Christmas 2012 is here! I hope you enjoyed all the Christmas themed posts on Geek Alabama this year! I wished I could more but not having a job for 17 months hurts you. I believe people are losing the true meaning of Christmas and it gets worse year after year after year. The main reason we celebrate Christmas is to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. Mary and Joseph gave birth to Jesus in the town of Bethlehem. It was a joyous time and everyone was very happy to see Jesus being born. From the time of his birth until he was nailed at the cross. Jesus changed many lives throughout the region during his life. And today it seems like we are losing the true meaning of Christmas. I watched people rushing up to Target right before they closed at 9 pm. Christmas in my opinion is slowly being replaced by the pressure of buy this and buy that.
Now that is what it should look like on Christmas Eve. The sounds of the cash register going silent. The parking lot with pieces of trash around empty. People going home to enjoy Christmas with friends and family. Employees of retail stores would like to celebrate Christmas with their friends and family like we do. Not stay open well late into Christmas Eve to sell cheap Chinese goods. The above image shows the downtime of commercialism on Christmas Eve. No more selling for a little while. Time to celebrate the true meaning of Christmas. Sure, there has been a bad rap of people fighting others for cheap presents this season. My belief is we all need to look at ourselves and think about what Christmas is all about. Christmas is about spending time with friends and family. It’s about helping others in time of need. It’s about looking at your kids and their smiles on Christmas morning. But Christmas is about the gift of Jesus and what he did to bless all of us.
Sadly my Christmas has been a bad experience. First, I have been unemployed for 17 months and still looking for my 14th job in seven years. I have been to 14 job fairs in the last year and I have only had two interviews. If that was not bad enough, the school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School happened. When the media decides to label the shooter with Asperger’s Syndrome like I have, it hurts! You can say I am down in the dumps this Christmas season and that is tough to say. When you see and hear so many things go against you it makes you think real hard. Yes, I am having a depressed Christmas season.
I have been bothered by the coverage of the Sandy Hook Elementary School Shootings. A few weeks ago 20 year-old Adam Lanza first killed his mother and then walked inside the school and killed innocent kids and adults. After he committed suicide 20 small kids and 7 adults were dead. I have seen the stories of the teachers who were killed protecting the small children. And I have also seen the photos and stories of the small kids who had an entire life in front of them. No doubt this entire story is very sad! Instead of these parents celebrating Christmas today they have had to bury their loved ones and that is tough. I think president Obama said it best, “Charlotte. Daniel. Olivia. Josephine. Ana. Dylan. Madeleine. Catherine. Chase. Jesse. James. Grace. Emilie. Jack. Noah. Caroline. Jessica. Benjamin. Avielle. Allison. God has called them all home. For those of us who remain, let us find the strength to carry on, and make our country worthy of their memory.”
The media has done a good job talking about the lives lost. But there is one thing the media is talking about that is making me cringe. Adam Lanza has been described as having Asperger’s Syndrome. I had a feeling this was eventually going to happen. They were going to label this shooter like the media has done with past mass shooting events. After every mass shooting we hear it on the news, it seems like the media is quick to jump on the Asperger’s bandwagon once again. People who knew the shooter have said he was a “loner.” These people have also said Adam never really talked at all and kept to himself. While he was in school some people have said he walked down the halls against the wall almost like he was afraid of people. They also said he was quiet, shy and socially awkward.
Yes; those behaviors are what you would find in people with Asperger’s Syndrome. Individuals with Asperger’s have good language skills, but their speech patterns may be unusual, and they may not pick up subtleties such as humor or sarcasm. People with Asperger’s typically want to fit in and interact with others – but are incapable of knowing how to do so. Asperger’s by definition cannot have an intellectual delay and these people often have above average intelligence. Often, people with Asperger’s are sometimes called “little professors.” And sadly, some people out there are wanting to lump people with Asperger’s as dangerous people who should be placed in mental institutions and heavily medicated. Guess what folks, Asperger’s DID NOT cause Adam Lanza to kill 27 people. Something else caused Adam to snap.
Some people with Asperger’s syndrome do exhibit outbursts, tantrums, destruction of items in the environment or aggressive behavior towards others. This DOES NOT mean they are likely to pick up a gun and kill someone. The cause for such behaviors varies and is individual to the person. Many people with Asperger’s syndrome are comfortable in their routines and when their routines are disrupted, they have what we would characterize as a disproportionate response. They may scream and cry instead of verbalizing their emotions or attempting to find a solution. It is also sometimes difficult for them to understand and accept that their desired situation or item is delayed and not gone forever.
Some people have said folks with Asperger’s are socially awkward and have consistent and clear lack of remorse or concern for others and we lack “empathy.” That’s NOT true!
While I was in school I was a socially awkward person. I was bullied often from many kids and I did not have any friends. The only friends I really had in school was with some of the teachers. During lunch I always wanted to sit by myself. I just wanted to have time to reflect and to stay calm. At times I went to another classroom to eat my lunch. And during the school day, if the class had free time I would draw my roads. Most other kids would go to their friends and chat away. But I wanted to draw my roads and that made me a bully target from some of the kids. By the way; if you want to see my road drawings click on the link below.
While I was a kid I was often abused by my father and the other siblings. I lived in a household of 5 boys. And the other 4 boys would often gang up and do anything to hurt me. I was always sent to my room for screaming for help while they got a slap on the wrist. It got so bad I had to sit at the dining room table while they were away and a video camera was trained on me! Also an alarm was put on my bedroom door. When you are being chased down the street just because you are different it puts a new perspective on your life. I remember the times at school when kids were trying to pry open the bathroom door because I was in there. Or the times some kids purposely knocked down the books I was carrying, and no one would help me. Or the time I was punched and called bad names. Or the time I was called down to the locker room and had to shower naked in front of the principal because I was still “messing” my pants. Yeah the kids made fun of that as well.
When some of the siblings and classmates takes it to the next level and tries to kill you it gets bad. I was almost killed when my stepbrothers almost drowned me in Lake Michigan. But I was the one who got in trouble because I was screaming. When you have to stay in a small room for a couple of days and only eat peanut butter sandwiches and take a Paxil pill every day, that is a horrible experience. To get out of these situations, I ran-away for a day once. And I even put a knife in a backpack. Hey, time in juvenile detention would have been better than staying at home. I was also placed in special schools for kids with mental disabilities. And yes, I felt like I did not belong there. I was waiting for the day I would graduate from high school. I thought all the bullying and abuse would stop forever! But sadly; it continued at the places I worked at.
I have held 13 different job since 2005. And I am currently searching for my 14th job in seven years. In every job I was taken advantage of at times. Either I was the one who had to do the very hard work while the other employees sit back and watched me. Or for example, I helped out other co-workers while at Fed Ex and I worked late into the night while they were at home. And yes, at each placed I worked there was someone who bullied me. Some people with Asperger’s have poor motor skills and are “Clumsy.” And yes, when I am placed into fast-paced work operations it does not take long to mess something up. This leads to the employer viewing me as a liability and then being fired or laid off. Sometimes I thought to myself if having the traits of Asperger’s was what I was fired for. I NEVER reviled I had a disability at a employer. But the signs of Asperger’s are easy to spot so I always wonder if employers were discriminating against me.
Since being fired in July 2011 I have filled out numerous applications and have been to 14 job fairs. And I have only had two interviews. Whenever I walk up to someone I have never met before I always become nervous and sometimes say the wrong things. I am socially awkward quite a bit when I talk to other people. And this often leads to me not getting an interview or a callback. I just do not know what I can do. I have already drained all of my unemployment and now I am on food stamps. Some people down in Alabama views people on entitlement programs as “being lazy.” I am not a lazy person!
With the media labeling the school shooter with having Asperger’s Syndrome. I really do worry about my future. I have already seen comments online saying Asperger’s is evil and we should be locked up to protect society. Can you believe some of these comments I found online.
- EXACT SAME BEHAVIOR DISPLAYED BY SERIAL KILLERS, PSYCHOPATHS, MASS MURDERERS, AND CHILDREN WHO SHOOT UP SCHOOLS! Asperger’s Syndrome is EVIL, PURE EVIL, and from The Devil!
- ”There’s a really, really weird teenager who attends my church. He has Asperger’s. Yesterday I reported his odd behavior to the police. It’s worth reporting this kid to the authorities now that I know how dangerous this disorder can be.”
- ”Yeah well my cousin works with autistic kids and adults and she sais sic they’re violent ppl and copy everything they see on tv… these monsters need to be locked up… ALL OF THEM. Before this happens again…”
- Karla herself received this comment at work after disclosing that she is autistic while explaining why she needs her earplugs: “Whoa, really? You mean like that kid that just killed everyone?!”
- ”It’s Autism and America needs to have a serious discussion about how to treat this disorder so we don’t get these mass shootings!”
- “Something’s missing in the brain, the capacity for empathy, for social connection, which leaves the person suffering from this condition prone to serious depression and anxiety,”
- A Facebook page went up claiming that if it got a certain number of likes “we will find an Aspergers kid and set it on fire.” It was quickly removed by Facebook after many complaints.
For some of us it’s disabling, we want friends but can’t get any, we want a job but can’t get one or keep one, we can’t socialize with people but want to, we want to be flexible but can’t, we don’t like having sensory issues, we would like to get married or live on their own but may never will, we want to drive but can’t, etc. With some people and the media labeling people with Asperger’s as the potential next mass shooter it makes me angry. People on the autism spectrum already faces a bad rap from society and having this event happen is making things worse. So does the media think I am the next mass shooter?
- I have been diagnosed with Autism (Asperger’s), Depression, Reading Disorder, Learning Disability, Obesity, Interpersonal Deficits, Poor Social Skills, Lack of Social Support.
People in the autism community are now trying to prevent a witch-hunt from people who thinks we all should be locked up. The mass shooting WAS NOT caused by autism! The shooter had something else that made him snap. Think about it, the reports are his mother was going to have him sent to a psychiatric hospital. What if society decided to send all of us on the Autism spectrum to a psychiatric hospital? I think the results would not be pretty my friends. The NRA also wants America to create a national database of mentally ill people to prevent them from buying weapons. And yes; I have a huge problem with this! The school shooter had Asperger’s Syndrome and I also have it as well. So are we going to limit the rights of people with Asperger’s and Autism because they could be the next mass killer? I am also afraid a list like this would put a big target on our backs and would prevent us from getting jobs because we are on a database.
The Geek Alabama blog has been my home for the last year. I have been fortunate to meet many great people over the last year. Who can say they met Aimee Copeland, Les Miles, Connie Schultz, cast members from The Walking Dead, and many more awesome people in the last year! Plus all the reviews and talk about many topics on the blog over the last year. This is something I want to continue in 2013! Some of my views are things that many people in Alabama cringe over. I think animals should be treated fairly, I think women should make their own decisions about their bodies, I think people who are homosexual should have a right to be married, I think all Americans should have a right to healthcare, I think people with Autism and Asperger’s should be treated fairly like everyone else! And who can say they have been on TV!
I have volunteered my time for many events over the last year since no one wants to hire me. I do the Geek Alabama blog so I can promote and help out other people. Since I have had not the opportunity to prove myself in society and life I go out and promote other people. I want other people to have a successful life and that is what I like to cover. I also wish the news media would actually cover people on the Autism spectrum! We are not evil people, we are just different. Maybe a talk show or news channel will cover some of us in our daily lives. I think this would be a great reality show concept!
Some of you have said I should move to California since my views don’t line up with many Alabamians. Guess what? That will not happen anytime soon! So I have many personal views that don’t line up with many Alabamians, so I might break multiple things while on the job, so I want to continue to cover the people who do great things in the community. So what, yes I have Asperger’s! But this does not make me an evil person! Many people know me as a very nice person who wants to make a big difference in the community. For example, here is my bucket list in life.
I think many Alabamians needs to get their heads out of the sand and wake up! Not everyone is going to agree with what your views are. You need to be loving and accepting to everyone around you. So what if they are homosexual, democratic, or have Asperger’s? They are a HUMAN BEING! My Christmas wish for 2012 is for people to be accepting of others who are different. And that should not be hard. Should it? I have a feeling 2013 is going to be a very interesting year for Geek Alabama. If I am still here in Alabama. Merry Christmas everyone and Happy New Year!
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- Sunday Discussion: Asperger’s In A Hopeless World (geekalabama.com)
- Shape Up! – Week 48 (geekalabama.com)
- Newtown, Lanza and an Asperger’s backlash (dcmontreal.wordpress.com)
- Pope Benedict begins Christmas Eve celebrations (usatoday.com)