I'm Sorry Antonio,
I am so very sorry that your neighbors heard you begging your mother to stop, telling her you wouldn't do again whatever infraction she was unjustly blaming you for and never thought to call law enforcement or child protective services. They never thought to bang on the door and demand to make certain you were okay. Your blood is on their hands, and yet, clueless, thoughtless, they line up like gleeful viewers at the latest horror movie, blithely relating to the press what they heard and did nothing about.
I am mourning your short, painful life. But I am so angry Antonio. I'm so angry. I'm angry with your grandfather who had the nerve to say your mother had mental health problems and he hoped she would get the help she needed now. I am angry because this means he knew your mother needed help and yet did nothing to take responsibility for his own grandson.
Though he may be mourning you, I feel your blood is on his hands too. I know of grandparents whose children battled poverty and drug addiction who stepped up and took responsibility for their grandchildren.
Was there no family member among those who are preparing to bury you who could have saved your life instead?
I am sorry for the culture that some in our autism community perpetuate, this disgusting idea that somehow it is understandable to brutalize and murder autistic offspring because they are autistic, and somehow that presumes that raising the child is hard when perhaps the issue is parents who have not sought proper professional help for themselves and their families.
I am sorry for the thousands of online groups of self-pitying adults who call violent torture and murder understandable and equate violent murder with gently sending their autistic little angels to heaven.
I'm sorry for their lack of respect for your worth as a human being. I am sorry they do not understand, that this moment, this instant of staring into the soul of our community and seeing an evil that must be rooted out is not about them, their parenting struggles, or their demands for more respite and more services.
I'm sorry that spaces exist where parents whisper about harming their children and feed off one another's unacceptably negative depressive views until a vulnerable parent like your mom comes along and believes you are something evil when you're not. I'm sorry about everyone who will use your death to push for less civil rights for autistic people in the name of "protecting" others like you, my son, my friends and colleagues.
I am so very sorry, Antonio.
But I'm here now. I won't let people forget you. I'll keep trying until every stakeholder in the autism conversation joins autistic activists and disability rights organizations in our fight to make this filicide nightmare end.
In loving memory of Antonio DiStasio, age 4, who I will never meet, and who didn't have to die
The horrible death of Antonio DiStasio
Need help? DON'T KILL YOUR AUTISTIC CHILDREN!
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