By Dan Olmsted
I’m sure that when most of our readers first heard about a shooting this week at a regional center in California for developmentally disabled people, they had the same chilling thought – oh lord, please let this not involve anyone in the autism world. It turned out that the victims happened to be from the county health department (although I heard a woman say on TV that one person had worked with autistic kids), but that of course did nothing to diminish the fear, sadness, and sense of vulnerability.
Chris Christie put it this way: “If a center for the developmentally disabled can be the target of a terrorist attack, then any place in American can be the target of a terrorist attack.
Marie Simonton wrote in a comment: “My son receives services from Inland Regional Center. We have been praying that his former and current caseworkers were not among the victims. They just released the names of the victims and are relieved that they were not among them. Our hearts break for those who were lost and for their families who are left behind to grieve. May God fill their hearts with peace and solace.”
One thing that does no one any good is to confabulate conspiracies out of heartbreak. As soon as the shooting happened, my Facebook news feed got clogged with posts about how there was a SWAT drill going on at the same time nearby and that this whole tragedy was somehow a setup for something or other.
We saw this with Sandy Hook, too, which was supposedly a “false flag” operation, whatever that means. In that case, our Managing Editor’s husband was friends with the family of a victim. And we heard it about 9.11, in particular that it wasn’t a plane that hit the Pentagon. I live just a few miles from there, and people I know saw the plane. What’s more, a friend was a first responder, and part of the plane was intact inside the building.
We have enough real conspiracies on our hands that we ought to make an extra effort to avoid ones that lack good evidence.
Another thread that I really don’t like is that Islam is an inherently violent religion. I won’t run those comments and people who think I should and say that’s censorship are welcome to read other blogs. I think those comments go way beyond the purview of a Web site on autism. Remember, the Somalis in Minneapolis, dealing with a terrible autism rate, are part of our community. Telling them the religion they rely on for support and strength is an evil sham is not part of our mission, to say the least.
Before this happened I was already planning to republish Contributing Editor Kent Heckenlively’s wise words about the season:
“Some thoughts as we enter the holiday season ... It is important to remember that not everyone is surrounded by large wonderful families. Some of us have problems during the holidays and sometimes are overcome with great sadness when we remember the loved ones who are not with us. And, many people have no one to spend these times with and are besieged by loneliness. We all need caring, loving thoughts right now.”
Amen, Kent. And congrats that Plague is the Number One best seller in Virology on Amazon – there’s something to celebrate!
Also worth celebrating is that AOA has just completed another successful annual fund-drive, thanks to Anonymous Donor who put up $5,000 and the dozens of readers who more than matched it. We rely on the kindness of our friends. (Friends who know we are tax-deductible!)
OK, one last holiday reference: What to my wondering eyes did appear this week but an article on Daily Kos, the reliably progressive and pro-vaccine Web site, titled “The Pharma Bulls Are Loose, and It’s the End of American Democracy.”
This headline does not overhype the article, which is a spectacularly – spectacularly! -- good look at how pharma has taken over medicine, government and mainstream media. Embedded within, and all the more powerful for it, is a look at the vaccine disaster. Sample:
“I’ll say it first: we no longer live in a democracy. We live in a fascist Pharmatopic Republic.
“The saddest part about living in this fascist state is that most people in America are not even aware of this new reality. In fact, in the public shaming of those who want safe vaccines, the American public is an unwitting victim of mass propaganda – and those doing the shaming are analogous to jack-booted thugs. Those in the blogosphere resort immediately to ad-hominem attacks at the first hint of logic and rational discourse. Even asking a question on vaccine safety makes one suddenly ‘anti-vax.’ (Disclosure: Both of my sons are fully vaccinated. I draw the line at HPV.)”
Yikes, that’s freaking brilliant. The author is listed as lifebiomedguru but Anne Dachel says that’s Dr. James Lyons-Weller, who she interviewed on AOA in October. http://www.ageofautism.com/2015/10/dachel-asks-doctors-thoughts-on-the-cdc-whistleblower.html
This seems like quite a turnaround for Kos, which I wrote about in March when one of our own astute commenters, Twyla, tried to leave a comment there. Here’s what she got back.
“The vaccine-autism link has been debunked by many careful studies, and here at Daily Kos we consider it conspiracy theory. CT postings are not permitted here. Postings that advocate this theory can get you banned at Daily Kos.”
I once wrote a piece called “Why Progressives Don’t Get Autism” (Kos actually mentioned it as a point at least worth considering.) I may have to amend that to Why All Progresssives Except Dr. James Lyon-Weller (and Bobby Kennedy Jr.) Don’t Get Autism. As I’ve tried, sometimes vainly, to argue, protecting citizens from rampant domination by business (the end result of which is in fact the textbook definition of fascism) is actually a progressive issue. As C.S. Lewis wrote:
“Progress means getting nearer to the place you want to be. And if you have taken a wrong turning, then to go forward does not get you any nearer.
“If you are on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; and in that case the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive man.”
Dan Olmsted is Editor of Age of Autism.