Well, MSNBC has issued a statement from Joe Scarborough concerning his remarks yesterday linking the Aurora, Colorado, shooter to autism. Here’s what he said:
During a debate regarding the recent Colorado shootings, I suggested that the Aurora tragedy should make Americans focus more on mental health in this country. I also stated that my own experiences raising a son with Aspergers made me keenly aware of how important strong support systems are to those who might otherwise be isolated. The growing Autism epidemic is a tremendous burden for children, parents and loved ones to endure. My call for increased funding and awareness for Autism and other mental health conditions was meant to support the efforts of those who work every day to improve the lives of Americans impacted. Those suggesting that I was linking all violent behavior to Autism missed my larger point and overlooked the fact that I have a wonderful, loving son with Aspergers. Perhaps I could have made my point more eloquently. I look forward to continuing my work with wonderful organizations like Autism Speaks to provide badly needed support to millions of Americans who struggle with Autism every day.
Not the most convincing. And not really what the clip has him on record as having said. He does, however, concede a little bit of ground, admitting that “perhaps” he could have made his point more “eloquently.” Judging from the disconnect between the clip and his explanation of what he was trying to say, I don’t think eloquence is the problem. It’s more like he was lacking in clarity. I’m a fairly intelligent guy; I don’t think I’m so obtuse as to have missed his larger point. He just did a poor job of making it—if that is what he was trying to do.
Actually, if Scarborough had said what he claims to have meant, it would have been a pretty good thing. But I’m just having a hard time seeing it in that clip.
Others, in responding to the MSNBC/Scarborough statement, have latched on to words like “burden” and “epidemic,” but I don’t want to go there. Perhaps these are places where he could have been more eloquent or at least sensitive to families struggling with autism. But let’s face it. Autism is no picnic, and 1 in 88 sure sounds like an epidemic to me. Of course, I would never consider my children a burden, and the word “epidemic” makes ASD sound like the plague, but that’s a matter of semantics more than anything else.
I know that many organizations are still not satisfied, and some are continuing their call for a real apology. Me? I’m not holding my breath. Whatever damage has been done has already been done, and whatever reconciliation was going to occur has occurred. Instead of dwelling on this, I think I’ll just roll up my sleeves, get back to work, and keep enjoying my kids.