When your blog becomes someone else’s tool for harm.

You all know about the recent school shooting in America, and the controversy and misinformation linking the shooter’s autism to his premeditated violence. I don’t need to tread that path, others have done it better than I could have hoped to (just one example will serve at this point, but there are multitudes worth sharing). What I do want to bring up here, is something specifically relevant to my own blog.

I tried to quietly keep my head down, I chose not to post on the shooting because it was too raw and I didn’t want people to think I was playing off the tragedy. I couldn’t even watch the news, it was too distressing. I couldn’t read all the way through the written stories without it being literally painful, it made my heart hurt. But others dragged me into it anyway, by misusing my posts to further their own agendas and spread misinformation around the shooting.

I’d quietly watched my stats go through the roof, breaking my all-time records two days in a row as people were drawn to my blog by the search terms “violence and autism.” I have two main posts that they found their way to, but the search term wasn’t directing them towards the one relevant post I’d written on the topic in the past: My post on the non-link between autism and mass shootings. I’d hoped that what the searchers were finding would be read in context; the context was spelt out in the posts themselves, but people read more into other people’s writing depending on what they want from it.

Which is what happened, when one person decided to use one of my posts in support of his public conclusion that “In the future we will see an increase in violence due to autistic children becoming adults.” I tried to respond to his twitter post but got no acknowledgement of my response, so I ultimately decided it was time to insert a paragraph at the top of that post to stop any further misuse of it – to stop it being used to heap undeserved and ignorant harm on autistic people the world over. (I may yet go back and re-write the paragraph, it was quickly done, but it was like trying to place a plaster on an emergency wound; I had to do something.)

Later that same day, someone else took in on themselves to use another of my posts – the one on marijuana and autism – to support his own public conclusion that “marijuana helps w/autism maybe it could have helped [the shooter] & saved lives.” I responded to him too, telling him that I didn’t appreciate him using my post to support the erroneous link between autism and mass murder, and that the violence associated with autism is not that of premeditated mass murder. Instead of silence this time, I was met with abuse. The person verbally attacked me, calling me drunk and asking what was wrong with me.

He’d decided my post was useful to further his own arguments about the legalisation of marijuana, and linked it to mass murder to get his argument into the spotlight, by (intentionally or otherwise) misusing my post. He really didn’t appreciate me calling him out on it. He got so aggressive that I ended up blocking him, his attacks were quite upsetting.

When people do this with my blog posts – when they misunderstand or misuse them to hurt autistic people – I feel the frustration, helplessness, (and public embarrassment) that you do when a bully in the playground grabs your own arm and starts using it to hit you in the face. I tried to stay out of this discussion out of respect to these poor families, and because I knew others were dealing very well with the issues already, but people dragged me into it kicking and screaming anyway. So let me say this to those who would use my blog posts to hurt the people I love and live to protect:

You are scum. You are either dishonest, cruel, and lacking of empathy or sympathy, or you are too lazy to read and think about the writing you are so readily abusing. Either way, I have no respect for you, and I don’t want you anywhere near my blog. My blog is directed at people who choose to think, not those who swallow misinformation like mother’s milk and spread it around like an ugly virus. Go write your own blogs, or find some deluded blogger who actually says what you wished I was saying, but leave me out of it.

I need to say this too: How dare you use this unspeakable tragedy, to further your own agendas and to spread your hatred.

To my lovely regular readers, I’m sorry this post popped up on your feed, but I just couldn’t sit quietly and watch this happening anymore.

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9 Responses to When your blog becomes someone else’s tool for harm.

  1. I believe someone may have been deliberately supporting ‘cannabis for autism’ in that rude and wrong way in order to weaken our public image and relationships with other bloggers. We’ve had problems with amateur ‘psy-ops’ recently.

    Cannabis may reduce self-harm or meltdowns, just check out http://www.alexneedshelp.com
    I use cannabis to manage my behaviours to the point where good people no longer think they need to kill me to protect against a falsely perceived threat. We are much more likely to be victims of violence than perpetrators.

    • I want you to know that I still stand by everything I said in my original post on the topic cannabisforautism, and that I have never seen you do anything to harm autistic people or the reputation of autistic people. You have my respect, I want you to know that. And I wish you the best at this hard time xxx

  2. Angela says:

    I am saddened that your thoughts that you share with us (your blog) and other people’s blogs that have been used in this way. I guess it is really hard that when you post your personal thoughts on things that you will meet with an understanding and supportive audience and also those who seek to misinterpret and misuse and misconstrue comments. i have seen this before with a dear friend who has passed away and wrote a blog about her cancer journey. The fact that she was terminal and wrote about this meant people felt free to tell her she “wasn’t trying hard enough to get well”.
    At the end of the day there are always people who will sit on their couches and criticise other people’s way of life-that’s why reality t.v is such a hit! Hold the opinions and caring of the people dear to you and sod everyone else! I write this as a mumma of 2 “older ASD” young adults and wish you all the best and encourage you to take on board only people who are supportive and value you and your choices for your children. Hugs.x

  3. Matty Angel says:

    This is why I try to never write about Autism, people are mean and try to bring me into things that I don’t want to be involved in… or worse, they try to speak on your behalf because they think they know you now.

    I am sorry you had this happen and I send happy thinking to you 🙂

  4. Rachel says:

    Sadly, the tragedy on Friday seems to have brought out the worst in a lot of people. I can’t tell you how horrified I was yesterday at some of the comments people tried to post to my blog. I had turned on moderation because I knew that there might be some disturbing stuff I didn’t want slipping through, and my moderation queue ended up deluged with it. I had to close comments by the evening because I just couldn’t take it anymore, and I’ve never closed comments in over 4 years of blogging. The scapegoating, the ignorance, the nastiness, the willingness to stigmatize innocent people, the inability to have even the semblance of a rational response — it was so upsetting.

    I’m very sorry that you’ve had to deal with similar treatment. Keep on speaking out. I always appreciate what you have to say, even if I don’t always agree with it.

  5. angelina258 says:

    Wow, that is so unfortunate. What a robbery, for your words to be stolen and then twisted and mis-used. I’m so sorry that happened. Frustrating!

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