Thursday, 03 January 2013
The aftermath of the Newtown Connecticut shooting tragedy has spawned a wide range of questions regarding gun control and school safety. One of the questions I find myself asking is why the media is frequently associating Adam Lanza's Asperger's Syndrome diagnosis with the horrific event. I'm not the only one asking that question.
Not only is the label of Asperger's Syndrome in the Newtown school shooting unfair, it is also untrue. The parents of children with an Asperger's diagnosis I know, myself included, are becoming upset that this mild form of autism is being branded as some sort of catalyst that sparked Lanza's horrific rampage. The reality, that apparantly many in the media need to be educated on, is that Asperger's Syndrome symptoms aren't associated with violent outbursts or even pent up aggression. Children and teens with Aspberger's are far more likely to have docile traits than violent ones.
Children with Asperger's may be shy, lack natural social skills or have heightened sensitivity issues but they are far from remorseless killers prone to pre-planned mayhem. Asperger's traits and symptoms are no more to blame for Lanza's issues than his hair color or skin color. Of all the mental issues and social issues Lanaza had, Asperger's Syndrome was likely the least of his troubles. It's time the media realizes this.
We're being bombarded with daily updates on Lanza's profile, his relationship with his mother, revenge motives, access to guns and rampant questions about his mental health in general. We've had a little time to process the situation. It's time to remove the Asperger's tag to the killer's headlines.
Perhaps the tragedy in Newtown will serve as an opportunity to enlighten people with questions regarding Asperger's Syndrome symptoms and Asperger's in general. For now, the media has reminded parents of children with Asperger's that the Newtown tragedy coverage is a realization that Asperger's Syndrome traits remain highly misunderstood.