Monday, July 23, 2012

Dang It People, watch what you say!

So, since I am going to rant about something that was said on one of those 24/7 TV channels this morning, I should first issue a bit of a disclaimer. I used to be a broadcast journalist. A radio News Director/reporter, in fact.Of course this was a long time ago,before we had 24/7 'coverage' of  everything. I should also say that I honestly believe the 24/7 channels aren't good for us.We used to get news after the reporters had time to find the facts, and verify those facts-triangulation was the way we went about our business.

But now, we have 24/7, and quite frankly a lot of what is said has no basis in fact. This morning on one of those channels one of the pundits in talking about the tragedy in Colorado, decided to weigh in with his conjecture that the shooter was on the autism spectrum. Now this personality has no way of knowing whether or not this is true, and what is worse, this personality has a son who is on the spectrum. So, you would think he would know that it is hard enough to be different in this society, to walk around as a person with autism or aspergers without people judging your behavior, or treating you as less than a person.

It makes no sense to have said this and put the thought out there. Honestly, sometimes we are meant to keep our thoughts to ourselves. I have had to listen to people comment on my son being different for the last 25 years.  It happens all too often. We can be at WalMart or the grocery store and someone will say something ugly about my son. Loud enough for me to hear them, loud enough for several people to hear them.It was rude, it was hurtful, and it is totally unnecessary.We've been asked to leave churches because they didn't think it was good for people to see "someone like him" in the congregation. It's hard enough to deal with without the added linking to the tragedy in Colorado.

We're all reeling over the news form Colorado. Believe me, I get it. In addition to the sense of helplessness, disbelief,and shock we all feel when these things happen, it brought lots of memories up for me. I am a gun violence survivor. Not once, not twice, but 3 times. Twice I was in the wrong place at the wrong time and was a random victim. The third time I admit, it was personal and may be the only time you will hear me say thank goodness he wasn't sober! I was riding in a car on  freeway nearly 40 years ago, and a sniper on an overpass was shooting people. Random, senseless violence. It leaves us all reeling.

But, nothing is served, by the 24/7 barrage of conjecture, opinions, misinformation and disinformation we are all bombarded with these days. When my husband was killed by a drunk driver I inadvertently caught the report on the local news the next day. I rocked me to my core. I can not imagine how the families and friends of the Colorado victims feel. I can imagine years from now how those who survived will feel.

I do know that words have power, and words can be used to heal or hurt. And the words this morning conjecturing whether the shooter might be on the autism spectrum or not were out of line,not based on any kind of known fact, and unnecessary. The only thing they can accomplish is make it even more difficult for those of us who live with the autism spectrum to be able to walk through the store or down a street without being looked at with fear and mistrust.This type of  irresponsible conjecture puts our children at risk. It is difficult enough to find acceptance in our society, but these comments give people reason to fear our children. Fear based in fallacy, promulgated by unwarranted conjecture.

Sometimes, we all need to keep our opinions to ourselves.

But then, that's just my opinion.

1 comment:

Andrea said...

I read an article online that was speculating about how abnormal it was that the shooter wasn't on Facebook or Twitter or other social media and how it could be taken as a sign that he is emotionally disturbed. Which felt so great for this no social media person to read... makes me wonder now if people will start to peg me as emotionally disturbed just because I prefer my privacy.

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