Sunday, December 16, 2012

On Autistic, Mentally Ill, Godless Evil

I'm struck by how much dialogue and debate here (in the US, where I'm not originally from) spills into illogical and irresponsible use of religion, the constitution, and even the value of letting the real emotions of trauma *be*. Processing events of magnitude (even when they aren't on the news, even when they are and we aren't directly experiencing the trauma) is a process. All the stuff people are saying is necessary. It is heinous, what Huckabee said. But it was said because at the very least he, a person in power who has an audience to say these things publicly, said them, believes them, and then others agree. So it needed to be said and now it needs to be engaged with, and some engagement will change minds, a lot won't, and a lot of hurt will be dredged up. A lot of old wounds from very deep important philosophical debates emerge from tragedy. Fine. Do it.

But I'm very disturbed about how autism coming up as a "reason" and how the reaction of many autism people(?) (not so much self-advocates) are blaming mental illness. And people who have so called mental illnesses or are on psych mess or whatever, are not blaming autistic people, but either way, it's disturbing to me that people need these scapegoats in order to feel safer. Dehumanizing the criminal by lumping them in with the majority of non criminals who have that label, effectively dehumanizes all of us who have that label.

When a heinous thing happens its not about autism, mental illness, a lack of god. None of these things actually explain what a person experienced that led to this.

the best thing anyone can do, as uncomfortable as this is, is to process the fact that we are connected and process the contradiction of that connection as is it bound up with the individual decisions each person makes. Community and individual actions are inextricable. Do not attempt to render the trauma as good vs evil. what if those concepts were removed?

What if a broken system had less to do with the absence of god in them and more to do with the presence of god in them? What if the very reasons people are alienated from community and are suffering further is so bound up a dominant view of God/Satan/good/evil?

What if the way to deal with suffering is to go to it, not alienate it?
What if it were the case that it is only possible for a person to become separate from the web of community when the community breaks them off and convinces them (and they themselves choose to believe) that they don't deserve the caring and regard of humanity?

What happens when, instead of just being victim to a narrative of ones life in which they are a loser who doesn't measure up, a human being who has been traumatized by life and feels angry about that (for whatever reason, autism label, mental label, or other) -- what happens when that person instead chooses to not be a victim but has no outlet for anger?

Anyone in a vacuum can become distorted in thinking.
Germany was systematically cut off from the outside world, fed propaganda, and we Jews became a scapegoat for all kinds of problems, and genocide resulted.

Think about your own vacuums. Those distortions may be privilege in disguise. Or the seeds of your own suffering.

As uncomfortable as it is to process these traumatic events, it can't be done by the dehumanization of the perpetrator(s). It only allows the possibility for the same thing to repeat itself, because we fail over and over to understand the roots of suffering.

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