Trigger Warning: Describes the abuse and murder of an autistic child.
I have no idea how to explain how angry and sad stories like this one make me feel. Another mother has murdered her autistic child--this time by forcing him to swallow bleach. As if it's not bad enough that she force-fed her kid poison that caused him to die of internal chemical burns, other autism mommies are on her side. Didn't you know that it's just so hard raising an autistic kid? It's so hard, in fact, that apparently we're to believe that it's understandable and even honorable to kill your own kid for no other reason than that the kid is autistic.
This phenomena isn't limited to autism. Disabled children are murdered every day for similar reasons. No one wants to blame the parents because they think they have it so hard. So they vilify the condition, unable to comprehend that to vilify the condition in this way is to vilify the people who have the condition. Since disabled people's lives are not considered valuable like "real" people's lives are, their pain and experiences are not considered when they are murdered by the people who claim to care for them (although mysteriously enough, abusing a disabled child, which is a far less serious crime than murder, is considered to be evil). The parents and family of a disabled child are practically seen as saints by our society, and that often continues after the so-called saints have abused or murdered their child. We see this happen over and over again, and no matter how many times we challenge this, the general public seems just as ignorant of the fact that murdering a disabled person is still murder, even if you're their parent, even if it's hard, even if you "don't get enough support."
I don't understand why killing someone for being disabled isn't a hate crime. If you killed your son because he was gay and you didn't want him to be gay, it would be a hate crime. If you killed your son because he was black and you didn't want him to be black, it would be a hate crime. Punishment for killing disabled children often amounts to no more than a slap on the wrist--I remember a recent case that infuriated me where a woman killed her autistic daughter and was simply released after her trial. She went on to tell reporters that she loved her daughter and hated autism, and that was why she'd killed her. And groups like Autism Speaks aren't helping; they have used this kind of sentiment to attract money to themselves and their executives have even openly fantasized about killing their autistic children on tape. In front of the children.
If you could accept that autism was so terrible that murdering an autistic child was a legitimate option, you would have to accept that the autistic children are to blame for their own condition and the apparent misery of their parents. It pins the responsibility on the victim of the crime instead of the perpetrator, in this case an adult and a mother who should have been in control of her own actions. She had been plotting to kill her son for years and she did it deliberately. I'm assuming that the kid wasn't going to just happily swallow the bleach either. Somewhere in the middle of fighting with him to drink it, watching his face get burned from where the bleach had spilled, she had to stop and think, "Maybe I should call an ambulance. Maybe I should stop." She called 999 for herself. And I already know she probably had some mental health issues going on. But her actions suggest that she would not meet the legal requirements for insanity (because she was aware that what she was doing was wrong), and her actions should not be excused.
I don't know why this is still okay, 20 years after the ADA was signed. It's not okay to me, and it's not okay to a whole lot of other autistic people. If you're a non-autistic person reading this, and you're not familiar with these concepts, please understand that autistic people do have feelings. We can be hurt by comments like this, and more importantly, these comments shouldn't be made in the first place. Any attempts to make the murderers of autistic children sympathetic is nothing more than apologism. I want to see a future where language like this isn't used and ideas like that aren't spread, and then maybe autistic children will stop getting hurt.