Mother of Child with Asperger's: 'Autism Is Not an Explanatory Factor in [Adam Lanza's] Actions'

Monday, December 17, 2012

As conversations about the shooting in Newtown, Connecticut begin to center around guns and mental health, one woman is advocating a careful look at the latter. Emily Willingham has a son who is diagnosed with Asperger syndrome. She said:

"No one knows as of this writing what drove the Connecticut shooter to kill 20 children and 7 adults, point blank, although obvious candidates are rage, hate, a huge grudge against humanity, and some triggering event. But if he turns out to have been someone on the spectrum, I'd like to remind everyone that autism is not an explanatory factor in his actions."

Willingham wrote a blog post arguing her case. You can read it here.


Emily Willingham

Comments [4]

All kinds of people could be subject to "collective coercion (testing and treatment) based upon our "reasonable" fears.

Dec. 26 2012 03:21 PM
Matt Carey from San Jose, CA

" If a child has Aspergers + other conditions, he may become violent."

True, but it has nothing to do with the Asperger diagnosis. A child (or an adult) may become violent. Understanding the reason starts with understanding what is not the reason.

That's not politically correct. That's an evidence based statement.

If you have evidence to the contrary--not opinions, evidence--present them. Or you can read multiple news stories which are discussing this point. News stories where they interview autism researchers who are making the same point Dr. Willingham has made.

When news outlets include statements like "He may have Asperger syndrome" they are linking that to the events. It creates a mindset where people consider it "politically correct" to make a statement which is merely correct.

Dec. 17 2012 04:49 PM

Let's not stifle the discussion with political correctness. . . . i.e. don't mention Aspergers

Adam Lanza likely had Aspergers + other conditions. If a child has Aspergers + other conditions, he may become violent.

Yes, you can't predit who will be violent, but letting your child play violent video games for hours and having guns under your roof will likely increase the chances.

Dec. 17 2012 03:33 PM
Brian Hutchinson from Salt Lake City

What does she mean "no one can predict ...such violent behavior"?

I suspect that living with a parent who owns such guns might be a factor.
The proliferation of "snuff games", which, by the way were used by Armed Forces recruiters at my son's Catholic High School Graduation party, would likely train such perpetrators...

Ban assault weapons
Ban hand guns
Ban "snuff games"

Dec. 17 2012 02:37 PM

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