|London McCabe on his 6th birthday earlier this year.|
Last night London's mother parked her car near the north end of the Yaquina Bay Bridge in Newport, Oregon. She carried London to the middle of the bridge, and threw him over the railing into the water. Then she called 911 and reported what she had just done.
I wasn't even shocked when I read it. After all, it was only a little over a year ago that I posted about Kelli Stapleton, a blogger who attempted to kill herself and her autistic daughter. A few months earlier, a Chicago mother stabbed her 14-year-old autistic son to death. And after that, a mother in Alabama drowned her 8-year-old autistic son in a river, before setting her house on fire to kill herself. In 2006, an Illinois doctor suffocated her 4-year-old autistic daughter. In 2010, a New York woman poisoned her 8-year-old autistic son, and then attempted to kill herself. That same year, a Colorado woman suffocated her 6-month old son because she thought he was showing signs of autism; and a New York mother shot herself and her 12-year-old autistic son.
When I wrote about Kelli Stapleton, I pointed out that I believed she must have had some sort of a nervous breakdown, and in a very unhealthy and misguided way was trying to spare her daughter from what she was sure was a painful future.
And I still believe that. But I also feel like, how can this keep on happening? These are not children who were being abused or neglected. These are not children who would have already been under the radar of child protection agencies. These are children whose parents seemed intelligent and dedicated. If one parent freaks out and murders her child, it is a sad tragedy. When parent after parent after parent murders their child... there is something wrong.
And why kids with autism, in particular? I mean, I know some kids with autism can have challenges. Take Issy Stapleton, for example... she was strong for her age, and when she got frustrated she would lash out violently. She was capable of hurting others badly. She hurt her mother and her younger siblings badly. Her mother was having trouble finding a school that would be able to handle her.
Kids who have special needs other than autism often have behavioral challenges too. People often think that all children with Down syndrome are happy and well-behaved at all times, but that is a myth. Many kids with Down syndrome have their own difficulties. I once knew of a mother who would lock her teenage son who had Down syndrome in the basement when he got upset, because otherwise he would hurt his younger brothers. Kids with no diagnosed special needs at all can have behavioral challenges. You only need to watch Super Nanny to realize that. But those kids get to live.
I still don't think that most of these parents are evil people. But it is still terrifying. Does every child with autism need to be afraid that their parents will kill them if their challenges are too severe?
I wasn't even sure I would write about this, because I figured everyone else would be blogging about it, and I would't be able to say anything that isn't already being said. But I couldn't just ignore it and write about something else.
Rylan Rochester, 6 months. Jude Mirra, 8. Randle Barrow, 8. Katherine McCarron, 4. Kenneth Holmes, 12. Alex Spourdalakis, 14.
London McCabe, 6.
Please, let's not add any more kids to this list!