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.