Thom Hartmann hosted an interview with Mike Elk and Ari Ne'eman yesterday. Hartmann takes Scarborough to task for his recent comments suggesting that accused shooter James Holmes is autistic, but the discussion went much further and could serve as an excellent introduction to basic concepts in neurodiversity.
Elk is a journalist for In These Times who believes that it is important for successful people like himself to be open about their autism. He says that autistic people are already isolated, and that comments linking us to violence will make us more isolated. Research does not show any connection between autism and the sort of violence Holmes is accused of.
Ne'eman is the president of the Autistic Self Advocacy Network and the first ever autistic presidential appointee. He points out that this is not an issue of political correctness, but one of prejudice.
Both discuss Autism Speaks. Elk shares my opinion that it has a lot in common with Komen for the Cure. Ne'eman talks about research priorities and the need for a discussion about autism that acknowledges both strengths and challenges.
Essential. I would have liked to have heard from a woman as well, but that's my only criticism.
This morning, Joe Scarborough speculated on his MSNBC Morning Joe program that James Holmes, who has been arrested for shooting dozens of people at a screening of The Dark Knight Rises in Aurora, Colorado, is autistic:
"As soon as I hear about this shooting, I knew who it was. I knew it was a young, white male, probably from an affluent neighborhood, disconnected from society -- it happens time and time again. Most of it has to do with mental health; you have these people that are somewhere, I believe, on the autism scale," said Scarborough, whose son has Asperger's syndrome. "I don't know if that's the case here, but it happens more often than not. People that can walk around in society, they can function on college campuses -- they can even excel on college campuses -- but are socially disconnected."
This is what part of I mean when I say that some parents of autistic people, especially those who work in the media, encourage bigotry against us.