I don’t want to but I have to weigh in on the Sandy Hook tragedy. I doubt we will ever truly know everything that led that young man to do what he did, but I feel the need to reiterate what the Autism Society of America has already said: that mass murder is not a symptom or a behavior of autism. His brother mentioning autism in a description of the gunman doesn’t mean there is a causal relationship between what happened and the alleged diagnosis of autism, it only means – maybe – that he was a person who may have needed more support than he was getting. In today’s America, that could describe a whole lot of people, the vast majority of whom have not opened fire on anyone.
But I am appalled that the ability to do just that – open fire – on anyone, anywhere, is seen as a founding-fathers-given right to Americans. We have lost our understanding of what gun safety is and the value of a good background check – which in this case would have done little good, but that is not true of some other events in this year of seven (yes, seven) mass shootings. But limiting the number and type of weapons available to a single individual might have made a difference in the scope and horror of this event.
Don’t let the media – or anyone else – turn the tables on the real issue and blame a disability instead of political cowardice on the fronts of health insurance and gun safety. I join the chorus of voices calling for increased gun safety and a stronger mental health safety net for all Americans.