If you haven’t heard about Alex Spourdalakis, you need to hear about him. His mother allegedly murdered him in cold blood, stabbing him four times in the chest with a knife after her effort to overdose him on sleeping pills failed. She was allegedly aided and abetted in this by Alex’s “godmother,” and they then killed the family cat before retiring with what they evidently expected would be fatal dose of sleeping pills, the same ones that hadn’t successfully killed Alex.
Certain groups with specific beliefs about autism causation have asserted that Alex’s mother had ‘no supports’, thanks to a system impervious to her pleas, and was driven to murderous desperation as a result. Their followers offer this rationale as a kind of excuse for her having killed her own son, for pitying her, often failing to mention Alex at all. It’s a common refrain when an autistic child is murdered.
Yet the reality is that certain persons appear to have stepped in as efforts were being made to get this mother–and more important, her teenaged boy–the support and medical help he needed. Those involved in this “intervention” are also in the process of shopping their “Autism Media Channel” project that in part focuses on their swooping in as saviors to cure autism, which they’re sure is a gut condition. That didn’t quite work out in this case.
Instead of ensuring that Alex received the support and medical help he needed, some autism-related sites, while he was alive, disseminated pictures and video of the boy that showed him strapped to beds, naked, with only a towel covering his genitals, and other degrading images, making claims about how the medical establishment was treating him that are, at best, unconfirmed. Regardless, making these images public was a violation of that child’s humanity and dignity as a prelude to the ultimate violation of his being murdered.
I strongly urge readers to review what is known about this case and to take note of those who were involved when Alex was not receiving the help he needed.CBS CBS has covered this story in a controversial report [I am a volunteer editor at the site that sponsored the mentioned petition] involving Sharyl Attkisson, whose views regarding vaccines and autism have previously come through in her reportage. The CBS coverage seems to imply that somehow, society’s failure to support this mother led her to brutally murder her son by stabbing him four times in the chest. What society failed to do that led the godmother to be party to the murder remains unclear.
It’s become typical, again and again, for parents who murder their autistic children to get some kind of a “pass” from the commentariat and the news media because, well, autism is “such a challenge.” That’s in part because some autism organizations and members of the news media have successfully presented autism as a “monster” and a “ kidnapper” instead of as the developmental condition that it is. So in the public mind, an allegedly overwhelmed mother with “ no supports” should certainly be pitied and not judged harshly for killing the “monster.”
No other condition draws this kind of judgment or leads people to blame the condition, the murdered, and everyone except the murderer for killing her own child. If Alex had had Down syndrome, cancer, schizophrenia, ADHD, or a traumatic brain injury, no one would be giving his mother a pity pass for having brutally taken his life, overwhelmed by his needs. Overdosed on sleeping pills but not dead, he was stabbed in the chest four times and then his wrist sliced with such force that it was almost detached from his body. Lest anyone doubt that in some circles he remains a secondary consideration, simply read this comment and others in the same thread in which the fact that he was brutally murdered doesn’t even warrant a mention. [Note: This post is based on my own response in that thread.]
To be clear, as our president would say, when someone murders an autistic child, the person to pity is the dead child, killed by a loved one. That loved one may have been deluded by the manufactured specter of a monster and a kidnapper instead of seeing the child in front of her, but the guilt is hers and hers alone. Unless, of course, there is also a “godmother” involved.