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Of chimps and Autism: A lesson in journalism on Sandy Hook

Adam Lanza

Adam Lanza

Two stories came out this past week about the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School. One the media took and ran with while the other has received little to no attention. As usual it’s my opinion that the media picked the wrong one.

The story that has been all over the news is that gunman Adam Lanza may called into an anarchist radio show in Oregon to talk about Travis the Chimp. Travis was that chimp in Connecticut that went um…apeshit….and mauled that woman’s face off. So what? He called an off beat radio show to speak about an off beat topic. Even though Lanza said this about the incident

“His attack can be seen entirely parallel to the attacks and random acts of violence that you bring up on your show every week, committed by humans, which the mainstream also has no explanation,” Lanza says of Travis at one point.

“I just … don’t think it would be such a stretch to say that he very well could have been a teenage mall shooter or something like that.”

I don’t see how this is relevant to explaining the motive behind the shooting itself. This is National Enquirer stuff which doesn’t surprise me since the first national news outlet to break the story was the New York Daily News.

Now the story that got no attention whatsoever was this story where Matthew Lerner, a psychology professor at Stony Brook University, told the commission investigating Sandy Hook that there is no link between Autism and violence.

This is the story that should have gotten the press that the chimp story did. Asperger’s has become the 2nd de facto excuse for school violence after bullying. It’s yet to be used as a successful defense. Yet there are people who will think that because of people like Lanza that all Asperger’s patients or Autistics are all potential mass murderers.

We have too much ignorance in this country as it is and it’s partly because the media is more concerned about ratings and page views than educating the populace or reporting the truth.

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