Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Darius McCollum arrested yet again

We see, that the well known person, Darius McCollum, who is obsessed with trains and has a propensity to steal them has been busted yet again. McCollum has alleged that he has Asperger's syndrome. As a boy, he was obsessed by trains, particularly the New York transit system. He would hang out with the New York MTA workers who took a liking to him and showed him the ropes and ended up knowing more about the system than anyone else. But he had a compulsion to take the subway trains for joy rides and though he knew what he was doing was wrong. He has been arrested now 27 times in the last three decades, so averaging close to one arrest per year. Apparently, not being able to find a train, he took a bus for a joyride.

Personally, I am skeptical that McCollum actually has any sort of ASD. He was able to get married (though now divorced or separated) and the fact that he was able to relate to the NYC MTA employees and they took a liking to him makes his diagnosis suspect at least to me. There is no question, however, he has some very severe OCD issues. I feel, however, that his circumstances are highly relevant to the thrust of this blog, as I will point out below.
when McCollum was arrested last, autism's gadfly gave his take on the matter
I inquired as to whether the neurodiversity movement would actually give a shit about this person. "Jypsy" pointed out to me that there had been some effort to assist Mr. McCollum and she had personally been involved in these matters with the persons who were interested and were trying to help defray some of his legal costs. I found the relevant info online and I emailed the people who were involved to get their take. They were happy that I took an interest and told me McCollum was in North Carolina, staying at his mother's and gave me his phone number. Intrigued I called the number and a person alleging to be McCollum answered the phone and we chatted for a bit. He told me he had tried very hard to stop his compulsion and had taken various SSRI medications used to treat OCD issues but nothing had helped. He seemed resigned to the fact that this was a lifelong issue and there was nothing he could do.

His lawyers tried to use Asperger's as a legal defense without success.

I was still in correspondence with Ari Ne'eman back a couple of years ago and asked him if ASAN was planning to do anything to help McCollum and he stated that McCollum was not an issue they were pursuing.

This was before I had read Ne'eman's interesting essay where he talks about how curing autism would be morally reprehensible and he was claiming that autism should never be used as a defense against criminal behavior under any circumstance. In spite of this fact, Ne'eman later claimed that Zaqhuery Price, who assaulted some teachers in a special ed school should have the charges against him dropped.

When I pointed out these inconsistencies in my post, various members of the ND community pointed out to me because this was an 11-year-old boy and the teachers somehow were to blame because they did not accommodate his disability properly that this should be some sort of exception to Ne'eman's rule.

I wonder how they feel about McCollum, a 45-year-old man, particularly in light of the fact that he may have an ASD (assuming gadfly's skepticism is incorrect). Would Ari Ne'eman and Socrates throw the book at this guy and lock him up in a cell and throw away the key? Would they claim that curing McCollum of his compulsion would be morally reprehensible and that he should go on stealing trains, yet say that he should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law? Or would ASAN and ND claim that this behavior should be accepted? Or would they claim that society had somehow failed to accommodate McCollum and that if society learned how to utilize the strengths of autistics and ended discrimination against autistics, then McCollum would not steal trains? Inquiring minds want to know.

30 comments:

Jake Crosby said...

What's next? A plane?

"He loves planes, too, but he hasn't been able to get on one of those yet."

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/ny_local/2010/09/01/2010-09-01_darius_busted_again.html#ixzz0yIaTxKHC

JediKnight2 said...

They'd say that his OCD behavior has nothing to due with his alleged autism despite the fact his whole brain is affected.

Socrates said...

Blah! So what?

Kent A. said...

Jonathan, why do you think folks with AS can't get married or that it's unusual? You do know that people with down syndrome and mental retardation marry? I'm not sure why AS folks would be any different. Now, if your talking AD, then I'd agree that is unlikely.

Not sure about OCD. Perhaps he's just a criminal, habitual one at that.

Kent A. said...

Oops, I should have finished reading what you wrote before commenting. I know practically nothing about OCD in adulthood.

jonathan said...

social difficulties are part of relationships, so it is unlikely that the majority of people on the spectrum get married, though I realize there are exceptions to the rule.

I know that Joseph of the natural variation blog claims autistics are half as likely to marry as nonautistic people, but i don't buy that.

Kent A. said...

I have no idea about the statistics of how many people with AS marry, but its not terribly a good measure of accurate diagnosis. I think that was my main point. I have no idea if the majority do, but I suspect a good and sizable minority do. However, most of these marriages of people I know in my support group, my only point of reference really, is that a number have been married and then divorced. I'm the only one that is currently married. Thats out of about 24 or so in the group.

I don't buy Joseph's statistic either because I don't imagine there are too many people with autistic disorder that are married. I don't know a single case of it.

You are correct about social difficulties, but keep in mind that people with AS generally seek and want friendships. That I think is different than AD where friendships tend to not necessarily be sought, though I have seen my son with moderate AD form friendships, but they aren't the type of friendships AS folks earn. The friendships tend to be more utilitarian in nature.

There are some folks, and I would include me in this, that have never sought friendships and see friendships as utilitarian in nature. Combine that with normal cognitive levels and speech and you have HFA from my experience, rather than AS. I've always cared little about having friends in the normal sense of the word and relationship as most people think of it. Friends tend to demand a certain level of entertainment and comfort which I'm not able to always give or want.

I have seen the other AD kids in my son's classroom "friend-up". My son's favorite now is a little boy named Spencer. Started off as "enemies" and like most boy relationships, developed as "friends". However, these are moderate autism level kids. They are far more disabled than AS kids or even HFA kids, but they do develop a sort of friendship that is real for them. My son's pragmatic language at age 7 is not yet developed enough for me to find out what he thinks of "friends" or how he views them so I can't really give much of an opinion yet.

I would say though that for higher functioning AS folks and some HFA folks, my experience has been that they do marry in a sizable minority. These are diagnosed folks, not the self diagnosed internet AS people. You can't get in my group with a self diagnosis. You have to be referred by a psychiatrist. My group is related to the local hospital here and is run by a behavior center connected to the hospital. So no self diagnosed folks allowed. I wish the autism "retreats" and "coms" had the same standard.

SM69 said...

Can't resist asking this question J, in your opinion, besides a cure, or suggesting this is not ASD but OCD, what do you propose could be done to help this person?

OCD is not so much about having fixations on topics, themes of interests that override activities, OCD is about have little constant moves and behaviors one cannot stop i.e. touching floor in a given order, being obsessed about lengths of things not being totally right and constantly adjusting it, being obsessed about cleanings of things, it relates a lot more to little matters as opposed to interest, and it relates to anxiety issues. Even if there is an addictive and repetitive element to an activity, it does not mean it is OCD. Another way of distinguishing OCD vs. Strong interest/stim is OCD, rarely makes someone feels better, there is always a void, high anxiety. Checking does not solve it, more checking is needed and it never stops. Strong interest, you explore something thoroughly with full attention, to a higher intensity that a NT person. Scientists do this too.


Checking your blog several times a day even though there cannot be any new information is OCD, the person knows there will be nothing new, yet the person has to check it out. If you view your site meter, you can spot a few with OCD. OCD is commonly co-morbid with ASD.
...

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is an anxiety disorder characterized by uncontrollable, unwanted thoughts and repetitive, ritualized behaviors you feel compelled to perform. If you have OCD, you probably recognize that your obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviors are irrational – but even so, you feel unable to resist them and break free.

Like a needle getting stuck on an old record, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) causes the brain to get stuck on a particular thought or urge. For example, you may check the stove twenty times to make sure it’s really turned off, you’re your hands until they’re scrubbed raw, or drive around for hours to make sure that the bump you heard while driving wasn’t a person you ran over.

SM69 said...

OCD is not so much about having fixations on topics, themes of interests that override activities, OCD is about have little constant moves and behaviors one cannot stop i.e. touching floor in a given order, being obsessed about lengths of things not being totally right and constantly adjusting it, being obsessed about cleanings of things, it relates a lot more to little matters as opposed to interest, and it relates to anxiety issues. Even if there is an addictive and repetitive element to an activity, it does not mean it is OCD. Another way of distinguishing OCD vs. Strong interest/stim is OCD, rarely makes someone feels better, there is always a void, high anxiety. Checking does not solve it, more checking is needed and it never stops. Strong interest, you explore something thoroughly with full attention, to a higher intensity that a NT person. Scientists do this too.


Checking your blog several times a day even though there cannot be any new information is OCD, the person knows there will be nothing new, yet the person has to check it out. If you view your site meter, you can spot a few with OCD. OCD is commonly co-morbid with ASD.
...

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is an anxiety disorder characterized by uncontrollable, unwanted thoughts and repetitive, ritualized behaviors you feel compelled to perform. If you have OCD, you probably recognize that your obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviors are irrational – but even so, you feel unable to resist them and break free.

Like a needle getting stuck on an old record, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) causes the brain to get stuck on a particular thought or urge. For example, you may check the stove twenty times to make sure it’s really turned off, you’re your hands until they’re scrubbed raw, or drive around for hours to make sure that the bump you heard while driving wasn’t a person you ran over.

SM69 said...

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is an anxiety disorder characterized by uncontrollable, unwanted thoughts and repetitive, ritualized behaviors you feel compelled to perform. If you have OCD, you probably recognize that your obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviors are irrational – but even so, you feel unable to resist them and break free.

Like a needle getting stuck on an old record, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) causes the brain to get stuck on a particular thought or urge. For example, you may check the stove twenty times to make sure it’s really turned off, you’re your hands until they’re scrubbed raw, or drive around for hours to make sure that the bump you heard while driving wasn’t a person you ran over.

jonathan said...

I wish I had a suggestion for Mr. McCollum but I don't. Apparently, as I wrote in the post, he has tried various SSRI medications as well as possibly some other types of drugs to no avail.

There are liabilities as faras giving him a job in the transport system are concerned. I think he had a job at a train museum for a while, but it did not work out for some reason.

I wish i had some quick fix solution for him, but I don't, otherwise I would be contacting him and suggesting it to him.

OERXCONDR said...

It's not a question of neurodiversity or not. It's just more totalitarian anti-railfan police. The same issue is plauging a number of notable railfans (Chris Walker and Mike Armstrong to name one or two) in Southern California. Basically what happens is always the same - find a station, set up, and get harassed by law enforcement for it. It's all this "Anti-Foamer Photo Policy". You can blame 9/11 and Metrolink engineer Robert Sanchez (of Chatsworth Train Crash infamy) for this, not OCD or aspergers.

Also, this individual is not standing out like a sore thumb in terms of rail enthusiasts. So please understand that this has NOTHING to do with aspergers or railfans and understand it is the railroads' photo policy that is at fault here.

This is by a railroad conductor on some quiet, out-of-the-way branch line, so I may be way off.

-OERXCONDR

SM69 said...

I am not too sure what the previous comment meant, but, by the look of it, Darius is likely to have AS/HFA, and if that is indeed the case, his strong interest is totally related to his condition. That does not mean that everyone with AS/HFA will all have the same sort of conducts, but in Darius' case, behavior likely relates to his condition.

If this person has AS/HFA, J, there is nothing you as an individual can do. Darius needs a full structure around him, full assistance in channeling his interest in ways that does not lead to potential risks to others and that is legal. This means a complete understanding of what exactly interests him, and what drives his behavior, what are his skills etc. I am pretty certain there would be ways to use his skills and interest in other more constructive ways, but without assistance, this will never happen. No need to add, SSRI will have no effect what so ever with regard to this. A comment I found below the article your post is linking to is quite relevant to this question:

"Darius received services from my place of employment in Upstate New York this past year. During his stay, Darius attempted to manipulate the system at every stage. He does not want treatment. People say that he should be given a job with the transit authority... Should a bank robber be given a job at the local bank as a teller????? NO. What Darius is doing is illegal. When laws are broken there are penalties."


Darius may have done illegal activities but if he is has AS/ASD, he is not in the same category of criminals than robbers are. It is a totally different issue that needs a very different approach to be addressed. But is the criminal system really interested in addressing issues at their core? Helping people? or Even trying to prevent future crime once the person is out of prison? Absolutely not. In the most part, it is ineffective in dealing with crime and in preventing it.

What can help someone like Darius are strong autism advocacy groups, and the more powerful (i.e. integrated in the system) the more likely they will have an impact. In this respect, it was right to call on the ASAN or other groups if they exist to act. The judicial system as far as its dealing with autism is concerned must update its position with knowledge of what the condition is about, what drive's people behavior, how theses can be modulated, and what a prison sentence can mean for someone with autism, how should the person be treated etc.. Almost certainly this should lead to a revision of the law. It does not mean that we should be accepting about these behaviors, it means they require a different type of dealing to be addressed. In the long run, the money spent in addressing issues at their core will be better spent than in repetitive custodial sentences and/or criminal compensation to repair damage that may be caused to others and property.

There will be more and more of the reports in the next decades to come.

SM69 said...

Darius may have done illegal activities but if he is has AS/ASD, he is not in the same category of criminals than robbers are. It is a totally different issue that needs a very different approach to be addressed. But is the criminal system really interested in addressing issues at their core? Helping people? or Even trying to prevent future crime once the person is out of prison? Absolutely not. In the most part, it is ineffective in dealing with crime and in preventing it.

What can help someone like Darius are strong autism advocacy groups, and the more powerful (i.e. integrated in the system) the more likely they will have an impact. In this respect, it was right to call on the ASAN or other groups if they exist to act. The judicial system as far as its dealing with autism is concerned must update its position with knowledge of what the condition is about, what drive's people behavior, how theses can be modulated, and what a prison sentence can mean for someone with autism, how should the person be treated etc.. Almost certainly this should lead to a revision of the law. It does not mean that we should be accepting about these behaviors, it means they require a different type of dealing to be addressed. In the long run, the money spent in addressing issues at their core will be better spent than in repetitive custodial sentences and/or criminal compensation to repair damage that may be caused to others and property.

There will be more and more of the reports in the next decades to come.

The author said...

I get tired of this, it seems almost a golden rule that when one of us dissproves of something another of us does, they then invoke either an additional mental illness or a denial that the culprit was ever on the autistic spectrum at all.

It's peevish behaviour and Jonathan they are saying it about you too, so judge not lest ye be judged. (as judged you surely are, by those that hold you in disfavour as much as by your accolytes.)

For the record people may speculate what they like about OCD.

I have been co morbidly diagnosed with OCD. It's probably a condition as misunderstood and maligned by stereotypes as autism itself.

Diagnosis by internet, it is all bull and those who play the game are intellectually wanting as serious players, to play that game is ignorance made visible.

As for prejudice, once upon a time it was "common knowlege" in the medical community that prelingually deaf people were incapable of thought at all.

I wonder how people without the capacity even for thought managed to marry and breed more prelingually deaf children in there turn, effectively creating an alternative culture of sign mediated discourse?

It's the biggest logical fallacy going,

All cats are mortal, Socrates is mortal, therefore Socrates is a cat.

Jonathan is autistic, Jonathon is not married, therefore no married person can be autistic.

Tell that one to Kanner, even he knew that was bull.

Foresam said...

Larry, Show me a real autistic person who is married, not some nitwit who diagnosed himself as an Aspie through some online quiz.

Anonymous said...

"Larry, Show me a real autistic person who is married, not some nitwit who diagnosed himself as an Aspie through some online quiz."

Easy: social skills aren't required to get married in cultures in which the leaders of the culture encourage arranged marriage and discourage dating. Lack of social skills isn't an obstacle to marriage where social skills aren't used to get married in the first place.

In some cases, all it takes to get married is having a first cousin or double cousin of the opposite sex who isn't already married. That's it. Even if your poor social skills turn off and scare off your cousin, your extended family may still *force* her or him to marry you and then let you rape her or him. :(

The author said...

Robert F one of Kanner's research subjects as described in a 1950's paper. Source P Howlin, Autism and Aspergers in Adulthood. Is that good enough?

Then there is a couple I know, who are celebrating the birth of there first child. One diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome, the other Autism, both pre internet diagnoses.

Anonymous said...

"Larry, Show me a real autistic person who is married, not some nitwit who diagnosed himself as an Aspie through some online quiz."

I just remembered category #3, not diagnosed by a doctor, not "diagnosed" by himself or herself, but "diagnosed" by a spouse or son or daughter who thinks "s/he can't be giving me the cold shoulder all the time on purpose? there must be a reason s/he can't help it!"

wife makinjg the diagnosis here:
http://aspiewifeandmom.blogspot.com/2010/08/acceptance-of-aspergers.html

daughters and sons makinjg the diagnosis here:
http://www.empowher.com/aspergers-syndrome/content/aspergers-parents-and-neurotypical-children?page=1

Kent A. said...

Larry, there are a sizable minority of autistic people you may not be exposed to. Having never attended a special school, only being diagnosed in adulthood and without access to those hidden from the public you probably haven't encountered Autistic Disorder like this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7pJ63XDpByg&feature=sub

These autistics don't grace the cover of NAS and they are not included in NAS Public Service announcements. Is this the type of person with Autistic Disorder you claim has been married and is awaiting a child? No? Then what exactly are you claiming?

Anonymous said...

Larry,

Neither of your examples are good enough.

We'll forget about the anonymous couple you know. I'd like to see that Howlin paper entitled "Autism and Aspergers in Adulthood". The only reference to this "Robert F" that I can find is on the Natural Variation blog where Joseph writes " Of all the autistics Leo Kanner wrote about, I believe only one (Robert F) is known to have married". Can you locate this paper for me?

Btw, is Claire Sainsbury married?

Watson

Anonymous said...

Anonymous,

Interesting links. First parents of ASD children were diagnosing themselves with AS because they could see autistic traits in themselves (who doesn't have them?), and now so-called NTs are diagnosing husbands, wives, partners, parents and grandparents - and I guess they think they all had undiagnosed Autism when they were children. Will this madness never end?

Watson

JediKnight2 said...

And yet, Watson, none of them have a communication disability except the true aspies lack pragmatic language skills.

That's how one can easily distinguish an actual autistic person from a self-diagnosed person who doesn't actually have the condition.

Kent A. said...

"aspies lack pragmatic language skills.

That's how one can easily distinguish an actual autistic person from a self-diagnosed person who doesn't actually have the condition."

Very true.

Anonymous said...

"...and now so-called NTs are diagnosing husbands, wives, partners, parents and grandparents - and I guess they think they all had undiagnosed Autism when they were children..."

They're not diagnosing themselves with autism too. They've felt emotionally neglected by people they love and resorting to "s/he actually does love me and can't help treating me like crap all these years, it's my job as an NT to be more understanding" instead of realizing "damn, s/he's been treating me like crap for years, maybe s/he doesn't love me."

Anonymous said...

Two parents made a career out of bilking the social security administration for every family member, parents and children alike, using "bipolar disorder" and "ADHD"

When a third child couldn't be used for social security money, that child "mysteriously" died

(which is the reason this particular case came to light)

google:
Michael Rebecca Riley ADHD Bipolar


Strikes a rather painful chord since not only is a child dead as a result (and who among Nurodiveristy mourns the child who died needlessly because she was healthy?)

it won't be long..

One can only suppose this family hadn't heard of Autism to latch onto, else they'd be yet another perfect example (especially if they'd managed to not kill a child in the process), another loud mouth-piece of "Neurodiversity."

The author said...

Kent, instead of interrogating me about who the NAS cater for(just because I am available) after all I am only a councillor, not an employee.

I suggest you interrogate instead those parents whose children and adults are using NAS services and I might suggest that they will kick your arrogant arse from here to eternity for presuming you know what you are talking about.

You might find that the NAS has rather more knowledge of the "difficult" and "complex" colours of the autistic spectrum than it suits your arrogance and omniscience to admit to.

You think this blog world is the real world?

You need an education all of you, you need to see what exists outside of your suppositions, and acknowledge what makes a nonsense of your statements.

Go on try it. Live outside of the internet.

Autism is a spectrum, so is cerebral palsy, so is just about any "disorder" you want to draw an example of, and for all of them you cannot pick one person or example to stand for all, but then you don't care do you, you never did, you like to sound clever, you like to sound challenging, well it's all bluff Kent, all of it.

I have decided I waste my time here, I have a real world to engage.

Good bye I shall not be seeing you or Jonathan again.

Kent A. said...

Larry,

I suspected you would take your "marbles" home when confronted with Jamie like you have on your blog. You refuse to see his reality. Its kind of hard isn't it to combat. Its full proof to shut up you people that purport to support all autistics when you close your eyes. Like the Monkey, you don't want to see or hear the truth of the full spectrum.

We all know now that you can't throw out Amanda Baggs as your token now that it is proven she is a person with schizophrenia and not autism, not at all "Getting the Truth Out".

Jamie is getting the truth out because his parents decided people like you need to see the truth.

Larry, you must have over stated your roll in NAS. You'll have to excuse me if I believed your lies. I give everyone the benefit of the doubt in the beginning.

What has NAS done to change the educational opportunities for the moderate and severe autistic? Nothing?

Go back to your online "Aspie World" Larry and hide because you have no intellectual answer to the Jamie Gilberts and why they should be happy to be who they are. You've been pawned as the faker you are.

I'd like to restrain all you defenders and autistic wannabe's in a chair, "Alex Clockwork Orange Style" and force you to view videos of Jamie.

Kent A. said...

Go on try it. Live outside of the internet.

Talk about arrogance. A childless adult who didn't discover he had AS until his 40's is attempting to lecture me, a father, a person with AS that has a child with Autistic Disorder and telling ME to live outside the internet with the rainbow of autism? You can't be serious? Larry, I'm sorry, but you have know idea what it is like to raise and be responsible for another human being that has far fewer options than you and me.

When was the last time you attended a "services" and "educational supports" meeting for an autistic child? Never? Ok, then shut your pie hole. When was the last time you actively pursued to set up trusts and leave all your earnings for another human being? Never, ok, shut your pie hole. When was the last time that you fought a local council for the equal education of autistic students? Never? Ok, shut your pie hole. When was the last time you were recognized in the grocery store and harrassed over your views of autism? Never? Ok, shut your pie hole.

The fact is that my son will never be able to accomplish what you and I have. He will never be able to accept for granted the freedoms that you and I do. You want to lecture me? You are what is wrong with autistic advocacy. You, the arrogant, jingoistic, bourgeois individual that has nothing better to do than quote animal farm, earn his PhD and live life selfishly. You sir couldn't last 10 minutes in my shoes because you would be lost on what it takes to care for a child, to plan for a child and to advocate for your own child. You represent what is wrong with the online "autistic" community. You are an ignoramous that wants to tell the world you know better than others that actually have the experience of all the above.

Kent A. said...

These autistics don't grace the cover of NAS and they are not included in NAS Public Service announcements.

Larry, you failed to even address my accusation. Jamie Gilbert scares you doesn't he? You have no answer. Rather than saying "yes, he doesn't grace the cover of NAS, he is not included in their public service announcements and we need to do something about it".
You choose to shift the subject and avoid him altogether. You hate that he fucks up your narrative don't you?