Update

Joe Scarborough issued a statement regarding his remarks.

“During a debate regarding the recent Colorado shootings, I suggested that the Aurora tragedy should make Americans focus more on mental health in this country. I also stated that my own experiences raising a son with Aspergers made me keenly aware of how important strong support systems are to those who might otherwise be isolated.

The growing Autism epidemic is a tremendous burden for children, parents and loved ones to endure. My call for increased funding and awareness for Autism and other mental health conditions was meant to support the efforts of those who work every day to improve the lives of Americans impacted. Those suggesting that I was linking all violent behavior to Autism missed my larger point and overlooked the fact that I have a wonderful, loving son with Aspergers. Perhaps I could have made my point more eloquently …”

So now, in addition to his disastrous comments yesterday, he’s now added – without qualification – that ‘autism is a tremendous burden’.

This is not a retraction. It’s not an apology. It doesn’t remotely come
close to taking responsibility for what he really said or the clear
implications therein. It does nothing to repair the damage he inflicted
with his recklessness.

He’s trying to reframe his words but it’s not even close to reality.

Please keep up the pressure on Joe – Urge him to apologize to the autism community and to take this opportunity to actually think critically (rather than defensively) about his words. Urge him to take responsibility for the damage he’s caused and to help us all to repair it.

A half-assed, defensive reframe doesn’t come close to helping our children overcome the bigotry and fear that he has unwittingly validated with his careless words.

We deserve more. Autistic people who he has put in harm’s way NEED more.

See this morning’s post for details on how to take action.

Please feel free to copy the following Tweets – I will retweet all that I see.

.@joeNBC @Morning_Joe has issued a statement re his reckless remarks yesterday – it’s WAY off the mark. http://adiaryofamom.wordpress.com/2012/07/24/update/ @diaryofamom

@Starbucks if you want to know why @joenbc @Morning_Joe words were so damaging, read this : http://adiaryofamom.wordpress.com/2012/07/24/update/ #autism @diaryofamom

21 thoughts on “Update

  1. I went directly to his facebook page and messaged him directly. My message is as follows:

    As a mother of a child with autism, I am hurt and outraged by your words yesterday as well as your words again today. Yesterday you basically said that autistic children or withdrawn for society and thereby commit horrible acts of violence such as the one in Colorado. Today you state that autism is a terrible burden to our children. Autism is so massively misunderstood in our society that we do not need you linking autism spectrum disorders to ANYONE that without care of other opens fire and kills 12 people. An apology would be appreciated by the entire Autism community for your words as well as linking children with autism to being a terrible burden.

    Our children are misunderstood, stared at, judged and bullied enough we do not need someone with your influence linking them in any way to the terrible tragedy in Colorado. Please clarify and apologize to the Autism Community in a whole, the damage you have done may still be undone.

    Mother to a loving child with autism,
    Kathleen Marin

  2. So WE “missed the larger point”? – he didn’t?! …we did. right, the thousands & thousands of us missed his point. And in fact, no we didn’t overlook that you have “a wonderful loving son with Aspergers” …YOU did Mr Scarborough!!

  3. Ignorant and unaware I had no idea who this Joe Scarborough was, so using my trusty google, I read *sigh* former politician….really? Is this the best we have America? A half-assed human being is what we have here.

  4. I’m beginning to think that Joe Scarborough may be on the spectrum himself . Clearly he has some “challenges” in the Theory of Mind and Perspective Taking Departments – at least.

  5. its not even tge insult that concerns me moat…whats worrying is the response towards autistic people this will encourage. those angered, upset and emotional over tge tragedy are looking for someone to blame, someone to vent at and unleash their anger towards. hes just given them the perfect scapegoat cus no one wants to live next door to someone who has the potential to murder? simeone very vulnerable is ginna get very hurt by this…

  6. Does anyone have the full transcript of what was said? I feel like I missed something, and I’m not able to watch the video. I read the part that everyone has been talking about, but I guess I’d like to read the whole thing before I form anymore opinions. Thanks.

  7. Certainly not defending Joe Scarborough by any means. I was appalled when I watched the show live yesterday morning, however, to suggest the autism epidemic isn’t a burden on families — as a result of a lack of services, resources, financial supports, options for many after they age out, etc… isn’t reality. It doesn’t mean that our kids are a burden or that autism itself is a burden for those on the spectrum (not being one – who I am to say one way or the other) – but we live in a system that isn’t set up to support it/us appropriately which is why all of us have to fight so hard to try and get our kids what they need and spend a small fortune doing so. My son on the spectrum a burden? Not in a million years! Failures of a system not set up to give him what he needs – burden alright.

  8. If you read the entire original quote he most certainly does link “most” violent acts to Autism. This guy is a babbling idiot. He said, speaking of the shooter, “more often than not” when these things occur it is a person isolated from society probably on the Autism spectrum. I cannot in my mind imagine why in the work he would say Autism and not just keep it to “mental health issue.”. His retraction appears to have been made without regard to what he actually was quoted as saying. I wonder if he even looked at the transcript of the show before issuing the retraction. Not a very smart man at all.

    I agree that his retraction was an attempt to save face a little by trying to make viewers feel sorry for families with children on the spectrum. Yes, it is a burden financially and emotionally, it is highly stressful to go out in public and puts a huge burden on the school systems because of the extra staffing and therapies and materials needed for u our kids, but from what I’ve seen in the six years I have been active in the Autism community, the link to violent psychopathic behavior is totally unjustified and a very strange comment for him to make. He is the one that seems crazy.

  9. I have been wondering this very thing, since the media began reporting the shooter’s lifestyle and tendencies. The only reason I found your blog, and even know who this Scarborough guy is, was from my Google search: “Does James Holmes have autism aspergers”.

    So the man says what every person who recognizes aspie traits is thinking, and suddenly HE is the enemy? Honestly.

    I have a step son who is on the spectrum, I’m up close and personal on this one, and see the traits every day. Don’t tell me for one second that this isn’t every single parent of a child with AS’s deep down worst nightmare. Because it *is*. It’s our greatest fear. That one day, they will grow up and not be able to function, fit in. And they will escape to their own reality, where they feel comfortable, and without our guidance and support, do something horrible and stupid. God forbid to the extent the man in CO did, but come on, its a fear!

    And I believe if we are honest with ourselves, I would dare say that it is why it has touched such a raw nerve here.

    I think if anything, should he happen to be on the spectrum, maybe people can begin to recognize the way these children and adults suffer, and more help will become available for them. Isn’t that what we all want?

    I don’t think Mr. Scarborough owes anyone an apology.

    • Are you serious?! So yes we sometimes worry that they may grow up and not be able to function or fit in – But not shoot-up a theater, killing many (become a mass-murderer). And what parent don’t worry about some of the same things with their “typical” kids these days. To link people on the spectrum as being prone to violence is way off track… And that Miss, is why the nerves are raw.

      BTW, that so-called “I’m-not-apologizing-but-only-clarifying-because-thousands-of-people-missed-my-point” he can keep that shit. Perhaps I should have made my point more eloquently he says. I say perhaps next time you shut the fuck up! It’s comments like these from folks who are so visible that do so much harm and can take away from the work that sooooo many of us are have done/still trying to do.

      P.S. Right about now I should probably apologize for say “fuck” so many times in this reply. Perhaps another time though.

      • “To link people on the spectrum as being prone to violence is way off track… And that Miss, is why the nerves are raw.”

        Should have said Mr. in my earlier reply and not Miss… Oops

  10. Actually, understood what he was saying the second time around. I grew up in a time when the word “autism” didn’t exist so no one knew why my sister and other family member were different and unsociable. I have never considered them a burden. They are my family. I love them irregardless. However, the rest of my family didn’t feel this way, including one of my brothers. Because of my acceptance of them and other issues, I also developed problems with socialization. As a result, we are a considered a burden to our family and isolated from them, but we survive. If your children have a support system that accepts them for who they are, thank God! But there are many autistic adults who are struggling, and most of the autistic community only cares for the children, Don’t get me wrong, the children need all the help they can get to prevent them from living in isolation as many autistic adults have to. I am thrilled of the advances that have been made in autistic research and pray that someday no autistic child will have to grow up to a lonely adulthood.

  11. I cannot settle on what I am feeling. Sad, angry, disappointed. So much unnecessary collateral damage. This was already such a horrifying tragedy…so many lives changed forever. A senseless waste of life. Now more innocent victims affected. I am determined to use the anger and righteous indignation to increase my efforts to combat the stereo types, to continue to educate family and friends, and to be more bold with every opportunity. I can do no less for my daughters.

  12. I don’t watch his show; I am not connected to him through facebook; I don’t Twitter; and I spend very little time on the ‘net, so I don’t know all the ins-and-outs of getting a message to a public figure.

    So PLEASE everyone, someone needs to tell this celebrity blow-hard that indeed (as you pointed out so well) this was NOT an apology, and that he should grow the hell up, man-up to his colossal MISTAKE in overstepping his professional boundries, and clear the air. How pompous his statement was, and how amazingly NOT on-point was his analysis of what he initially said in the first place… and you’re right, he did make it worse!! What an idiot; seriously. Emotions overflow, and no where for them to go… ugh!

  13. I don’t think it’s about what he said (in response to Meggy), I’m no one to make such a judgement, don’t know enough about it and can’t say if deep down he is right or not, but to me it’s mostly about the way he said it. The way he phrased it.

  14. I don’t know much about this situation as the above is the first I’m hearing of this but I can totally agree with his statement that “Autism is a tremendous burden”. I’m raising a 7 yr old son with Aspergers and ‘tremendous burden’ is actually an understatement. I’m thinking different people handle things differently and are affected differently. Maybe someone else wouldn’t feel this way but I can think of nothing else that even compares to every day life with my son. I love my son with all my heart and there is nothing I wouldn’t do for him but make no mistake about it, it’s a pretty freakin tremendous burden.

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