Joseph of the natural variation blog posed an interesting question to me in my previous post about autistic subway afficianado Darius McCollum. Is the reason the New York transit won't give the man a job due to incompetence or societal prejudice. I explained in my response, which interested readers can read in the comments section of my previous entry, that I believed it was neither.
Joseph's question, however, gave me an incredible inspiration. The Autistic self-advocacy Network and other neurodiversity leaning organizations are always claiming to be promoting a better life for autistic people. How they did this by putting so much energy in the ransom notes campaign is beyond me. I really don't understand what the ransom notes campaign accomplished. It does not seem to me to have benefitted any person with autism in any way, found them a girlfriend or job or made them function better or made their life better in any way. It did nothing to ameliorate bullying of autistic children or give autistics a better image.
What about them engaging in a more constructive activity? The one I have in mind is providing either some sort of legal defense fund for McCollum or finding a lawyer who could do probono work for McCollum in what will soon be his umpteenth criminal trial. Then, assuming an acquital or suspended sentence could be obtained, ASAN and other organizations could convince the New York Metro Authority to give Darius a job and show somehow that this man would be a dedicated worker and the City of New York would not have to worry about liability.
Is this notion farfetched? After all, if memory serves me correctly Kathleen Seidel found an attorney on a pro bono basis to help her quash the subpoena directed against her (I guess any commenter can correct me if I am wrong about this) An attorney could be found for McCollum also. In one of the articles I read about him his parents were deeply in debt because of all the legal costs his train obsession had incured. Joseph could also do a statistical analysis, which he seems apt at, to show a mathematical model of why the city of New York would not have to worry about liability if McCollum were in their employ. They could engage in the same type of flier campaigns, phone calls, petitions and complaints that occurred during the ransom note campaign. If they would try to advocate on McCollum's behalf, let alone successfully enabling him to land a job rather than return to sing sing the neurodiversity people would earn some respect from me.
I wonder what the probability of them advocating for McCollum is? I suspect they won't do it. Perhaps ASAN and other organizations care less about helping people then they do about their bruised egos. Their feelings are hurt because some people by implying autism needs a cure are saying they are less than perfect people. McCollum presents them with such an incredible opportunity though. It is much easier to engage in a smear campaign against the ransom notes, easier to bash and insult parents who may be misguided but have the best of intentions for their kids. Easier to insult organizations like Autism Speaks and claim they commit genocide, yet flock to Michelle Dawson's comment board and blog like flies to honey in spite of the fact that people in the lab she works in get funding from autism speaks and her boss Laurent Mottron participates in meetings with researchers that autism speaks sponsors and apparently tries to get funding from this organization that neurodiversity hates so much (I know because i met Dr. Mottron at one of those meetings).
To be blunt I think organizations like ASAN and other neurodiversity proponents should put their money (figurative or literal) where their mouths are. Some of them point to the huge success of gay people in advocating for themselves, yet ignore the fact that the gay community is well financed and most persons with autism (a fact these neurodiversity people won't acknowledge) have very little money to offer to a cause. Yet they still believe they can change society to have a more accepting attitude of autistics and they can achieve the same kind of civil rights status.
Well, ASAN members, GRASP members, wrong planet afficianados, ANI members and aspies for freedom and other neurodiversity groups, here's your chance. One of your own fellow aspies needs help. He needs it badly. Are you going to spend some time and money to help him or are you going to just do some more non-productive bellyaching so that I will have to offer you some cheese with your next whine?