the general public when I mention “Sandy Hook” and “autism” in the same sentence?
Me too. I won’t print it here. It isn't fair to Dylan and Joey. They deserve better than to have their memory hijacked by a lunatic. They deserved a life of acceptance and being provided the tools necessary to reach their full potential. They deserved a lifetime of unconditional love from their family. They had so much unrealized potential, yet in their short time with us CLEARLY touched so many others.
They deserve to be the ones we remember. Make it your mission to insure that their memory lives on and that their lives had meaning.
Share their story. Talk about the victims. We know the killer liked violent video games, but did you know that Dylan liked to play video games? Or that Dylan and Joey shared purple as their favorite color? Did you know that Joey, not unlike my Bianca LOVED hugs?
We can’t re-write history. But we can choose how to remember it.
If you are able, please honor the memory of Dylan with a donation via Paypal or by mail to:
34 Charter Ridge Rd.
Sandy Hook, CT 06482
Joey can be honored via a donation to: