Friday, April 6, 2012

Murder is Murder no matter how you look at it.

I like to think that I can see both sides of many issues.  Sometimes it comes easily and sometimes it's a real struggle for me.

Recently, and with alarmingly increasing regularity, stories have been hitting the news of parents who kill their kids because they are unable to handle them.  Autism is often cited as the problem and for some reason, society seems to be very understanding. These stories are very painful to read but I read them anyway and I think really carefully over these situations looking for clues.  

In my own way I like to think that the world isn't evil, that people don't commit these criminal acts unless they are completely overwhelmed.  I try so very hard to attribute causes to things around these people, to blame society for a lack of services, to blame mental issues, high blood pressure or any other influence.

It's like making excuses for Hitler.

Maybe it makes me feel better to pretend that there isn't evil in the world but I'm lying to myself.

Our world is full of evil -- and pure evil starts with the murder of innocents.

I'm sure that there are some instances where murder is justified, perhaps if your assailant has a weapon capable of terminating you or someone under your protection.  Perhaps to relieve someone's intense suffering (by their own explicitly stated choice).  That's it really, I can't think of any other excuses.

  • We get upset when our police fatally shoot people wielding knifes. These children with autism have not had weapons.

  • We take extra care when the victim of a massive disabling or disfiguring injury expresses suicidal tendencies assuming that they're not in their right mind at the time. Why aren't we taking the same care with parents and children in these situations?  Why isn't their instability being noticed and monitored?

  • We hear of groups who have issues with Euthanasia and Abortion. Why aren't these groups screaming about these recent murders?  Where are the pro-lifers in this situation?

I have two messages for this post;

The murder of innocents is always evil. There is no satisfactory excuse. The sooner we collectively make this clear to the media and to our judicial systems, the better.

There is always a choice.  You don't have to raise your child. You can put them up for adoption - or if you can't handle the paperwork, you can leave them at a hospital for social workers to deal with.  Anything is better than murder.

If you're temporarily overwhelmed, get respite care, use relatives, friends, social services or, as I said, abandon the child in a safe place of care - this will at least bring your plight to the attention of authorities. Murder is never an option - no child is better off dead - that's a decision for trained doctors in very extreme cases, never for parents.


Angela Felsted said...

You are absolutely right.

Patty O. said...

I totally agree with you! Great post.

Konabarbie said...

Great post. I totally agree. There is always a better choice than hurting or killing your children. You can always find help if you need it.

Anonymous said...

I'm going to disagree with you on a point that is really very important: Murder is not murder, as defined by the innocence of the victim. Murder requires actus reus (the action) *and* mens rea (the intent). In a huge proportion of filicide cases the mens rea is seriously affected to the point that the crime doesn't qualify as murder. In those situations, to hold the killer fully responsible for their actions is itself an injustice, in the exact same way that sometimes autism itself means that the perpetrator of a crime is not fully responsible for thier actions (depending on the crime); they lacked the control and required intent to be found guilty.

Yes these cases are upsetting, no child should ever be killed (autistic or otherwise), but I think it is vitally important that we don't lose sight of what happens in full context, and in turn that we don't call something "evil" when it was actually a horrendous tragedy on multiple levels.

Anonymous said...

Right on!

Michael De Rosa said...

Like your article. I think that people have lost hope and purpose when they consider ending the life of a person with disabilities.

IF you, or your readers are interested, I have a blog "dismantling disabilities" at where I do my best to 'level the playing field' between 'us' and 'them', showing that life is precious regardless of disabilities.

Again, thank you for this article!


Trey Smith said...

Could you provide some links to the killings you're talking about? This is news to me!

Anonymous said...

Great post. I totally agree with it. Unfortunately, it's hardly uncommon for valnerable people to be killed. Becase family members or care takers are tired of caring for them. My handycapped sister died yesterday in a nursing home. Even though I begged them not to bring hospice in. Hospice is nothing but hired killers. There is no excuse. Autistic people have a right to live. So do other disabled people! My sister was not Autistic but she still was handycapped. The same thing happened to my mom and dad. Enough already! It's amazing how many people I talk to who support the murder of those on the spectrum. I'm Autistic as well.