The last couple of weeks dragged me across over 1,000 miles and seven towns with no end in slight. There have been gigs, heretofore unknown cousins, research misadventures, and the miseries of breaking in new work books. Last night, I was lounging in a comfortable chair, trying not to move. I wanted to sleep but had fidgety thoughts.
They killed another one. They nearly severed his hand, called it mercy. The headlines say they were desperate. Less sensational articles note that their state offered help. They refused it. Their suicide attempts were pitifully insincere. As thorough as they were with Alex, it is odd that they failed to spare the good people of Illinois the expense of their trial. They seem to be getting more sympathy than their victim. People assume that autistics, the disabled in general, are so different from everyone else that killing us is humane. What is beneficial and desirable to others is not so to us.
Here in Georgia, we have an Autism Speaks-sponsored bill that would incentivze ABA. That is never good. This is particularly infuriating because they are parading a child around as their mascot. She seems like a great kid. I like her just from the Facebook photos. If her parents care what is best for her, they think it is being an activist.
When allistic children have public lives, we worry. Sunlight, not limelight, helps growing bodies and minds. We sigh over child stars. They are cute now, but life will be difficult for them unless they make the transition to adult acting. Many now-grown kid celebrities’ lives are train wrecks. They are anything but healthy, happy, well-adjusted, productive adults. We admire President Obama and the First Lady, whether we like their politics or not, for keeping their girls’ lives quiet, normal. Sasha and Malia turn up in the occasional Facebook photo, but their parents seem to keep them mostly out of politics and public life.
One would think that public portrayals of the first family would be a reflection of society’s wishes for all its children. Autistic kids are apparently so weird, so special, as to be an exception to the rules. Autistic youth do not necessarily need real childhoods, where they learn advocacy without being expected to man the barricades. Autistic children, autistics in general, are not thought to need and want the preservation of life, the awe-inspiring drive and common feature of nearly all beings. This is ableism at its finest: those people are such freaks that murdering them, committing one of the most viscerally disturbing crimes that others fear and dread, killing them without their consent, can be an act of mercy.
Even if you share my belief that Alex went home to a god who received him like a favorite son, that boy lost everything his life could have been. He had many more years. Nothing can compensate him for a lost future that might have been wonderful. He will never feel the sun of our world on his face again. He suffered agony and terror at the hands of those he loved, trusted most. He was robbed of the chance to realize whatever dreams he might have had. If you feel one iota of sympathy for Alex Spourdalakis’ killers, you are part of the problem. Rethink those feelings. Start working on changing society’s sense that the disabled are so different that the general rules of basic human needs, wants, and welfare do not apply.