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He just followed orders

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July 04, 2005, 08:33
He just followed orders
The mother of Terry Nichols has revealed that her son is now talking to FBI and admitting he helped get the ingredients for the bomb that Timothy McVeigh used to blow up the Oklahoma City federal building.

Gee, think any of the many talking heads that wagged on and on about his innocence will be apologizing?

Of course, Nichols' mom is also saying that her son has Asperger's Syndrome (a mild form of autism), which made him just follow McVeigh's orders. Any thoughts on this new defense to blowing big things up?
July 05, 2005, 09:19
E. Foley
Well, that was of course one of the defense theories on our infamous Robert Durst case here. Apparently, Asperger's Syndrome "may cause people to not play well with and occasionally feel the need to dismember others".
July 06, 2005, 20:02
Sunday in the local paper a story ran on the increase in students in area schools with a diagnosis of autism. Of eight districts profiled, the lowest had an increase of 4 times while the highest went from 7 to 114! What's up?
July 07, 2005, 08:11
Personally, I can't wait until we find a medical diagnosis for every type of criminal behavior. Then our prison overcrowding problems will be over, since nobody will be responsible for what they do. Of course, then we'll have to figure out how to build all those hospitals....
July 07, 2005, 08:22
Jim Tirey
My wife teaches autistic children in the public schools here. From my understanding, the increase in the numbers of autistic kids is due largely to better diagnostics and testing. She is on the team that tests for autism, and they have a whole battery of tests that they run through. It's really a pretty fascinating field.

I'm not sure that I buy the claim that someone with Asperger's is susceptible to follow orders blindly, though.
July 07, 2005, 09:02
Tim Cole
I have one son with autism and another with Asperger's. Part of the increase in diagnosis can definitely be ascribed to a better ability to recognize it. Many children went undiagnosed for years, particularly if the condition was mild. After years of dealing with it, I can now recognize autism and Asperger's after observing a child for just a few minutes. Expertise has grown in the field tremendously over the last decade, however, we are still light years away from knowing the answer to what causes it. Better diagnosis does not explain the increase completely. The researchers believe that there may be an environmental element that is causing some of the increase. The term "austism" describes a set of symptoms that could have multiple causes in different children. Some children display the symptoms from birth. Others develop normally for as long as two or three years and then suddenly seem to withdraw into the syndrome. One thing we do know: it has become an epidemic. In the last 12 years since my son was diagnosed, autism has gone from one of the most rare of childhoood diseases to one of the more common. As for Asperger's, some of you may be tempted by this misuse of the syndrome by these criminals to conclude that it is something conjured up by defense attorneys to use as an excuse for their behavior. Asperger's is not the twinkie defense. Asperger's is a real disease. Knowing what I know about it, I could see someone with Asperger's being very suggestive and controllable by others. But like anything else whether it rises to the level of a mental defense would depend upon the seriousness of the particular case. My son, for example, is completely normal in most ways and has a complete understanding of right and wrong. Asperger's in most people causes them to be unable to understand and recognize social cues and the result is that they usually live in isolation because they are unable to form and make lasting relationships that come normally to other people. Anyway, I just thought some of you might be interested in hearing from an expert in this field. Believe me, every parent who has a child with one of these diseases is an expert.
July 09, 2005, 07:16
As I said before, I know nothing about autism or Asperger's syndrome but that it does seem to be epidemic. It seems there is a wide spectrum of symptoms and functionality among those afflicted. Are the effects progressive or are they pretty static once they manifest?
July 11, 2005, 08:02
Tim Cole
There is a wide spectrum. In fact, the experts sometimes talk in terms of a diagnosis on the "autism spectrum", because every child has a unique set of characteristics. This is the primary reason why autism is so taxing to educators. Each child's education must be designed to address the particular symptoms of the child. For example, some children have pyhysical manifestations which causes them to reject the feel of certain materials. Some will only eat a certain color of foods. Some understand very well receptively, meaning they understand what you say to them, but cannot speak. My son is in that category. In the past twenty years, we (meaning society in general) have learned that warehousing children with autism in mental institutions is a very ineffective, not to mention expensive, way of dealing with the disorder. Early intervention is the key. If you start early and provide intensive training most children with autism will eventually become at least partially self-sufficient. But the education has to include repetitive training designed to break through the autistic person's inability to understand the world around them the way we do. Some experts call this the "awareness of self". Autistic individuals just do not look at the world and automatically pick up what it means like we do. Consequently, most autistic children learn through repeating a pattern of activity over and over until it becomes part of their routine. That's how they understand things. I've done A, now B comes next and after that C. If everything happens the same way every time they begin to understand that these things are related. I am generalizing here, of course, because again the only constant about autism is that no two individuals are alike. Think of Helen Keller having that water poured over her hand over and over while her teacher signed the word into her hand. Eventually she realized that this feeling goes with this sign and it means something. As for Asperger's, the primary distinguishing characteristic is the inability to understand and use appropriate social cues. Asperger's children and adults are usually tagged as weird and loners. They seem normal in most ways but just can't seem to relate to people very well. I could go on and on. Thanks for giving me the chance to pass along a little info about these subjects that are near to my heart.