Thursday, May 25, 2006

The Murder of Katherine McCarron

Like many in the community of people linked by autism, I am deeply saddened and troubled by the murder of Katherine ‘Katie’ McCarron. Some have suggested as a mitigating factor the view that autism can be difficult to deal with (using the “Autism Every Day” video as an example of the difficulties of being an autistic parent), some have blamed the video for its one-sided portrayal of autism as a 'nightmare' to be endured, some have blamed bio-meds, etc. Personally, I’m just going to stick to the basics.

Children are not objects, possessions, or property. They are fellow human beings, temporarily entrusted to us for care, nurturing, protection, support, and growth, and especially for love.

Their life was ours to give, but it is not ours to take away. No parent has the right to murder their child. Period.

I’m not going to say that this murder was worse because Katie was autistic. The murder of any child, especially by a parent, is equally horrific. And to be clear, we do not yet even know the mother’s motives, but are only surmising that autism may be part of this, because Katie was autistic and her parents may have been following an 'amelioration' approach. But what does makes this case worse is that some – possibly including the mother - may believe that the fact that Katie was autistic somehow partially justifies the act, lessens the severity of the crime, or is somehow a mitigating or explanatory factor.

There are no gradations of humanity, no ‘part’ humans, no ‘people, but’. Autistics may face communications and other issues, but these issues in no way render someone any less human and deserving of life, security, and respect. Whatever autism ‘is’ to anyone – a diversity to be celebrated, something to be cured, something to be understood, something to be lived with, something to ‘be’ – it is not is an excuse or justification for murder.

5 comments:

María Luján said...

Hi Ian
I share with you all your thinking
when you say:
There are no gradations of humanity, no ‘part’ humans, no ‘people, but’. Autistics may face communications and other issues, but these issues in no way render someone any less human and deserving of life, security, and respect. Whatever autism ‘is’ to anyone – a diversity to be celebrated, something to be cured, something to be understood, something to be lived with, something to ‘be’ – it is not is an excuse or justification for murder.
and neither for me an excuse or justification for any other kind of abuse, psychological or physical.
María Luján

mommyguilt said...

Oh Lord - I'm hearing about this for the first time as I'm navigating my way trying to catch up on your blog. This absolutely breaks my heart. To see parents turn their backs on children who need them, their compassion and their love so desperately is beyond painful, but this act is so heinous that I'm really not sure how to respond except to ask "Why?"

Jennifer said...

Late to your blog. I was outraged when this happened. As the mother of a daughter with autism and a special education attorney, I found the back-door implications that Katie's autism drove her mother over the edge to be horrible.

If anything, her autism is an aggravating factor to the murder, not a mitigating one.

Ian Parker said...

Hi Jennifer,

Thanks for stopping by.

Re: "I found the back-door implications that Katie's autism drove her mother over the edge to be horrible.", I totally agree.

The horror of this will be further compounded if any leniency is shown to the mother by the court as a result of Katie's autism.

Anonymous said...

Breaks my heart, this baby is dead but yet her mother only gets 36years. Y not death