Yesterday morning, I read news reports about Issy and was gut-punched. I "talked" with friends in the community as we struggled to get a handle on this, to understand how it could all go so horribly wrong.
How someone we virtually knew could do something so premeditated, so horrific. I don't think we still get it. The news reports last night were worse--Issy's mom arrested, although still in the hospital. Issy still unconscious two days after her mother tried to kill her.
Her mother tried to kill her.
The autism community has divided into those who say we shouldn't judge Issy's mom, even calling for Issy's mom to NOT face any charges, and to those who place the focus on Issy, the one whose mother tried to kill her.
I have to stress that. Her mother tried to kill her. Her mother.
Nobody should get a walk on that. There were other choices. There are always other choices.
Yes, we need to do more as a society to provide supports for individuals and their families. We also need to destigmatize developmental delays. We need to make it okay for parents to admit when they are ill-equipped and in need of education, support, and reinforcement.
However, we also need to hold people accountable for their actions. That's what the justice system is for. Some argue that Issy's mom snapped, that Issy's issues were so large that it's understandable what Issy's mom did.
If Issy had been a typical fourteen year old and Issy's mom had done this, the outrage from society at large would have been overwhelmingly on the side of Issy. Because Issy is autistic, people are out there arguing Issy's mom's actions are understandable.
No, they aren't. They shouldn't be. I argue that they are all the more heinous because Issy had autism, because Issy was so vulnerable and needed allies and parents who would defend and protect her against the world.
Issy's mom did that, fought for her. And then she decided that Issy and her being dead was the answer. I get being tired of fighting the world. But murder isn't the answer to that. Is never the answer to that.
If we can't get parents in the autism community to get that at a rock-bottom level, how can we ever expect society at large to accept autistic people as their equals, with equal rights and equal protections?
If we don't make this change, then we will always be in shadow, with only the hope for illumination.