Should Joe Scarborough Apologize for Autism Comment?

“As soon as I hear about this shooting, I knew who it was. I knew it was a young, white male, probably from an affluent neighborhood, disconnected from society — it happens time and time again. Most of it has to do with mental health; you have these people that are somewhere, I believe, on the autism scale,” said Scarborough, whose son has Asperger’s syndrome. “I don’t know if that’s the case here, but it happens more often than not. People that can walk around in society, they can function on college campuses — they can even excel on college campuses — but are socially disconnected.”  Joe Scarborough 

Yesterday, I wrote an article about this.  I said that I thought what he said was so wrong.  He should not have made a connection between violence and autism, between the Aurora shooter and autism.  I still think that.  Now, there are is a big push on Twitter for Scarborough to apologize for linking violence to autism.

I went back and listened to what he said.  I was hoping that maybe we were making something out of nothing.  Assuming meaning where there wasn’t.  The big question is, did Joe Scarborough mean to imply that there is a connection between violence and autism?  Or did he do what we are all guilty of from time to time, and didn’t say clearly enough what he meant to.  Did he bring up autism as an example of people that can be disconnected, but didn’t mean to imply that they are violent?  If so, why isn’t he coming back and clarifying his statement?

Did he truly mean to imply a connection, and believes that the Aurora shooter is autistic?  He says that autistic people are socially disconnected.  A lot of them are, but not all.  My son is, but he is on the severe end of the spectrum.  But, the fact that he says that right after describing the shooter, leaves very little room for negotiating the meaning of what he said.

He is a parent on an autistic child.  This is the real big bone of contention for me.  As a parent, and a journalist, he should know how damaging what he said was.  Yet, he is not coming back and clarifying what he said.  That tells me that he truly believes what he said.  That it is his opinion, and that he should not have to apologize.  How many of us parents have voiced an opinion that others have disagreed with?  We feel it is our opinion, and that as parents of an autistic child, we have the right to voice it.  No matter how damaging or wrong others may think it is.  Is that the case here?

What do you think?


UPDATE:  Joe Scarborough issued a statement about what he said.  In my opinion, he just dug his grave even deeper.  He did not apologize for what he said.  His explanation did not make sense when compared to what he had sense.  Judge for yourself.  Also, read Gavin’s comment below.  That explains a lot.

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Rob Gorski
Father to 3 boys with #Autism, 1 with Fragile Health. Award winning blogger, techy and advocate. #AutismDad @GuardianLocate
Rob Gorski

Rob Gorski

Father to 3 boys with #Autism, 1 with Fragile Health. Award winning blogger, techy and advocate. #AutismDad @GuardianLocate

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