Reflections of and on a probably Asperger's parent parenting an Asperger's kid (or 2)!

dragon pups

dragon pups

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Early on the CT shootings

I know that my voice is small, that there are so many other, louder voices shrilling right now...

As well there should be - the mourning of the families who lost loved ones needs to be held sacred, and we all need to be "helping" their recovery in a strictly emotional sense - reaching out to them with prayer/ feeling/ collective consciousness and helping them carry their sorrow until they are strong again...

What we do NOT need to do is "help" the "healing" by fighting, arguing.  It is VERY VERY clear that there will be some serious very long term repercussions from this incident - and not just that we have been robbed of some of our most valuable resources - children.  LOTS of fear from this incident is still stirring - widely.  I have read of Autistic adults that fear public retribution, I have read of parents legitimately afraid that violence will be so largely identified with autism that all autistic kids will be restrained "for public safety".  I have read other autism moms who see posts declaring Hitler's social cleansing correct and now needed.  While all these things are possible, my gut feeling is that we will not see that kind of behavior widely.

But I am no fool.  There are MANY people who invite hatred to rule their lives, who make all their decisions from a place of fear, and they share that fear with others.  I have been offered prejudice I did not think existed.  The specific target changes, but the acts of hatred still go on.

My concerns are that the ripples of this act will be VERY wide, through time and space.  And not just in a social sense, but in long-term legal, logistical issues.  One blogger posted that the schools called parents today to let them know that armed policemen will be at every school tomorrow.  What does a 7 year old build out of a reality where they are surrounded by armed guards at school, but "unprotected" at grocery stores and parks?  It sounds like the shooter was known to the staff (a family member of a staff person).  Will denying access to schools help?  What about those who fight for cameras in the classroom because their child is abused - parents are already fighting for their right to even observe in the classroom.  Will the schools be given total free-reign control within their walls?  Will I have to check my child in and out like a library book? Will they come "fine" me if I don't meet the "due date" or "use requirements"?

My concern is that the passionate desire to "fix" and prevent will lead to choices that have very unpleasant unintended consequences.  And do NOT preach to me about how these murders were consequence enough.  I was 3 blocks from the capitol on 9-11 - I KNOW terror and loss.  We keep being "blown away" figuratively and literally because we see people commit UNFATHOMABLE acts.

I think this whole points to a MUCH LARGER underlying issue/ concern/ dynamic: What is appropriate violence?

Here's a Facebook post I made earlier today:

The whole thing just BEGS more open conversations about violence and what is acceptable in children.  Are we looking at history saying "there were less psycho paths"? And if we believe that - then WHY?  What were they doing that we are not?  Butchering animals in their yards to eat? Burying their own dead on the farm? Seeing family members maimed in freak accidents with everyday farming implements? Doing the doctoring themselves?  ARE we trying too hard to protect children from even having knowledge of violence?  I am guilty of that too... I haven't even spoken to my children - we are homeschooling, they are not "threatened" (ha).  We know boys play war & fighting - should we be letting them?!  Would that help them see how much it really DOES hurt?  It's terrifying how every generation of Americans (and Western civilization) has had a global war in every generation... it's like clock work : Rev war (1770's), 1812, Civ War (1865), WWI (1914), WWII (1945), Vietnam (1970's), Iraq (1990's) - every 30 - 40 years.... genealogists consider 30 years a new generation...

It's a point I have made to every history class I have ever taught: How tragic that we have to teach ourselves what horror looks like again...

I will say what I have often said to people: that they do NOT understand what it means to physically hurt.  I CAN NOT watch scenes in movies where they torture or maim people, even replays on sporting events where they show the injury occurring.   I have taken LOTS of being made fun of for that.  But I CAN NOT because I know how it feels.  I have watched as my own knee cap moved to the back of my leg.  IT HURTS - A FUCKING LOT.  I saw my dog die when I was 9.  Most of my friends had never had an injury or been to a funeral before high school.  The only difference I could see was that I had experienced pain, they had not.

"It's all fun and games until someone loses an eye" - but people don't lose eyes anymore - those are just rhetoric.  A little bit of research into the past shows incredible injury.  Did you know that Robert E. Lee's daughter was blind in one eye?... because she feel on a knitting needle and poked her eye out.  Did you know that Juliette Gordon Low (founder of Girl Scouts) was deaf in one ear?... because a grain of rice at her wedding fell into it and in removing it her eardrum was punctured.  Did you know that my great grandfather had no thumb?... he lost it in a machine during the Great Depression and had to find a new means of work to support his family.   Did you know that my great great grandfather was paraplegic? ... he was hit by a train on his way to a house call - the only doctor in the entire county.  Taking a look at REAL people shows us how many of us live with injuries... but they still seem taboo/ hidden, unspeakable.  Is this what our returning wounded warriors are running into?

Maybe we are too busy padding playgrounds?  Maybe we are too busy moderating siblings?  I read an account of frontier life (late 1800's, New Mexico) that narrated a VERY interesting incident.  She talked about how the ONLY child she had to "play" with was her brother (though they mostly worked) - and that for MANY of the frontier families children might never encounter "age-group peers".  In one particular story she mentioned a family who were blessed with only 1 surviving child.  Another family came over (passed through), with a close in age child (I am remembering they were nearly 7 years old - she mentioned how novel it was to have 2 kids so close in age together in the same place at the same time).  She describes how the 2 boys circled in the yard for several minutes, and then ran at each other full speed and walloped the snot out of each other.  When they wore themselves out they became fast friends for the remainder of the visit.  She said that only one adult even suggested intervening, and was told to "let them work it out" - and the rest just observed.  An anomalous incident?  Maybe.  But it was clearly "common wisdom" to let them establish their pecking order physically. 

DO NOT MISS UNDERSTAND!!!! I am totally against bullying, against school yard violence.  I am no idiot and know that my child would end up with the brunt of it, as I did, as my brother did, because we are "awkward" and "annoying" and "invite" that kind of treatment by repeating words/ songs, using complicated vocabulary and erratic movements (stimming).  But I can also tell you that as a SUBSTITUTE teacher I have observed harassment on the playground that translates into classroom behavior, and noted it to teachers and administrators, but they refuse to look.  Instead of mediating, teaching acceptable alternatives, facilitating the underlying dynamic, regulating the expression - the answer is TOTAL DENIAL.  The violence is simply denied/ ignored.  It is not "tolerated" so it does not "exist" - 'cuz if it DID exist, then we'd have to punish it drastically to "nip it in the bud".

I don't know that I am offering an "answer" or a "solution" or a "course of action"... I am more talking through the associated material, seeking to find some kind of connection at the base, to keep us looking for the roots of the problems rather than putting on more ineffective band-aids.  I imagine that the answer lies somewhere in the middle, in moderation, in balance - just like everything else.

And it may not matter at all what I think...

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