TRIGGER WARNING: This post discusses the prolicide of an Autistic child in frank detail and links to news stories covering both this case and others. The stories, as many dealing with this subject are prone to do, contain ample toxic ableism which this post dissects. The remainder of the post has been put behind a tag to protect people from accidental triggering. Proceed with caution.
Less than a month after Kelli Stapleton received an unusual – and warranted – substantial sentence for her attack on her teenaged daughter Isabelle, Jillian McCabe killed her 6-year-old Autistic boy. She threw her son, London, off a bridge.
I don’t want to hear anyone defend her. She failed the single most basic “decent human being” test our society has and killed a defenseless child. London McCabe was a happy, friendly little boy.
And yet again the media covers it in a manner more sympathetic to the murderer than to the murdered. McCabe was “overwhelmed” says NBC. They skim over the fact that she herself had been raising warning flags – apparently, she often made allusions to “pulling a Thelma and Louise.” Alarmingly, even this evidence of premeditation of this terrible crime is warped and twisted to shed sympathy on Jillian McCabe. Barely two paragraphs discuss who London was – in which we learn he apparently loved fleece, stuffed animals, and big floppy hats – and the majority of the rest of the coverage emphasize that McCabe was an “otherwise loving” mother who was overwhelmed with what, admittedly, seem like very dire circumstances from what I’ve read.
But here’s the thing: LOVING PARENTS DO NOT KILL THEIR CHILDREN.
Full stop on that.
A loving, overwhelmed parent does not kill their child. They call help. They get respite. If needed, they put their child into foster care so their child can be safe.
A loving, overwhelmed parent does not kill their child. Not even if their husband is sick. Not even if their child is disabled. A loving, overwhelmed parent does not kill their child.
A loving parent who is overwhelmed gets help and keeps their child safe. That’s what a loving parent does.
If you kill your kid, you’re not a loving parent. This shouldn’t even need to be said.
Edit: Ordinarily I would end the post there. And I admit I thought about ending the post there. But fuck that. I’m pissed off with media and our society. I can’t keep pretending and responding as if these things are isolated incidents. Over and over and over again, Autistic people have seen our kind murdered. Over and over and over again, we’ve seen media and society bend over backwards to excuse the murderers. ENOUGH. I will not let them wash their hands of it. This talk of burdens and overwhelm and excusing killers puts blood on your hands.
The blood of the next autistic child killed (because there will be another, there is always another and another and another and another) is on your hands, NBC and anyone else who excuses this sort of conduct.
What the hell do you think make Jillian McCabe and Jeffrey Bostick and Karon McCarron and Allen Grabe and every other killer or attempted killer of Autistic people think it was okay? The fucking orgy of sympathy and attention that plays out in the media every single fucking time one of us is killed.
Ohhh, the poor paaarent. They were sooo overwhelmed. They’re a loving parent who hit their breaking point. Anyone would do the same.
No, fuck that. Millions of families have disabled children throughout the world. The vast fucking majority of them manage to raise their disabled children WITHOUT KILLING THEM.
Stop excusing murder. If you don’t, you’re letting the next Dorothy Spourdalakis think that killing their kid is okay.
Stop focusing on the poor poor paaaarent. Parents are grownass fucking adults. They’ve made it this far without killing anyone, they can be – and should be – expected to finish their life murder-free. We need to create a social expectation that parents who are thinking of killing their disabled kids reach out and get some fucking help. We need to condemn those who don’t. Because doing anything less says it’s okay to kill disabled people. Our lives are worth less because we’re such terrible burdens.
And that is complete and utter horseshit.
Kid-me was worth just as much as kid-my-nondisabled-cousin. Adult me is worth just as much as my nondisabled neighbour. I will not let anyone tell me or kids growing up in my shoes anything else.
Stop focusing on the parent. Start focusing on the kid. Focus on London. He loved educational videos on Youtube, he liked wearing hats. He loved to swim. Rather than putting yourself in Jillian McCabe’s shoes, imagine yourself as a little boy who has a hard time communicating, whose mother just picked him up and threw him off a fucking bridge. Imagine the fear and the betrayal and the pain London felt before he died. And stop excusing Jillian and calling her loving. Stop it right the fuck now.