I am not going to even try to pretty this one up today. Today, I want to talk about a subject that strikes at the heart of every Powell Aspie, whether they be fully grown or still a child. I am not sure exactly when it happened, but posts abound about the murder of four year old Daniel Corby. Lydia Brown has also posted a good statement about this.
What most of the posts from the autistic about Daniel relate to is not that he was apparently autistic or that his mother was “stressed”. No, what the autistic community wants you, the audience, out there to understand is that Daniel was four years old. This is an important point, because even if Jesus drop-kicked you through the goal-posts of life when you were born (it’s a reference to a song title, idiots), being four years old entails a certain degree of dependence upon one’s parents. Especially the mother, an entity with whom all children develop a curious bond in utero and throughout early childhood. The Faith No More song Zombie Eaters gives an interesting perspective of this bond through the “eyes” of a distressed mother. But this is kind of beside the point, because no matter what way you slice it, a four year old boy is dead, and has been killed by the one person that society dictates he should be able to trust regardless of all else. There are a number of things wrong with this, and if Daniel is going to get any justice (yeah, right), we need to go over exactly what is wrong, and why.
First and foremost, no matter how ill a woman is, or how disabled the child is, murdering a child is the very definition of wrong. We harp on about the fact that many of the people that were killed by the Nazi regime in Europe during its reign were children. Many of these children were picked out simply because they were either disabled to a sufficient degree for people to notice, or they had what the regime saw as the wrong grandparents. The people who observed this grisly event from outside, resistance fighters, Allied soldiers, and the like, did not even remotely consider this excusable conduct. As depicted in films or television shows (eg Band Of Brothers), some of the soldiers flew into a rage at the German civilians who denied any knowledge of what was going on. Who would not?
There used to be a saying on the Internet that when you start likening the position of your opponent in an argument to that of the Nazi regime, or more specifically Adolf Hitler, you have automatically lost the argument. In this case, the saying is invalid. Not only is the comparison of the media reporting and parent-sympathising in the murder of Daniel Corby to the Nazis appropriate, it is apt. Somewhere in hell, Josef Göbbels is expressing his approval of the murder of Daniel Corby, and especially of the media coverage that it has received so far.
Media outlets, have you ever stopped to wonder how this must look to an autistic adult? I do not know about what goes on in America, but in Australia, when the autistic spectrum is so much as mentioned by anyone other than a handful of specialists, one cannot swing a severed limb without hitting the word “children”. Everything is children, children, children. To someone who was diagnosed as an adult and is losing a protracted battle with sleep deprivation as a result of how he was neglected and abused as a child, this is so aggravating that it is only a matter of time before violence results. Contrary to what certain inhuman filth will happily tell you, there are autistic adults, and theirs is not the happiest world on Earth. Every time a child is murdered and the murderer let off because the child is autistic, that sends we autistic adults a message. And that message is of the kind that people normally only send in war. Is this a declaration of war, normies? Is this some normie asshole’s joke that we autistic assholes do not get? Because I can assure you, normies, I am not fukking laughing. (Yes, I am paraphrasing and slightly cleaning up Vas Blackwood‘s awesome routine from Lock, Stock, And Two Smoking Barrels. It is for a reason.)
In fact, allow me for a moment to drag out my favourite yardstick for comparison. Imagine for a second that this was a four year old child with diabetes. I do not know what goes on in America, but every civilised country in the world subsidises to some degree the tools and medicines necessary to properly care for one’s diabetes. So in Australia, if a woman pleaded that she murdered her child because she could not handle the stress of caring for a child with diabetes, they would reintroduce the death penalty just for her. And unlike autism, diabetes is a real disability (the subject of reversion disability is a matter for another discussion).
So allow me to tell you, readers, exactly how the autistic feel when news reports like these seem to be spilling out on a daily basis. We feel discriminated against. And I do not mean discriminated in the sense of being denied a job or a promotion because our sex, skin colour, or some other characteristic is “wrong”. In such cases, you have people you can complain to and seek review of the case, even getting resolution. We, the autistic, have nobody to go to in order to complain. We are discriminated against simply because we live and were born different to those in power. When did this become acceptable to you, norms? Please enlighten me, because at this stage I am literally dying to know.
In case you have not guessed already, a great portion of the blame for this must rest with the society the murdered child grew up in. Even during the 1980s, when I was a child, the society mothers like mine were living in spared no effort in telling such mothers that the abuse and mistreatment, of which murder is the ultimate form, of a child was flat-out wrong. Even when a mother hurt her child, there were avenues through which both could be brought back from the brink and allowed to put it behind them. But when a mother murdered her child during the 1980s, she was marked for life. Even if they did let her out of prison at some point, none in the neighborhood would ever deign to speak to her again. And the critically important point was that when a murdered child turned out to be disabled, that was not seen as an excuse. It was seen as grounds for even harsher punishment. I know this because several cases in the news that happened to get my attention of children with cerebral palsy or mental retardation being murdered were harsh to the parents in a way that will probably seem ridiculous to someone who has only seen these recent news reports. In the 1980s and 1990s, the media understood that when you murder a child, you have done a wrong that few can equal, and fewer still can surpass, and deserve to be talked about as such. Has thirty years of media deregulation and gutting of social services caused us to sink this low?
In fact, the media is also a good place to start looking for someone to blame about this. Ronald Bass, et al, you should be absolutely disgusted with yourselves. Whilst you had the sole voice in our media, we had this picture of autism as something horrible, nasty, worse than diabetes or cancer, et cetera ad nauseum. Every time a mother murders a child and asks to be let off because that child was autistic, every time the increasingly out of touch court system complies with that request, it is on your heads as far as I am concerned. Your portrayals of autism on television, in film, or in any form of advertising, are no better than Jim Crow ‘toons or the like. In fact, they are worse because when you put out this Jim Autism crap without regard to the consequences that you will never have any understanding of, you help make difficult lives like mine that little bit more difficult. And if you could be bothered reading the rest of what I have to say around here, you would know very well that nobody deliberately sets out to make another person’s life this difficult without the intention of utterly breaking that person. There is a day coming when an autistic adult decides that they have had enough and to organise resistance against this. And in this context, resistance means anything from “lynching” the murderers of autistic children (“lynching” in quotes, because when you kill a child, you should be punished, not congratulated) or better yet, killing multiple normie adults for every autistic child that is murdered. Do not kid yourselves that this will not happen, because I know I cannot be the only one who is getting sick of being made out to be of lesser value than another person because of a difference from them that I cannot help.
There is a historical precedent for this, too. Although the conflict in Northern Ireland is one with so many factions and grievances that even people who were participating in it for decades were confused by it all, the very simplified version is that one side felt stepped on and treated as if they were lesser Human beings than the “right” side. This resulted in people all over Northern Ireland and England being killed, dying in bombings, and other fun activities that one would hardly be in a rush to associate with a country that is still very much a first-world country. And whilst I am only throwing this in there as a generalised example, I can assure you that this is far from an isolated example. There are plenty of conflicts around the world in which an isolated, marginalised minority fights by means both fair and foul a disrespectful, ignorant, idiotic majority. Do you really want to push the autistic far enough that the conflict descends into something reminiscent of Burma, Israel/Palestine, or what used to be the USSR? I would welcome the challenge, myself, but only because I no longer consider my life to be of much value (gee, I wonder why), and have no qualms about taking as many normies with me as I can.
The mind boggles as to how you, the normies, thought it would be okay to treat us in this manner. When it suddenly became unacceptable to demonise, marginalise, and mistreat the mentally ill, did you think the autistic would conveniently step up to the plate and provide you with your quota of abusive amusement? Well, sorry, but we are not interested, and the fact that you seem to think it is even okay to ask says a lot more about you than it does us.
So where does that leave us, both sides of the table in a conflict that must make no sense to the man from Mars? Well, for one thing, the normie side of the table must not only make a pledge, but honor it. Equal rights, the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, and justice for all. All of that bullshit, must be explicitly extended to include the autistic. When the people who wrote the constitutions of each nation wrote things like this, they did not mean “as long as these people have the right type of brain”. They literally meant everybody. Sure, they had a bit of a lag in terms of implementation, but even rich white landowners were beginning to see the value in laws that included and applied to everybody. And part of that value is that anyone, from a rich white landowner to that little Mexican boy in the corner whose father cuts their grass in order to make a living, can be autistic. The richer you or your family are, the further upper in class you are, or the more comfortable the place you live in is, the less likely you are to be aware that you might be autistic. And since autism supposedly runs in families, quite often the idea of a mother killing her autistic child can translate into killing one’s own kind. And in places like Europe during World War II, killing your own kind except in the most dire of circumstances was one of the few things considered to be absolutely not on.
The years from 1933 to 1945 are often referred to by historians and fiction writers alike as the darkest days of the twentieth century. They are called such because a social majority (albeit one represented by some real runts in places) was allowed to thrive at the expense of, and indiscriminately kill, a number of different social minorities. Now, less than seventy years after the end of that regime, we are faced with the very difficult question of whether we are any better than it. That is a very ugly question that we honestly should not have to be asking ourselves, not if our concepts of justice and fairness are supposed to have any meaning. Do we know what we must look like to whatever intelligent life might be observing us by whatever means? How do we look to some of the similar species that we seem to have forgotten about?
Daniel Corby will never get the chance to look at the world he was part of and ask how we can look at ourselves, Nobody else will get the chance to see him and maybe get to know him as a person of value or merit. That is the worst aspect by far of cases like this. A theme in one of the most powerful accidental depictions of an autistic adult (Starman) is that the true protagonist of the story is at first terrified by the titular character, but grows to understand him and eventually is changed forever, for the better, by having crossed paths with him. Nobody will ever be able to derive that benefit from Daniel Corby‘s existence now. Ergo, his mother has not merely stolen from him, but from potentially all of us.
If you have read all of this to the end and understand what I am on about, please pass it on. Tell the others. And thank you.
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(*Oh yeah, and in case you were wondering, the subject line is a quote from a Pungent Stench song. If you can stomach such lyrics as about rotting stillbirths and grandmothers being made to eat their own flesh, then you can check out the lyrics for the whole album here. The end of the first song (“…the real monsters are you!”) is something we should be saying to a lot of different people.)
I hope whoever prosecutes Patricia Corby (or offers her a plea deal, which is sadly possible) thinks about the fact that she DROWNED a four-year-old child, who must have been strong enough to fight desperately for his life, at least for a few terrible moments. Think of the determination it took Patricia Corby to accomplish this. Or the rage. I hope to hell she is not allowed to spin this as an act of mercy.
I did not know these details when I wrote the above. In order to drown a living thing, one has to hold it down and ignore its struggles and pleas for one to stop. Which means that in order to drown a four year old boy, especially one who has at least half the same DNA as you do, one has to suffer from a terminal lack of compassion or Human decency. If anyone feels like flying me out to cut Patricia Corby’s throat in the absence of any real justice being done, just say the word as far as I am concerned.
Wow, you verbalised my feeling sooooo much better than I could. Well done.
ACA and Today Tonight have been all out this month with stories of the ZOMG-terrible-horrible “tragedy” of having an autistic child. (I know, typical fare for them, and I don’t watch but my parents always say, “Hey did you see it?”) Can’t help thinking it won’t be long before we see another Daniel Corby case here.
I think one thing that we can take comfort in is that most intelligent and responsible Australians (a declining minority outside of the cities, I know) see these stories and have their bullshit alarm go off to one degree or another. Advocates also tend to have a stronger voice in this country than is the case in the UK or USA. But I honestly believe that even one Daniel Corby case is too many, especially in a society that likes to constantly pat itself on the back and croon about how far it supposedly has come.