A Divided America

There are more white nationalist rallies scheduled for this weekend and next. I fear that this will not end soon and will escalate.

The same forces of hate and fear that drove Brexit are now stirring the pot in America. America has all the ingredients ready.

America’s Original Sin was failing to deal with slavery when the US was formed. The land of the free was created on the backs of slaves.

America’s second sin was failing to deal with the Confederates. They were not rebels. They were traitors.

By rebelling against the US, the Confederates committed treason. Robert E. Lee, Jefferson Davis, Stonewall Jackson…etc were traitors.

The Nazis were put on trial at Nuremberg and executive. The same should have happened to the leaders of the Confederacy. The punishment for treason is death.

Instead, after Reconstruction, former Confederate traitors were allowed to go into politics and enacted Jim Crow laws.

Instead of watching Confederate traitors swing from the gallows in the public square, we built statues commentating them as heroes.

Fighting to defend slavery does make Confederate traitors heroes. It makes them evil like the Nazis.

So by demanding that statues be removed we are demanding that monuments to the defenders of hate, injustice and evil be removed.

In my view there is no greater evil than the belief that you have the right to treat human beings as property.

And as I watch these rallies take place I fear the rebirth of the Confederacy and what comes next: a divided America at war with itself.

Thoughts from an old man on journalism

Old man to me at Starbucks: “Are you drowning?” I look up from my phone confused.
The old man had curly white hair that was in need of a comb and a multicolored ascot scarf over a black coat. His hands were clutching a book tightly. Moments before he spoke to me I had witnessed him staring at a group of older women sitting at the end of the long table at which we were all sitting. It looked as if he was drawing in his book.
The old man sat across from me at table.
“You young people are so obsessed with that stuff,” he said motioning to my phone “So what do you for a living?”
I reply I am a journalist.
I say that knowing I have not called myself that in a long time but I felt at that moment it was true. I was still surprised I said it.
“So what do you write?”
I told him I freelance.
“No I mean what do you write for fun?”
I paused to answer the question was as heavily loaded as a Hollenbeck burrito from my favorite Mexican restaurant in LA. He seemed to be asking if writing for journalism was fun or was it work. Maybe he hates journalists I thought. Then I decided to evade his question with an answer that was also true.
“I write poetry,” I said rather sheepishly. For some reason I thought he’d assume I was not credible as a writer if I had said blogger.
Then he mentioned the name of a writer he likes and asked me looking down his long nose at me if I knew who he was. I did not, but I lied and said I did.
“Well I know him and he loves my poetry, ” he said cradling a book in his arms as if to say he wrote it.
I sat in silence for a bit and then finished my drink not knowing what to make of the conversation I had just had and then bid him good evening and left.

Ohio Teacher Drags Autistic Child by Foot

Sadly this type of thing happens all the time to autistic children. When did a business an autistic child become an acceptable standard practice?

There are too many videos of stories like this. It just brakes me heart to watch this video. http://m.wlox.com/wlox/db_383186/contentdetail.htm?contentguid=XgCcqgk2

Living in a state of fear. 

I see what is going on in this country. I look at the photos from the protests in Charlottesville and it has me scared. These white nationalists… Confederates…racists…Nazis have risen up and gained a new confidence since Donald Trump was elected president, are just very scary to me. Trump fomented much of the violence we are seeing with his actions and words at his campaign rallies and by giving white nationalists like Steve Bannon and Steven Miller important positions in his administration. Protests like what happened in Charlottesville are now more common than ever. The number of people killed by white nationalists since Trump was elected has been on the rise. There were those engineers from India that were shot. There was the mosque that was bombed and now this young woman Heather Heyer and two others were killed for protesting against racism and white nationalism by someone I believe is a terrorist. These white nationalists protested carrying Nazi flags and Confederate flags. They share the same beliefs as the Nazis but that is what scares me. The Nazis killed millions of Jews. They also killed Catholics, the Roma, and the disabled. And as a person who is disabled I know that these white supremacists would try and kill me and people like me if they could get away with it. And Trump said in a statement that he condemns the violence but when asked by one of my former colleagues at ABC News if he condemned the hatred espoused by white supremacists at the protests he refused to answer. The normal reaction to such a question is “Yes! I do condemn them!” But he chose not to answer at all. He chose to walk away. And again these white supremacists would kill people like me if they could. I ask you to look at the photos and tell me you see. What historical images are conjured up in your mind when you see these photos? History says that people like this will kill disabled people and anyone who doesn’t fit into their white supremacist worldview like me if they can. Their actions today prove me right.

Source: My fellow white Americans.

Back at it

So it looks like I haven’t updated this blog in a while. Well dare I say shame on me for that? Well a lot has changed since I last posted in here. I now live in New York and moving to this city has been a lifelong dream of mine. I am actually happier than I have ever been in life. This city is absolutely amazing but it is also very different from Los Angeles where I grew up. Well I am going to try and write more regularly in my blog now, so I will be back.
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Asperger’s and Employment

The ability to hold a job gives a person’s life meaning. A job gives a person a sense of direction and a routine. Yet, for people with disabilities discrimination often exists in the workplace. It cannot be avoided as human beings we are discriminatory creatures. We label each other based upon where we live, our religions, our gender and various other things. Should it happen? No. Sadly it is something we all have to deal with at some point.  It is how we make decisions. It is how we estimate what people are capable of in life.

One of the most tragic and unjust things about dealing with Autism the shared notion that if you have a disability you are somehow less able to do something.

When it comes to people with autism it is different. Employers don’t have to offer anyone a job.  If they do it is because they believe you can do the work, but that does not mean their are not mean people that work some place. Having to deal with mean inconsiderate people is pretty much a fact of life for most people. Still, the way you deal with such situations and the attitude you have about your job are important. If you approach your work with a good attitude people will have less of a reason to be intolerant towards you.

There are a lot of misconceptions about autism and many people you may meet while in the working world may not know anyone who has autism except for you. It is important to remember that as you go about your job.

Autism: My Cross to Bear

Being an advocate is something all autistics must do. We must all come out. You can’t defeat ignorance if you’re hiding in the shadows.

I have decided to take a hiatus from autism advocacy but I will be back at it soon enough.Sometimes I get tired of being an autistic advocate. It’s not a responsibility I want, but it’s something I must do. Being an advocate is something all autistics must do. We must all come out. You can’t defeat ignorance if you’re hiding in the shadows. The decision to come out of the closet is not always an easy one. The first time I came out about being autistic was not by choice. I was outed by someone else. It really was not something that I was comfortable talking about. Even to this day I don’t like talking about it. To me its a just a necessary evil. I am certain most autistic advocates would rather talk about anything else at times, but it is something we do because we must even if we don’t always want to do so.

Often times we don’t come out for fear of how other people will react or fear of reprisals. Also some are afraid it may effect their job prospects.  That is because that for as much information that is out there there is still a lot of stigma placed on autism, some of it is self-induced stigma.

Even after being outed the first time I did not discuss it very much for years afterwards until I had  moved to a new town and a new school where I made the decision to come out and I ended up coming out to 32,000 people at the same time when I wrote what I believe was the first newspaper columns in my student newspaper the Daily Titan about life with autism I believe it was also the first weekly column in any newspaper anywhere. Now I talk about it more often. In fact, I do it almost every day. I am proud to be out and am not in any way worried how people may react to me. Their opinion does not really matter. People can think what they want, but I know I am and those who care about me know who I am and that is all that matters to me.

The fight does get tiring especially when you do it reluctantly. As my friend told me I have a responsibility to keep fighting, but I am tired and need to recharge my emotional and mental and physical batteries so I can pick up this cross again. Its  cross that only those of us who are autistics or are the parents of autistics must can and must carry.

When the time is ready I will, pick up my cross but at least I know I am not alone and I am not the only one carrying it.   

We Are Like Your Child: A checklist for identifying sources of aggression

I just came across this list and thought I would share http://wearelikeyourchild.blogspot.com/2014/05/a-checklist-for-identifying-sources-of.html?m=1

A Response to Stuart Duncan’s Deconstructing the self-righteous – when parents try to kill their children

Kelly Green wrote this response to Stuart Duncan’s blog which I had reposted here.
Since I am more interested in sharing all sides of conversation to help the conversation along. We cannot discuss issues such as this if all sides are not represented. If we don’t it’s not a conversation it’s a lecture. Ideas need to be exchanged for problems to be solved.

This is from Kelly Green:

When we try and get into the mind of a killer we are merely being morbid. Just look at all of the TV shows and films fascinated with murder and the reasons why people do it. It’s big dollar business. I sure don’t see anyone understanding and preventing murder much, do you? These shows will never run out of subject matter.

We are upset with the underlying hidden belief systems, that favor abled lives over disabled lives Robert and Stuart. The argument is just that simple. When a man shakes his newborn baby to death, do other parents and society “understand” and feel sorry he suffered from sleep deprivation? No. They don’t.
So we wonder why disabled VICTIMS are spoken of as after facts…”something objective” that needed services to correct the murderer and/or abuser’s perception of them? We don’t wonder why the person harmed was communicating in a violent fashion? Why is that? That is what everyone should be focusing on. Adjusting the factors that cause a person to lash out violently through pain, anguish and frustration. Not how stressed out, tired and in need of services, a drink OR bacon the parent is because of it!

A parent that will go to the proverbial end of THEIR rope and throw their child under the “hibachi” bus is selfish and in need of self examination. Not pity, sympathy and understanding. Humanizing and honoring an aggressive person’s dilemma is where the healing starts, not documenting it while begging for dollars to “service it away.” You absolutely will never resolve the person in pain’s problem by exploiting and/or killing them. Until parent’s of Autistic people see the world through the souls of their children and their personhood…we will NEVER UNDERSTAND this.

We will never even try to understand it. Why would we?

You can check out Kelly’s blog here and her website Autism Hwy here.

Deconstructing the self-righteous – when parents try to kill their children

This was reposted with permission from Stuart Duncan.

I keep seeing some disturbing responses to the Kelli Stapleton case and I thought I’d address a couple of them today… a sort of, let’s clear the air, type of post.

Without wasting too much time, let’s get right into it.

Copycat Crimes

In a recent statement from ASAN (Autistic Self Advocacy Network), they condemned Dr. Phil’s interviews with Kelli Stapleton stating “We see a pattern of copycat crimes whenever there is a well-publicized case of a parent murdering, or attempting to murder, their disabled child … Dr. Phil had an opportunity to shut down this cycle of violence, and instead he chose to perpetuate it, as loudly and widely as possible.

I have long seen many people get adamantly upset any time anything to do with autism is portrayed negatively in the media. Whether it’s adults that still behave as children, needing parenting for life or children behaving violently, no matter the situation, if it “makes us look bad”, the media is the bad guy.

I wonder though, where were these people when mothers were murdering their children that didn’t have autism? How come no one screamed about the risk of copycat crimes when these mothers killed their children?

I don’t know if you noticed or not but those stories are from 2014 alone and that’s not nearly all of them. Where’s the outrage? Why is there no one calling for the end of the journalists that reported these stories?

In our efforts to protect children with autism, do we now not care about any child that doesn’t?

There are more of these murders every year than there are months on the calendar but one murder attempt on a child with autism in the last year and suddenly we fear copycat crimes? No, we fear our own public image being damaged, nothing more.

The truth is that media attention is good. Whether your stance is that there should be more services (this will convince people of that) or if your stance is that she’s a monster for trying to kill her child (this will convince people of that too), media attention is not what leads to another tragedy like this, doing nothing is.

We must focus on figuring out how to prevent all of these stories from ever happening again. And crossing our fingers and hoping that no one becomes a copycat is simply not going to do it.

How can anyone sit there, in their big self righteous chair, and claim that a “copycat crime” is our biggest concern? How can anyone honestly sit there and try to tell me that the last mother to attempt to murder their own child did it only because they saw someone else do it on the news and thought “hey, I can do that!”

No, either

  • A – they are totally out of their minds, in which case, it was just going to happen no matter what or
  • B – they hit rock bottom and saw no other way out and don’t care in the slightest what any other mother has ever done. They just don’t.

Copycat crimes are not what this is about. It never was.

If you’re really worried about this happening again, let’s talk about real ways to prevent this from ever happening again.

Which leads me to…

Murder is never OK

I keep hearing this and as a statement on it’s own, I agree. However, this statement is a precursor to the rest of the intended message which is “now is not the time to discuss a lack of services or support or funding.”

I have one simple question then, when is the right time? During the lull between the last attempted murder and the next one? Or after the next one? Or the one after that? Do we look around and go “What? Too soon?”

Let me put it another way, if we never get around to discussing how we can lend help to the next parent that is reaching the end of their rope, for what ever reason, are we partially to blame? Well, no, I suppose not since “murder is never OK”, right? We can wash our hands of all blame.

I’ve seen it go even further than that. I’ve witnessed good people be verbally and brutally torn apart for so much as suggesting that they think events could have played out differently if the support had been there. I’ve seen people be accused of the most horrid and vile things simply for suggesting that they have it rough too and understand how someone could reach the point of murder/suicide.

Now, let me be clear, no one ever said they condone it or would ever do it themselves. They only said that they’ve been depressed and felt helpless and felt alone and felt abandoned and they understand what that murderous mother felt. Not that they’d do it too, but that they take the time for understanding… that they have shared a similar experience at least in leading up to the crime.

When a mother (or father) comes to you saying how hard they have it, how difficult their lives are, how no one is there to help, how no one seems to care, how there is no money, how there are no services… and when they say that they understand how hard it must have been for the last mother that was in the news, if you take that as an opportunity to beat that parent down with your words, to bully and chastise, to degrade and humiliate and to dehumanize that parent with all of your might…

What do you do when the parent you bully is the next parent you read about in the news? What do you do when you realize that you pushed them to it?

You do NOT get to throw your hands in the air and say “don’t blame me, murder is never OK.” No, you are not without guilt here. You are in fact a part of the problem. In fact, you’re worse than the lack of support, you’re the opposite of support. And if that mother that you’re beating on is the next one we read about in a headline, I will never ever forgive you. I will never ever let anyone forget what you had done and I will never ever stop reminding you of exactly who is to blame.

You know what? You’re right, murder is never OK. But that doesn’t mean we forsake our humanity and it certainly doesn’t give you a right to forsake yours.

Yes. A parent that tries to kill their child is a monster. And you’re right, murder is never OK. On that, we’ve never disagreed. It’s what comes next that you need to figure out with the rest of us.

Now, either learn to start helping people that need help or get the hell out of the way of the people that will.