Tuesday, June 18, 2013

who's defending Alex Spourdalakis' murder?

In their latest cause celebre The Autistic Self Advocacy Network is calling for the prosecution of Alex Spourdalakis' mother, Dorothy, and his godmother  for his murder under federal hate crime laws. 

Alex was a  14-year-old 200 pound nonverbal severely autistic boy, so violent he often had to be put in four point restraints during hospitalizations. 

His mother and godmother apparently murdered him by stabbing him to death and slitting his wrists.  I agree with ASAN that his autism and even it's great severity and the fact that he was so difficult to handle does not justify his homicide. 

However, I do question ASAN in their infinite wisdom about how wise it is to spend federal tax dollars prosecuting him for a federal hate crime when his mother and her accomplice are being charged with first degree murder at the state level.  If there is ample evidence they did murder him in a premeditated fashion it is likely they will be convicted and sent to prison. It's possible they'll even receive the death penalty.  I know there have been some isolated instances of caretakers murdering autistic children and then getting light sentences.  However, even if they were prosecuted by the federal government, what guarantee is there, they would not get a lenient or even suspended sentence?  It seems much more viable to prosecute these people at the state level.  Of course, playing the murder card is nothing new for the neurodiversity movement. 

Most intriguing to this blogger is the following statement from ASAN: 

Many in the media have attempted to excuse Alex’s murder or sympathize with his killers, citing the challenges of his disability and the need to improve the quality and availability of service-provision. Such justifications are not unusual in the aftermath of such atrocities and they remain as inappropriate as ever

ASAN neglects to cite one specific example of this.  I perused a number of the media reports that I could find on Google news and, as far as I could tell, not one of them justified or attempted to defend this individual's murder. 

I'm curious as to where ASAN gets their sources and who in this instance (or any other for that matter) justified the murder of anyone who was autistic. 

I guess it's possible someone can enlighten me in the comments section (even anonymously) and I wait to hear any specific examples. 


Anonymous said...

Don't hide your bias towards ASAN Jonathon Mitchell. Just because you want a cure doesn't mean you can pretend that proclaiming a murder a hate crime can result in a severe sentence.

jonathan said...

I don't think I've ever hid my contempt toward most of ASAN's activities and positions. I've been pretty transparent about it in this blog. I'm not pretending anything and a conviction for first degree murder usually results in a much more severe sentence regardless of whether or not you pretend it doesn't my dear anonymous who won't sign their name.

Anonymous said...

Who would leave their name to such a brutal slanderer whose sole purpose is to spit in the eye of any person who teaches autistics self-respect?

You refuse to admit that a first degree murder is judged more harshly when labelled a hate crime and attempt to equivocate bias with contempt to dodge the point. You were here to smear ASAN for holding a child murderer to full account. You even deny the existence of excuses made that the mother was "forced to kill" her son just so you can whinge at ASAN.

You hate yourself. You package your identity in to a little bundle named 'autism' and blame all your life's problems on it, including getting fired. And all you do is hate your fellow Autistic. I am more ashamed of you than angry.

You're just an embarrassment hiding behind rhetorical trickery and smears.

Shanti said...

I read many blog post that said that the media was being sympathetic and defending the woman that murdered Alex. I noted that this was rather odd, and that I hadn't noticed this in the mainstream news myself. I just figured the bloggers had seen different newscasts. But you make a good point. Was anyone really defending her, or was that it wasn't labeled a 'hate crime'? There is a huge difference!

jonathan said...

@Anonymous (too cowardly to sign their name or maybe you're clay adams or phil gluyas) First degree murder is judged more harshly than any other crime, convictions usually result in life imprisonment or death. You cite no examples of the mother claiming she was forced to kill her son.

You should be ashamed of yourself, not me.

jonathan said...

@TLM. I agree. I'm still waiting for anyone at all to cite a single example. I'd still be interested in seeing one. I suspect there are none, but i'm still waiting.

Shanti said...

I guess when the media says his mother was "desperate" or "overwhelmed" some interpret that as being sympathetic or defending her. I disagree. She was desperate and she was overwhelmed. That is NOT an excuse for murder, but it was the state of affairs.
BTW, don't let the bastards get you down! I love how the NDs preach respect and then spew out name calling and hate. See that respect at work! (Only for those that agree with the NDs. Everyone else is subject to their venom!)

cubeangel said...


I have a different take on this statement. I am going to assume the media said certain things that ASAN says they're sympathizing with the killers.

I don't know which media outlets said what but the issue we have is we lack context and subtext. What if these outlets are attacking the way things are done today? The service-provision in our society sucks. What if the media outlets is just saying that this is a symptom of what is wrong with our American society today?

If one puts a person in a bad situation they can't get out of can they be pushed to far because they become desperate? People in our society need help desperately and because of certain of the American ontology they won't get it. Look at our economy. People are becoming more and more desperate.

jonathan said...

Your point may be well taken actually, though there is no easy answer to your question and is not the same as claiming that anyone is excusing or defending the murder which is what ASAN is, as far as I can tell, falsely claiming.

Unknown said...

I think that by saying someone is "overwhelmed" or "had a bad childhood" or "was abused" some people think the media is trying to excuse what happened. In reality it is less an "excuse" and more of an "explanation" as we as human being struggle to understand how something so horrific could have occurred.

Thanks Jonathan! You have a new follower if for no other reason than that you put forth some interesting views of how "the other" autistics view life.

jonathan said...

thanks for the kind words, Julie.

Anonymous said...

I wonder what this 'Julie' will think when she finds out you're blaming everything on her.

She'll laugh no doubt at the sadness of a man who must always insinuate the worst about autistic equality activists.

I have no time to hold the hand of a man who hates what I am. Ask for sympathy elsewhere.

A stubborn refusal to admit denying aspies equal protection under the law is only going to attract more and more critics.

If this were about a gay child force-fed dangerous wakefield treatments there would be no argument.

But of course people shift blame on to the child by 'blaming' aspergers, as if aspergers were some mystical demon on the child's shoulder.

jonathan said...

Anonymous (who still won't sign their name). I really don't know what you're talking about. You put Julie's name in quotes. She signed her real name I'm pretty sure, you won't sign yours at all. I presume she's the parent of someone on the spectrum. If you read my blog regularly, I actually lived through the Bettelheim era where parents were blamed for everything and I've tried to refute that and get past it. "aspies" are not denied equal protection under the law.

Anonymous said...

I wont leave a name for you to slander in your next blog post, jonathan.

>I really don't know what you're talking about.

Deny everything, admit nothing. The mantra of deceivers everywhere.

>...not denied equal protection under the law.

*cough* changing the point *cough*

If you cannot admit killing an autistic because they are autistic is not a hate crime, if you cannot even admit that dorothy murdered her son because he was autistic and since you accused ASAN of persecuting dorothy for rightly saying dorothy committed a hate crime, then you most definitely do not care about autistic equality under the law.

Have fun untangling all the knots you made jonathan. Or delete the comments. It's all the same.

casie said...

Im glad you are a person with autism who realizes this wasnt a hate crime. Ive been there, at the point where I felt like killing my autistic son. I was a single mother of three, poor, and dealing with my own heavy trauma issues from my own childhood. The childrens autism was beyond what I could bear and cope with. I did not hate autistic people and I doubt this woman hates autistic people. In the end I opted to send him to care, still a very sad decision but for the best. I wish this woman would have done the same. Now she must go to prison. But hate crime?? THAT is an exaggeration.