Although there are some Internet sites that discuss murder of autistics, I have not seen any site that gives the reader an interactive experience similar to that presented at the Museum of Tolerance. I'm going to remedy that lack by describing what it would have been like for you, the reader, to be a young autistic child from Illinois, three-year-old Katherine McCarron:
If your mother had not been a doctor, she might not have seen any cause for concern when you did not talk much as a toddler. Indeed, she might have thought you were a clever baby for lining up your toys neatly. But she was familiar with today's autism awareness campaigns, and she promptly took you to get a diagnosis and enrolled you in a school for autistic children. She joined an autism support group and became obsessed with finding the best treatments for you.
One of her friends was quoted as saying that your mother's life was "all about autism" and that she "couldn't break away from the dark stuff." The friend didn't elaborate on what the dark stuff was, but we can make a reasonable guess. Maybe it was the statements from Cure Autism Now to the effect that an autistic child is nothing but "a shell, a ghost of all the dreams and hopes you ever had." It could have been the fundraising solicitations of the National Alliance for Autism Research (NAAR) and other groups that describe autism as a devastating disorder. Perhaps she saw the remarks by Rick Rollens of the MIND Institute, who compared autistic people to train wrecks and their existence to a tsunami. Wherever she looked, your mother found websites, press releases, and posters calling for the demise of autism. It's possible that she watched a recent video by Autism Speaks, which implied that "every day" mothers think about murdering their autistic children.
You were an innocent three-year-old, and you didn't know that so many strident voices had declared your life and the existence of millions of people like you to be a burden on society. You just enjoyed playing with your toys, watching the bees in the clover, and feeling the soft grass beneath your feet and the wind in your hair on a warm spring day.
Until your mother put a plastic bag over your head and suffocated you on Mother's Day weekend.
** never again **
Suzanne Wright of Autism Speaks, which is funding prenatal testing eugenics research through its affiliate NAAR, recently said that her vision of the future is one in which autism "is a word for the history books."
Let me tell you something about what it's like to end up as a word for the history books. A century ago, large numbers of Jews lived in Yiddish-speaking villages in Central and Eastern Europe. Such a village was called a shtetl. Life was often hard for these villagers, who were persecuted in many ways, but they created a rich and vibrant culture in which they celebrated their unique experiences and their different outlook on the world. When the Nazis came to power, these villagers were all rounded up and sent to the concentration camps. A way of life that had endured for a millennium was destroyed in just a few short years.
You're not going to find a shtetl in today's Europe. It's just a word for the history books.
** never again **
Approximately 55 million people worldwide are on the autistic spectrum, according to an estimate by the UK's National Autistic Society. That's a social minority group made up of 55 million human beings whose genotype has existed since ancient times, who share a thriving international culture, who often find life hard because of prejudice and discrimination but still celebrate their accomplishments and their unique perspective on life.
How many more times will genocide have to happen before our world finally learns to value all human beings? How many more children will die because of hate and ignorance?