By Harry Hofherr
I am not a fan of talk radio although I've been known to listen for a few minutes every six months or so, just to make sure I'm not missing anything.
A friend and I once discussed the fascination with Rush Limbaugh and he claimed Rush was an entertainer. I said he was a preacher and his flock is every bit the same as any other religion. I did point out however, that most respectable religions avoid preaching a doctrine of hate and derision. Our discussion ended when I suggested my friend read Eric Hoffer's classic book, The True Believer.
I've never listened to Mike Savage but I've heard about his rants over the years. I spotted one of his books in the bargain bin a few years ago and read the dust cover. After reading the faux anger directed at everyone and everything, I thought it needed to be in the recycle bin. I figured this guy was out to make a buck and his whole shtick consisted of being pissed off. It seems like a waste.
I'd have gone blissfully along not paying attention to Dr. Pissed Off until a couple of weeks ago when he attacked children with autism and their families. I couldn't imagine why. Did some individual with autism threaten him? Even in the immediate aftermath of his stupid remarks I tried not to pay attention. These shock jocks are out to rile up their listeners. They feed peoples perceived grievances and prejudices. That's what they do, like them or not.
When I read a list of his advertisers I made sure I printed it and I won't be purchasing their products, or spending my money in their stores. I'd also tell my family and friends. I figured that was as far as I'd go. I wasn't going to give this jerk any more of my time or efforts.
Don't get me wrong. What the clown said is disgusting. It shows a clearly disturbed mind. Only an incredibly weak person would find it acceptable to attack children with autism and their families. One thing stood out when I heard his rants, he doesn't know a thing about autism. This guy's totally clueless. He is not some macho savage warrior tough guy; he's a wimp with a shtick.
What finally made me pay closer attention was something that was posted on the Environment of Harm group. Somebody wrote that by picking on autism, he was in fact encouraging his listeners to do the same. The writer was afraid that his listeners would verbally attack autistic children and their families, or worse. That got my attention.
I could just imagine some ignorant pissed off simple minded jerk yelling at us when we had our son out and he made one of his "Eeeeeee" sounds, or started running away. What's a parent to do in that situation? I don't know, but I won't stop taking my son out in the world for fear of the little savages.
I do suspect that somewhere in the future it will probably happen thanks to people like Dr. Pissed Off. But I'm grateful it hasn't happened yet, because we do take our son out and he's been known to make loud sounds, run away, throw things down, and perform in other unusual ways. We've seen some "looks" but not many. Most people are either gracious, or oblivious.
I think that for the most part people seem to understand when they see a young boy or girl out in public making strange noises, flapping their hands or arms, and maybe walking with an unnatural gait. Our kids are not unusual, anymore. They have become mainstream. They are everywhere because there are so many of them and because we take them out and show the world our beautiful vaccine damaged children.
Maybe it's because my autism radar is always on, but I do recognize it more and more. Believe me, it's everywhere.
When I hear people say there's no autism epidemic I wonder if these people ever travel. I travel a lot in my job and I see autism everywhere. I've seen it in airports, in hotels, and I've seen it in The Mall of America. I saw a little boy in the airport in San Juan last week, flapping his hands. I didn't see this many kids twenty or thirty years ago. They are hard to miss.
I've never seen anyone attack a parent for not controlling their kids, on the contrary, I've seen strangers offer help to strained parents. Mostly I've seen smiles aimed at kids trying to cope with a strange confusing world.
So, when I hear an idiot like Savage, or whatever his name is, tell his loyal listener all about autism and how it's phony, I first get angry, and then I smile. His audience is small minded. In my experiences there's a great big world out here and it's filled with some really big minded people. Most of them know someone with autism. They know it's not bad parenting. They also ask why there's so much more of it than there used to be. They see it and they get it.
There a lot more big people out here than there are ignorant little savages.