My angry post was for me. Not for anyone else.
But this was what I wrote for George. It is, after all, about him. Kathryn Hedges graciously read it for me at the vigil in California:
I hate writing for murdered people. It does no good. They're still dead, and people always try to make what I say all about themselves & then they get all mad and hateful at me. But it isn't about them. And it isn't about me, either. It's about the person who is dead but shouldn't be.
This time, it's about George, a pleasant 22 year old man who will never see 23. Before George, it was Katie. It was Christopher. It was Ulysses. It was 100s of autistics before them, know and unknown to me.
These murders are not mercy killings. They are murders, and I am 100% confident in saying that no parent who truly loves their child can kill them. Love does not work that way.
Those of you who are not autistic may be inclined to sympathize with George's murderer. Maybe what you know about autism is tragedy-and-terror style awareness, all about devastation and loss. Maybe you know her, maybe you liked her. Maybe she was your neighbour. Maybe you can't wrap your head around the reality that you had coffee with a murderer. Maybe trying to find mitigating factors makes it easier to integrate that you know someone who killed her son.
Those of you who are autistic are probably feeling more like what I feel-saddened that yet another of our number was killed. Maybe, like me, you are disgusted at the race to exonerate the murderer in the media. And, if you are like me, you are terrified that everyone is blaming lack of services, stress, everything but “HIS MOTHER SHOT HIM” for George's death.
I hate writing for murdered people. Again and again and again I have to defend the very right of the victim to be treated as a human being in all reports, for his very personhood and the personhood of myself and those I hold dear. This stuff shouldn't need saying. My outrage should be the norm, not the exception.
The tragedy here is not autism. The tragedy here is that George, like countless autistics before him, was murdered. The tragedy is that people feel more for his killer than they do for him.