Image courtesy the Valley Independent Sentinel

Each time a horrific crime is in the news, commentators characterize the perpetrator as “the madman” or “the deranged individual,” or announce that “a person suffering from mental illness” walked into the school… the mall… the movie theater…. Each time I hear that, I cringe, not because of any sympathy for the guilty party or because it is a slur against the mentally disabled, but because of the smugness of the speaker.

To call someone “deranged” or “mad” is to marginalize them, to declare that they are “not one of us.” Indeed, it is to say that he or she is not really human at all. As an adult with Asperger’s syndrome who has been marginalized all her life, I feel very uncomfortable when anyone, even someone unsavory, is summarily written out of the human race. I wonder if these sanctimonious pundits realize that the most devastating instances of mass carnage (a.k.a. “wars”) have been planned and executed by neurotypicals just like themselves who were perfectly sane—unless you consider “drunk with power” a cognizable mental disorder.

Recently it was reported that Adam Lanza, the shooter in the Connecticut elementary school massacre, may have had Asperger’s syndrome. Now it is the autism community’s turn to recoil in horror and declare that no, he could not have possibly been one of us; the Autism Society has issued a press release stating that “it is imperative to remove autism from this tragic story.”

Alex Plank, autism self-advocate and founder of has written for CNN, pleading that we leave autism out of the discussion of these mass shootings and arguing that “the speculations are needless, untrue and hurtful.” The well-known author Joe McGinniss, father of an aspie son, told the New York Times, “the suggestion that Asperger’s might be a clue as to why this happened is offensive to me.” The Asperger’s Association of New England (AANE) complains that “it is painful and frightening to feel associated by virtue of a diagnosis with someone who has committed such a horrific crime.”

It must have been something else, Asperger’s advocates reason, as though this will protect us, shovel him off into the ranks of another persecuted minority.

A website for families affected by high-functioning autism boldly declared in a press release: “We at MAAP wish to state that the vast majority of individuals with autism spectrum challenges (this includes Asperger [sic] syndrome) are not capable of the detailed planning and completion of the diabolical plans reportedly involved in this tragedy.”

“There is really no clear association between Asperger’s and violent behavior,” echoes psychologist Elizabeth Laugeson, an assistant clinical professor at UCLA. It must have been something else, Asperger’s advocates reason, as though this will protect us. As if this will shovel him off into the ranks of another, persecuted minority.

The community has reacted as though there were in fact a definitive “something” which would compel a person not only to pump four bullets into the head of his mother as she lay in bed, but to then pack up the car with military gear, drive about five miles to the elementary school, and methodically gun down twenty first graders and a handful of adults who got in his way. Perhaps they envision a demon, riding alongside him, loading ammo into those high-capacity magazines?

Rather than rushing to publish disclaimers, is it not possible that, through this horrific exception to the general rule that autistics only harm themselves and those close to them, we might learn something about ourselves?

Amid the rush of autism advocates, educators, and experts trying to disassociate themselves from Lanza, the remarks of Dr. John Constantino, an autism specialist at Washington University in St. Louis, could easily be lost. Constantino argues on the website of the Los Angeles Times that “the social detachment and withdrawal associated with [Asperger’s] can accentuate other psychiatric conditions that are connected to violence.”

The details of Adam Lanza’s formal diagnosis (if such a diagnosis is even possible) may never be known. It does appear, however, that Lanza’s behavior, up to the date of the shooting, was very aspie-like: he was shy, remote, highly intelligent, but also fidgety, nervous, and always alone. So we will assume that Lanza likely did fall somewhere on the autism spectrum, and we may further assume that, like many adolescent and adult aspies—myself included—he may have suffered from comorbid disorders such as depression and anxiety. While I am not saying these conditions caused him to commit such a despicable and irrational crime, arguing that his autism had nothing to do with it may be a stretch. Rather than rushing to publish disclaimers, is it not possible that, through this horrific exception to the general rule that autistics only harm themselves and those close to them, we might learn something about ourselves?

I knew someone who killed his mother. I lived next door to his family for many years. Jason was not on the spectrum and, as far as I know, he had no mental disorders. He was just an ordinary kid. Yes, as a teenager he was a bit wild, but, by the time he reached his early twenties, the young man appeared to have turned his life around. He took responsibility for his life; he dressed well and was gainfully employed. In truth, I admired him immensely. Like many aspies, I had experienced a world of difficulty making the transition to adulthood and foundered about for many years in a limbo of dysfunctionality.

The young man disappeared from the neighborhood. I supposed he had gotten his own place, moved to another town, perhaps even married. His mother told me no, that he was jailed on a drug charge and asked me to say a prayer for his release. Eventually Jason was freed, and one night, apparently in an alcohol-fueled rage, he bludgeoned his mother and stepfather to death. He’s back in prison now, locked away for life.

When I heard what Jason had done, I not only mourned for the victims, I shuddered, crossed myself and murmured, There but for the grace of God…. This was the kind of tragedy that I could relate to as an autistic individual. Had I not myself, in times of stress, flown into blind rages, and lashed out at loved ones or anyone who might be nearby? Had I not lost control of my behavior and caused damage and harm? I had never flipped out to such an extent, of course, but the realization of what rage might do caused me to reexamine my own tendencies and thenceforth I held the reins a little tighter whenever my emotions threatened to run away with me.

Unlike Jason, Adam Lanza’s criminal rampage was not a crime of passion; he did not just “snap” one night and strike out blindly. Lanza’s planning was very un-aspie-like. It took deliberation and a degree of cold-bloodedness to assemble that combat gear, a utility vest, and numerous clips of ammunition, to pack that arsenal into a family car and drive to town, not aimlessly, but to the local elementary school. Individuals on the autistic spectrum rarely commit preplanned, premeditated violence against strangers. That is why so few autistics go for soldiers. We on the autism spectrum are inner-directed, as the very word “autism” implies (literally, “self-ism”).

About a week after the incident, I met with my therapist. She suggested that perhaps Adam Lanza was envious of the children. Perhaps he believed that he had been deprived of his own childhood, perhaps he had felt shunned by his own classmates and locked out of their world, and the very existence of these present-day first graders wrenched his heart with excruciating pain.

I recollected my own past. It was not my childhood that I had been robbed of, but adolescence. The summer I turned thirteen, my parents sold our house and moved to a rustic area in upstate New York. Life as I knew it was ended. Left behind were my childhood friends, my school, three grandparents and numerous aunts and uncles. Once a spunky street urchin, I suddenly found myself abandoned on the frozen tundra with no one to talk to and nowhere to go, unbearably lonely and homesick. High school was a nightmare from start to finish. I was bussed to a large, impersonal campus full of bullies and strangers. My grades, which had once been exceptional, plummeted. I made no new friends to replace those I had lost, nor did I have an adult mentor. There were a few good teachers there who might have taken me under their wings, but they were overwhelmed and far too busy. My parents were convinced that I was only making believe, pretending to fall apart in order to punish them for tearing me away from my hometown. Dragging myself out of bed in the morning was sheer agony; sleep, my only solace. All the while I was well aware that, all around me, the other students were having fun, dating, going to parties, dances and football games. It’s not that I did not want to join them; my nose was pressed to the windowpane.

Long after those days were past, when I was in my twenties and thirties—and, yes, in my forties—my heart would sink whenever I happened upon a group of teenagers chatting, flirting, and enjoying themselves. An unreasonable envy would seize me, and I would curse them under my breath and wish them misfortune. I knew that my reaction was irrational, that these young people had done me no harm, that they were not the bullies who had tormented me and locked me out of their world. Logic could not dispel the anger and pain that seethed within.

Aspies are prey animals, said Tony Attwood…Wounded prey may, however, grow desperate and strike back.

I might have wished them misfortune, but would I have ever taken steps to inflict it? Of course not. I turned and walked away. If I came upon the teens in a diner, I got up and left. If we were on a train, I moved to another car. Then I did what aspies commonly do. I turned and sunk my claws into my own heart, scorpion-like. I gave myself up to the slow suicide of desolation and despair.

If Adam Lanza had only destroyed himself, no one would have noticed. He would have silently departed this world, leaving “few footprints in life,” as the New York Times put it. If he had only killed his mother, well-meaning people would have shaken their heads and said exactly what they said about my neighbor, that here was another troubled young man who “snapped.” It is because Lanza exploded in such an unusual, deliberate and almost apocalyptic way, that we are so shaken. If we allow that Lanza might have been on the austistic spectrum it might help us take a candid look at the dark side of living on the spectrum.

Aspies are prey animals, said Tony Attwood at an Asperger’s conference in 2012. We are much more likely to be victims than villains. Wounded prey may, however, grow desperate and strike back. A lifetime of being bullied, rejected, and relegated to the periphery of life can give rise to anger and bitter fantasies of revenge, especially perhaps among lonely young autistics that have grown up in a culture where violence is glamorized and who may turn to perfecting their skills at violent video games in lieu of a social life.

Advocates prefer not to address these negative aspects of autism. The reason for this is easy to understand. First of all, scare no one. Better to portray us as shy, gentle, quirky geniuses. This is a safe depiction, but perhaps not complete. Yes, we want acceptance, but must we sacrifice some inconvenient facts, and pretend all aspies are saints? The one who is not a saint, who carries the scars of unbearable pain, must hide himself in shame.

Charli Devnet is an adult with Asperger’s syndrome, diagnosed late in life. Her story is the first chapter in Dr. Temple Grandin’s book Different… Not Less, (Future Horizons 2012). She is the author of an upcoming memoir, The Snow Queen’s Daughter, to be published by Bramble Books in 2013. Devnet is a tour guide at the historic Rockefeller estate, Kykuit (in Dutch: “lookout” or “high place”). She lives in Croton-on-Hudson, New York, with two cats and a pony, Silverado.

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109 Comments on “The Dark Side of Asperger’s

  1. Unprovable peculation like this, that there is a “dark side” of Asperger’s, might get you some notice on the Internet, but it will cause actual Autistic people more problems. I have written extensively on this topic on my blog, been interviewed by the Washington Post and NBC TV in Richmond, VA. There is NO LINK between Asperger’s and violence, but if you feel that YOU personally are a danger to society, please get help.

    1. Everyone has the capacity to be violent. Aspergers who suffer from PTSD from all their bullying and are never given the reprieve from their inner demons keep all of that inside of them. Swelling anger and festering rage. What happens when someone doesn’t have enough self control of just gets tired of being tested as they are and either stands up for themselves or attacks that person?!

      They explode in anger. Anger causes everyone to make irrational decisions. So sometimes regular people can become corrupted with an evil fantasy.Or causes a split second decision that causes them more trouble than it was worth.

      1. All humans have the killing instinct. Some choose to act out a killing. But remember, only a person with a mental disorder will consider children as enemies/devils. So call it the mental disorder of the year, that you like. Mental people do need to be removed from society.

        1. you are an idiot he was a socipath thats why he felt no empathy it had zero to do with asbergers. I have asbergers, ptsd, bipolar yet I’d never once think that mass murder was okay or ever justified cause I still have empathy and a conscience. He had no consience cause he was a sociopath. Now if you said all sociopaths should be locked up before they can become a danger I may actually agree cause sociopaths cause so much pain in our society not just murdering ones. studies show careers where stepping on others and causing suffering to make money like wall street and CFO’s/CEO’s also have high level of sociopaths. so yes I would agree that locking all sociopaths away would be one the few mental health disorders which it may be necessary (even if it sucks that it may be needed they are incapable of any empathy thats dangerous) but let us be very clear people with ASD (autism spectrum disorders) are not violent people at all in fact we have better control of emotions than most humans we just don’t always understand social ideals and standards cause it makes no sense to us often. we actually have a heightened empathy center in our brains which actually means we care and empathize more than the average person. we just use only logic to make determinations and can’t process thoughts emotionally. this means we think with logic not emotional. does not mean we do not have emotions or empathy as is often mislabeled as the case by ignorant people like you.



            The above are but two examples of Aspergers on killing spray. It is no wonder that 50% of psychiatrists misdiagnose Aspergers withschizophrenia, according to a German research study.

      2. okay first off those of us with asbergers we have explosive defensive reactions sure but reality is in 95% of us even with PTSD like myself this is only louder verbal defensive reactions an dnot violence. Thankfully one of the key features of ASD helps us actually have better control when angered than most humans do and that is that our brains work more logical even when angry so while we may yell or loudly try to get our point of view across violence is a very atypical reaction of people on the spectrum even with co morbidity like myself. I Have Bipolar, ASD formerly Asbergers, Anxiety disorder and PTSD. so sure I can get defensive and loud caused by the ASD and PTSD mix but that is about as far as we tend to go. and most ASD people with abuse and PTSD actually are less aggressive reactions than the average person with ASD. Your points are based in both ignorance and misinformation spread by a biased system and culture that straight up needs to stop. Is every person capable of that level no. Let us be blunt this individual may have had Asbergers but any intelligent educated psych professional can see he also was a sociopath and that right there is what should have been noted in news not Asbergers cause in no way did Asbergers play any real part in his actions his lack of a consience did as a sociopath. and yes I will give you credit that all of us are capable of evil but most humans have at least some conscience not to act on those feeling even if we have them people with ASD actually have a more strong empathy we just struggle to understand social context and get mislabeled often as not caring when we in fact care more and stronger than the nuerotypical person does. So someone on the ASD spectrum actually scientifically has lower chance of violence than an average person. Now while I may hate to blame mental health for things Narcissism, sociopathism and few others do have dangerous violent behavior connections but they can also still show in much more subtle ways (many CFO’s and wall street people according to studies are sociopaths) the fact is the detailed planning and lack of any empathy was caused by him being a sociopath. sure he faced bullying as a person on the spectrum but so did i and you don’t see me killing a bunch of people over it in fact I pity my bullies cause I recognize they were most likely abused or mistreated at home and thus felt a need for power over another to feel better. that is how most ASD people will see it cause we have an enhanced logic center of the brain and we see things more from a scientific point of view than an emotionally charged one.

      3. Absolutely no justification for murder however it makes me wonder if child sexual abuse may have had a role in the son snapping on his step dad and mother.

    2. I think there is a dark side to everyone in this world. Especially those of us battling mental illness and while in most cases we are the victims (whether that be of bullies or the mental illness itself) it’s simply ignorant to assume that autism is all sunshine and rainbows. That being said I don’t think autism is the reason Latva? (I forgot his name) commuted this crime although autism along with other possible mental illnesses very well could have been a contributing factor to that act of violence. We all have a dark side no matter how little it affects ourselves or others around us. We are human.
      – Amber, someone with ‘ACTUAL AUTISM’

    3. Also excuse my lack of punctuation and spelling errors, I was lazy and couldn’t be bothered adding in or correcting anything haha.

    4. I have an aspy in my home and he frightens me with his behavior. The words he chooses and the way he says them has made me lock up everything dangerous in my home and lock my bedroom door.

      I sleep with a knife.

      don’t tell me there is no violence in and aspy. I live with it.

    5. The author isn’t claiming anywhere in her article here an inherent link between autism and violence. She’s simply saying that the dark side nobody thinks about – the bullying, the isolation, the co-morbid mental health issues (which have indeed been found in research studies, it’s not mere “speculation”) – could have caused Adam Lanza to react with violence. As somebody with autism myself, I’ve had dark thoughts and fantasies from time to time. I think that makes autistics human, just like anybody else. Most people, autistic or otherwise, aren’t going to commit a mass shooting or a killing. Pointing out, however, that bullying and emotional anger related to autism could have led Lanza to react violently, isn’t a detriment to the autistic community. We should be careful obviously not to say that autism caused Lanza to kill, and careful not to say that all autistics are violent, both of which are untrue statements, but the author of the article wasn’t trying to argue otherwise.

      It’s been speculated among plenty of autistics online that people like Christine Chubbuck, who killed herself on a live newscast in the 1970’s, were autistic. It’s not believed that autism is the causation for such violent acts, but rather that the loneliness and social isolation, coupled with stress and increasing frustration in life, can hit some autistic people in unique ways. And whether you want to admit it or not, there IS a “dark side” to autism that’s often overlooked in a modern climate that romanticizes autism as quirky and funny. Almost every autistic person I’ve ever met, myself and my brother as well, have suffered from depression and suicidal thoughts. Many autistic girls I’ve met, as well as myself, suffered from eating disorders, bullying, obsessive thoughts and actions. A lot of people in the asexual community are autistic, and find it difficult to find a partner who treats them well or respects them. A lot of them still live with their parents well past the age of 25. Only 8% of autistic adults in Canada are currently employed, according to McLean’s. Sure, there’s no known link between autism and violent behaviour, but in a world where so many difficulties present themselves for autistics, is it so wrong to think that maybe the odd few autistic people here and there wouldn’t react with violence? In any statistical demographic, it can’t be denied that at least one person might react violently or with premeditated violence for any number of possible reasons. That they’re autistic has little bearing on the matter – all human beings are capable of violence.

    6. Thank you for writing this and I agree. People possess all sorts of stereotypical views of people who are autistic and it appears that this writer wants to contribute to that. I think it’s just as likely that the shooter in this instance was a psychopath who was misdiagnosed. He also could have had Asperger’s. I don’t find the speculation about our supposed “dark side” at all helpful.

      I have CPTSD, am autistic, and have melted down about wallpaper sticking to itself as I was trying to hang it, seemingly losing my only pair of jeans in my small apartment, and tangled Christmas lights while cognitively challenged with a debilitating chronic illness – all since the age of 12 and all my upset was directed at those things and not at people. Three meltdowns in 54 years. Yet, all I seem to hear about is how autistic people melt down. I often wonder how many autistic adults who continue to melt down use their autism as a defense much in the same way neurotypicals say “I have a temper” (as if that’s a reason) rather than accept responsibility for themselves. I understand we are sensitive to stimuli and that can catch us unexpectedly and that some of us may not be able to get a handle on our emotions and have a melt down, and yet many of us do manage to gauge our emotions and rising stress levels and take time outs when we need it. To suggest that to some with autism also seems like sacrilege. I’m going to suggest that this author might want to look at himself and what he tells himself about his anger.

    7. To me, it makes sense. I have never personally had to deal with an autistic person, and recently I found out my partner (now ex) is autistic. We split because he can’t understand how his actions and words are hurtful and cruel, he has autism. There certainly is a dark side to autism, and frankly, that’s all i see. When the little feelings he has get triggered, anyone in his path is now an enemy, and anything said or done by him is cometely justified. Even violence. I have been spat on. Verbally abused, mentally abused, gaslighted, all of this behavior is cruel and abusive, and it’s all done by the person with autism, and even more frightening, HE FEELS NO REMORSE, BECAUSE NO EMOTIONS = AUTISM. All hurt feelings by him aren’t intentional to him, so he feels they don’t hurt the other person, and he shouldn’t have to appologozize, which is 100% incorrect. I’ve never been.more fucked up in the head because of this person. So yes, autism DOES HAVE A DARK SIDE. It’s nothing BUT a dark side. And I’m sick and tired of autistic people getting pegged with “its just how they are, you can’t blame them” the fuck I can’t. You’re all to blame.

  2. I found this article to be very insightful. I have been advocating a similar position since Newtown, only to be met with defensiveness by some in the Aspergers community who refused to entertain the possibility that social rejection and rage has the potential to take an ugly turn in anyone, given the right circumstances. Much like our nation’s politicians, it seems that the Aspergers community wants to distance itself from those with whom they once shared common ground, now that society regards those individuals as pariahs.

  3. Those people (mass murderers) are pariahs in *any* society. That doesn’t mean that a person with Asperger’s could not commit a crime, and more than it means that *you* can’t commit a crime. EVERY community distances itself from heinous criminals. In this case, the heinous criminal was said to have Asperger’s. Since most of us do not have anything like murderous thoughts (and I have never had the kinds of thoughts the author here does so find it difficult to believe that “most” of us do (!), we naturally distance ourselves. It’s human nature. And the people who are “normal” distance themselves by pinning it on autism, or mental illness, or abnormal childhood, or whatever they can find to create that distance. Mass murderers= NOT most of us, and not “our community.”

  4. I think that when so many people have been massacred, and defenseless innocent little children, we have to keep an open mind and ask all questions. It may well be autism spectrum co-morbid with other ills like bi-polar or schizophrenia.

    What a lot of the hero-parents defiantly trying to turn people away from scrutinizing Asperger-‘s-related violence don’t seem to want to admit is that *they* are the force that is keeping their children from becoming destructive. *They* intervene a hundred times a day in their care-giving. *They* manage and organize their children’s time, schooling, medical care, with enormous sacrifice.

    But not every parent is a hero like them. Some need respite and don’t get it, they are single parents, like Nancy Lanza. Some just don’t cope. Then society is at danger, because there isn’t the heroic buffer.

    Instead of arguing endlessly about whether or not people on the autism spectrum are violent or not, I think it’s better to concede that some are, and then move to the next more pertinent debate. If/since there is a connection, what is our public policy? And the answer isn’t to comb through the autistic population and incarcerate everyone or too many people; the answer isn’t to take away people’s civil rights. The answer is only more care, not less. More human institutions where people can more easily get residential treatment where families and communities are integrated with care — rather than dumping the dangerously mental ill out on to the community where some end up pushing people in front of subway trains. More care doesn’t mean less rights.

    1. I think your intentions are good: ‘more care not less’, but some of your wording like ‘dangerously mentally ill’ is disturbing. I’ll make a parallel of your logic:

      A lot of people that are way off the autism spectrum are violent. If/since there is a connection (between non-autism and violence), what is our public policy?

    2. newsflash bipolar people are also not violent u ignorant bigots seriously he was a sociopath like almost 90% of serial killers he was a sociopath. none of his actions had to do with bipolar or asbegers or ptsd all of which i live with without any violence daily btw. I will give you some credit on the parent thing though cause thats exactly the heart of this situation the abusive cruel parents in his case are the heart of the problem he had no proper parenting and thus never learned right from wrong and all he knew was pain and suffering cause his parents were pieces of shit. all of us learn basic skills we take for granted from our families but when theres no love coming there we never grow or manifest a conscience (something no human has til around 8 to 9 years of age actually and is dependant on nurturing parents if it develops) so yes I agree his shitty parents are to blame they were horrible to him and he never gained a conscience cause he never recieved nurture. however the fact is people on the ASD spectrum are verbally aggressive as a defense mechanism and this is often misconstrued by uneducated folks as violence is coming when in fact it never does. so this is a real issue for people with ASD is the misconception cause we get verbally aggressive in defense mode we are violent when in fact we are not. thats why its such a big deal to stop this idea in its tracks before false information can spread on us. cause fact is humans can be pretty fucked up when we believe a group is dangerous or a threat. this has led to many mass genocides in history against mental health groups so we can’t sit by and let that be false fed as the norm either. Fact is he was most likely a sociopath and that is a dangerous diagnosis no question.

    3. Personally, as an autistic person, I found your characterisation incredibly insulting. I was raised by an abusive parent and acted as her parent much of the time. I have CPTSD as a result of my upbringing, and I had the presence of mind as a child to see that my parent was acting out generational violence and was able to feel compassion for her. She was out of control; I was not. I am not violent and have never had violent tendencies, though no doubt I was a handful as a child at times. The only time I had a meltdown as a child was when my parents tried to stop me from removing myself from situations that might give rise to one so I could calm down. Once they stopped trying to make me not take care of myself, the meltdowns, which were never about them or directed at them, stopped. Neither my violent or non-violent parent was keeping me from violence.

      I suggest that you believe in this hero model and attribute violence to us because it makes you feel good. Stop spreading negative stereotypes about autistic people.

  5. To me, it seems a dangerous practice to teach a young man to vent his emotions with a gun. Could such a thing even be controversial? Apparently it can be:

    1. and there is the other side of it what about the shitty parents who taught him to use guns as a way to feel better. There was no way that could had a good outcome tbh. I can support having guns to do hunting or even sporting hobbies like target practice or in case your in danger and need to protect yourself and your family. but lets be real this boys family never taught him any morals at all. I may not always agree with every moral belief my parents held but at least they taught me morality and right from wrong. it raises a much bigger question of should all parents be vetted if they can raise a child properly and should we have to be given an all clear to raise a kid legally may be necessary cause I would argue that almost every school shooter mass killer had shitty parents. This to me seems the only constant. it is a much bigger deeper issue as is mental development. but it all stems down to the parents giving nurture or pain tbh.

  6. As a parent of a child on the spectrum, it does send chills that there is an association with ASD and Adam Lanza – not because of the possibility that someone with ASD can do this, but the ignorance of people towards the ASD community. Nancy and Adams father failed as parents, ASD or not. With the amount of money she had she could have offered her son so many more positive choices. This woman got almost 300k a year in support. The father lost contact when he got remarried(Adam stopped speaking with him), the brother didn’t see him either. This person was clearly in pain, and didn’t get the help he needed. Very tragic.

    1. According to Lisa Bernier down in the comments, you are in denial, you really should hate your child and have zero love because “it” is a monster. Apparently this Ms. Bernier believes one day the world will catch up and crucify monsters like your offpsring or some crap like that.

  7. Thank you for writing this thoughtful article. I recently watched the Frontline episode about Newtown, and I thought it lacked the psychological depth and questioning you present here. I appreciate your sensitive handling and questioning of how Adam Lanza’s possible experience as a young man living with Asperger’s, without the community and connection he needed, could lead to acting out as you suggest. I think you make it clear that it’s less about the psychological condition, and more so about the resources and support available to anyone struggling with a psychological disorder and not receiving proper care. Thank you again for sharing your voice here.

    1. I have Asperger’s, not a psychological disorder or mental illness. I work. I own a home. I AM a law abiding citizen. I’ve spent over 25 years in emergency services. I’ve held a security clearance. I do own a firearm and not one time have I ever considered committing a crime with it. Anyone who commits mass murders have bigger issues than Asperger’s. Yall are not doing us any favors by referring to us a “mentally ill”, “disturbed”, “suffering from mental illness”, “crazy”, etc. Everyone basis their opinion on “he may” or “she might”. No. I know what makes me mad and how I respond, which is a few minutes of bitching in my car or my house. I cannot fathom ever killing someone unless it was strictly self-defense and my death was imminent. Heck, I can barely kill a fly with a flyswatter.

      1. This place creates an even more hateful depiction of aspergers:

        Sad that most people are getting their ideas of it from the misinformed or just downright liars. The website mentioned above details what it is like to date someone like us. And while some points are alright, most points just make us seem like utter sociopaths. Since when did we ever not have empathy? We may in certain cases lack some empathy but we’re not completely bereft of it!

        It’s sites like these that push misinformation about us,make over-generalizing opinions about us and make people dislike us. We’ve got a ways to go.

        1. The site is stating how ASD affects partners and spouses and is based on real life cases and actual information supplied to them.

      2. exactly we actually have a more black and white moral view of shit than avergae person we are less likely to kill persons than average human is and thats been proven in scientific studies that aspy’s like us are actually less violent than nuerotypicals are. actually violence is more often committed by nuerotypicals than people with mental health (its not that it can’t happen its that the odds are much lower any person who never gets any love and nurture is going to be more out of control. this had more to do with bad parentscreating a sociopath than him being an aspy.

  8. Hi Charli,

    A lot of your article rang true for me*, but I was a little confused about a couple of dueling ideas in the piece. You seem to suggest both that this kind of ruthless, remorseless violence is an aspect of autism, but also that it’s a possible response to a lifetime of exclusion and isolation. Obviously being autistic means that it’s a lot more likely that you’ll experience those things, but as far as I know we don’t react to them in a fundamentally different way than most people do.

    I guess for me it seems like people like this, who do unfathomably evil things, *can* fuel introspection, but I guess I would locate the metaphorical “demon” in human nature, not anything particular to autistics. Because you said it yourself: tons and tons of completely normal people have done evil things, too. And you’re right: autistic people aren’t saints! We’re no better than anyone else; I just don’t think we’re any worse either, and that the worst in us is akin to the worst in them, not anything that’s ours alone.

    *I also get a strong sense of “there but for the grace of God go I ..” from these stories, because a lot of times I do see a lot of myself in the killers. But I would never kill anyone, so I go on to wonder what it is that made these men, who are/were like me in a lot of ways, make a choice that I can’t even fathom.

  9. In the recent survey, it has been found that around 20% of the people are suffering from Asperger and especially the children are the victims of this dangerous disease. It is not so that it cannot be cured but with utter care and monitoring it can be possible to recover from this disease.
    People often think that it is a contagious disease and they even don’t like to talk with the person having it. It is a serious matter of concern. I am shocked that why people are still unaware the facts of Asperger.
    Reference: –

    1. A contagious disease, that rings true for me.

      There are people who won’t talk to me, after they learn I was abused as a child!
      I’m completely shocked by this attitude.

      They aren’t children, I’m no longer a child. How could I possibly form any risk to them?
      Even if they have kids of their own, I’m not around them, nor interested in them.

      Humans! Can’t live with them, can’t be ignored by them!

    2. Exactly nurturing loving parents are the big answer to how someone on ASD can become a successful adult. We are actually quite adaptable and can overcome a lot of our shortcomings over time with love and support. Thankfully i have had that with amazing parents and am currently getting a degree in college and plan to start my own video game development company with my close friends (cause I think trust in the people you work with in a business is key lol) People often dismiss us as lost hopes as kids when we havent learned to overcome this yet. my mom was told she should give me to the state and give up when i was a kid thankfully i had parents who cared and fought for me to have the best chances. that really is the key nurture. However I can see where some the misunderstood stuff comes from we can be a bit verbally aggressive when we feel defensive and we can be defensive over things the average person is incapable of grasping being defensive over i think this is where a lot of the misunderstandings stem from tbh. I have Bipolar, anxiety disorder, PTSD to go along with my ASD (formerly asbergers) and i am not violent i am not a lost cause ( i have some new physical disabilities that got in my way and instead i found a career i can have passion in and still succeed with it) we can overcome a lot more easily than most nuerotypicals we are very malleble and can adapt

  10. Labeling is so misguided. The naming of post traumatic stress as a disorder is an example. It s not a disorder in my opinion, but a natural mental and physical behavior due to past experiences.

    1. Lamonte Johnson,

      So true, so true. They used to call it “shell shocked” which clearly indicated it is a response, to the horrors of war.

      I believe calling it PTSD is a way our govt. has of pretending they aren’t responsible.
      The way our warriors have been mis-treated is very saddening. I blame greed.

      1. PTSD change was cause not only soldiers have it. other traumas can cause ptsd as well thats why they changed the name to fight the stigma only soldiers get it. As a person with PTSD who has never been in any battle besides maybe 1 schoolyard fight as a kid this change has been helpful cause now i get the recognition i need to get help. I was an abuse and rape victim thats how I got PTSD. probelem with shellshock was it only recognized a portion of the people as valid. now PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) covers all traumas as valid that is important war isnt the only trauma in the world.

  11. I think that the article, and most of the commenters, are missing a vital point. I do think it is wrong to infer, as the ‘smug’ media pundits did, that people on the autism spectrum have more likelihood of committing violent acts. But it is likely that anyone who is marginalized, for whatever reason – including autism of some degree – could see themselves as being victimized and some final perceived injustice could then cause them to flip and commit some act to right the wrongs that have been heaped against them. Whether or not a degree of planning would go into it depends very much on the individual. And that being said, a society which deliberately allows the means for violence to easily exist in the community is simply begging for trouble.

  12. Paula C. Durbin-Westby, there is no link between Aspergers and violence?

    Then explain how I routinely got into fights at school and once punched my father in the face?

    1. And how the writer of this comment is now proudly bragging about this online.

      Plus the fact that I work with two aspies and one of them is obsessed with stalking me, following me so closely at work they practically insert themselves into me, try and physically control me whenever they can, stares at me constantly to try and intimidate me, shout and swear in my face and threaten me to make me feel too scared to do what my manager tells me to do instead, try and find out every piece of information about every employee and what they’re doing, why they’re doing it, who they’re talking to, why, when, where etc, their contact information and memorise it…. (why???)

      Plus the fact they’re deceitful, cunning, sly, dishonest, manipulative and make up excuses as to why they should have everybody else doing their work for them, or why they can get away not doing their job at all.

      The other aspie is the opposite. He is lovely, but he is more insecure and has low confidence which is a shame, but he is a very hard worker, is generous, kind and very giving with his time.

      However there are certain traits that I notice that are similar, like how sometimes he is very obsessive over certain things, or he needs things a certain way, or how he memories everyone’s contact details (which is still very disturbing)

      Also anything goes on in America has nothing to do with aspergers. There is a new world order coming up, they’re going to target someone with aspergers to cover up the government’s plans :p

        1. “Plus the fact they’re deceitful, cunning, sly, dishonest, manipulative and make up excuses as to why they should have everybody else doing their work for them, or why they can get away not doing their job at all.

          The other aspie is the opposite. He is lovely, but he is more insecure and has low confidence which is a shame, but he is a very hard worker, is generous, kind and very giving with his time.”

          Nailed what? Being contradictive?
          Obsessiviness and memorization of things stands true and often a good memory to do that. There’s a spectrum however. For instance when 17 I was in some nutward. I asked if I was Aspergian and the doc was thinking for a while and replied “mm,, no because your’e not like that other patient by name X”.

          That patient X was walking around in the building memorizing everyones length, stared down his watch when he was thinking and told people how much longer/shorter they were than the other.

          Also he walked around mumbling that he wanted to “sharpen his pencil” with one of the nurses.

          I got the diagnose about 20 years later and then I constantly been in contact with mentalcare since that shitdoctor with her faulty diagnose/drug treatment and consequences of it afterward like being lumped together with patients having psychosis.

      1. I’m going through a very similar situation with an Aspie who is obsessed with me (not a coworker) and you absolutely nailed with your description. In my case it is impossible to explain anything to this person. She seems completely incapable or unwilling to accept my explanations of anything…and I try to very literal and direct. Any explanation only results in more “rebuttals” and circular arguments (now I just document her attempted contacts and ignore her). She grossly misinterprets many things and develops completely false ideas that border on delusional. Then she reaches out to people from my past (my ex wife,for example…we’ve been divorced for 15 years) and says things that are completely untrue, false, and bizarre…convoluted theory upon convoluted theory. If you didn’t know she had Asberger’s, any reasonable person would think she is crazy. Sorry, but that’s the truth. This is not funny and yes, it is a big deal. No one has a right to infect someone else’s life with continual harassment and cyber stalking. I’ve resisted taking legal action because she does have Asberger’s and I really don’t want to see her get in trouble, but at some point I may have to. My concern is at what point will she become frustrated enough to escalate the harassment and how will she escalate it? She has even resorted to contacting me through work portals…private messages to me on corporate voicemails and leaving personal emails to me on sales inquiry portals on our corporate website, so most of our employees are aware of her behavior. So that behavior, in todays climate, may make this evolve into a potential work place safety issue. For all you advocates out there, I hear what you are saying and appreciate your concerns, and I am very sympathetic. But I’d like to see how you would like being the target of someone who appears to have an obsessive disorder with their Asperger’s and cannot be reasoned with. I’ve even reached out to her parents and they can’t seem to intervene on her behalf. She has also expressed that she doesn’t feel she really needs any therapy anymore. I’m sorry, but it gets scary and it does affect you. I’d just like to see advocates admit that sometimes, THIS IS A BIG PROBLEM! and not sugarcoat everything. And, like Private above, I did have a coworker who had Asberger’s and was an excellent employee and a very pleasant person. It was unfortunate when she moved on to another city and job. Having Asberger’s does not give someone the right to stalk and harass another person.

        1. it’s aspergers. I asm sorry that you have a crazy person being a dick to you, don’t be sensitive to her just get a restraining order, aspies and neurotypicals can be crazy and not crazy it’s on both sides.

        2. Wow, I feel alot of relief reading your comment. I’ve been dealing with a similar, although less extreme situation with a flatmate. I just haven’t been able to get my head around it. The constant lying, even when you catch her in the middle of the act is crazy. And the circular conversations trying to get her to change her behaviour in the flat.

  13. Maybe he had Aspergers maybe he had a lot of things. It seems though this need to put some label on him precisely comes from a desire to put him on the outside of the human species and of this sick society and come up with a logical explanation. Well he had this Aspergers thing. Maybe he did, maybe he didn’t. What bothers me is the tendency to slap a label or speculate about someone having Aspergers because they are exhibiting some antisocial or undesirable behavior. I have seen these blogs on the internet where women are like my husband seems cold distant and selfish you think he has Aspergers. Why the hell does that make you think he has Aspergers, maybe he’s just cold distant and selfish, or maybe she is who the hell knows. Theoretically it’s supposed to be a genetic condition right, not some kind of stereotyped subculture of loners and “losers”.

  14. People with Asperger syndrome, and an the spectrum in general need a cure, not just more care or resources. A cure, as simple as that! They need acceptance, and integration with the society, not further isolation or institutionalization. There is a conspiracy site where the author suggests it can be possible that this young man may not have even committed the massacre and instead was killed alongside his mother before this horrific crime even happened. So this slaughter of the innocents may have been orchestrated in order to take away people’s rights to own guns, or put severe limits on gun ownership in this country, as well as portrait people with this diagnosis as inherently violent and possibly with the aim to curtail their rights, which is outrageous. One could argue that people with this diagnosis not only should have the same right to own guns as everyone else, but need them even more so, since such people are more likely to be an easy target for all kinds of criminals and scammers, particularly if they live alone.

    1. I was actually watching the news channel when the breaking news story came on. I saw video that was being taken from a helicopter live. The video showed men in fatigues running through a patch of woods. I saw authorities remove an AR 15 from the trunk of supposedly Lanza’s car AFTER the shooting had already taken place. I cannot find those videos online now. I really think this was carried out to attempt to take away the rights to own guns. It is no secret that there is a “shadow government” controlled by people who have influence and want a one world government. Autistics were demonized.
      It is not illegal for somebody with Aspergers to own a gun unless they are not competent mentally to own one or who has been inpatient in a psychiatric facility. Asperger’s in itself is not a “mental disorder”, it is a neurological developmental condition.
      Yes. Someone with Asperger’s may be an easy target for scammers, criminals, even people who befriend and take advantage of the Aspie.

  15. im gonna say this and i wanna know your thoughts but this boy was obviously demonized before this most of the aspies are no girlfriend no friends no sexuality of any kind, something i wanna put on the table most people don’t think of but lack of sexuality, (not ness intercourse) kissing ect all that………….. can cause serious mental disorders esp long term he also seemed isolated which is a another damaging thing to mental health most people dont know this but isolation and all it brings is like a slow poison, just gets worse and worse. i think lack of sexuality, friends and being isolation was like the stack of issues i think the lack of family support is what made him the monster, he wish he never did this, rip children rip lanza. i wish this madness would stop.

  16. Asperger’s syndrome doesn’t enter into it.
    Some people are violent, and some people aren’t.
    Asperger’s syndrome deals with social impairment, obsessive interests, and repetitive behaviour, it has nothing to do with violence or pacifism.
    A person with aspergers can be just as violent or passive as anyone else, as asperger’s is a classification of other behaviours not directly dependent on aggression.
    The title “The Dark Side of Asperger’s” is bullshit.
    This has nothing to do with the dark side of any disorder, but the dark side of an individual who happened to be autistic. If a gay person commits a murder, or a person who likes the colour blue, we wouldn’t call it “The dark side of homosexuality” or “The dark side of people who like blue” would we? Neither being gay or liking blue has anything to do with a predisposition towards violence, nor does Asperger’s syndrome. Violence and autism are two unrelated subjects that shouldn’t be mashed together for the mere purpose of having something to write and feel scared about,

    1. People with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) have characteristics that could make them both more likely, and less likely, to break the law. On the one hand, they may have trouble with aggression,1 controlling strong emotions, and understanding other people’s perspectives.2 They may have challenging behaviors that could attract police attention. However, they also tend to find rules helpful, and laws are “simply social rules of a particular type” that they could be expected to follow. A Danish study found that people with Asperger’s Syndrome (a form of high-functioning autism) were no more likely than the general population to commit a crime; those with classic autism and “atypical autism” were less likely than other people to commit crimes. An american research team compared a data set of 32 HFA youth’s against a “control group” of 99 teens who also had been charged with a crime, but who didn’t have autism. They found several differences between the two groups. Those with ASD:

      Had higher rates of crimes against people (such as assault),
      Had lower rates of property crimes (such as burglary), and
      Were more likely to be diverted to pre-trial intervention programs, and less likely to be prosecuted. Your point is a logical fallacy and due to mind-bending Political Correctness you are unable to see the facts as they present. Your argument is not only mute, intellectually and emotively deficit, but also provably wrong. Many families suffer in silence and protect and insulate those with HFS/ASD, the criminality of HFA/ASD is highly under-reported, as are the cause/effect on NT’s and those who care for them are quite marginalized, largely ignored and unsupported who keep most of these people in check as protective measures to society. Empathy Dysfunction and the genetic twist of the part of the brain which controls the mirroring function can and does cause violent and quantifiable psychological/verbal abuse caused by HFA/ASD that is reality and that is a fact.

      1. Considering numerous disorders exist that cause empathy problems from psychotic disorders (especially with heavy negative symptoms), certain mood disorders, personality disorders (including BPD which you should really look into), head injuries, and more.

        Your decision to single out just one of many, and create this entire narrative of suffering “NTs” who probably would be appalled at what you are writing, many parents would snap at you if you badmouthed their children, many caring individuals who would not want anything to do with your desire for AKTION T4, means you are lviing in a fantasy world where you are making yourself angry on purpose for your own enjoyment. Hate gets you high.
        “Deficits can occur in people with autism spectrum disorders, schizophrenia, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder,[3] cocaine addiction,[4] and brain damage suffered from alcohol’s neurotoxicity.[5]”

        Not just ASD, but you choose to obsess so much over just one?

        (Please get yourself checked out for BPD btw)

  17. You’ve got most of it all wrong. It’s not that there is ‘something that makes someone pump four bullets into their mother’s head’…….it’s that there’s ‘something obviously missing from their ‘cognitive machinery’ to Prevent this person from ‘pumping four bullets into their mother’s head’……… You get hung up on the language of ‘words’…… Stalin, Hitler and Pol Pot were all Psychopaths, plain and simple.

  18. Really, I get the fear. There have been times when I was so frustrated, stressed, angered, evrything that I could not look others in the eyes. I have come close, so very close to reaching out and grabbing someone by the neck. I bottle that. I shove it aside get someplace pruvate and I vent cause that is much safer than the other options.

    There are always the fantasies too, the ones that make you terified of yourself. Terified of what you might do when you snap. It took a while for my to find out I was an aspie. I didn’t learn about it until I was out of school. Add the bi-polor to it and I spend a lot of time holding things back. I have a few friends now though. They help, alot, to curb my darker thoughts. While I won’t deny lanza might have been an aspi, I hope poeple don’t start pointing to it as “the cause” for the violence. Everyone have a breaking point, but from middle school on up it seems that many poeple decide it is fun to push others until they break. These shootings do not surprise me anymore, but the shooters are not the only culprits.

    1. The movie DAVID shows a book, PRETENDING TO BE NORMAL. I feel I pretend almost everything to get what I want, keep peace, and somewhat fit in. I can impersonate almost anybody if I’m around him or her enough. Even my mother called me non-descript. Why not? I was a college teacher then a disc jockey. She hinted that marriage might not be best for me.

  19. I sent my son who recently turned 12 to his dad (divorced a few years ago). He is more than a thousand miles away from me. I have missed him a lot and cried on a daily basis. He said I was an awesome mom. But that did not stop him from punching me, threatening me, cursing me, throwing things at me, etc. Life has always been hard due to his many sensory issues, social problems, and emotional regulation problems. But it was manageable for a long time and we had so much fun. Life became hell as he started middle school. He told me I had no idea how angry he was. He cried a lot himself and harmed himself by pinching his own skin where it could not be seen. His obsession with drones has engulfed his life and frustrations from social rejection at school made things worse. He blamed everything on me and I was his main target of violence when he felt bad or got mad. I was so depressed that I became suicidal. He was ok at school, gifted though not having friends. With strangers he was nice. I don’t understand why he could be so violent and cruel to me. He said he would kill me when I limited his computer time. He drew pictures where he killed me with a bow arrow and I fell in a pool of blood. In another one, he drew pictures where he killed me and his younger brother with an axe like the one in Minecraft and then he drew himself crying in front of our tombs and he wrote R.I.P.

    I love him dearly and have single handedly taken care of him since he was born. He has been very attached to me and emotionally somewhat dependent on me to help him regulate. I have been there with him overcoming all kinds of difficulties so he can finally show his giftedness in math and science as well as his art talent. I was there for all his sports and music activities. I made friends with other parents all the time so he could have friends (he tended to lose them after a big meltdown). I don’t know what went wrong. I thought he could be a success story.

    But I am still scared of him. I visited him right after he left. He almost killed me with a wooden sword and then a baseball bat. He also punched my face and put his hands on my neck. And he said he would kill me if I dare to show up again. His dad let him stay in his room all day, even eat in his room. He got a new drone and seems to be happy some days, though he still cut his wrist once. I am worried about him. I don’t know how to make him know I love him. I am a petite woman. He is getting taller and bigger than me. I sent him many gifts and emailed him loving letters. I offered to get him back throughout the summer. He either ignored me or text me something really nasty and vulgar. I feel that I have lost him.

    It is all very sad. There is so little support out there. His counselor here said that his dad should find him a psychologist. But dad is not doing anything. Dad seems to be having fun with his girlfriend while my son is having fun watching Youtube, playing Minecraft,and doing research about drones. I guess it is better this way. But I can get over the pain of losing him. His dad is not communicating with me. If it was not because of my little one, I would not have been able to figure out what his life was there.

    1. Susan — I’m terribly sorry for you. This has to be so painful & traumatic for you. I wish you lasting peace & hope & love & a resolution to your obviously almost surreal experience w/ your son who you obviously love.

  20. If it is an aspie trait to not have had a proper childhood or feel upset on seeing those who have had enjoyments that they would never have due to circumstances. Then either aspies are more normal than they think judging from this article or I’m aspie. . . .

  21. WOW! it’s proven over and over that many of these violent shooters are Aspies. The Virginia Tech shooter was diagnosed as was Elliot Rodgers in California. Jefffry Dahmer was also an Aspie. Aspies lack empathy and they always have to be right. They are not virtuous people, but incredibly annoying and difficult. I hope they find cure.

    1. Shame on you, Allie, or whatever your name is, for listing such hateful propaganda against autistic people.

      Equating us with serial killers such as Jeffrey Dahlmer might won you points with the ignorant people such as that swine named E Fuller Torrey — but there is no way that such an intellectually dishonest person as you could ever possibly be a friend or ally to me!

      Go take a flying leap into an empty swimming pool,

      1. Asking a person who does not support your perspective to go and kill themselves is highly damaging, severely inappropriate and quite typical of those with high empathy dysfunction, HFA/ASD are master manipulators and regretfully cause irreparable harm to NT’s who are never recognized for what they endure within the family dynamic or interpersonal relations of someone with Autism who is much of the focus of care and research and cow towing. Telling her to take a leap into an empty swimming pool while asking for all the empathy in the world from every empath who seems to be ensanred into nurturing these heartless, self centered, nonreciprocating types who have no concept of theory of mind is a bit hypocritical and asinine, don’t you think? Before you answer or comment, I highly suggest you view this 30 year research document into the NT/Austic relationship and gain a perspective that your brain seems incapable of understanding fully on account of YOUR lack of empathy towards others. Effects of Differing Neuro/Developmental Levels on Neurotypical/Autism Spectrum Adult Relationships; The days when Aspies and those with empathy dysfunction like sociopaths and psychopaths are numbered, the NT’s are on to your malady and if it were up to me, not one of you would be in contact with a neurotypicals due to the very real and quantifiable harm caused by YOUR DYSFUNCTION. Food for thought, even though it will never be understood by someone who lacks vital brain function to even comprehend what NT’s deal with but suggests we should all bow low to your bullshyt is frustrating.But I get that you’ll never feel shame about inferring directly to a perfect stranger over the internet to kill themselves on a public forum, because they dont see your perspective and you are incapable of seeing thiers and that your incapable of shame or regret in doing so, which is EXACTLY why NT’s need protection from the likes of YOU & YOUR KIND!!

        1. How old are you . Do you even know what you are talking about . As someone who lives with Asperger’s Syndrome it is a constant struggle every day because of the likes of you who do not snow us empathy . I have above average intelligence but I struggle with relating to my peers because a lot of them do not think rationally . We show love towards others . We just express it in other ways then normal people . statically those with Asperger’s are more likely to be victims of violence then those who commute violent acts . We need protection from the likes of your kind .

        2. Someone says black people are all criminals, black person gets upset and strikes back verbally.

          Somehow proof black people are all heartless monsters.

          Replace “black people” with ASD and….forget about that!

          Jeeze you have no clue or understanding of cause and effect. Do you have BPD?

    2. I am an Aspie. I never was aggressive toward my parents. I have a considerable amount of empathy and I am not always right. I have a college degree. I work. I own my own home. I vote. I pay taxes. I’ve held a Federal security clearance. I’ve worked in emergency services (both volunteer and career) as a Paramedic. My record as a Paramedic is impeccable. I’ve never had a thought of killing or severely injuring someone. I was taught manners and respect and got my butt whipped as other children when I did wrong. I am funloving and an interesting life. I loved school. Yeah, I was clumsy and not athletic as I had hoped but I still participated in sports like my siblings who were athletic. I swam competitively and ran track. I did not care about “participation trophies” I cared about beating my own time which in turn helped the team when I was able to win a ribbon. I am a Christian. It is true that I did not fit in most of the time but that did not stop me from being happy or pursuing my goals and dreams. Some people are violent, and some people aren’t.
      Asperger’s syndrome deals with social impairment primarily. Not all Aspie’s are like what has been described. Some people are evil and violent. Being an Aspie in itself does not predispose one to be violent and commit violent acts. Perhaps, he had a mental illness as a comorbid. If you meet one Aspie then you have met one Aspie.

      1. you’re also a female aspie, and the asperger’s rages affect women less than men. Getting a federal clearance involves proving more about whether you drink and gamble in your spare time than about documenting social intelligence. You are fun-loving–from your perspective.

        Lanza was a sociiopath. ASD had nothing to do with it.

  22. I was diagnosed in 2014 at 46, I had most of my life with other disabilities so this was another to put to my list.
    I can say yes many of us have angry violent thoughts many of us are hurt because we feel we have lost out in life.
    Would like people to know many keep our feelings in check.
    We are not all lone gunmen/women with the need to express ourselves in what has to be one of the ultimate negative things to do.
    Many of us suffer in silence and many of us sadly take our lives because the pain of isolation can be to great.
    To the moron, who said “this disease” it is not. and no there is cure.
    We try to get by the best we can even if it is lonely.

  23. “…unless you consider “drunk with power” a recognizable mental disorder” it is rather ironic to mention this, territoriality it is called Narcissistic Personality Disorder and shares the same overlapping Empathy Dysfunction as Autsim and ASD and has many of the same ensuing results on family dynamic and social harms. Your claim that such individuals were neurotypical is a farce, misleading and completely unsupported by science and neurological findings. So the answer to the underlying issue you neglect to address is that these individuals in question were mentally ill or marginalized, let me remind you that less than 100 years ago we called them morally insane, today we are much more polite and tolerant and call it something benign, but at what cost to others?

    1. You’re a troll, Lisa. This is what I just found out about trolls:

      Psychological studies show trolls tend to be male, show higher levels of psychopathy traits – low levels of empathy, guilt and responsibility for their actions – and higher levels of sadism traits – the enjoyment of causing others physical and psychological pain.

    2. Lisa, please check yourself for borderline personality disorder.

      Also, I think wanting to segregate an entire group of people and having incredibly strong feelings of bigotry and hatred is not a normal reaction.
      Also there is no biological connection between “psychopathy” and autism disorders. Autism disorders do show genetic traces connecting it to adhd, scz, mood disorders, ocd, and learning disabilities though.

      I also think it’s pretty stupid to think someone who gets a bit pissed off and says “jump into a pool” after seeing someone write something very bigoted and upsetting, then to take that and dream up the most horrific intentions possible while ranting endlessly about it without seeing ANYTHING from that person’s point of view other than what you project. That is also a sign of borderline personality disorder or a “highly volatile emotional personality”.

      If you say the “days are numbered” what then? Gas chambers? You really think the world is on your side? Or there is this whole thing going on that you are a part of? Please get help, BPD can be treated with behavioural therapy, but do it ASAP before you risk hurting yourself or others.

      1. classic ASD behavior here, diagnosing everyone with borderline when you dont like their opinion. Just like my ASD mom, youve read one article on borderline and now youre an expert and no one can tell you otherwise.

    3. Look AT ME I AM SUCH A DEEP COMPASSIONATE PERSON WITH EMPATHY! BUT I WANT TO MARGIANALIZE AN ENTIRE group of people and claim I am the one who really is!

      I HATE BLACK PEOPLE->Black people get angry->POOR ME I AM SO OPPRESSED!
      Your train of thinking is like that.

      please get yourself checked out for BPD btw

    4. Narcissism is a term for a collection of behaviours found in many people. By claiming “regular people” are no longer regular if they do anything such as commit an atrocity…like “no true scotsman” you are only protecting yourself further and creating this narrative of you being this wonderful empathetic person who is ironically blind to other people’s point of view and feelings.

      You can call people horrible things but that’s just you being “right”, if anyone else does it, like me with PDDNOS, I’m being “evil”


  24. yep its been proven when a firearms or explosives obsession comes into play with someone with asperger’s, TERRIBLE things can happen, thats the reality, no one can deny people do bad things to each other no matter what, the issue has always been the brutality of the acts committed by these individuals with asperger’s. sandy hook was so heinous, a person with even an ounce of empathy wouldn’t commit the act in that fashion (kids shot 6-10 times with a high powered rifle at close range)a killing burst from a weapons system in the military is 6+ shots so obviously the sandy hook shooter was using the weapon to its fullest potential on children, people with the full range of emotions wouldn’t do that to children, all types of people commit horrible acts, the barometer for public outrage is usually the perceived brutality of the whole thing, and most people have a no go area which includes children, and women. In my mind a diagnosis of anything that includes the lack of empathy should revoke gun rights right then and there, solving the issue of some asshole using a firearm to its fullest lethal potential on a classroom of kids, the police that respond to these incidents are often traumatized, if someone that see’s terrible things everyday is traumatized, it definitely gives the impression of how brutal these mass shootings are compared to other things people do to each other.

    1. Except there are dozens of psychiatric disorders besides Autism that cause lack of empathy from psychotic, mood, personality, brain damage, and substance abuse, but you single out just one of many?

    2. Considering numerous disorders exist that cause empathy problems from psychotic disorders (especially with heavy negative symptoms), certain mood disorders, personality disorders (including BPD which you should really look into), head injuries, and more.

      Your decision to single out just one of many, and create this entire narrative of suffering “NTs” who probably would be appalled at what you are writing, many parents would snap at you if you badmouthed their children, many caring individuals who would not want anything to do with your desire for AKTION T4, means you are lviing in a fantasy world where you are making yourself angry on purpose for your own enjoyment. Hate gets you high.
      “Deficits can occur in people with autism spectrum disorders, schizophrenia, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder,[3] cocaine addiction,[4] and brain damage suffered from alcohol’s neurotoxicity.[5]”

      Not just ASD, but you choose to obsess so much over just one?

  25. Got my attention, Thanks.

    1. Autism doesn’t automatically mean lack of empathy. In fact if you actually got to know most autistic people you’d find that many of us have extreme empathy, to the point it is overwhelming. We struggle with expressing empathy, not lacking in it. I will say as someone who has gotten to know the Autistic community well, there are people masquerading as autistic who clearly aren’t, people who truly do lack empathy, most likely narcissistic who use the community as a place to get their jollies. I find that maddening,as we already have enough people who believe we are horrible people with no filter. That we are self centered, have no desire to connect which is sooo not true. Most if us do not like conflict,we do not like when we have said something that comes off as offensive, we do not deliberately go out of our way to cause others harm. Meltdowns are when you may or may not see someone throw things, scream, self harm or punch, etc. It’s a reaction to being overwhelmed, over stimulated and majority feel horrible when that had occurred and will take responsibility and try to make sure that they can find better ways of coping so that doesn’t occur again. Others use it as an excuse to behave how they want and I do not agree with that at all. I do not agree that people have the right to lash out at others because life was hard no matter what your neurology is.

      Everyone has anger, hurt and frustration. We all have a choice as to how we decide to handle it. The responsibility lies on the person not the neurology. If you’re behavior is harmful towards yourself or others, it needs to be acknowledged and help needs to be seeked out. If you refuse to seek help or think that you don’t have to because you have to some inherent right to be an asshole because ” I’m autistic I have no filter” or ” im autistic I lack empathy” that’s not because of autism. That’s because you aren’t a very good person.

  26. The author has given “an opion”.
    I am an Aspie. And I have no thoughts as the ones described in the article.

    The author’s opinion is not mine.

    All Aspies are different in my views.
    My best friend is also and Aspie. We are opposite in tempers. We have similarities though.
    Some of the differences between him and me are:

    He ” loves to socially chat” he seeks communication with others.

    I deeply dislike to socially chat. I prefer silence.

    He likes noise, TV on, radio on and personal conversation all at same time.

    I don’t own a TV. A radio and do not go about chatting to myself.

    He is calm….Calm… CALM….

    I am on the ho 100% of the time.

    He dislikes conflic……. he avoids it.

    I face conflict on the spot and leave thing cleared.

    He might not defend himself if attacked; but instead try to reason with someone. (He is smarter than me that way)

    I am ready to defend myself at the first sign of danger to the fullest extend

    His patience appears to have no limits….

    My patience is average size….. at bes.

    We both. However are equally able to have enormous patience with the elderly, animals and the challenge.

    Our tempers are quite different. Our belief are similars.

    We both “love animals”
    We both would put an insect of the house instead of killing it.

    We both love intellectualism and have a passion for learning.

    We both have similar family backgrounds.

    Our experiences seems to have been different though.

    He grew up in the USA, I grew up in Central America.

    There was peace here during his lifetime.

    There was a war during my teenage years where I come from.

    His experiences makes him who he IS.
    My experiences makes me who I am.

    All Aspies WERE NOT created equal.

    Just like thre IS of everything in the neurotypical world, there IS also of everything in the Aspie world.

    Big, small, some more outgoing than others, some more intellectual, some less.

    Some like alcoholic beverages, some cannot even stand them.

    There are some that are more Aspies than others…
    Some are less

    Yes, there is a patter with Aspies. But one pattern does not fits all the same.

    That is my humble opinion.
    Your might differ from mine. Which is also just fine.

    Have a good day.

  27. In the comments, it’s sad to see so much abusive behaviour and false accusations leveled against a whole group of developmentally disabled people, which should not be tolerated anywhere on the Internet. I wish the comments section had been moderated in order to keep the peace and prevent online bullying, which is a crime in many states. I wish those running this website would consider going back through and deleting all abusive comments.

    God gave everyone freewill, so we all have the potential to do either good or evil. Some people choose to obey Jesus, doing good, others don’t. I know many Christians who have Aspergers, who are non-violent and good citizens.

    I personally believe Lanza was the scapegoat who got blamed but that he didn’t actually commit that crime. I think he was shot alongside his mother and then blamed for the shooting. But, if he did shoot, then I might blame the prescription medications he was on, not his developmental disability, for obvious reasons if one knows how prescription medications can alter a persons mood and behaviour.

    1. Speaking the truth about violence we’ve experienced at the hands of autistic individuals is neither bullying nor abusive behavior.

      Professionally, I have witnessed HFA individuals engage in rape, child molestation, and severe emotional bullying behaviors. Yes, I pulled one HFA young man off his screaming mother as he raped her. On another occasion, I witnessed a HFA man putting his hands up the skirt of a 6 y/o girl. I also was the professional to field complaints from child victims about sexual abuse by an autistic sibling.

      Personally, I have been seriously bullied, both physically and emotionally by autistic men.

      Now, this does not mean all autistic individuals are violent bullies. Not at all. But there are many violent ones out there.

      1. Amen. My father is on the spectrum. So is my cousin. They’ve both flown into terrifying rages over NOTHING. My dad slammed my hand in a door once during one of his rages because i was merely in the flight path of his ASD anger. I needed stitches.
        Don’t for one effing second tell me that there is no connection between ASD and violence. That’s not bullying–that’s a truth that aspies of course wont hear, because it means being able to understand how their behavior affects others. That’s not in the aspie lexicon.

  28. I seem to the the only 1 of 5 siblings with A.S. in my highly toxic family (growing up in the 50s – 60s & never “diagnosed” until late in life), yet I was & still am the least violent of the group. Two of my siblings, a younger brother & sister, each knocked my Dad out when they were teens. Although my mother beat on me & often slapped my face throughout childhood & teens, I never even would have considered hitting her back, but several of my siblings did. I was adamantly against hitting my own children as discipline, and would not allow others to do so, either. So… obviously I’m with the author. I do have a terrible flash temper, which I’ve tried unsuccessfully to overcome for decades. But that only appears when I’m being appallingly & incessantly bullied (emotionally/mentally only these days) by somebody & am able to become aware that it’s happening. Then I may yell angrily & refuse to talk to whoever is bullying. That’s the extent of my “violence”.

  29. Asperger’s is a disorder, but it’s not a mental illness. I also don’t appreciate the way some of the “aspies” here seem to deride the label of “mental illness.” There is nothing about mental illness to be ashamed of. I am proud to survive my Bipolar Disorder II, it means I’m incredibly strong. All “aspies” I’ve met do have anger management problems, and also only talk about themselves and their interests. Not that that has anything to do with Adam Lanza. The guy was a bigot, and felt entitled to other human beings (women), which is ridiculous. Mental illness, Asperger’s, etc. are not what cause these things. It’s the sense of entitlement men feel.

  30. The general conversation regarding HFA (Asperger’s) would be greatly enhanced if the ASD community and their supporters would be more straight-forward about the disorder. Purposefully painting the community, as a whole, in consistently glowing terms while denying known aspects is not helping anyone.

    Especial concerns:

    First, an individual on the AS need only have an IQ of 70 or greater to be considered ‘high functioning’. While some with Asperger’s are truly ‘highly’ intelligent, most are not. Stop painting yourself as geniuses.

    Second, most geniuses do not have Asperger’s. Einstein did not have Asperger’s. There are plenty of introverted geniuses around, and our introversion is sometimes misinterpreted as Asperger’s. Please do not conflate HFA with ‘genius’.

    Third, this bit about Autistic individuals being a shy, quiet, non-violent population is not true. One need only do a bit of cursory research to find websites with hundreds of stories from families begging for help for their truly violent autistic kids and adult children.

    This last bit is especially important. The research done regarding ASD and violence – the research quoted by most when stating that ASD individuals are not violent – is based upon a count of the number of ASD individuals who have been CONVICTED of a crime. This particular definition of violence, the assumption that only convicted individuals are violent, is incorrect and vastly misleading.

    Anyone in the wider ASD community knows that most autistic individuals are given a ‘pass’ when it comes to violence. Parents and siblings often suffer incredible violence at the hands of an autistic family member, and yet refuse to report said person to the police. This desire to protect autistic family members from the legal system is intense. So, when an autistic person becomes violent, the parents will put up with the violence rather than call the police. If the police do somehow become involved, the parents will stick up for the family member, or the police will say, “Well, he’s autistic, let’s give him a pass.” And, on the slight chance the autistic individual is arrested, the vast majority of the time he is released to his parents rather than convicted and incarcerated.

    Thus, it is relatively rare for an autistic individual to be convicted. Note, however, that this is ONLY because parents and the justice system allow autistic individuals to get away with violence that would put the rest of us in jail or prison.

    Hence, this study you all keep quoting to bolster your claim, “There is no connection between autism and violence”, is simply not true.

    Please, PLEASE stop spreading falsehoods. Stop whitewashing autism. The situation is difficult enough, as is, without all these falsehoods.

  31. I first began to learn about adult autism when I married my husband at 58. I was divorced, owned my own home, and loved my work. I really was not interested in getting married again. However, when I met the man to whom I am currently married, I thought he was so kind and a gentleman. We had fun and good times before we were married. On our wedding day, he yelled at me and we have never had sex since we have been married. He is a compulsive liar, has abused me physically, verbally, and emotionally. He has broken two of my bones during two of his many fits of rage. At first I thought he must have had a stoke or something. I took him to a nearby famous hospital and was told there was nothing wrong with him. I took him there three times insisting there was something going on with him. Finally, I was told sheepishly by the doctor, he had autism. He referred us for counseling to the psychologist who tested my husband. I saw this man one time. This psychologist who I now know is also on the spectrum would not let me use the word autism, calling it a “label”, but then got up in my face and started yelling diagnosis numbers from the DSM at me. I have had similar experiences with other mental health professionals, the police, and neighbors. Oh no autistic people can’t possibly be doing these things. The man I am married to will act like the sweetest, kindest guy out in public, but at home he was a violent child. It was traumatizing enough to have given up my life, but then to have people treating my husband so kindly and treating me as if I were crazy compounded my trauma. At 66, I am slowly regaining some of myself mostly with the help of my ex husband who has listened to me for a year on the phone. I have also done lots of research on the topic. One thing this has helped me understand some of the people, such as coworkers who I have encountered throughout my career. I believe that all these denials and inaccuracies about autism causes people who are not on the spectrum a lot of difficulties. Do not give me this bs about not being inclusive because I have advocated for all types of people throughout my career plus I have an inherited disorder myself. Stop blaming other people for your problems (which I have found to be a characteristic of many people on the spectrum). Try looking at your own issues (which is another difficulty for people on the spectrum). Good luck and just be fricking honest!!!!!

    1. I know this is a late reply ( and I have a feeling I accidentally duplicated this comment) but how do you feel now? If you feel angry I understand. I’m on the spectrum so I understand that some of us can be insensitive and abusive but that is only some of us. I know you probably heard this a million times and are sick of it ( and I’m pretty sure I accidentally posted this comment twice) but if you want to talk about anything then you can go ahead and talk about your feelings. God bless you and i really do hope things got better for you!

    2. You are loved and appreciated!!❤️❤️❤️ I know your situation could’ve changed but, how are you feeling? I’m fourteen so, I’m sorry if some of the things I wrote sound strange. take care! I know that you weren’t writing any of these thing to insult those on the spectrum and I appreciate your honesty.

  32. I’m an aspie and I’ve suffered nasty bullying all my life. I even survived the worst serial killer in my country when I was a child and all my family is borderline (they didn’t call the police to avoid their responsability). I have researched a lot about neuroscience and serial killers and I know more than most professionals (most of them have absolutely useless criteria). Adam Lanza had schyzophrenia and had social avoidance and he was taking medication for that. The statement from his brother knowing nothing about autism to avoid stigmatization of schyzophrenia is the worst thing he could do against autistic people. The symptoms of schyzophrenia seems similar to autism. However, the cause is exactly the opposite(schyzophrenia = too much neuronal prunning/ autism = not enough neuronal prunning and old synapses). If you think you are dangerous please go to the police. You don’t have autism.

  33. Some people might think I’m like the iron man but the fact is that I never had antisocial thoughts or any bad intentions as I’m unable to revenge or to plan anything complex. I knew it since I was a child and I could observe the schizophrenic behaviour of that serial killer. The fact is that there exist a mental issue between tourette, berderline personality and schizophrenia (also avoiding personality, psichopathy…etc) which many psychologist might believe to be autism such as the case of Putin, Breivik, Rodgers (who also was under the treatment of schizophrenia)…etc. Borderline have the same risk factors of schizophrenia (some of them become schizo) because the neuronal prunning pattern is similar (nobody has born borderline as it doesn’t have genetic cause). Some people with tourette might be diagnosed with autism but many of them wouldn’t be diagnosed as autists in other moments of their life. So they might have a nerve or mental condition with similar symptoms of autism but it isn’t autism, such as the case of schyzophrenia. Breivik also had a very bad life and his family had schizophrenia. The serial killer I survived was also considered autistic in that time but he was obviously scizophrenic without any doubt. I have many friends with schizophrenia and I can easly tell who is autistic and who isn’t even in girls. There are too many useless professionals as in my asperger organization have allways made many mistakes with shizophrenia.

  34. The fact is that the bad job of the professionals and people with useless criteria (not based on science) can cause the stigmatization of autism while they are supposedly working to help autistic people.

  35. I’m sorry this happened to you! I’m fourteen and I’m on the spectrum and I’ll admit that some people on the spectrum are abusive (and have some serious anger management issues) but we are not all like that. I know you are probably sick of hearing this and you may not believe me but I hope that things got better for you and that you are happier😁! I know this is a late reply but If you want to talk about anything then you can go right on ahead! God bless you!

  36. People with Asperger syndrome are a trans-ethnic multi-gender group who basically get locked out of economies.. Even writing remotely empathetic articles or books about the issue is invited hate by the tribal glutton masses.

  37. I am outraged by this article. I was in a relationship with a man with ASD, and spoke to MANY women in the same situation online. Our partners nearly ALL had violent tendancies. You know absolutely nothing, get in the real world and see what the partners of ‘aspies’ are actually saying

  38. Another Aspie woman here.

    You are, in my opinion, dead on.

    And nobody is ever going to listen, because it means that “safety” means actually reaching out, not in charity or duty or obligation but in the hope of friendship, to the marginalized. They don’t want to do that; we’re only approachable when we fit in.

    I hope they don’t listen. What they’ll hear is, “Sub-human killers.” We live in the shadow of the loss of self-determination, the loss of legal personhood, involuntary chemical straight-jacketing (happened to me, and the only ‘violent’ thing I did was raise my voice), involuntary committal, and ultimately, the shadow of eugenics. We live there every day. Most of us just want to live our pathetic, lonely, frightened, executive dysfunction-y lives. We’re not monsters, we probably won’t become monsters, and we don’t want to be incarcerated or killed for someone else’s crimes.

    Despite the fact that I’ve held that theory since adolescence, I have NO SYMPATHY for Adam Lanza, or any of the rest of “us” who commit such acts. That’s not a meltdown– that’s a calculated and planned mass killing. Could any Aspie fall into something like that?? Yeah. We could. Any PERSON could, if they take enough steps away from their fundamental humanity.

    I had the rage, when I was fourteen, couldn’t find a friend in the world, and couldn’t figure out how to stop getting shoved down the stairs. I had the rage again when I was 33, and my father had been left to die alone and rot in his bed despite my pleas for permission to help him, and the therapeutic community dealt with my anger and grief and depression by telling me I must have done something to cause it and pushing Risperdal down my throat until I couldn’t get off the couch.

    I can remember using my hands to move my legs to get to the bathroom, because my legs didn’t respond to the signal to move, thinking, “WHY?? WHY DID THEY DO THIS TO ME?? WHY AM I LESS THAN HUMAN?? IF I AM ALREADY SUBHUMAN AND CONDEMNED TO DIE HORRIBLE, MAYBE I SHOULD KILL A FEW FUCKTARDS ON MY WAY OUT…”

    I CHOSE NOT TO. Ultimately, I turned to suicide to escape that Hell– and then, before I put the bag over my head, I took myself to the hospital, spent a week sitting on the adult unit, got myself in intensive therapy with someone who actually KNEW something about autism, and re-convinced myself of my own humanity.

    In my darkest hour, I CHOSE NOT TO.

    99.5% of us CHOOSE NOT TO. That choice is imperative for the survival of the human race.

  39. I do not see aspergers people as violent, dangerous, or harmful

    I baby sat a guy with asperger’s and I ended up kicking the crap out of him because he insulted me and told me it was very sad that I had no dreams like him… he laughed at me , so i went up to him and shook him around in the chair for 40 seconds, he started having a fit where he was moaning and yelling out grasping…

    his brother ended up coming in the room, and even he was too scared to react.

    They ended up calling my mom who was the one who had me around the guy to begin with

    this guy was never dark but he would purposely start arguments, fights,

    I do not see these people as dangerous or dark but more prone to get into fights.

  40. I met a guy with this who was a horrible person. I do not know if I blame him having parents who were divorced and a brother a year older than him

    But he was a horrible human. He became attached to my parents venting, complaining to my mother that his brother had a girlfriend staying with them.

    My father who passed away around the time he was lecturing about music, competition in music because my dad played in bands.

    He also was extremely cruel to me telling me I was weird, poor that his brother and him were very spoiled, rich.

    I do not think though Asperger’s was the reason he was like this.

    He said things to me no other person ever said. Even my enemies weren’t as bad to me as him.

    I however have met a lot of people with autism who are just not nice people

    very indifferent, lack interest but this guy of course targeted me because

    my parents to him obviously provided a release from his nightmare of a divorced family

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