A call to action is often the result of a confluence of seemingly-unrelated happenstance; men and women shaken awake by unexpected events. The tragedy which unfolded in Oregon last week and the media's portrayal of the incident coincided with recent, personal turmoil. With inexhaustible breath, the media has persistently correlated the mass shooting in Oregon with Asperger's Sydrome (AS).
Let's be clear: AS does not increase a person's propensity for violence.
While intellectual and developmental disorders and mental disabilities are certainly relevant with regard to gun control, we must properly frame the question. Some politicians and commentators may blame the tragedy in Oregon on the shooter's having AS without addressing regulatory failures. This argument typically takes the form of: "America does not need gun control reform because this particular attacker was simply 'crazy.'"
Such rhetoric is no more than a red herring. It attempts to disguise the real issue behind an invented, fictional narrative. Instead of deflecting from the real issue or ignoring it until public outcry lowers, let's be mindful to have a healthy dialogue.
Just the week prior to the events in Oregon, I personally wrestled with a diagnosis of Asperger's. To better understand my thoughts and improve communication about AS, I had resolved to keep an online journal of my journey. The events that transpired in Oregon only make my introspection and advocacy that much more relevant and pressing.
With reverence for the victims of the Oregon mass shooting and their families, I ask that we all engage in thoughtful, respectful discussion that can bring us closer as a nation and strengthen the bonds of our common humanity. Keeping this in mind, let's not fall prey to rhetoric that distracts from the key issues.