No, I'm not referring to any comments posted on my site (although some of the recent ones haven't been particularly sweet-smelling, either). I'm talking about a reeking verbal turd that was deposited on Kevin Leitch's blog by a bio-woo-quack-shill whose claim to infamy includes blatant insurance fraud and chemical castration of autistic children.
Kev wrote about the close personal bond that has developed between his family and the McCarron family, and he also discussed the irresponsibility of journalists who describe murders of children with disabilities in such a way as to imply that the killer's behavior may be understandable. I have rarely seen such emotional depth in a blog post, such genuine expression of caring and concern. I have great respect for Kev's decision (which can't have been easy) to put such intense feelings out there on the Internet for the whole world to see.
The above-mentioned woomeister, for whom I have such total contempt that I won't even bother to mention his name, promptly responded to Kev's post with this sneering comment:
"You’ve officially hijacked the tragedy of Katie’s murder and turned it into a platform for your anti-biomed activism."
That's one of the most wrongheaded and despicable accusations I've seen in a long time. It certainly reveals a lot about the mindset of certain folks in the biomed camp, with their rampant paranoia and their manipulative attitude toward other people's feelings and lives generally. In the Alternative Quackiverse, up is down, day is night, the scientific method is a tool of satanic conspirators, and no one expresses any concern about children's lives unless it's part of a calculated propaganda scheme to sell a new bogus cure. Apparently, the bio-woo-spin doctors find it totally incomprehensible that anyone really could care about the life of an autistic child.
The Katie McCarron online memorial had nothing to do with "anti-biomed activism." Most of the posts written by the participating bloggers, including mine, didn't mention biomed at all. The memorial was about disability prejudice and the consequences of a hateful social attitude that divides children's lives into one of two categories—perfect or worthless.
Although biomed quackery exacerbates and feeds upon such prejudices, neurodiversity is not the opposite of biomed. Nor is it the opposite of child murder, or torture, or any other isolated issue. Neurodiversity is a broad-based philosophy of valuing human life and respecting neurological differences. It stands in opposition to the ignorant prejudices that have hijacked and devalued the lives of so many autistic people, of so many human beings with various differences—no matter how these prejudices may be expressed.
I've started to cry, on several occasions, while reading posts on Autism Diva's website that apparently were meant to have a cheerful tone, such as a description of graduation day at a high school for autistic children. One of the graduating students spoke about how she felt when she enrolled at the school:
"I didn't end up here by mistake. I wasn't going to make it in any other school and so out of necessity I accepted my differences, the whole scope of them. I was by no means happy about it, this was not any kind of liberating experience where I finally felt okay with who I was, this was more of a surrender than anything else. I was pissed that I had gone as far as I had through life being a total freak and not even knowing the extent of it."
She went on to say that her feelings about the school changed because she made friends for the first time and began to view her experience of being rejected by society as a "gift of imperative individuality."
I found this story heartbreaking.
More than 50 years ago, the United States Supreme Court banned racial segregation in the schools, in a thorough and well-reasoned opinion that cited psychological studies of the emotional harm done to children who were treated as belonging to an inferior race. What has our society learned about diversity and equal rights since then? Have we learned anything at all? Once again, we have a system of de facto segregation of the children of a minority group, who are regularly bullied, often excluded from mainstream schools or placed in separate classrooms, and made to feel that they deserve no better treatment because they are genetically inferior "freaks" who cannot be part of society, no matter what they do.