Daily Archives: November 26, 2006

Holding autistic people hostage is not a way to fight for our rights.


I noticed that I was not the only person too disgusted and horrified after the murder of Ulysses Stable to even want to speak to people who think of justifying his death in any way. It seems that a lot of us have had enough.

I know that a lot of people think there’s nothing wrong with saying stuff like, “If you don’t give parents respite hours, parents will kill their children.” Regardless of how much respite the murderers had, for that matter, but that’s another story.

All any of you are doing, when you say those things, is holding autistic children — and adults — hostage. Yes, it’s dressed up, and pretty, and fancy, and sounds like concern for parents and the safety of children. Yes, you may even believe that’s all you’re doing.

But if you take off all the sparkly ornamentation that distracts people, what you’re left with is the image of a person holding a gun to the head of each and every autistic person, and saying, “If you don’t do what we say, we’ll murder them, one by one.” And you’re degrading parents too, by the way, because you’re painting them as potential killers.

It’s no shock to me that autistics are fed up with this treatment. Many of us can see through that kind of thing quite easily and see the threat that lies behind it. Using killing as a bargaining tool only begets more killing, as Dick Sobsey and others have pointed out. And nobody should be surprised that autistic people are sick and tired of being the ones whose lives are used to bargain with.

So I will join with many others I know in saying: If you have any shred of respect for autistic people, stop using us as hostages. Find some other way to lobby for respite hours and other assistance. Stop devaluing our lives. We are people. And we notice fully what you are doing to us, when you take off all the shiny doodads that distract most people from what you’re really saying about us.