For one, I had to go to more than one link to even find the victim's identity, even though the murder's is clear through any, and all articles I have seen thus far. While sometimes I have seen this happen when the detectives are unsure of the identities of the deceased, or when there are other minor siblings involved in the case they may not always release names none of those things are true in this situation. In this situation Austin was an adult. He was an adult that is mostly referred to as "Lightwine's son" in most of the articles. Way to erase his identity, media! His name was Austin Anderson. He should not be referred to as his killer's son.
I felt like I needed to get that part off my chest, because this next part is where my tone turns a little. Maybe, a lot from what my regular readers are used to. I don't typically write a lot of in your face types of pieces. Today I feel like I am. For me, this is pushy, and more edgy than usual. It might not seem so to others, though.
If you're in the autism community you've probably come across this article several times already by now on social media, right? How has the reaction been? Have you seen a lot of outrage? How about sympathy for the mother? Have you seen a lot of talk about needing more support for parents?
I have. All of the above. Sometimes all in the same post, combined together in a ball of tightly wound contradictions that feel impossible to pull apart. Doesn't mean I haven't tried, but the posters, and those that stand with them hold on tightly to their beliefs.
Such as these comments I came across under the article on FB:
Here we have the all encompassing doublespeak where a parent engages in a discussion about how they aren't excusing a killer's actions while actively looking for every which reason under the sun the person could have been driven to madness , thus postulating it can be understanding that a person under such strain could indeed kill their child, but they shouldn't, but they could, but, I mean she is a monster. I'm just saying if she had more help maybe she'd not have been such a bad person, and would have not been a drug addict with a terrible temper, and not have made terrible, selfish choices, like killing her son, but you know, we need to talk about respite.
That's what I hear when I read those posts, and others like it. I said that there is no separating the two. Either she is wrong, or she isn't. Either you sympathize with a murderer, or you don't, because in this case it really is that simple. When other people are murdered people do not use the space underneath of the story on social media to discuss how bad the killer had it. They don't come up with every excuse the killer may have ever had in their entire life to have made that choice against the deceased. It is so vile. It is so disgusting. It is so inappropriate to me that anyone would use the space underneath any article about a vulnerable person's death to discuss their own needs, or how the killer's needs are not being met. That is the most selfish, unemphatic thing I have ever witnessed, and would not happen if the person that was killed was typical, or non-disabled.
So, here is where I ask all of you to help.
If you see this type of behavior call people out on it. Tell them it's inappropriate. Tell them they're adding to the hate that disabled people face everyday. Tell them that they are trivializing disabled people's lives every time they use that kind of language about us. Our lives are every bit as important as everyone else's, and we deserve to spoken about, and seen as equal. This won't happen if the same rhetoric keeps getting passes along about the tired, burdened mother. You don't have to engage in an argument with anyone if you don't want to. Simply telling people that you don't appreciate the way they spoke, and why can be enough to initiate change if enough of us do it. It needs to become socially unacceptable to speak that way about disabled people.
He had a name.
It was Austin.
Don't let anyone hijack this tragedy, and make it about themselves.
P.S. Ugly arguments may be deleted.