Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Will neurodiversity diagnose George Sodini with autism?

Last night, Tuesday at 8:00 p.m. Eastern daylight savings time, a man entered a gym in the vicinity of Pittsburgh Pennsylvania. He walked into a room where a "Latin impact" aerobics class was being held. He turned out the lights and drew a gun out of his gym bag. He started shooting, killing three women and then killing himself. This story is already getting media attention. Apparently, the man was frustrated by the fact that he was 48 years old and had not had a girlfriend for a long time. In fact he kept a detailed online diary describing his frustrations and his plan to go out and kill some women at some point; apparently revenge for being rejected so much. Looking at the diary we see his occupation was a software designer, a job that Simon Baron-Cohen, Temple Grandin and others have claimed requires autistic traits. The same thing that Bill Gates who has been diagnosed with autism by some members of the ND community has done. Sodini had written:

The biggest problem of all is not having relationships or friends, but not being able to achieve and acquire what I desire in those or many other areas," said an entry dated Sunday. "Everthing stays the same regardless of the effert I put in. If I had control over my life then I would be happier. But for about the past 30 years, I have not."

Sound familiar? Well, this is someone with computer skills and social impairments who was frustrated by celibacy. Perhaps neurodiversity could diagnose him with autism as they have diagnosed Bill Gates. I know, I've been there as have many others including David Miedzianik who has written about it. Of course, most persons who suffer from loneliness regardless of whether or not they are autistic will not go out on a shooting spree, but it is frustrating. This man was clearly deranged. He may or may not have had an autism spectrum disorder, but I feel in order to be fair neurodiversity should take the bad with the good. If they are going to preach about what a gift autism is and say that Bill Gates, Stephen Spielberg, Einstein, Jefferson, etc. prove that autism is such a gift because these individuals have or had it, why not say that Sodini may have been autistic also.

Neurodiversity in fact has done the opposite. While I concede that in general persons with autism and/or Asperger's are for the most part law abiding citizens who are more likely to be victims of crimes rather than criminals themselves, there are a small subset of persons with autism spectrum disorders who do commit sometimes violent crimes as part of their disorder. This has been written about in the studies of Murrie and Barry-Walsh who wrote about some case studies of persons with Asperger's who had committed various crimes, such as sexual assault, arson, etc. and talked about the feasibility of an insanity defense of these people based on their diagnosis of Asperger's. Ari Ne'eman has used these studies to try to show that persons with autism do not commit crimes. We can see from his statements that Ne'eman has either never read the studies he quotes from or is deliberately misrepresenting them. I have written about this in a previous post.

Neurodiversity claims to be about human rights. Apparently the main right that they fight for and feel people are violating, is their right not to hear autism being described as a bad thing, autistics being described as flawed or bad employees or being any sort of an affliction. They are abusive to me and other autistics who dare to publicly say they hate autism and wish there were a cure. But what about my right, to lead my life the way I want, to think and feel the way I want and my first amendment rights of free speech on the internet or elsewhere? It seems that ND wants to deprive me and others who feel as I do of those rights. Assuming that armchair diagnoses can be made of Bill Gates and others why not of George Sodini? Whose rights will ND violate next? The family members of those killed by Sodini who want to feel that autism is a bad thing because it may have indirectly killed their loved ones?


Heavy Weather said...

I was looking up Sodini to see what was up with him. I ran across your page. Hallelujah! Finally an explanation for some of the serious and nasty verbal attacks I've received when trying as an NT to explain a point of view to a singular Aspie.

I will add I believe I am married for just about 18 years to an undiagnosed AS man. I just figured it out in the last 2 years.. I'm trying to convince him to cooperate and go along with it more. Things in our lives would be so much better and I wouldn't be so darn angry all the time. Our marriage might not also be going down the drain. If he would just break out of his shell even a little. I figured after this long I should have earned some trust. I'm not the one lying to my face, he is.

It would be nice for him to have someone to talk to about it, but he is not one to open up much, EVER. Get's really lonely here.

Your words expressed how I felt discussing things with other aspies and my husband. The sheer hostility can be overwhelming and make me want to run the other way. I wonder if they realize that is how they come across to others? Telling them in a kind way doesn't seem to improve the situation.

Thanks for giving me words that I did not have to express myself. These days I find myself so confused, I have to rely on others descriptions to gain understanding of the situation at hand.

Heavy Weather

navywifeandmom said...

Of course they won't. Or if they do, like Stephanie said, it will be some sort of "comorbidity".

Or better yet, they'll say he had an autism disorder, but blame his mom for teaching him that this was a bad thing. Sound familiar, Jonathan?

Didn't Cho, the Virginia Tech shooter, have Asperger's?

K said...

" was frustrated by celibacy."

I'd say this was a pretty extreme case of "blue balls".

Anonymous said...

Your predictions were correct:

jonathan said...

Anonymous: I read the post on the New Republic and noticed that he gave me a plug. However, I have no idea what his point is about the Sodini case or what he is trying to say. I don't think Sodini ever described as what he had as "Auschwitz syndrome" or what this is supposed to mean.

However, I suppose this superficiality is par for the course for an autism hub blog.

Socrates said...

You really are an utter waste of photons Mitchell, read the f------ post; the whole post... The whole of Sodini's blog is there, including the phrase "Auschwitz Syndrome".

btw - it wasn't a plug, it was a critique and a (not so) sotto voce dig in the ribs.

jonathan said...

Harry: It saddens me you are so intoxicated with hatred and bigotry as is par for the course for most neurodiversitites. Sad also the new republic has to steal my idea because it can't think of anything original to blog about. Normally I would never publish one of your comments here, but I want the readers of gadfly to see what a typical member of the ND movement is like, truly pathetic. I did read your post and I really don't understand what you are trying to say. I suppose if someone else wants to read it, they can go over to the new republic and perhaps comment here and explain it to me.

K said...

To Navywife,

As part of the State of Viriginia's investigation into the Virginia Tech shootings, The state of Virginia, with the consent of Cho's family, received access to Cho's mental health records which were made as a part of the State of Virginia's summary of findings. According to report, he was diagnosed with selective mutism and depression, but not autism.

John Best said...

I think the writer of that New Republic blog must always be drunk. It never makes any sense.

M.J. said...

Johnathan, I really wish you hadn't written this. It is likely that the mainstream media will be talking about this as a possibility in the next few days and they really don't need any more ammunition.

This is a tragedy that goes far beyond any disagreements with the cult of ND and this is not the image that anyone wants associated with autism.

Droopy said...

I have been being a bit harped and ridden in a private alternate online area by someone who's furious at Jonathan but either not having access or not feeling they have access to take it up with Jonathan, has been unleashing the brunt of their feelings about Jonathan's response here, onto me (and somehow expecting me to respond and be some sort of a "Jonathan-by-proxy," and some how able and capable to respond to the discussion in a way which Jonathan himself might, which is neither fair to Jonathan or to me).

I'm not Amanda Baggs.

-- I'm also not Jonathan Mitchell.

I don't think there's anybody out there I agree with entirely, probably not even on all the core fundemental things that have to do with Autism, etc,

I wanted to stay out of this particular discussion but since that's just not being allowed to happen even if I don't post here, and at risk of pissing off yet another someone out there I have great respect for in spite of some fundemental differences,

here's all I've got so far:

Given as Neurodiversity are rather fond of invoking behaviors very reminiscent of Third Reich tactics (and all the while disparaging and mocking those who endured and suffered the brunt of that catastrophe -- see Amanda Baggs' blatant example twisting things, painting herself/themselves as the victims with the taunting use of "Ballastexistenz" as just one example of many)

The equally mocking use of a phrase like
"Auschwitz Syndrome" would certainly be in perfect keeping with Neurodiversity tactics.

I thought it was rather bold and courageous (and wise on Jonathan's part as potentially heading off what would have been Neurodiversity's inevitable use of the same against him had Jonathan not merely 'beaten them to the punch which I think may accounts for much of "Socraate's furied demonstration of what Neurodiversity is really like and really about) for he himself to boldly make and address direct comparisons between himself and the individual in question here.

And in general terms not just about this case, no, I don't think if a person is ever discovered to be undeniably "on the spectrum" that my neighbors are going to pick up torches and come after me.

They didn't at the Sky Walker case and they won't regardless, because you see I am a walking imbodiment, upclose and personal, as is Jonathan to his neighbors I'm sure, that undermines all this hysterical "lets not talk about it ever and lets pretend Autistics (and their pesky hangers on the "Aspergers) are all some kinda Disabled Debbies"

Else people get the 'wrong' idea."

Every time an Autistic (or you not so Autistic) just live and are not newsworthy, you're neighbors know that, they see that. Period.

Stop being the very view distorters and fearmongers you're so good at accusing everybody else of being.

And if you've got a problem with Jonathan over his posts, take it up with him, he's a big boy he can take it, and he's not posting your comments, that's between you and him and not me.

Droopy said...

Socrates said...

"You really are an utter waste of photons Mitchell, read the f------ post; the whole post... The whole of Sodini's blog is there, including the phrase "Auschwitz Syndrome".

btw - it wasn't a plug, it was a critique and a (not so) sotto voce dig in the ribs."

Isn't "Socrates" here the angry homeless guy who mainly lives on a house-boat -- due his self-confessed violent tendencies keeping him from being capable of having a home -- violent tendencies which Socrates himself blames on "his Autism"?

If I've got the right guy (and I think I do -- you can come back with your characteristic posh polysyllabic 'style' and correct if I'm wrong),

Given your particular circumstance (and what damage you yourself must single-handedly do to "Autism's Image" in the very eyes of those who live close to and encounter you on a regular basis where you and your house-boat go),

-- isn't it a 'wee bit' hypocritical in particular of you, "Socrates," to then take objection to and wish to suppress these issues?

Just asking (you may now make your appraisals of my protons etc now too, which are thankfully out of reach from your angry hand's grasp)

Autism Mom Rising said...

I just discovered you yesterday. I think you have an interesting perspective. I look forward to coming back.

Autism Mom Rising

jonathan said...

Droopy: I also read on the new republic that Harry Williams (AKA Socrates) was homeless due to violent tendencies. I don't remember if he was blaming it on autism or not. Then later, when I got into an argument with some of the ND's on autism bitch from hell's blog, he denied being homeless, so I am not sure what the truth is. Normally I won't publish Harry's comments because he has been abusive to me in the past, both on here and on other blogs and websites. I wanted to show gadfly's readers the type of response you can expect from ND's though.

I suspect that other person you are describing is Clay Adams Sort of sounds like him from the description you are giving.Normally I dont allow him to comment here either. He still tries to comment here under various aliases and it is always something tremendously abusive.

I don't feel I am obligated to publish the comments of those or engage in a dialogue with those persons who are abusive towards me. There is no reason you have to engage in a dialogue with this person regardless of whether they are Adams or someone else.

Droopy said...


I'm really not comfortable with identifying (or having attempts made by others to that end) who it is (respectfully I'm asking that you and others please don't engage further in a guessing game on this),

but in my pesky penchant for fairness and honesty I'm also not comfortable with someone else being unduly misidentified as having done something or as a result of something I've said, so I need to at least make this much clear:

I was not referring to "Clay Adams"

(I don't think I have even had, at least not knowingly, any dialog with that person).

My intention and point with that was mainly just to bring it back here, where it started and where it belongs, to stop the incessant private grumblings and whatnot that really don't belong to me and that I shouldn't have to answer to, to maybe hopefully even bring somebody to their senses when they saw it said here, I don't know). Maybe it was a mistake to bring it back here, but I didn't think it was at the time.

For the record and since I'm on the topic,
There are things that you say and do or the way you go at things that I really don't agree with

but that's okay. I believe you're real and who you say you are and "as advertised,"

I believe you that you've been in special ed, are a "lifer" when it comes to your "Autism" and I don't see a great deal of misleading, overplay or trying to misrepresent yourself (or others) as something other than you/they are. You seem to me satisfactorily to my (albiet limited) knowledge of you, to also be the 'real deal."

For me, that's a must, a prerequisite before all else.

and you stick your neck out there when no one else will for what you believe in. I've seen you keep plugging away, even when it seemed like it was just your voice alone, because of what you believe in.

That's admirable (and given my circumstances, especially with Baggs when there've been times it was pretty much me myself and I trying to alert the world to a problem there) something I can certainly relate to, and when also seen in others,

its something worthy of my respect.

Its interesting (and sad) to me that its really only people outside of this thing called "Neurodiversity" who seem more capable to this level of awareness and allowance of differences

Its Neurodiversity people who just can't seem to grasp that a person does not have to be a clone or a replica of somebody else, be it you Jonathan, or John Best, or one of their own (or anybody else for that matter) in order to form any sort of alliance, agreement, etc whatsoever.

I try not to think too hard about how much of this with me may stem from a (mostly) unsaid tendency to underestimate me as some sort of half-wit, some sort of "lower life form" based solely on the severity of my deficits ... funny, it is... coming from people who like to hold up and bring up people like me and more severely impacted than me, as momentary fleeting examples, just long enough to cull up catchphrase like "LFA get their abilities underestimated while 'we' get our deficits underestimated," etc etc ad nauseum)

Droopy said...

Stephanie said...


Tomorrow night she will be on 20/20

I read somewhere that her mother said that she had "motor oral apraxia" and that she could say "yes" and "no."

Anonymous said...


Thank you for bringing some clear thinking to the neurodiversity nonsense. Too many people, such as Ari Ne'eman, have decided that they speak for all autistics. None of them see that it is their disability that causes them to fail to understand that they are not the spokespeople for anyone. We need voices such as yours to counter their nutty claims.

Comet said...

A wonderful quote I discovered on Left Brain/Right Brain:

"People need to learn that speaking about all people with autism is not equivilant to speaking for all people with autism..."

Read more:

Can someone please explain this quote to me? I honestly do not understand it.

Anonymous said...

He may have been a person with Asperger's who didn't know he had Asperger's.

It's different for people who don't know. They think they are normal and don't understand what's wrong. He knew something was wrong with himself but didn't know what to do.

Perhaps, trying to live like a normal person rather than figuring out how to live successfully as someone with Asperger's is what made him go crazy.

I think there's a lesson here.

Robin Nemeth said...

I hope it's ok to speculate here--I've been censored on internet forums simply for speculating. But I'm sure I'm not the only one wondering-- was he on SSRIs?

Robin Nemeth said...


I’m a new viewer of yours; just found out about your site. This isn’t on topic for what you wrote today but wth. Was gonna post this to your guest book but it won’t take so many characters.

Just glancing at your blog posts I see that you’re pissed off about Katie Miller’s IACC testimony. Or at least, you felt it was strange. I cannot begin to tell you how pissed off I was to hear that she’d testified, especially after reading of the experience of the parent of a severely affected child who was basically just blown off by the committee.

I’ve been spending the last few years trying to get people to look at the vaccine/autism connection, and getting kicked in the teeth for it (well figuratively speaking), over and over and over again. It’s not just the health care professionals and public health people, I’ve found, who are working against helping children with autism. It’s been, at least up until very recently, the autism support organizations as well! Believe it or not. This has been my experience. When I’ve attempted to speak about vaccines I’ve been censored over and over again and often by the very groups who’ve pretended to want to help. I think that things are beginning to change. At least I hope so.

Oh now look what I’ve gone and done, I’ve looked at your blog post ‘where are all those darn adults with autism’. You’ve said that AOA is well known for censoring those they don’t agree with. I have to say that I’ve spent a lot of time reading and posting there. What makes you believe that they censor posts? Have they censored your posts? I have to say that their site is one of only two internet forums where I’ve not been censored.

Personally, I wish that organizations such as Autism Speaks (AS) would stop using that 1:150 number. I do think that it’s a result of expanded diagnosis. Although I also believe that the real incidence is up probably tenfold for all types of autism, over what it was a few decades ago.

I’ve seen public health officials trying to convince people that the rate of autism hasn’t increased, with no real data to base that claim on. I seem to remember a study, (maybe I saw it in Scientific American?) about this topic in which the authors claimed that the increase couldn’t be explained by expanded diagnosis or better recognition, alone. But I didn’t read the whole study, so I couldn’t tell you if it was flawed or not. Most of the details of these scientific studies, I will have to admit to you, they just go *whoosh* right over my head.

At any rate I have seen a great many people demanding that I believe that the incidence has remained the same over recent decades, with no data to back up their claim. Most of them are people who’ve profited from vaccines, or whose reputation lies in vaccines not being discredited. The people who claim the opposite are usually parents with children on the spectrum. . My own impression is that the incidence is up, just not as much as organizations such as AS would have us believe. I personally think that they’ve exaggerated the numbers so that people like Michael Savage and like minded individuals would have some ammunition when they make claims such as “the incidence isn’t up it’s just whiny parents with bratty children.”

Robin Nemeth said...

It’s been my belief that for a long time, AS was in bed so to speak with pharma, and most of the smaller autism support organizations were in bed with AS. (My brother has used the term ‘incestuous’ and thought it was a pretty good way to describe how most of the autism support organizations have operated.)

I first really got very interested in autism when my oldest child had problems. Concerns. It was her preschool teacher who said “she needs help we aren’t qualified to give”. I took her off of casein after a conversation I had with Dr. Rimland. This was about sixteen years ago. I will never forget the conversation I had with him.

I’d asked him why they were recommending high dose vitamin B6/B complex, when the traditional medical establishment wasn’t advocating this. And his response, tho I didn’t understand at the time, sent a chill down my spine. He said to me “I don’t know, it’s almost as though they don’t want the cause to be found”. And when I asked him who ‘they’ were, he said that there were a lot of people getting government money.

I’ve since read David Kirby’s book. I see from glancing through your blog posts that you don’t have a lot of respect for his work. Well, we don’t agree on as much as I’d originally thought. But that’s ok. I found that there were other adults on the spectrum many years ago. I was disappointed then to find that we didn’t see eye to eye about everything. I will not be so disappointed anymore :/

I should say that I’m not diagnosed. I knew however, when I was eight, that I was just let’s say ‘different’. I didn’t make casual conversation, at all, with other children. When I was eleven I wondered if it was autism. Then, twenty some years later when the gastro intestinal specialist that my oldest child was seeing said that my daughter might have autism, I wasn’t terribly surprised. Though I have to say I was very, very scared. I thought that she might be severely affected. As it turns out, she’s not, for which I thank God. None of my four children are severely affected, though I believe that three of them are slightly.

I’d first heard of Dr. Rimland when I was in college, back in the seventies. I’d done some research in the school library on autism. Because I felt that I might have something similar. (there was no ‘spectrum’ to speak of back then, at least not that I was aware of). I’d wanted to find something to help. A ‘magic pill’. Cause I, unlike many people out there I later met on the internet, was never too terribly thrilled with my condition.

I believe that when Dr.Rimland spoke with me on the phone, he had his suspicions about vaccines, but didn’t feel that he had enough evidence perhaps to speak outright against them. At any rate it’s rather hard for me to believe that he simply wanted to start some sort of cult type group of anti-vaccine people, way back then, simply by planting ideas in their heads about government paid researchers trying to hide the truth. Ideas which wouldn’t come to see much public support until years after his death.

Robin Nemeth said...

I notice your article that thimerosal shouldn’t be looked at any longer. You say that it’s been phased out of infant vaccinations. You should know that it hasn’t. It’s still very much in flu shots. Perhsps you’d be interested in reading the blog that I created a couple of years ago when I was making phone calls, attempting to find out the percentage of flu vaccines with toxic levels of flu shots (twenty five micrograms).

I call it Adventures at the Flu Fair. If you don’t read it or don’t like it I hope that you at least like my picture at the beginning. I enjoy making my pictures quite a lot. Here’s another one I made that I’m sort of proud of.

I don’t know what Norman would’ve thought of my picture.

Anyway, I was able to find a CNN story online about that, the percentage of flu shots with mercury. They say it’s ninety four or ninety six percent, I forget which. But read the responses I got from people when I asked. I found it damn scary. I may not understand all of the science all that well, but I damn sure understand that people don’t act the way these people were acting, when they have nothing to hide.

I have to go. Kid needs to go to band camp. I will try to read your essay soon about undiagnosing Gates and Einstein, as I see that many people have been favorably impressed.

I myself have been starting to write some poetry about autism. Mostly cause I’m just too lazy for fiction and I think poetry is easier.

I see you wrote about your IACC input “I realize that this was probably about as effective as writing a letter to Santa Claus.” Made me laugh. I can’t help but like people who make me laugh. Personally, I didn’t waste my time. I did write to Senator Harkin though.

jonathan said...

Robin Nemeth: I have, in the past, posted polite comments to the AoA blog/webpage which did not agree with their philosophical point of view, and yes, they did not publish them. From what I have heard from other people, my experience is not unique. They have a well-known reputation for doing this. One can see from reading their comments how few and far between negative published comments are there.

Jake Crosby said...

I don't know about all of AoA, but you're certainly welcome to express whatever views you like under my articles, Jonathan.

jonathan said...

Thanks Jake, but if I recall correctly you don't moderate the comments for your own articles. It is Kim Stagliano that does that. I thought Kim Stagliano moderate all of the AoA comments.

K said...


I must say, I don't quite understand why both sides need to moderate comments so much. Its as if everyone wants to filter out arguments that might challenge the other sides thinking. I can understand filtering out personally abusive comments, but comments that simply challenge with different arguments is something different. It seems everyone monitors their website so it is just an echo chamber of their own views. No one learns or comes to any sense of mutual understanding and consensus if we just allow ourselves to listen to arguments that agree with our own.

jonathan said...

K: Your comment was off topic, but I think it is something that needs to be addressed. I can't speak for other blogs, but I feel a need to moderate comments on this blog because not only have I had so much abuse hurled at me from the angry hatemongers in club ND. Also, when I just settled for deleting comments, one member of ND would stalk me and keep reposting long comments that I felt like deleting that were rude and off topic. Moderating comments was the only way to keep this person off my blog.

I have no objection to publishing comments that disagree with my point of view. I do encourage dissent and for people who happen to read this blog to tell me where i am going wrong so I can correct the record.

I do not feel that I should publish comments that delve into personal issues or where the commenter is abusive to me. I am not paid a dime for writing posts on this blog or for the numerous comments I seem to get.

If anyone does not like my policy I guess they can read and comment on other blogs where no comment moderation exists and they don't have to comment on autism's gadfly or even read it.

Jake Crosby said...

I don't moderate comments for AoA, but I do have a say in the moderation process of comments under my own posts, and my policy is the same as yours Jonathan.

Jake Crosby said...

Mr. Kulp,
Here's an article about a study linking mercury to autoimmune disease

Here's another study linking mercury to mitochondrial disorders.

I think it's safe to conclude that a lot of things are related to mitochondria and autoimmunity.

navywifeandmom said...


A good book to read on autoimmune disease that talks about both genetics and chemicals like mercury is "The Autoimmune Epidemic - Bodies Gone Haywire in a World Out of Balance and the Cutting Edge Science that Promises Hope". There is a very small section there on autism and how that might indeed be an autoimmune condition, especially since the incidence is rising along with other autoimmune conditions.