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Martin Farnsworth, of Failed Utah High School Bomb Attempt, Sentenced as Adult

Autism bombI hadn't heard about this case until yesterday. It brings up so many questions for our community. Is this young man "one of ours"? The article says a psychologist testified that he is on the spectrum. What does that mean? I wonder if he had a 504 or an IEP in school. Was he functioning at a level that allowed him to study without benefit of assistance?

Does diagnosis matter when it comes to a well thought out if poorly (thank God) executed crime?  My friend John Robison wrote in his book Look Me In The Eye about pranks he played that involved explosives. I can't imagine it ever occurred to him to blow up people, with intent to harm. What has changed in our young people to bring out a need to hurt? Read the article and let's discuss. As the epidemic ages out into adulthood, many questions will arise. Most difficult to answer.

From FOX13Now Salt Lake City:

ST. GEORGE, Utah — A teen who brought explosives to Pine View High School has been sentenced to jail time.

Martin Farnsworth, 17, was ordered to serve 415 days in detention with credit for time served (which he has already served). He also was given 48 months probation, 250 hours of community service, and court-ordered treatment and any recommended medication by 5th District Court Judge Michael Westfall. He was also ordered to have no access to the internet or explosive materials or bomb-making components. He pleaded guilty in March to a charge of intent to commit injury with an incendiary device, a first-degree felony.

He was originally charged with attempted murder and possession of a weapon of mass destruction, as well as misdemeanor graffiti charges. The case was originally filed in juvenile court, but Farnsworth was later transferred to the adult court system.

Farnsworth was arrested last year after police said he brought a backpack loaded with a bomb to Pine View High. Prosecutors said he lit a fuse, but the bomb did not detonate.

Police also accused him of researching information about the terror group ISIS online. He was also accused of replacing an American flag at a school in Hurricane with a pro-ISIS flag.

“If I didn’t get caught from this, if people got hurt and I could get away from it? I would have laid low for a little while, kind of see what people’s reactions were, whether there were comments about it, etc. Then later on try to hang an ISIS flag somewhere like on a school or maybe on the freeway, make it look like ISIS is here. Then maybe after that try to contact ISIS, but I don’t really know how to do that. I need to do more research on that,” he told police, according to a court filing FOX 13 reported on last year.

A psychologist testified on his behalf that Farnsworth was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder.


Jeanne J


What any program that he is involved in should do is train his parents about his disability. After that, they need to train them (if they don't already know) how to use the latest wifi technology for parental control of the computer, tablets, and anything else in the home that can surf the internet. Most programs for high functioning autism include executive functioning training (critical thinking) and training in social skills (how to interact with people on a higher level than just basic conversation).

Angus Files

Jeanne a lot not all , of the people you describe are fobbed off onto other diagnosis these days.The autistic ones bitters,still in nappies , crash helmets on 24/7 due to self harm, etc. Thats what you have to be not all the time but mostly these day to get an autistic diagnosis.Believe me it took us 18 months 12 years ago and its a hundred times harder now if at all possible.If you ever meet my son within a minute you would know how autistic he is and he was 10 times worse back then.So how does it take 12 professionals months to diagnose them if not years and most don`t qualify as autistic these days and are as autistic as the nose on your face.We all know why because they keep the figures down .In my life I have never met any discrepancy because of race faith or colour and my best friend Brian is black his son is Brian also who is my sons best friend.Give you a story my non-autistic son was asked at school paint a picture of your best friend my son painted Brian as black, all the kids said you cant paint Brian black thats racist, Brian jumped in he can Im black look I am black guys not white green or blue.Just a pity when diagnosing autistic kids they weren't all as honest as Brian and my son.

Pharma For Prison


Grace Green

I for one really value your comments on this topic, and you clearly know what you're talking about. I don't accept others' argument that treating autistic people appropriately would be too expensive either here in the UK or in the USA. I have been autistic as long as I can remember, but didn't know what it was until I was in my fifties. I've suffered a life-time of abuse particularly from the authorities, starting with school teachers. I think because I have a very high IQ it has never been accepted that autism is my problem, and females always tend to be misdiagnosed with mental illness and such like. But on the subject of cost, I believe it has cost society, NHS etc. a huge amount more to get my diagnosis wrong than if they had got it right - it is an endless, unnecessary battle which they refuse to address. That's true of this case as well. Wouldn't it have made more sense if they had supported this boy, and also if he'd had the diagnosis his parents would have been better able to give him the support he needed. I'm afraid I've come across other carers and teachers of autistic children who really don't have a clue, so I'm really glad to hear from someone like you who understands the problems, and I hope you continue to educate people on our needs.

cia parker


I think it's mostly a question of how much it is expected that the taxpayer pay to fund whatever services are given to whatever population. I think we've already reached the point at which we have to do triage. I read in Target Autism over ten years ago, when my daughter was in elementary school, that public schools are not required to give autistic students everything that they need for their education, all they have to do is offer something, regardless of whether it is effective or not. I was shocked, but that's just the way it is. And as it worked out, they gave NOTHING effective to teach my daughter ANYTHING. Ever. At all. And she has a lot of capacity. We've been homeschooling for almost fifteen years now in addition to public school. She's graduating from high school this month, but we're going to need at least until the end of June to finish our homeschooling curriculum. But she can't learn in a typical classroom, and I don't think they have an appropriate curriculum in special ed, and still not the one-on-one intense repetition of a certain number of facts that's the only way to teach this population.

I think with our stratospheric federal deficit and ever-fewer undamaged young adults to sustain society, along with growing numbers of the developmentally-disabled, we're going to be seeing more and more attempts to cut costs wherever possible. Maybe church groups and other volunteer organizations could interact with the high-functioning or relatively-high functioning groups you're referring to, to make them feel like accepted and valued members of the community. I think eventually they're going to have to bring back group homes. I hope that there will always be whatever supports are needed for my daughter to even survive.

We're in a very difficult situation. But I was wondering how you would even know that someone like Farnsworth had been successfully reprogrammed to no longer be interested in plots to blow up high school students. You'd have to have a program with benchmarks to check for progress and achievement of the goals, and I don't know what kind of program could be designed to do this.

Jeanne J

I'm sorry, but this discussion is kinda getting me a little angry. It suggests that unless you display the aberrant behaviors that the average person can now attribute to autism (i.e. echolalia, flapping, stimming, pacing in public, poor eye contact, poor personal space boundaries, juvenile/ odd obsessions, etc.) and the immediate recognition of delayed academic skills, then you can't be autistic. First of all, the average person can only identify these behaviors now, because after 20 years of seeing the epidemic, there is a name to put to this disaster. Having been in special education before the autism flood gate began, we were still identifying classical autism, and pervasive developmental disorder (PDD-NOS) which has now been folded into the high functioning end of autism. I have worked for over 36 years with individuals who could hold a BASIC conversation, read and do math on a BASIC level, have some BASIC humor, perform BASIC daily self-care routines and still have an autism diagnosis that impaired their ability to function in a regular classroom and society at-large without support. I had a student with high functioning autism who was academically at grade level in Kindergarten and first grade, but was so hyper-focused on the color blue that he required a whole host of strategies just to get him through the day. He eventually needed a different program that would help him with his AVERAGE intelligence as well as his behavioral needs. I am now seeing some of my former HIGH FUNCTION AUTISM students in the same adult services program that my son (who is very not high functioning) now attends. They still need support in job placement. I can imagine, that had they not been properly diagnosed while they were in school, their classmates would have found them to be odd and therefore more easily subject to bullying. If you please, I would like to posit this analogy. I am an African American. Because of the range of skin colors within the spectrum of people who have African ancestry, mixed with European, and Native American cultures, over the years, many people who are also African American, but of very light skin color, have been mistakenly classified as only of European dissent. This most recently was seen before the entire world when Rosanne Barr did not recognize that Obama appointee Valerie Jarrett was African American. But, because this woman didn't fit into her own knowledge base of who is African American doesn't mean she isn't African American. We really need to be careful when we define a person's diagnostic label solely on our own personal experience. People with autism face their own issues, wherever they are on the spectrum, and I would hope we here at AOA, are not further burdening them with deciding they are not "autistic enough" and, therefore, do not need our care and support.

Angus Files

Bill to be autistic and have a diagnosis of Autism takes for ages, years,and its the obvious ones who get the diagnosis.The game is to deny autism.Anyone who has a diagnosis earned it.Many millions are somewhere on the spectrum but without a diagnosis.I haven`t met anyone with a diagnosis of Autism who was borderline.Usually within 7 seconds of entering a room the ones who have the diagnosis are pretty apparent to anyone medically trained or not.The many millions who aren`t diagnosed are hung out to dry.In my opinion its impossible not to have neurological damage after having any vaccine that`s on the market just one is all that`s needed how bad your brain is functioning after that is anyone's guess you could die.

Pharma For Prison


cia parker


Again, I don't know anything about Farnsworth other than what I have read. And I think nearly everyone, even everyone vaxxed, has suffered some degree of vaccine encephalitis and brain damage. I read in Levi Quackenboss last night that there are fewer young graduates taking the Bar and medical exams than ever in history, I assume because the brain damage is reducing the average intelligence and other mental qualities of our population.

Autism is 1) extremely delayed, absent, or abnormal speech development, and inability or extreme difficulty to use speech for communication, 2) extreme awkwardness or complete inability to converse or interact with other people normally, and 3) extremely restricted interests and passions, obsessions with routine and repetition, fascination with things like whirling fans and shutting doors, stims. The first category needs the most examples and is considered the most important: it's the most obvious area of encephalitic, stroke-like vaccine damage, affecting the speech center of the brain the way a stroke does. My daughter qualifies on all three counts and everyone here in the school system, county family resource office, and Social Security SSI and Medicaid considers her to qualify hands-down. It's not a medical lab test, but most people wouldn't qualify. No one who uses language with ease for communication qualifies. I agree with you that from what we know, it wouldn't seem as though Farnsworth qualifies. Anyone who can watch, understand even the general idea of ISIS videos, and buy equipment to do the same thing, has a lot more ability and sophistication than autists do. My daughter could not understand such videos at all and would have no ability on any level to go out and buy equipment. Maybe he has Asperger's, like the verbal Adam Lanza. But I'd have to say, probably like you, that I have no sympathy or pity for someone who just doesn't quite get that it's cruel, repellent, a violation of their human rights, and illegal, to plot to murder people.

Jeanne J


The topic about this young man (teenager) is not about mental illness, psychotropic meds, etc. He has autism. He was undiagnosed until the court appointed lawyer diagnosed him. He is listed as within the ranged of high functioning autism (which just means he is between low functioning and Asperger's). The psychologist labeled his IQ for the court as BELOW AVERAGE to BORDERLINE. That does not fall in the 85 to 100 or 100 to 110 range on the Bell shaped curve that is considered average intelligence. Please don't get hung up on the high functioning autism. Again, it just means he is not low function or Asperger's. What we should focus on is a society that is so overwhelmed with the numbers of damaged kids that the school system only identifies the really outliers as needing special education and leaves those who can get by to their own devices.

Bill Bradford

His "diagnosis" was at least partly a Defense attorney TACTIC, to get his client a lighter sentence. Correct me if I'm wrong, people, but isn't it true, especially with "higher functioning" folks, that there is NO OBJECTIVE MEDICAL test for autism? So there's no way to PROVE, medically, whether the guy did or didn't have autism?.... That's the problem with the whole "spectrum" concept. It's so vague, that ANYBODY can be SOMEWHERE on the "spectrum"....


I sometimes watch the show "Evil Lives Here".
It has family members mostly talking about the mental illness of their loves ones; spouses, siblings, children, parents.

Mental illness that turned into murder and horrible crimes.
They sense many times it is coming, and nothing to stop it. What a shame. Is there nothing a person can do until it is too late?

cia parker

We don't know enough about Farnsworth's condition or how severely impaired he may be, to say much about him personally. But if he is high-functioning, then he would not have been classified as retarded at any time. There is a large field around an IQ of 100, with 100 being considered average, which is just considered above or below average, but not retarded. Retarded is something like 70 or below. And if F's IQ were 70, then he would not have been described as high-functioning.

I don't think getting a better diagnosis would have mattered. Getting a diagnosis of any aberrant mental condition means that best practice demands a psychotropic drug, which most of us here would think is dangerous, as I do. Then we get into the area of whether he should have been allowed to remain in society if he took the dangerous drug, which might or might not be effective in preventing dangerous behavior. Or if he might remain in society if he DIDN'T take the psychotropic drug, when he already showed dangerous mental aberrations. The trend for the past fifty years has been NOT putting even potentially dangerous mentally-ill people in institutions for the protection of themselves and others. But that then leaves people at large in danger of being victimized by him.

It is a hard situation, but I was thinking about Adam Lanza, who was brought up with great love and care by his parents, and received a lot of therapy for his mental illness. I think he took prescription drugs, but I'd have to look it up. Obviously, using hindsight, he had passed the point at which he should have been institutionalized, and I read that when he heard his mother talking about doing that on the phone, that's what triggered the Sandy Hook massacre. Lanza was high-functioning Asperger's (plus mental illness), I heard him talk several years before that on Youtube, he was intelligent and articulate. And then he terrorized and massacred about twenty children and teachers, and the principal, at that school. Two of the children had autism, and he blew them away together with their paras, who were trying to shield them. I feel immense sorrow for these innocents and the brave people who tried to protect them, sorrow for Lanza's mother, his first victim, but no sorrow for him.

And I've looked it up several times to see what they've done about the young autistic man in Spokane who appears to have murdered and beheaded his father. I didn't learn anything new.

I would say that as a society we need to bring back institutionalization of the potentially or actually dangerous, whether in prison or in mental institutions. And, as a society, I think we need to establish anew admiration for those who show admirable qualities and encourage children to imitate them, showing courage, generosity, kindness, sacrifice, what used to be considered noble behavior. And teach them to feel pity or contempt, as appropriate, not acceptance, for those who behave ignobly. When I was a child, I read in an old children's encyclopedia from the '30s, The Book of Knowledge, about Sir Philip Sydney's being wounded and dying on a battlefield, very thirsty. His squire brought him a glass of water, but when he noticed a wounded foot soldier near him, also dying, he said Thy need is greater than mine, and gave him the glass of water his own body wanted so much. I cried when I read about such generosity and love, such beautiful self-abnegation, and it is still an ideal in my soul. I think we have lost a lot in losing knowledge of such examples.

This man was far from the only one who was attracted to ISIS: hundreds of thousands around the world were, maybe millions. Or to the world of narcotráfico, which is also very surprising. The vitality, the audacity, on the part of these groups, attract many young people, weary of the conventions which to them are empty, of orderly Western society. I saw a narco rap video in German, from Germany, on Youtube, where the cartels have established a presence. In Mexico and South America, in many ways they set the style, in clothing, music, and slang. I actually love Queen of the South, floating between disapproval and enthusiasm. A friend's son in Mexico had as his main photo on Facebook a picture of him leaning out the window of a speeding car, his fingers forming the first letters of the name of a gang. He's not a gang member. Why is he attracted to their gestures?

I don't think his age is important. Setting 18 as the age of full criminal responsibility is arbitrary, and was set generously to include a wide grey area. In the UK recently, there was a lot of discussion about Shamima Begum, whether she and her friends were adult enough to understand what they were doing when they ran off to join ISIS in Syria when they were 15. There are now several witnesses who say that she was a morality enforcer, patrolling the streets with an automatic weapon, and who have said (I'm going to say "allegedly") that she sewed suicide bombers into their belts to make it hard for them to have second thoughts. Should she have known at 16 or 17 or 18 (she's now 19) that these were very bad things to do from the viewpoint of a society that she might one day hope to return to (as she now does)? In some of the online discussions, I learned that the age of criminal responsibility in the UK is 10, and I think that's reasonable. I remember a horrific crime about a young child being murdered by older children (was the murdered child Bolger?), and the murderous children clearly understood what they were doing. Even a ten year-old, even a five-year old, knows that it is wrong to murder someone.

I don't think Farnsworth did what he did because of mental illness, but because of this disquieting social current which gives group membership and widespread recognition to those who join and participate in it. And a lack of moral temper which would set up a prohibiting block. His having been ineffective says nothing about why he chose to support this ideology.

Grace Green

If I can join in this disagreement, it has to be said that those of us who have been injured by vaccines are also innocent people, and we suffer daily abuse for no other reason than being different, as apparently happened to this young man. (BTW in the UK he would be classed as a child.) I don't know all the factors in this particular case, but in general I would say that if someone is so mentally impaired that they need to be kept in a place of safety, for the protection of themselves and society, it should never be viewed as a punishment! A psychopath may be able to control their behaviour, but some vaccine brain injured people may not be. If this young man was nearly able to carry out a seriously dangerous act, it was because of a catastrophic failure on the part of the medical profession to give him a correct diagnosis, and I wonder why that was. Cover up maybe?

Jeanne J


We are going to agree to disagree on this one. Again, I have not said this young man should not receive some degree of punishment. That being said, what we will not agree on is based on the FACT that his cognitive skills, in days of yore, would have been classified with the "R" word. In other words, he is cognitively impaired. He is not to be expected, based on his IQ, to think critically like you or me. Did you read in the article to part about how he knew the explosive devices wouldn't work, but used them anyway. What critically thinking person does that, if their goal is to hurt someone? Does he even truly understand what Isis is? Is it a terrorist group to pledge allegiance to or is it some sound bite on daily news when something bad happens to people? People who have average intelligence know the difference. I can't say that someone with borderline intelligence does.

cia parker


I think we have no choice. If we were to become accepting of all aberrant behavior in those who are not neurotypical, it would also mean accepting the abuse of many innocent people. We don't have enough money or other resources to give a lot of special treatment to the damaged and then to those they injure as well. I don't think those attracted to terrorist videos on the Internet and elsewhere, as Farnsworth was/is, especially when they seek to put them into practice, deserve much of our attention and resources.

Grace Green

Thank you for that link, which is extremely enlightening. The psychologist gave a very accurate description of autism and how it is experienced by us, particularly the incessant bullying. I hate to say it, but some of these medical and legal professionals now seem to have a better understanding of autism than some "autism parents".



No surprise about Trump's message on measles he is due here for a state visit in June.

Jeanne J


Yes, he was described as high functioning autism, but borderline and below average intellectually. I am not a psychologist, but I have seen this same profile over and over again in former students. What you usually see is a person with autism who has basic self-care skills, basic conversational language, and a basic understanding of day-to-day routine living. But, the borderline intelligence implies that someone will be challenged when it comes to critical thinking, such as life and death issues. The article also said that he would become hyper-focused on a particular issue. In other words, he would get so focused on something as to get stuck, until that particular issue is concluded to his satisfaction. We have all seen the more severe end of a person with autism getting stuck, but for those who are high functioning, it is more of an OCD thing that is less obvious. Again, I do not know this young man and I am not going to try to justify what he did. But, to try to apply neuro-typical thinking to someone who is not neur-typical doesn't make sense to me.


I wouldn’t give up on Trump yet- it’s a long game right now, unfortunately. Bigger fish to fry but justice for the children is coming. I believe. Trust the plan.

cia parker


I agree that the vaccine brain damage can be very severe, but I guess we'll have to say that those who don't seem to know right from wrong or can't control their behavior would have to be locked up. Those who don't want to be locked up would have to show the ability to behave responsibly even if it doesn't have much or any emotional or ethical resonance for them. This kid was said to be very high-functioning, and I think he knew enough about the world to know that what he was trying to do was wrong by our lights. Even psychopaths can control themselves when they want to.

And then we're back to the question of whether or not to get one or more vaccines. We're never going to ban all vaccines even when everyone fully recognizes that they often cause severe brain damage and all kinds of autoimmune and allergic diseases. They're always going to severely damage some. I think the best we can do is try to give the least number possible and none before two years old, unless there's a pressing current crisis. Maybe Hib after four months old for babies and small children who have to be in daycare. That would reduce the number and severity of the reactions. And leave it up to the parents' judgment, of course, no mandates.

Bob Moffit

No one more disappointed than me to hear President Trump mindlessly saying parents must vaccinate their kids.

These unfortunate remarks will surely result in a new campaign by our growing community to renew Trump's original inclination to create a truly independent Committee to study the safety and efficiency of vaccines .. as rumors had Trump discussing this possibility with RFK and others with high public profiles serving on such a committee.


First question I would ask President Trump … does it bother you at all that autism is now 1 in 35 in New Jersey .. up from 1 in 62 when Trump assumed office .. and .. during those two years you have not fulfilled your intention to create that Commission on vaccine safety?

Do you believe AUTISM at 1 in 35 .. and all indications that rate may reach 1 in 2 by 2030 … is as big a threat to our national security is as that damn wall is? If not … why not?

Can't blame not forming the Committee you suggested on the Democrats … when YOU haven't made ANY effort to do it yourself .. as YOU don't need Congress or Senate to do so?

Jeannette Bishop


Jeanne J

Guys, before we try to ascribe such abstract concepts as terrorism, Jihadism and tenants of religious beliefs to this young man, please go to the link I provided in my earlier post. When the psychologist was asked if it was reasonable to assume the boy had a "grasp on reality", despite his emotional and intellectual challenges, his response was "In an autistic sort of way, yes." This is called the Law of Unintended Consequences. What did they expect when the brains of a whole generation of children have been fried with a "toxic soup" of man-made chemicals. I am not justifying illegal actions, but am I surprised - NO!


Yes Greg; I too saw it. Sure I was disappointed, and at the same time I really did expect it as well.
But Trump aid it in the beginning, he met with Wakefield down in Florida, and he met with Kennedy. Our leaders in the movement was invited to the inauguration ball, and I am not forgetting that.

I don't think the strategy was for Trump to stand up and confront the national health institutions of the CDC, NIH, FDA and on top of that the DOJ "AGAIN"! Cause it is going to eventually lead to the DOJ.

It is just too hard for one man even if he is the president. There are not enough people behind this yet.

I think the strategy was what Kennedy is doing. Trump caused the meetings of the vaccine safety movement with the heads of the big HHS federal agencies . After those meetings, it has begun: the picking apart what has not been done toward vaccine safety. It is so slow though!
Darn I have a young man close to us that is having his baby in October. All I can do is help him avoid the Hep B at birth, and maybe not even that for now.

If is was my daughter having the baby (not likely) I would be hiring one of the die hard Democrat - friends of mine that is a obstetrics and gynecology to come to my house and have a home birth. I would dust off my teaching certificate, go up to the board of education and get the materials needed to home school, and home school.

Mean time:
I need to donate to age of autism, but I swear; I have been giving to the children health fund, and vaccine information center too; Research for Chris Exley too. It is going to take some heavy lifting of a few of us. On the bright side by giving to the Children Health Fund, I also get a chance of being the one selected to tour the Kennedy's home!

I wonder if they will announce the winner, so I can stop hoping it is us.

Ohhhh; and it hitting college campuses -- it has wore off ain't it? Just like the mumps vaccine?


Unfortunately we will see more of this behavior in the near future as a wave of chronically ill, socially maladjusted, and poorly educated children grow into adolescence.
You can bet that mainstream autistic advocacy groups are already downplaying the role of autism in this case.
I am not sure about sentencing but this case brings home the fact that autism is not the benign illness so many pretend it is.


For me it was hope against hope with Trump, but my sense told me it was fool's gold. I quickly lost any thought he would do anything shortly after he took office. I am not headed in the right direction myself, and the prospect of convincing our society has dimmed due to corporate media so that now Trump is even advocating the shots.

Here is I wrote on AoA of Trump's stand on vaccination on January 5, 2016.

"Trump is a non-conformist in appeal, but he only uses this as rhetoric to form an aura of power to shield him from any attack. He is full of it, and his way appeals to the naïve and fearful. Clinton is status quo, the antithesis of real change. When, and if we succeed the choice of a candidate will be clear. It is not."

"Any of the would be leaders will champion our cause when it becomes advantageous to them, not until. If we are to succeed it will be by the inadvertent inevitability of evidence leading to the inescapable conclusion that vaccines and other environmental factors are effecting our bodies in generationally harmful ways much like chronic fatigue is now being found to be an organic illness rooted in other than psychological causes after some 30 years. A politicians main concern is to get elected."


p.s - clean today, sorry for being an idiot. I do like the people here though.

Angus Files

Your right Greg sold out again by a politician I think it was one third of his vote came from pharma sceptics...totally surprised with that but thats what you get if you believe a President I suppose.


Pharma For Prison



On a slightly unrelated note, looks like the sellout is complete. Trump is now telling parents to vaccinate their kids. Perhaps disappointment for many here who held misplaced trust in Trump, for me in a way it's sort of a comforting closure. As I said before, the vaccination war will only be won from the bottom-up.


White Jihadist. Hmm did his race/ethnicity play a rule in the softer punishment?! Utah is not very diverse. He should be locked up in a mental hospital for at least 20 years.

cia parker


With so many (I'd better not speculate as to the number) attracted to terrorism these days, I don't think the reason is important. It's not poverty or joblessness: most terrorists these days are materially well-off, most are employed, and many are highly educated. Most people in the world are very poor by our standards, but poor people in most societies do not become terrorists. Many terrorists I think are attracted to terrorism because it allows them to believe that they are morally justified in committing murder and destruction. And certain ideologies support them in this belief.

I think we need to develop ways to more certainly protect the innocent from the malefactors. This kid should be surveilled very carefully for at least the next twenty years. If he finds the idea of blowing someone up appealing, there's really nothing we can say to him to persuade him otherwise. If he believes it will win him pleasures in Paradise, even less. Maybe if we were to work toward making Christianity (and other worthy religions) great again, they and their moral structure would become more attractive to those drawn to the strong horse. In the meantime we need a lot of armed guards to protect the sheep.

cia parker

No, being on the spectrum should not be considered an exonerating circumstance when a crime is committed. The same as for any kind of terrorism. Once someone believes that it is justified to murder or injure what most believe are innocent people (which I think is the definition of terrorism), and he takes any steps toward carrying it out, he needs to be locked up to prevent him from being able to do so again. Even if it were a mental illness, the rights of the innocent would still take priority over the rights of the wannabe terrorist.

And I agree with Bob that this man should have gotten a harsher sentence.

Joy B

Who could've predicted that creating an entire generation of chronically ill social and intellectual outcasts would lead to some of them acting out in dangerous ways? 'Tis a puzzlement!

Also though, it's a nifty way to further blur the lines on what is a "child" and what is not. Children are able to approve their own medical procedures now, even to the point of undergoing sex changes(resulting in irreversible maldevelopment), guess they can also go to the big house?

Who could've predicted that unregulated capitalism would lead to the capitalists abusing their own children, in their own countries?

Jeanne J

Kim, in answer to the questions about an IEP of 504 plan, the answer is no, he didn't have either. In a link from the original article to the testimony by the court appointed psychologist, he was described as being an undiagnosed individual with "high functioning autism and being borderline intellectual functioning with a below average IQ". Here is the link to the psychologist's testimony:


Aimee Doyle

@Bob -

I suspect the court took into consideration his age - at 17 he is still a juvenile, so would likely not receive the same sentence as an older individual committing the same crime. But age is only one of the factors that go into sentencing. The Judge may also have considered his disability - autism.

Just speculating here, though. I wonder what measures are being put into place to (1) figure out how he was attracted to terrorism, and (2) keep him from going the distance next time.

Bob Moffit

From his own comments … his "intent' was to commit an act of "terror" in the name of ISIS.

And so .. the answer to the question: "Does diagnosis matter when it comes to a well thought out if poorly (thank God) executed crime?" .. is in my opinion a loud NO. Had his explosive device worked and there were serious injuries or death .. none of those injured or their families would or should feel any comfort knowing the "terrorist' was on the "spectrum".

I have a problem with the "sentence' this young man received ..

He pleads GUILTY to a first-degree felony .. INTENT to commit injury with an incendiary device .. and he receives "415 days in detention … 48 month probation, 250 hours of community service, court ordered treatment of any recommended medication by the court, no access to the internet or explosive materials or bomb-making components"?

Apparently, since he only INTENDED to commit injury with an incendiary device .. his FAILED INTENTION deserved a remarkably light sentence … with a stern recommendation he have "no access to explosive materials or bomb-making components".

His very own words .. he is a "wannabe" terrorist .. so … being diagnosed as "on the spectrum" could just as easily been assigned to Osama Bin Laden

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