Santa Barbara shooter and autism

Last night, a shooter identified as Elliot Rodger, shot and killed several people in Santa Barbara, California. Today, the BBC had an article about the alleged shooter after his family identified him:

“He said the son had Asperger’s syndrome, had trouble making friends and had been receiving professional help.”

Let’s make it clear to anyone that tries to pin his rampage on his autism that autistics are far more likely to be the victims of violence than to be the perpetrators of violence. All the evidence states that someone who “snaps” and kills people and is autistic didn’t do it because of the autism but because of all the other things that happen in the mind of someone who “snaps.” All things equal, neurotypical people are more likely to be those who “snap,” but society likes answers to questions about monsters. There will be plenty who will point to this young man’s autism and say that the answer to his horrible actions is his autism. They did it with Adam Lanza, the Sandy Hook Elementary shooter.

The truth is that the answer to why there are monsters in the world is more complex than that. And you’ll be very likely to be very wrong if you bet that the answer is autism.

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