I said it before and l will say it again…..it’s gonna take multiple tragedies to change the law to protect autistic people in this country. Autism has a bullseye on its back, which literally has made us an easy target.
On September 4, 2020, my autistic little brother, Linden Cameron, who l call an autistic martyr, was having an autistic meltdown at home. When police arrived, Linden’s mother explained to the officers about her son’s condition.Upon entering the home, Linden ran, because he was scared of the police. The police immediately escalated the situation by yelling and chasing after him. The unarmed 13 year old boy was gunned down by Salt Lake City law enforcement.
NOW, IT’S HAPPENED AGAIN. Another one of my autistic brothers, Isaias Cervantes (an autistic martyr) was brutally attacked by L A deputies. Isaias was having an autistic meltdown at his home and became upset, because his father was being hospitalized.He was getting physical with family members and wanted the police to shoot him.This, of course, is a 25 year old autistic man, who has the thought capacity of a 6 year old. He was now calm and waiting for the police to come. There was no de-escalation required.
Upon arriving, deputies were told Isaias was deaf and autistic.Within a few minutes of entering Isaias’s house, deputies escalated the situation by turning him around and placing his hands behind his back.lsaias immediately began to wrestle with the police. A scuffle broke out and the deputy pulled his weapon and shot lsaias in the back. Sound familiar?
I have autism and my thinking process is wired differently, so l am trying to understand what just happened. When deputies are informed of a given situation, like lsaias’s, and begin to enter a house, I would think they would approach a person to get a sense of where their thought process was by establishing some form of communication with the person in question. Unfortunately, the deputies did not recognize the difference between communicating verbally to someone who can hear and someone who cannot. How could isaias understand their intentions? Am l missing something?
When the scuffle broke out, the deputy said he thought lsaias was going for his gun. Did lsaias think they were going to shoot him? In the video the deputy entered the house with his hand on his weapon.To me, autistic or not, that is a threatening suggestion. I understand the deputy is entering an unsecured home and has to be cautious and ready to defend himself.
Unfortunately, it can send the wrong signal to people who are wired differently. This is one reason why law enforcement should not be responding to such calls. We autistics react differently, because of how we think. We will not act the way a neurotypical person would react in the same situation.
Why did they put their hands on him in the first place? Isaias presented no threat at this point. The deputies initial reaction is what escalated the entire situation, which was non-threatening. How do you connect with someone who is deaf or hard of hearing? Wouldn’t you survey the situation and get a read on somebody after they just had a meltdown?
I understand there was a family interpreter who assisted the deputies, but l am not sure if Isaias could comprehend what was going on at the time. Too many times we have had law enforcement show up and often take a dominant approach to controlling a situation, when they are ignorant and clueless about our disabilities. We do not deserve this abusive behavior. Again, this is another reason why law enforcement shouldn’t be involved.Cahoots is an alternative answer to law enforcement handling these types of situations.(a community-based public safety system located in Eugene, Oregon).
Why would these deputies walk up on him side by side, which is intimidating and then physically touch him? Why attempt to handcuff him. Why be reckless and aggressive and escalate the situation by getting in this young man’s face, which is what they did. I don’t give a damn about procedure. It doesn’t work.
Law enforcement is not the answer for people on the spectrum or people with mental illness. Would you send a plumber to do an electrician’s job?
A person needs to have patience and control the tone of their voice, while being aware of their body language, when speaking to a person exhibiting stress, anxiety and is showing signs of being overwhelmed or overstimulated.When a person is experiencing a meltdown, there is a sense of insecurity and inability to control a given situation. A meltdown can be an emotional or mental overload leaving a person in a chaotic state. When and where did law enforcement training come into play for Isaias Cervantes?
The information given to the deputies, when they arrived was more than enough to understand what state lsaias was in at the time, but this valuable information was lost on these unqualified deputies.I like the part about the officers being told of Isaias’s disabilities, prior to shooting him in the back.Anytime you shoot someone, it makes it easier to cuff the person…just saying.
LETS MAKE A DEAL. The police have several weapons at their disposal to neutralize an unarmed loved one. Take your pick. Behind door number one, a physical beating.Behind door number two, tasing and finally, behind door number three,you guessed it, a loaded weapon.
Apparently, they can act as judge and jury, when confronting a person on the spectrum or perhaps law enforcement simply has a major brain freeze, when dealing with our tribe. WHY?
Because law enforcement is oblivious, when confronting and handling people on the spectrum. There is no good cop/bad cop in this situation. They are uneducated officers of the law, who are not properly taught how to deal with mental illness and people on the spectrum. I am not blaming them. They just are not qualified to deal with people who are neurologically or mentally challenged.For the most part, law enforcement is not held responsible for their actions. Either way, we are on the short end of the stick.I guess you can look at it as thinning the herd. What’s one less autistic in this world?
WHO OR WHAT IS AUTISM’S NUMBER ONE THREAT? Well…bullying is in the top 5 or 6, along with its friends, suicide and drowning. How about society? In general, society is ignorant, indifferent, and unaccommodating, when it comes to autism. Then, there are the bottom feeders like Autism Speaks, who claim to advocate for us, when in reality, they are taking advantage of parents, caregivers, and other people who want to support and advocate for autism.The parents and caregivers, who are on the front lines of autism, can experience frustration, stress, anxiety, desperation and fear for their loved ones.
They are prone to being vulnerable and they want to believe in an organization, who will help advocate on their behalf.Autism Speaks prey on people who are desperate for answers.They are con-artists, who talk a good game and spend a fortune on selling the right image to society, while taking people’s money. They rollplay the advocacy part real well, but lack transparency about their research and their true intentions, while doing it behind a faux smile. On the surface, they advocate for autism and give the appearance of doing good things on our behalf, but underneath the surface, they are plotting to eradicate autism altogether.
They like to use the word ”cure” because it is less offensive than saying eradicate, liquidate or eliminate.How dare they want to deny our autism.They call autism a disease. Who are they to make these proclamations? Many of the people who work at Autism Speaks truly believe they are doing good work in the field of autism. They have bought into what Autism Speaks is peddling.The autistic community does not…..repeat, does not support such organizations.
Unfortunately, Autism Speaks is a money-making business and this makes them a powerful organization. They have networked with our government and other people of power and position.Yet presently, they are not the most dangerous group that threatens autism.
There is another group of people, who are more of a threat to autism, because they have the law on their side…and this group is called law enforcement. Law enforcement, whose job is to protect and serve, is quickly becoming one of autism’s most dangerous groups of people to encounter.Parents and caregivers, beware of men and women dressed in blue. They are individuals, who carry weapons and are backed by the law.
In the eyes of the court they can do no wrong and they are heavily armed.Autism is no match for these well disciplined and trained (except for people with neurological and mental issues) professionals.
LOADED QUESTIONS. Does law enforcement have a bounty out on autism?Are we becoming an endangered species?Do you think these are unfair questions?Ask Linden Cameron and Isaias Cervantes and their families.
RESISTANCE TO REFORM. Law enforcement has shown too much resistance towards reform.There needs to be change.It’s time for this country to create a system that will take care of people, who suffer from mental illness and different neurological behaviors.Change the law to protect us.Law enforcement is not the answer. It’s part of the problem.(I say this with no malice towards law enforcement).
METAPHORICALLY SPEAKING. If a coach puts a player in the game and that player does not have the ability to perform the job that is required, who is at fault? You can’t blame the player.
The coach makes the decisions and it’s on him to correct it or his job is in question. If the coach can’t do his job, then it’s management’s responsibility to make the right changes for the team, otherwise, the owner or owners need to get involved and make the necessary changes in order to have a successful team that can compete with other teams in the league.These are metaphors that represent the police, the precincts/districts, law enforcement and the Supreme Court…and the fans, they represent society and if our team (law enforcement) cannot get the job done, then we all lose.
MY AUTISTIC FAMILY. Linden Cameron and Isaias Cervantes are my two autistic brothers and they play for Team Autism. We, as a team and as an autistic community, want the rules changed to be able to compete in a game that’s not rigged in anyone’s favor. We want and demand a fair game, where there’s a level playing field. This game is called…the Game Of Life. Autism has earned the right to be here, free of bigoted and biased views and assumptions. Our time has come. We want justice and acceptance. We are calling upon the United States Government to hear our plea and do what is right.
EXTRA INNINGS. I support and love Linden Cameron and Isaias Cervantes, along with all of my autistic brothers and sisters and one more thing…
NEVER UNDERESTIMATE THE POWER OF AUTISM.