With the tragic events unfolding regarding the recent school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary, we here at Autism Women’s Network send our heartfelt condolences to all the families. It is unimaginable what they are going through at this time. The loss of so many innocent lives is unspeakable and heartbreaking.
With a few media sources reporting that the shooter is on the autism spectrum, we want to make an appeal that reporters and news outlets tread carefully in this regard. First, nothing has been confirmed about any possible diagnosis the shooter may have had.
Secondly, there is zero evidence linking planned crimes to autism. It cannot be stressed enough that autistic people, as well as all people with disabilities, are more likely to become victims of violence and crime rather than the perpetrators of such: Crime Victims with Developmental Disabilities.
Please remember that attempts to link a population of people to a particular crime is stigmatizing and damaging. The lasting affects cause incomparable harm and hurts autistic people. We appeal to all media and news agencies to use great care in reporting the facts as well as how the facts are framed. We ask that you practice responsibility in your media coverage. Any insinuation that autism is the cause of planned criminal violence is wholly inaccurate, as there is no evidence to support this assumption.
At this time, our attention is focused on those who lost their lives and their families. We extend our deepest sympathies and continued thoughts of comfort.
AWN Board of Directors: Sharon daVanport, President -- Corina Becker, Vice President -- Mara Fritts, Secretary & Treasurer -- Lori Berkowitz, Director of Web Development
Here are a few Autism Community posts covering Newtown, CT:
• Autistic Self Advocacy Network: http://autisticadvocacy.org/2012/12/asan-statement-on-media-reports-regarding-newton-ct-shooting
• Autism Society: http://www.autism-society.org/news/autism-society-no-linkage.html
• Paula C. Durbin Westby, Autistic Advocacy Blog:http://paulacdurbinwestbyautisticblog.blogspot.com/2012/12/mother-with-asperger-syndrome-grieves.html
• Rachel Cohen-Rottenberg, Disability and Representation:http://www.disabilityandrepresentation.com/2012/12/15/when-children-die-grieve-reflect-dont-scapegoat
• Emily Willingham, Autism, Empathy and Violence: One of these things doesn't belong here: http://www.emilywillinghamphd.com/2012/12/autism-empathy-and-violence-one-of.html
Please send all replies to: firstname.lastname@example.org