Whose Planet Is It Anyway?

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Hijacked Lives

Blogging can get nasty sometimes. That's just a fact of life in the 21st century. Usually trolls and their noxious rants don't bother me, but every now and then, I see a comment so putrid and disgusting that it just needs to be picked up with a wad of virtual toilet paper, flushed, and a large amount of Lysol sprayed on the screen to get rid of any residue.

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.

Hijacked lives.

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  • 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.

    I think I'm going to refer to them as the Bizarro Autism Community from now on.

    By Blogger Joseph, at 4:15 PM  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger not my blg, at 6:56 PM  

  • I read that post on Left/Brain right brain as well. I've been trying to hold my own against a group who wants to discriminate against autistics based on "functioning" level and they advocate eugenics. Since I can't post on the Hub anymore, I would like to invite anyone interested in joining this discussion to visit Avi's website at


    Look under Right and Responsibility headline
    I've been trying to articulate our anti-cure argument there but it would be nice not to be all alone. Avi has allowed me to send out this invitation to all hub members.

    Avi Bar-Ze’ev is an inventor, programmer, and author. He was in charge of developing the original "Google Earth" PC client from 1999-2001 for a company called Keyhole. He has contributed to or lead development on a handful of 3D game and ride experiences for Disney, LindenLab, and others. His science fiction story, "Vintage," was published in 2000 and he has several novels completed.

    By Blogger not my blg, at 6:58 PM  

  • Also in Alternative Quakiverse it is perfectly logical to call someone a "Pharma Shill" for not buying into the anti-vax koolaid... BUT it is perfectly acceptable that their "tireless" researchers get paid by personal injury lawyers for putting out specific anti-vax research (like Wakefield and the Geiers with their MedCon company).

    By Anonymous HCN, at 8:30 PM  

  • I agree that most of the memorial posts about Katie McCarron were tasteful, appropriate, and sometimes quite moving. The latest post by Kev, however, includes the following invective:

    There is still absolutely zero evidence that vaccines cause autism. Anyone ⎯ and I mean anyone who has had a hand in perpetuating that myth bears some responsibility for the murder of Katie McCarron.

    Using the killing of an innocent child -- a death that had nothing to do with biomed or the hypothesis that vaccines may trigger autism -- to decry those opinions is every bit as wrong as using the death to make unrelated points about lack of services. Neither had anything to do with the murder, and neither should be connected to it in a "memorial."

    By Blogger Wade Rankin, at 11:19 PM  

  • Wade, the sentences you quoted were part of a conditional statement beginning with "if she felt that vaccines caused her daughter's autism," and made in response to a newspaper's suggestion that the mother might have felt guilty about choosing to vaccinate. The main topic of Kev's post was irresponsible journalism, which can lead to copycat murders.

    If anti-vaccination opinions had nothing to do with the murder, then you are quite right that they should not have been mentioned. However, the suggestion that there was a causal link was made in the newspaper article; Kev was merely responding to it.

    By Blogger abfh, at 12:59 AM  

  • Autism is not a difference. It's a nightmare that needs to be eradicated. While some of you will undoubtedly "spin" that statement as advocating the eradication of autistic people, the rest of us see it as a medical error that screwed up our kids' lives and made our own lives and our other childrens' lives a living hell.
    Kevin leaps on every opportunity to knock the responsible parents who help their kids rather than just letting them rot. Not trying to cure autism is just plain stupid.

    By Blogger Fore Sam, at 10:09 AM  

  • Fore Sam,
    It's almost always parents who feel that way about it, never actual autistics themselves. My family would never feel that way about me. They acknowlege that we all have different strengths and weaknesses and they love me for who I am. They wouldn't change me for the world, nor I them.

    Anyhow, yeah, I know you're just going to continue being antagonistic, so I don't know why I bother.

    ABFH, I just wanted to bring up, Autism Speaks has just started making TV commercials. Is there any way our side could ever start making commercials?

    By Anonymous Kath, at 11:03 AM  

  • Kath, there has been some discussion at Aspies for Freedom about making short films and public service announcements. Site admin Amy Nelson is collecting and posting videos on her Autistic Culture website.

    Wade, just to clarify one more point, I wasn't referring to you when I wrote that some people were unfairly criticizing Kev's post. I think you have a legitimate gripe: not blogging about a particular topic, or not going into detail about it, shouldn't be equated to not caring about it.

    By Blogger abfh, at 5:06 PM  

  • Kath;
    That's a great idea. Put Dave Andrews, the Diva and a few others in an ad saying they don't want cures. Public opinion will demand that they get help and you'll all be rounded up by HHS and chelated. When you're normal, you'll see how bad off you were and you'll see neurodiversity for the sham that it is.

    By Blogger Fore Sam, at 8:28 PM  

  • There have also been some public radio interviews recently that were sympathetic to our side, Kath; that's better than commercials, I'd say.

    Here are a couple of links to blog posts about these interviews:



    By Blogger abfh, at 2:02 AM  

  • Hi abfh
    I agree with you about the nastiness in blogging these days and I consider this sad.
    Perhaps you have read some of my posts about. I appreciate- and share- many many aspects of what neurodiversity proposes. and I do not consider that neurodiversity and biomedical field are opposite. For me and in my particular case I have tried to complement the best of both.
    I hope sincerely that a different space of discussion and learning can resume or be constructed.
    María Luján

    By Blogger María Luján, at 2:45 PM  

  • Hi María, welcome to my blog. Yes, I have seen your comments on several websites, and you always have a calm and thoughtful perspective.

    By Blogger abfh, at 8:30 PM  

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