A chemistry whiz, he had spent much of his adolescence teaching himself to make explosives and setting them off in the woods in experiments that he hoped would earn him a patent but that instead led the state police and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to charge him with several counts of malicious explosion.
By the following spring, he would be cleared of all the charges and recruited by the director of the undergraduate chemistry program at the University of Massachusetts, who was impressed by a newspaper account of Jack’s home-built laboratory.
Oh ho! Well isn’t that fortunate? Cleared of all charges and offered great opportunities with the local university! Things sure did work out well for Jack!
Meanwhile, autistic teen Neli Latson is still in jail for existing in public. Neli was just sitting under a tree, waiting for the library to open on May 24, 2010… But all neighbors saw was a Black kid existing in a place, and, naturally, they became terrified and called the police to say a Black man with a gun was lurking around, being Black. After the police showed up, they searched Neli for the non-existent gun, didn’t find it, then tried to arrest him anyway. Neli became afraid and tried to run back home. I wish so badly he could have gone back home***. Instead…
After a 3-day trial, Latson was found guilty of assaulting a law enforcement officer, among other charges, and 10 1/2 years in prison was recommended.
And this is the first thing I thought of when reading that NYT story about Jack, his girlfriend Kirstin, and their struggles with being white on the autism spectrum. I thought of how Jack was, ultimately, rewarded for detonating bombs in his backyard, while Neli will probably sit in jail for years just for trying to go to the library…
And it all kind of makes me want to cry and them flame-thrower everything in sight.
***I am relieved that he was not simply shot, like so many other Black kids who are unlawfully harassed by the police. Which is kind of an absurd and horrific thing to be relieved about…
This is the kind of shit that royally pisses me off! The racism behind it is horrific enough, but add on the fact that the police probably don’t even understand Autism or what it means to be on the spectrum. I would be flat-out furious if one of the kids I gets locked up for years all because he was going to the library, was scared at the police surrounding him, being in his space, and just wanting to run along back home. I’m sitting here steaming at this! I wish I could help this guy out. It’s like the people who judge parents in public because their kids are “out of control” when really their kids have Autism and they are raising their kids—except a million times worse! I hate it all. Hate it! Why are people so wretchedly ignorant, stupid and just plain awful?! FUCK.
My heart goes out to the guy who was wrongfully put in jail.
A million times ^THIS^. People ask me why I say queer instead of gay, gay&lesbian, or LGBT/Q and THIS is the answer. All of those forms exclude SOOO many people I act to be as inclusive as possible in all aspects of my life. My dialogue is only one of those forms and I am working every day to make it more inclusive of all peoples. I hope you recognize this POV and consider it.
“My fellow queers and assorted allies: we have got to stop using arguments like “We were born this way!” and “Being queer is not a choice!” as our first line of defense against heterosexists. It might sound like a neat little trick to pull on these people: if we can’t help being queer, then it’s not fair to punish us for something we didn’t do. But in reality, every time we use this argument we are actually weakening our own position. Shouting “Born this way” from the rooftops is the opposite of progress…. I think the most serious problem with this argument is that it reinforces the idea that we need an excuse to be queer. As a result, using this line subtly supports the idea that being queer requires excusing in some way. Don’t use it. Don’t allow straight people to generate an understanding of queer sexuality that sounds like: “Well, of course Bob wouldn’t wish to be queer, but he was born this way. I guess we better give him equal rights – poor Bob, he just can’t help it. We shouldn’t punish him for something he didn’t choose!”
Meanwhile the real reason that you shouldn’t punish Bob for queerness is because there’s nothing wrong with it!”—Social Justice League - Fauxgress Watch: Born This Way. (via anotherlgbttumblr)