Saturday, October 10, 2015

"Are You Serious?" Awards - Volume LXVIII: The Guns and ASD Edition

The hoped-for hunting knife was going to be under the Christmas tree.  There would be strict rules and supervised usage to accompany it.  Still, I knew my eldest would still shake her head in disdain, thinking her parents foolish in allowing her younger sister with Asperger's to have such a dangerous tool.

Our youngest daughter enjoys all the involved details of "bush-crafting," where one learns to built huts from scrap in the wild and live off the land.  She became interested in this sort of thing through another Aspie friend of hers.  For her age and challenges, she is full of so much wisdom, mindfulness of danger, and practical finesse.  Maybe you will see her become the female incarnation of "MacGyver" some day!

I share this story with you right out of the starting gate because I want to fully disclose my bias when it comes to this sort of issue.

I was deeply disturbed and disappointed when I hopped on my computer this week to see the latest outrage in the horrific Umpqua, Oregon college shooting.  The mother of the murderer had her writing on the internet exposed, detailing that she had stated both she and her son had Asperger's Syndrome.  It seemed to be implied in these stories that the mother showed a great lack of judgment in allowing her son to know how to use as well as own firearms because of his diagnosis.  My heart sank.

It seems that we are headed for another step backwards for the worldwide autism community.  While even one of these articles concedes, "But studies have shown there is no direct link between Asperger's and violence,"* the myths and fallacies are now certain to swirl.  It surely doesn't help that Adam Lanza, the shooter in the Sandyhook Elementary School massacre was also diagnosed with Asperger's.

My point is this:  Use of weapons is a highly nuanced issue.  Those who live in major cities and/or who do not hunt can fail to understand why a person would ever even own a gun (or knife, for that matter).  Without wading into the weeds of our 2nd Amendment rights, I would tell you that this is an area that needs great discernment, not to be painted with a broad brush.

Of much GREATER importance is the condition of each and every individual's soul.  The soul is ruled by our "heart" or "the seat of our affections."  If an individual is not brought up in love and fear of the LORD (which, by the way, seemed to be majorly lacking in these mass shooters), it does not matter whether they are typical or have Asperger's Syndrome.  If I have an ax to grind with the parents of these criminals it is that they did not bring their sons up to know and love Jesus.  That is every bit as critical as parental supervision and discernment in these situations.

Above all else, guard your heart,
    for everything you do flows from it.
~ Proverbs 4:23, NIV ~

In my humble estimation, the perpetrator at Umpqua Community College did not have a gun problem.  He did not have an Asperger's problem.  Yes, he did have a mental health problem.  But what caused his behavior that fateful day was an overriding SIN problem.  It was the fact that SIN was allowed free reign in his heart and that home that brought about such a horrific situation.

I beg people to consider this fact, and share this story to beat back all of the marginalization that is sure to increase when people make the mistake of linking our kids with Asperger's to dangerous, large-scale violence.  And take heed of this cautionary tale; Spend as much time pointing your children to Jesus as you do pointing them away from the inappropriate use of weapons.

What do YOU think?  We would love to hear!  Leave us a comment in the section below.

~ Barb Dittrich

      *Online writings about guns, Asperger's linked to Oregon shooter's mom

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