Sunday, December 16, 2012

Plea from the scariest kid on the block

Yet another mass killing. Yet another tragedy. It is terrible. It is horrible. It is wrong.

People are scared.

People are looking for a group to be scared of.

Ladies, gentlemen, other august personages, I am the monster you are afraid of. For my entire life I have been. The reasoning changes, but I always come down on the wrong side of the line. I am always who the media, the talking heads, the papers, now the blogs, who the people you listen to tell me to fear.

And this makes being me terrifying. It makes being me unsafe.

First, it was being an abused child from what they call a broken home. Abused children commit all sorts of violence, you see. We are dangerous and unpredictable because we grew up with violence and that is all we know. We are ticking time bombs, we have no empathy, our dysfunctional unstable home lives have made us fragile at best, cold blooded killers at worst.

So isolate us. Keep your children away from us. Warn every one that we are dangerous because of what our families are like. Make sure that everyone knows that we-not our abusers, but we-are the scariest thing on the block.

Do you remember all the news reports and such emphasizing the terribility of home lives of serial killers and mass murderers during these time periods? I do. I do in great detail-because I remember relating. And I remember staying up nights horrified that they were a glimpse into the only future open to me. I was 9 years old and scared shitless that my only career option was as a mass killer-because the media had everyone convinced that's what happens to children with childhoods like mine.

And because the other adults around me made it very clear that I was the scariest thing on the block.

I was isolated. I was alone.

Then that went out of vogue.

For about 10 minutes I was safe.

Then another terrible tragedy happened, and they found a new scapegoat, and I was in an even more precarious position than before: the new problem was children and teens who were bullied.

I have been able to write about my parents. I have not been able to write about the bullying I experienced without being too triggered to function. It was that bad. Again, I was dangerous.

Again, people were telling their nice, 'normal' children to stay away from the bullied children. Isolating us-making us further targets. And making us more alone. Warning everyone that we were dangerous, the scariest thing on the block again-this time I was scary not just because of my family, but because I got locked into lockers by my peers. We are dangerous and unpredictable because we didn't have the skills and characteristics to not be at the bottom of the pecking order of middle school.

So obviously the answer was to isolate us more lest we 'snap', to fear us and let bullies to their thing, rather than to do anything about bullying. We are damaged, terrifying, violent, dangerous, irredeemable. We are the middle school monsters of your nightmares.

Again, I was the middle school monsters of my own nightmares, too. Literal nightmares, I'm talking. Still everything around me was telling me that because of things outside my control I was destined to go out in a blaze of violence and take as many people as I could with me. That was the career path being offered to me. Never mind that I knew (and still know) exactly nothing about weapons more volatile than bows and arrows, never mind that I am reluctant to physically defend myself, much less be the aggressor, this is what life had to offer me.

Because I was a target, because I was different, I was still what everyone feared. Everyone was telling you to fear me. No one even thought about the bullied kids seeing these news reports. They just knew about you normal folks, and that you needed to be safe from people like me. They couldn't tell you a single thing about the mass killers except that they were in this one category-so, literally, they told you a single thing-and that single thing was what made them dangerous.

It made me dangerous.

Isolate me. Make me alone. Fear me. Abuse me some more. Make me more dangerous. It doesn't matter, I am unsafe no matter what you do. The news-all the news-says so.

And now. Now I am 30 years old.

I am still literally losing sleep, wondering if or when that transformation is supposed to happen. I know logically it will not happen. I know I have no interest in hurting anyone. I know the statistics on who actually commits this sort of violence. I know my history is not going to magically impart a knowledge of guns or explosives or a desire to hurt a large number of people. My anger and hurt do not manifest that way, they never have, and that is not going to change.

But now autism is the scapegoat du jour. Now every time someone does something violent, they are speculated to be autistic. And, just as some killers who were speculated to have crappy home lives actually did, just as the Columbine killers actually were bullied, there is a possibility that there will be a mass shooter who is Autistic.

But that does not make all of us dangerous. The immediate speculation makes my blood run cold.

It brings bile to my throat and a panic to my chest.

Have we learned nothing? Have the bullied children and abused children and medicated children and other scapegoats who have done no violence learned nothing? Passing the hot potato is a relief, but it is wrong.

Passing the blame down to another group without power hurts people.

They will be isolated. They will be alone. They will be hurt.

I do not want another child, a single other child, to be hurt by their peers for being 'dangerous'. I do not want a single other child to be thought a 'ticking timebomb' by the adults in their life. They treat you with fear and they treat you with loathing when they are afraid of you.
I do not want another kid loathed because the media decided to pin the blame on their brain. I do not want another child being isolated, gossip about why to steer clear spread through whispers and subtle finger pointing.


I do not want another child to have nightmares like I did-like I still do-of being some sort of sleeper agent who has no other career path because of self fulfilling prophesies. I cannot even explain what this fear is like, and the fewer people who understand it, the better.

This has got to stop.

It's to late to stop for my sake. The damage was done by the time we got to “bullied kids are dangerous”. But it is not too late to stop for the sake of today's autistic children.


Anonymous said...

I'm sorry you've felt like you'd become a mass killer..but the very fact you are afraid of it proves that you have a pretty low chance of doing it. You have to want to do it. Just like some people who are not versed on psychopathy are afraid they are psychopaths..just by THAT they aren't.

I'm also sorry you thought that most abused children ended up that way. But that's not what you're supposed to gather from people saying that being bullied or abused was a trigger for things. Sometimes, it IS. It's not being "used" as a scapegoat or an excuse. And no one was ever supposed to gather that that's what happens to most abused children. I've also never come across any examples of ignoramuses who think "oh, he was bullied, let's stay away" (well..unless they had another element, like silence and wearing black to them). If this happened to you, I'm also sorry.

As for the recent shooting, was it abuse? I thought it had to do with his children. But maybe it was that combined. No one labels this a Bullying shooting, so to speak, though.

As for victim blaming...I definitely hate when people say along the lines of "it's your fault you were bullied." I don't get what the point of that is!

Anonymous said...

Whatever the reason for each, there *are* reasons. If someone purposely avoids saying bullying played into it, then some OTHER factor that OTHER people share will be "blamed." It's up to those people to think that those that share "that factor" will end up that way too. You cannot escape the factors.

Anonymous said...

If people are seriously saying that kid is "dangerous" because they were bullied (especially if they took part in the ironic?) rather than just looking for another cruel thing to taunt them with, then I'd suggest reminding people that most bullying victims do NOT end up shooting up a school, every time that seems to be a major factor in a school shooting. (It seems like common sense...there'd be way more school shooting if that was the case, but not everyone uses their brain). But, when it IS certainly a major factor, we can't go "hush, hush" and say "hm idk what his motivation was" so that some eggheads don't start taunting a kid or ostracizing him for being dangerous.

Anonymous said...

As for those that do ostracize people based on that...that's the dumbest idea if they're seriously "afraid" and not just being assholes. I came across someone who said that a smile can change things. Now THAT makes more sense. "Hey guys, we should start brightening people's days to lessen the chances of this stuff," not "hey guys, we should start making people feel more shitty in order to avoid this."

Venna said...

I can relate to what you have said in very many ways. I was an abused child. I was a bullied child. I have a child with autism. But one thing people seem to forget when pointing fingers at people who are themselves victims is personal freedom of choice. It's also said that children who are abused will grow up to become abusers themselves. When I heard that, I made a mental choice then and there (I believe I was 13 years old) that I would not become another abuser statistic. My children were not abused, though there were times when I definitely could have become abusive, becaue I had made the decision not to years before my first child was born, whenever I felt those violent tendencies creeping up on me, I removed myself from my children. I did not want that cycle to continue, and while I'm far from the model parent, seeing as how I had very poor role models growing up, I think i did a pretty good job. My children are not in danger of become abusers to their children, that cycle ended with me.

I actively try to stop bullying, whenever I see it, because I can still remember the pain. When my son first started school in September, within the first week he had a bully. It was confirmed by the bus driver that this kid was teasing him on the bus, which caused my son to over load and act out by screaming and kicking. He didn't hurt anyone as he was kicking the back of the seat, but this is what my son does when confronted with stimulation that he doesn't understand. Rather then discipline that bully, we befriended him. Now, he is one of my son's closest friends and his personal defender.

As for autism being a reason a person commit a violent crime, anyone who knows my son, truly and deeply knows him, wouldn't even be able to fathom the idea of him being violent. However, to those who don't know him, but may hav heard that some mass murderer may or may not have an autism spectrum disorder, and if it is known that my son is (his rocking and humming on the bus makes it fairly obvious to anyone who knows stereotyped behaviors of autism) may look at him and see a cold blooded killer and that hurts my heart because my son is so gentle and loving and so much fun to be with. And nobody should fear a five year old boy. With your permission, I wish to share your post on Facebook. I want everyone to know, personal choice is what it comes down to when violence happens, not anything else but that.

You are a good person and I am so sorry for all the hurt you have suffered at the hands of others. Please know, you aren't alone, even though (and I know this is true) you might feel that way at times. My heart is with you, just as it is with my children.

Anonymous said...

i'm so sorry

and yes


(and thank you)

Brenda Rothman (Mama Be Good) said...

((You are a beautiful soul, K.)) Know that we do not want to be isolated from you. Nor do we want our children to be isolated from you. Ever. ((hugs))

spectrummom said...

I think a difference I see this time (although it may be a bias, since I am on lots of disability and autism boards) is a ton of folks said "No way! This is not autism. This is not just one problem." I think lots of groups face this issue. Schizophrenics, personality disorders, etc. How many folks become mass murderers? But how many folks are acted against and discriminated out of ignorance and fear? I think it is ironic that Asperger's is so often blamed for these outlyers of humanity. What we have to be saying is "Let's stop alienating people. Let's solve the problems of hurting people."

Cipher said...

But that's not what you're supposed to gather from people saying that being bullied or abused was a trigger for things. Sometimes, it IS. It's not being "used" as a scapegoat or an excuse. And no one was ever supposed to gather that that's what happens to most abused children.
Oh, clearly K just forgot that only what's "supposed" to happen matters. Unintended outcomes? Harm to people whose interests weren't considered worth taking into account? They don't matter! Because intent, as we all know, is magic.

Anonymous said...


I hate it, because I would so much rather just be able to stand with the victims and be sad. But every time something like this happens (and that sentence clause alone is a terrifying thought--EVERY time this happens), I reflexively start a countdown clock in my head of "how long until this gets blamed on people like me existing." And it always does. Bullying victims, dangerous loners, quiet, kept to himself, might have been autistic.

It happened in record short time this time around.

Anonymous said...

I understand how you feel, it's hard to live when people make you feel like a monster for no reason except their own bigotry. I'm so sorry.
I linked this post on my last post, hope this is alright.

stopbeingstupid said...

The very idea that you could ever be a mass murderer is so weird that it would be funny if it wasn't so tragic.
I hope you are as ok as you can be.

Anonymous said...

Here's a question for everyone to think about, since personal stories from former children of mothers like these are less valid (so they keep telling me, anyway):

How much easier did we just make it for the borderline psychos who kill their ill/autistic kids?


Anonymous said...

Before I get attacked for using the word "psycho", please be aware that I am trying to remove that from my vernacular but in this case I don't mean that psychotic people kill their kids, I mean the incorrect colloquial definition.

Daiane Tozzi said...

Dear Neurodivergent K,

thank you for your testimony and for helping me to see things from another point of view.

I wish you much health and happiness. Especially strength to
fight against the stereotypes.

Hugs from Portugal,

abailin said...

As usual, thank you for your strength and eloquence.

CC said...

I wish that you were overdramatizing, that it was all a flight of fancy. Unfortunately, you're not, and it isn't.

Your words are an eloquent articulation of my worst nightmare.

CC said...

I wish that you were overdramatizing, that it was all a flight of fancy. Unfortunately, you're not, and it isn't.

Your words are an eloquent articulation of my worst nightmare.

Unknown said...

I cannot think about that, it's too awful! >_<

Unknown said...

I can't think about that, it's too awful! >_<

Unknown said...

I think I ended up embracing that people thought of me as a Monster by becoming Goth. Listening to Marilyn Manson helped me feel like less of a loser, and more like a cool outsider type.