The Frau Koma series I wrote in 2013 was intended to explore questions over politics, genetics, corporate crime and scapegoats in the media campaign to associate autism with mass murder. In light of the current fanfare over yet another research claim of an association between autism and modern massacre— as well as another recent mass murder committed by an individual who reportedly suffered from autism—the series is unfortunately relevant again.
On Friday, May 23rd, 22 year old Elliot Rodger, son of Hunger Games assistant director Peter Rodger, became the latest poster child or “horned devil”—a killer with a reportedly identifiable trait, in this case possible Asperger’s—for the mass murderer profile. According to CNN, Rodger’s mother made a sworn statement in divorce documents that her son had been diagnosed with high functioning autism as a child.
The original Koma articles on mass murder, autism and drug side effects were an attempt to illustrate through the views of a range of independent psychopharmaceutical experts, reform psychiatrists and through independent research that, due to the current rate of roughly 1 in 50 boys (and rising) with the condition, autism is still statistically underrepresented among non-ideological mass murderers. But the series also considers that, due to the extremely high rate of drugging among the developmentally disabled with medications that carry black box warnings for violence and suicide—up to 90% according to reform psychiatrist and expert witness Dr. Peter Breggin, a drugging rate approximately 1000% higher than the already high American average—we could eventually see the prophesy of the autistic killer self-fulfilled through the “magic bullet” drugs meant to treat them. The conjectures made in recent reports on the Santa Barbara massacre appear to be no exception to the general pattern.
On the evening of May 23nd, Rodger stabbed and shot six people to death in a college town near Santa Barbara, drove his car into another and left six more hospitalized, two in critical condition. Several sources claimed that, according to family members, Rodger had seen psychiatrists for many years and had been on medication. In a video, Rodger explained that he’d refused to take Risperdal due to the side effects, though he didn’t indicate whether or not he took other prescriptions. Sudden withdrawal from certain drugs is associated with a steep increase in suicidal and homicidal reactions.
Rodger, like many of the modern random mass murderers, had no history of violent assault but, by all accounts, had recently become increasingly paranoid and withdrawn and had quit school. Members of a chat group the Rodger belonged to described Rodger’s violent hate speech towards women and his musings on releasing a virus that would kill off his male competitors. Shortly before the massacre, his family had attempted unsuccessfully to get an emergency commitment for him after learning of a Youtube video in which he described his rage at sexual rejection and social isolation. Rodger’s manner of evading police scrutiny during the welfare check—by convincing them that he was a “kind and wonderful human being”— does not jibe with an autism diagnosis but there’s no indication in reports that Rodger's diagnosis had been updated. In the video, Rodger vowed to take deadly revenge against those he saw as unfit to live for committing the “crime” of rejecting him. In his 141 page manifesto, Rodger describes his intended rampage as the “Day of Retribution,” himself as “divine” and unambiguously akin to the Second Coming who will rid humanity of the “impure” and “depraved.”
Rodger's demeanor in the video segment could be taken for a Sheldon Cooper send-up, but the combined effect of pompous delusions and his view of himself as a “living god” who will reduce his victims to “mountains of skulls and rivers of blood” is chilling. His rampage in Isla Vista left two young women and four young men dead. There was no indication from reports that he personally knew the victims, though he stated in the video that he intended to target a particular sorority house. He reportedly shot himself after the killing spree. Family members of both victims and the perpetrator called for stricter gun control in the wake of the crime.
In the recent study on mass murder and developmental disability, Neurodevelopmental and psychosocial risk factors in the development of serial killers and mass murderers, researchers postulate that an extremely diverse category of mass killers had/have autism. Essentially two things are looked at in the work: killing and autism. Killing how, why, how many (or any) and over what time period are simply a grab bag. The study calls for a raking over by experts to formally analyze methods and case definitions, but I’ll list a few of the obvious highlights:
The authors indicate the research focused only on subjects apprehended for murder after 1985, explaining that the cut-off point was chosen “because there has been a dramatic increase in the recognition of ASD” since this date. The date also precedes by a year the mass marketing of Prozac, the first SSRI antidepressant—a drug class most associated with school shootings, random mass murder and suicide. Researchers do not discuss whether there had been an actual dramatic increase in autism, do not note the expansion of the vaccination schedule which also occurred in 1987, nor the recent research of a connection between SSRI antidepressants and autism (discussed in Part 2 of the Koma series). Authors don’t comment on the fact that at least one subject was only an attempted murderer and killed no one, and that another conspired and planned a militant mass murder but did not commit the actual act. There may be more irregularities among other cases listed in the study’s tables.
The authors admit to using Google as a primary research tool: “The name of the killer was entered into the search engine ‘Google’ followed by ‘AND’ and each of the following search terms were explored separately: ‘brain’; ‘head injury’; ‘asperger’; ‘autis*’ and, in some cases, ‘murder’ if the name alone was failing to produce relevant sites. In these searches, numerous resources were examined in detail including court transcripts; newspaper articles and other online resources.”
The study’s authors mention Adam Lanza once in the introduction (apparently justifying the use of Lanza’s photo for media coverage). Lanza is not included in tables for some reason, though he’d already been mostly confirmed to have high functioning autism by family members. Also in the introduction, authors claim killers such as Norway’s Anders Breivik and James Holmes of the Aurora, Colorado massacre (both discussed in Part 2) had some form of autism spectrum disorder based on Daily Mail articles. What’s good for the goose… Daily Mail is the source on Elliot Rodger’s medication, though this source quotes a family member while the material on Holmes and Breivik involve no sources close to either. Researchers repeatedly cite the works of Professor Michael Fitzgerald, whose theory that Adolph Hitler had autism (discussed in Part 3) has been widely criticized.
Authors also cite Simon Baron-Cohen’s work claiming an association between “zero empathy killers” and autism based in part on the undeniably racist MAOA or “warrior gene” theory (also discussed in Part 3). The MAOA gene theory has zombied along for decades, mainly due to the fact that it supposedly implicates the role of “low serotonin” in violence—meaning that it has an automatic serotonergic drug marketing algorithm attached. But one of the problems with the theory—in addition to the fact that it blatantly implies that people with brown skin are “more violent,” and was used in the 1990’s as grounds for a prospective program to psychiatrically “vaccinate” certain racial groups against violence using medication— is that the role of serotonin in mental disorders has repeatedly been debunked as a drug industry PR myth.
In fact, other than the claim that over a quarter of the 239 “eligible killers” studied had “definite, highly suspected or possible/probable ASD,” the study breaks no new ground in presenting evidence that mass murder is associated with ASD. There are some references to head injuries and psychosocial factors among certain infamous or obscure perpetrators which are not novel, but what is notable and particularly irresponsible is the conflation of older-than-the-hills crimes such as serial murders, domestic violence killings and militant ideological acts of terrorism with the recent historical advent of non-ideological, random mass murder. The researchers thereby sloppily imply that a high percentage of terrorists could have “definite” autism and an even higher percentage have probable autism. The attempt to find a “terrorism gene” also isn’t new but there’s a level of flagrancy in this attempt that hits a new low.
The citations used by authors to categorize the subjects according to likelihood of ASD diagnosis are awful, including repeated links to Murderpedia and repeat use of the same Swedish tabloid story as substantiation in their “definitive” category of killers diagnosed with ASD. No legitimate sources are visible in the tabloid claims, just excited pronouncements that lead nowhere, even when following the material that authors claim using in addition to the tabloid. The fact that the lead author of the study is from Sweden may get around the American “Goldwater rule” ethically banning mental health professionals from diagnosing individuals they’ve never interviewed and without proper authorization. Meanwhile the actual translated text of the Swedish article raises questions either about legitimacy of diagnoses or the categorization and nature of crimes (serial murders and militant terrorism vs. random mass killings; conspiracy, planning and directing vs. committing the deeds).
Regarding the substantiations used for the “highly suspected ASD” category (which includes ideological and militant terrorists Ted Kaczynski, Terry Nichols, Timothy McVeigh and wily serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer), an Oslo psychiatry professor who admitted in court that he’d never interviewed Anders Breivik, a mass murderer with known militant ties and ideology, decided from watching Breivik on TV and at trial that he had Asperger’s and got himself an expert witness post and into the headlines in the bargain. The psychiatrist largely based his secondary diagnosis on the observation that Breivik smiled inappropriately during trial but seemed unaware that serial killer Ted Bundy—known for charming victims and investigators alike—infamously did the same during his own trial, even smiling during his own execution. Breivik laughed during this psychiatrist’s testimony in court and later denied having ASD. Breivik’s personal contacts described him as charming and social but stubborn. Like Breivik, the Exeter bomber in the “definite ASD” category, Nicky Reilly, had militant ties and had also been “heavily medicated” prior to the crime and possibly during. But unlike Breivik, who consciously chose his affiliations and actions and had never been diagnosed with autism, Reilly had reportedly been set up in a “honey trap” and had been under surveillance by MI5 prior to the bombing attempt, leading to discussions of the use of the mentally disabled in intelligence and law enforcement stings as well as by militant terrorist organizations.
The study contains no reference to subjects’ exposure to psychiatric drugs, though it’s documented that all but one of the perpetrators mentioned in the “definite ASD” category had received previous psychiatric treatment, sometimes at several junctures. At least one subject in the “definite” category was confirmed to have taken psychoactive medication, and multiple names throughout all categories overlap with infamous entries on SSRI Stories, a database of drug-mediated crimes and bizarre acts run by Rxisk.org. Only one so-called mass killer mentioned in the study—Nicky Reilly, who, again, injured only himself— had been formally diagnosed with autism prior to his attempted bombing. Another among the “definites”—Robert Napper—was diagnosed with autism in prison.
It’s worth mentioning that there seems to be a trend of re-diagnosing adult offenders in prison with ASD that probably warrants more scrutiny than it’s gotten. There have been rumors for years of diagnostic and research teams going through adult prison systems for this purpose, most notably the Illinois penal system. Some of the cited research in the recent autism-murder study alludes to this and this kind of diagnostic practice could appear to be a manipulative self-fulfillment of the “increased recognition” theory of autism prevalence. Similar to doubts raised over the use of improper diagnostic tools and case definitions in the Brugha study which found a suspiciously high rate of adults with autism in the U.K., a common concern is that adult-onset prescription or illegal drug-induced dementia, both of which are also epidemic, may be falsely rebranded as “autism.” Rates of prescription drugging in American prisons are reportedly very high. Parts 1 and 2 of the Koma series cite research on overlaps between symptoms of autism and symptoms of later-onset drug-induced dementia.
Within the “definite ASD” category, it’s claimed that no subjects had head injuries. Considering the reported difficulty of diagnosing past closed head injuries, the violent family backgrounds of several subjects and the researchers’ lack of personal access to subjects, the claim seems a bit glib. But insisting on a lack of mitigating physiological injury in the “definite autism” division places “violent autism” squarely in genetic-psychiatric turf, which would not be surprising considering the professional backgrounds of lead authors.
Not only are the authors loose on the definition of autism for the purposes of the study, they alter the FBI standard of what defines “mass” murder (“murdering four or more persons during an event with no cooling off period between murders”) by including those who killed none, those who only planned and directed, and serial killers who killed individual victims over a period of years. There are no FBI standards for manipulating terms and statistics to slap a criminal suspect label on an entire diagnostic category of human beings.
The authors include several “mass murderers” (by which they mean, again, “zero to four or more victims killed either in a short timeframe or over a period of many years and on any motive”) who would be obscure to American readers, making backtracking the profiles and translating the material a slog. Even if authors offer “detailed profiles” on request, anyone digging through the pile of horseshit offered as clinical evidence in the study can get a sense of how subjective these profiles might be due to the fact there are few even reasonably confirmed non-ideological mass-murdering autistic “ponies” in the “definite” and “highly suspected” categories.
While authors focus on modern mass crimes on the rationalization that only modern cases provide enough biographical information to (loosely and illicitly) diagnose subjects with autism—not mentioning that, more importantly, a modern time frame may be necessary to find any clusters of both autism and random mass murders in the first place—there’s also been a mad dash from the other end: industrial PR front group collectives like the Skeptics have been frantically trying to dredge up older historic cases of “school shootings” and supposedly “random” mass murders.
The aim of the historic dredging is to find proof that the crimes could not have been spurred by modern drugs because they occurred before these medications were marketed. But as discussed in Part 1 of the Koma series, between the amphetamine-and-brain-tumor-fueled Bell Tower massacre in 1966 and opium-fueled Malaysian knife rampages in the 18th and 19th centuries that inspired Rudyard Kipling’s introduction of the poetic “run amok” (from the Javan, “to kill”), pickings are slim for historic non-ideological mass killings which also don’t happen to involve substances with clinical associations to violence. But still they try: several commenters on Skeptic sites have recently urged others to bring up “Bremen” in online discussions of modern school shootings to stump the prescription drug theory of mass violence.
The Bremen “amoklauf” or school shooting in 1913, which may have been newly “discovered” when it received media attention in Germany on the 100th anniversary of the crime, was a case of a mentally unstable, unemployed Catholic teacher in Bremen-Walle, Germany, who opened fire on a Protestant school, killing 5 girls and wounding 18 more children and 5 adults. The German coverage ranged from a transparently sensational “See! School shootings aren’t new!” tone to more sober reviews which conclude that the perpetrator, though unstable, was also motivated by religious hatred, may have had the support of a local arms dealer, and that the incident followed a rash of religiously-motivated attacks in that region and throughout the period. This also sparked discussion of politicization and bias in defining older-than-the-hills “religious murder”— which is viewed as “politicide” if performed by government and militant “political terrorism” if performed by nongovernment entities according to common German definition— since media crime coverage would flexibly apply religious motives to murders performed by individuals outside the dominant faith, such as the son of Islamic immigrants who killed his pregnant Christian girlfriend because he didn’t want to be a father.
The hunt for the illusive clusters of drug-free non-ideological mass murder in the eras prior to the advent of modern psychopharmaceuticals seems to be continually bogged down by a closer look at individual cases. This is probably why the front groups have resurrected the “Scientology smear” tactic to silence even the most independent drug critics through fabricated “anti-psychiatry cult” associations (discussed in Part 1 ) after the CoS smear gimmick nearly died of Grassley a few years ago. For the record, I always take a page from the policy of the Law Project for Psychiatric Rights and avoid using citations and resource material that, to the best of my knowledge, stem from the Church of Scientology and associated groups because I also have no affiliation with this organization or any other religious group. I have no comment on the Skeptic biotech front group’s attempts to conflate criticism of pharmaceutical products with “religious irrationality” other than to point out that political media analyst Noam Chomsky designated the Skeptics themselves as a “state religion” which specializes in rationalizing state atrocities.
Independent from conscious motives to obscure the link between random mass violence and prescription drugs, one reason the born psychopath theories are continually spawned may be because, as the very mainstream forensic psychiatrist William H. Reid noted, “Big news about crimes, and especially terrorism, may push psychiatrist interviews from the local feature to the cover story.”
Reid goes on to state that “Terrorists and their organizations have always been practical. Their principles are older than any government and date to hundreds of years before Christ,” and that “most terrorists are not mentally ill and probably do not have more psychological flaws than most criminals… Even so-called ‘suicide’ terrorists, who seem foreign to our culture and make us feel helplessly vulnerable, are not difficult to explain on practical, rather than psychological, grounds.” Reid argues further that the profile of the emotionally needy followers of a militant scheme would not apply to organizational leaders who tend to have more practical agendas. In other words, there is a vast difference between militant terrorism and random non-ideological mass attacks, not the least of which is that terrorism is an ancient form of violence.
The interim takeaway of the Koma series was that, since both autism and non-ideological mass murder—and certainly the statistical explosions in rates of both— appear to be genuinely recent phenomena, it’s hard not to wonder if the fashionable combined autism-mass murder theory kills a few birds with one stone since it simultaneously casts both autism and modern increases in random, non-ideological violence as “genetic,” which in turn tellingly removes the growing onus on the role played by the pharmaceutical industry in generating both. This type of theory also threatens to make the public care less about modern industrial epidemics—their causes or abuses and the tragedies which befall victims (discussed in Parts 1 and 3)— due to the “criminal” shadow being thrown over the lot. The fact that media fanfare is being given to a study which now proposes that militant terrorism is also associated with ASD widens the shadow in a disturbing political sense, particularly in view of Homeland Security chief Lisa Monaco’s recent unveiling of a national program of “locally-based envoys” to watch for and report “signs of “radicalization” in American children and within communities.
What kinds of behaviors are we talking about? For the most part, they’re not related directly to plotting attacks. They’re more subtle. For instance, parents might see sudden personality changes in their children at home—becoming confrontational. Religious leaders might notice unexpected clashes over ideological differences. Teachers might hear a student expressing an interest in traveling to a conflict zone overseas. Or friends might notice a new interest in watching or sharing violent material.
But tossing terrorism into the mix also throws a shadow of serious doubt over this kind of generalized psychiatric profiling. As William Reid also wrote,
Although everyone has a personality, and personality is important in behavior, the idea that there are archetypal terrorist personalities or mental illnesses that predispose one to what most people call terrorism is largely a myth. People want terrorists to have particular psychological characteristics, so that we might be able to “figure them out” and eliminate, mitigate, or at least define the foe. But wishing doesn’t make it so. The government is rarely in a position to observe these early signals, so we need to do more to help communities understand the warning signs, and then work together to intervene before an incident can occur, while always respecting our core commitment to protecting privacy and civil liberties. During the past several years, that’s what we’ve attempted to do.
With revelations of mass NSA surveillance which, as it turns out, mostly targets consumer advocates and other domestic activists, not terrorists, it’s clear how the criminal shadow is spreading over more and more people in the U.S. The Koma series was intended to look into the politicized history of this “criminal shadow” and “wishful” hunt for the elusive genetic crime profile that has been the common denominator of every totalitarian political philosophy in the past century.
The Koma series argues that all totalitarian systems are, one way or another, apocalyptic cults, since all cults—whether secular or non—promise that a period of destruction, constriction of rights and even bloodshed will be followed by a paradise on earth free of disease and suffering and populated by new and improved human strains—once the bad elements are weeded out. Whoever dictates the weeding is basically “Jesus” in the scenario. I suppose that, depending on the type of tyranny, either government or corporations are “God” in this scheme. But according to Noam Chomsky, disputing the difference between forms of totalitarianism—whether it’s “state Bolshevism” or “corporate fascism”—is a waste of time because the difference is nil.
It’s pretty clear that, in the technological age, the “curative” weeding is justified by medical and scientific fields through magic pharmaceutical bullets for depraved genetic criminality, through the crowd-control and military-industrial prescriptions of weaponized anthropology and corporate social science, etc.—so there’s your modern rapture and Second Coming. And since the weeding must be done on the basis that whole groups of people are, due to supposedly identifiable genetic traits (“horns” or lack thereof), either “all evil” or “all good,” the science behind creating these divisions will become more and more absurd and the weeders will tend to cast themselves higher and higher above the great unwashed. From Elliot Rodger's manifesto:
I am Elliot Rodger… Magnificent, glorious, supreme, eminent… Divine! I am the closest thing there is to a living god. Humanity is a disgusting, depraved, and evil species. It is my purpose to punish them all. I will purify the world of everything that is wrong with it. On the Day of Retribution, I will truly be a powerful god, punishing everyone I deem to be impure and depraved.
The series concludes that the scientists generating and defending the fraud which obscures iatrogenic violence and who harvest false genetic theories from the carnage will, as they maniacally cut through humanity deciding who is genetically fit and unfit (for life, liberty or the pursuit of data) pretty much resemble the drug-fueled monsters they create.
In an age when cellular science often dictates legislation and public policy, commercial science has repeatedly forbidden the public from attempting to interpret scientific research, has called for censorship and even civil and criminal penalties against those who criticize commercial science doctrine. It’s akin to medieval church canons banning the laity from translating or owning scripture. Part 1 of the Koma series also discusses the campaign of biopsychiatrists to frame even posttraumatic stress as “genetic” and to increase the power of practitioners to force patients into drug treatment, even through the use of fraud and perjury. Part 3 discusses the application of genetic psychiatric theory in death penalty cases and the advisory role that psychiatrists have carved out for themselves to pull the strings of life and death.
Through the raising of awareness, each generation might develop a degree of resistance to the previous generation’s bigoted nonsense, so it might be difficult in an era when so much commercial PR plays to “humanitarian impulses” to make these institutional designations of who is “impure and depraved” overtly racist again, although many obviously remain covertly racist. Nevertheless, the lines are being overtly redrawn and are, in fact, a type of racialism. It’s just as absurd and dangerous and, to the degree that lies tend to build on lies in a house of cards effect, inevitably ensures that all forms of discrimination are fed and kept alive. But of course if everyone continues to give up rights at the current pace in our apocalyptic march towards progress, by the time it’s proposed that “2 + 2 = 5”—or that this group of people with these identifiable traits are inherently evil and must be abolished—no one can safely scoff or protest (totalitarianism); or else scoffing and protesting have absolutely no effect (“inverted totalitarianism”).
That moment when the can of worms opens and becomes domestically visible seems to have cascaded very suddenly and taken people by surprise at several points in history, and we’re almost there again. This year’s worse-than-ever autism-mass murder theory proves it.
These days, even if an analogy is apt, anyone evoking box cars and death camps in a political comparison will be accused of embodying “Godwin’s Law.” But it’s not dystopian visions of human freight and killing fields that represent the turning point: it’s when no one’s laughing at or protesting hard enough against the horseshit. And even if a few do, the horseshit keeps coming back on a bigger silver platter and with bigger headlines.
According to political philosopher and father of the scientific method, Karl Raimund Popper, Plato’s moral theory of the ideal state, in spite of what Plato’s academic defenders claim, is the ultimate totalitarian model and totalitarianismis inseparable from racialism. Popper defines racialism as a caste system of inherently inferior/superior strains of human and designates it as the critical center of Plato’s theory which Plato’s defenders most tend to euphemize and ignore. Also according to Popper, it’s the element of racialism itself which generates the need for propaganda which is used in turn to pass inequality and resulting atrocities off as “humanitarian.” Popper was not a fan of Plato or Plato’s modern euphemists, whom he regarded as either misled or as veiled defenders of totalitarianism. From The Open Society and Its Enemies:
Summing up, we can say that Plato’s theory of justice, as presented in the Republic and later works, is a conscious attempt to get the better of the equalitarian, individualistic and protectionist tendencies of his time, and to re-establish the claim of tribalism by creating a totalitarian moral theory… And he successfully enlisted humanitarian sentiments, whose strength he knew so well, in the cause of the totalitarian class rule of a naturally superior master race.
In other words, what officially distinguishes totalitarianism from other forms of dictatorial rule is the junk genetic science it uses to raise the select few above the teaming masses by “birthright,” and to rationalize casting systematic suspicion across wide swaths of those masses, invading their privacy, controlling their access to information and unleashing coercion and atrocities, etc. Plato had his nutty Pythagorean Theorem for proper breeding of the classes, eradication of “degenerates” to prevent social upheaval and decline, and child displacement to ensure proper class programming. Under Hitler and Stalin, mass killings of an ever-expanding list of “degenerate” suspects were based on dueling versions of bastardized genetic theory— one claiming that bad genes led to bad ideas, the other claiming that bad ideas led to bad genes. Under Franco and then various Latin American juntas, a strange hash of the above bastardized genetic theories also led to mass displacement of children who were stolen from murdered government opponents to lessen the supposed “expression of the psychopathic red gene.” Today’s totalitarian moral theory seems to be hybridizing itself from two disasters: random mass murder and the autism epidemic.
Aside from yet another autism/mass murder research claim, many relevant things have happened since the Koma series was first published. In terms of state child-snatching rationalized on junk science, the case of Justina Pelletier—who was taken from her parents’ care by Children’s Hospital Boston and the state of Massachusetts exactly one month after the Koma series was published in 2013— has brought more attention to a widespread and eerily Platonic politicized trend in the U.S.: children taken from their families by the state due to medical disagreement with doctors, often when parents resist being herded to the commercial product trough. According to the number of medical marijuana activists placed under investigation by Child Protective Services for public lobbying, children are also increasingly removed to snuff free speech. All of it has cut its teeth on long standing mass child displacement among the poor, minorities and Native Americans. Mass displacement of children has been identified as a form of genocide under international definition. And it all starts with a garbage theory.
In order to create a genetic disease of political views and beliefs, Franco’s premier psychiatrist, Antonio Vallejo-Najera circumvented having to “pick a lane” between Freudian psychology and genetic theory by amalgamating his “red gene” concept with a genetic or “bio-psychic” rendition of Freudian hysteria, i.e., “somatoform disorder.” Somatoform disorder was the state of Massachusetts’ justification for taking custody of Justina Pelletier. Like Vallejo-Najera, many modern mainstream somatoform researchers— such as Ioana Simona Bujoreanu of Children’s Hospital Boston who quickly decided that Justina Pelletier had the psychosomatic disorder and claimed the child for her NIH sponsored study with the help of the Department of Children and Families— also increasingly believe the condition involves “genetic liability.” This development completes the circle back to Vallejo-Najera’s fascist psychiatric doctrine.
In Justina Pelletier’s case, one actual genetic condition—mitochondrial disease (which also has an acquired form)—was swapped for another theoretical one that had more “moral degeneration” overtones that would justify taking her into state “protection” to rid her of bad ideas contracted from her parents. By this equation, even without the added twist of genetic theory, an idea becomes a disease that can spread like a plague and corrupt the social fabric. It precisely resembles Plato’s concept of “moral degeneration” which he described as a sickness requiring “strong medicine”—i.e., force and coercion. Actual medicine, according to Plato, was not for the benefit the individual but for the good of the state and the social fabric.
Another relevant occurrence since the series was published has been the autism advocacy community’s response to the buzz on autism and violence. Many parents of severely affected children have recently become alarmed that a specious autism/mass murder association has made it more risky to seek help for self injury and short-range violent behavior in their loved ones. With Harvard’s report of a three-a-week death toll among the disabled from use of restraint and seclusion in institutions, parents are keenly aware that the disabled are far more likely to be victims of assault than to commit it (a statistical point which the autism-murder study authors quickly pass over). Nevertheless, some individuals with autism can be aggressive, though this often stems from physical pain and typically impacts mostly the individual themselves, caregivers and family members (discussed in Part 1), which is precisely why it should not be ignored.
But politicized genetic violence theories could lead to more coercive drugging of individuals with autism on a “public safety” rationalization (discussed throughout the original series). The irony of this is, again, that the common denominator in most modern non-ideological mass murders has been that the perpetrators were either on or had recently withdrawn from certain pharmaceutical drugs at the times they committed the crimes. These theories also threaten to increase institutional abuse and denial of medical care (discussed in Parts 1 and 3). After all, why would anyone waste empathy and resources on born killers? Never mind if the majority of affected individuals are low functioning and many could hardly load a gun, much less elaborately plan a mass public execution: “autistic killer” theories, since they’re axiomatically based on the genetic conception, must also be predicated on the argument that most affected people are high functioning because this is the only way the “increased recognition/they-used-to-hide-in-plain-sight” mythology can be palmed off.
Probably the most relevant issue that has come to light since the Koma series is that the postmortem toxicology screen of Adam Lanza, the Sandy Hook killer (discussed in Part 2), was finally published after a delay of nearly a year. The toxicology report claims that no drugs, either illegal or prescription, were found in Lanza’s system.
Because of the delay in releasing Lanza’s toxicology results, the unprecedented secrecy around adult mass murderers’ medical records in general (Lanza’s complete medical records have never been released despite public demand, nor have any mass shooters’ since Columbine) , industry’s long history of fierce political suppression of independent research which demonstrates drug risks, and the suspiciously heavy promotion of these screening results by the usual industry conflicted pundits, many observers were left unsatisfied by the Sandy Hook toxicology conclusions. One professional investigator, who could easily be described as the world’s current leading independent expert in pharmaceutical-related murder and suicide and who has also made a study of coroner corruption in these cases, offered several reasons why toxicology screens should not be automatically viewed as “definitive” in the absence of complete medical histories:
Given the importance of the issues, and the convincing record of mental health problems and treatments, this issue needed definitive input. This means that, for instance, hair samples should have been taken to establish [the perpetrator’s] record of drug intake over the prior 6 month period. An apparent absence of anything in the blood at death is compatible with not screening extensively for prescription drugs, or with the vagaries of post-mortem drug distribution, or with the fact that he had stopped recently and the drug had cleared his system and he was suffering withdrawal effects.
The conundrum of disaster capitalism is trying to figure out whether A) the cover up of a manmade disaster resulted haphazardly in having to choose a fall guy for the fallout—in this case, clinically established violent side effects of pharmaceutical products leading to statistical explosions in a particular type of crime leading to the scapegoating of autism which mounting evidence argues has genuinely increased due to the side effects of other pharmaceutical products—or B) if the political importance of having a fall guy disincentivizes acknowledging the nature of the disaster and stopping it. Is institutional denial the bigger problem or institutional expedience?
Going back to recent news of mass domestic spying and the also relevant increase in draconian “anti-terror” legislation in the U.S., so much of which has also been based on fraud— from “yellow cake” and WMD to “indefinite detention” without trial and the targeting of nonviolent domestic activists— it all lends queasy ramifications to the resurrection of the “born psychopath”—and now “born terrorist”— frenzies. The rest should be more or less obvious: Acts of mass violence are convenient to creating a state of emergency justifying incursions on rights. Incursions on rights are convenient when corporations are in the process of capturing government, wrecking the environment, committing humanitarian abuses and economic crimes. In this sense, the degree to which terrorism and school shootings have become convenient could contribute to how fiercely discovery of cause will be discouraged and how much expedient alternative theories will be encouraged. And it all underscores the fact that scientific hypotheses often serve political agendas. As political and not merely “scientific” events with the potential to effect policy and society, it goes without saying that these theories are fair game to be scrutinized by those who individually stand to pay for them or anyone else concerned with political freedom.
I don’t know if I’ve been able to make the case that what “happens in autism doesn’t stay in autism.” Others might need more convincing and they can take their chances that they’ll remain unaffected. But it’s clear to many of us that the shotgun diagnostic approach making the bureaucratic rounds as writ and doctrine and mercilessly reducing an entire diagnostic category to a type of dangerous, criminal subclass can strike other targets.
Adriana Gamondes is a contributing editor to Age of Autism. She lives with her husband and recovering twins and is one of the blog’s Facebook administrators.