Alex Spourdalakis did not die because of his autism. He wasn’t “mercy killed” to relieve his suffering. He didn’t die because there aren’t enough services for people with autism. He didn’t die because people didn’t donate to Andrew Wakefield to “cure” him. He died because his mother and godmother chose to fill him full of sleeping pills. When that didn’t work, they stabbed him repeatedly and slit his wrists while he laid defenseless in his bed.
Alex’s mother didn’t murder her son because she couldn’t get him help. She didn’t murder her son to put him out of his misery. She’s not a martyr. She’s mentally ill, any parent who can murder their child has got to be. Her mental break wasn’t Alex’s fault.
It sickens me to see the media playing this story in a way that almost makes what those two women did excusable on any level. That blames everyone else besides the people who actually had the knife in their hands. They chose this. THEY CHOSE THIS. They chose to not seek further help. They chose to believe that his autism was a curse. They chose to not keep fighting. They chose to murder that boy.
I get that there aren’t enough services for people with disabilities. I understand this better than I can detail in a short blog post. But that doesn’t for a second lessen what these people did here. I get being at the end of your rope. I’ve been there. But there are OTHER options. ANY OTHER OPTION would have sufficed.
My rage in this story only grew when I saw that the video the media is putting out with Alex strapped to a hospital bed has Andrew Wakefield asking for donations. This to me SCREAMS that the mother was being fed the lie that she could cure her son if only she could pay Wakefield enough. Wakefield is a horrible excuse for a human being. He’s not a doctor, that got stripped from him. He’s not a scientist, nor has he ever been. He’s been selling myths, lies and downright dangerous practices because it’s made him RICH. He treats autism as a disease rather than a neurology. He’s perpetuated the myth that autism is caused by vaccines and what’s more, can be cured by such horrific “treatments” as bleach enemas and chelation. In his effort to be the Prophet of The Cure, he’s made autism something that needs to be cured instead of something that should be accepted. He’s made it so having autism or a child with autism is something to be feared, be sad about, and a situation where it’s okay to kill the child to alleviate suffering. If you’re a Wakefield supporter, I’m asking you kindly to do your research about him, his methods, both past and present. If you want to argue about him, this is not the place. There is no defense for him and what his supporters do to their children. None. In a video you can find here, Wakefield says,
“When I first became involved in this fifteen years ago I got a call from a parent in Northern England who said, ‘Dr. Wakefield please do not judge me harshly, but when I die, I’m taking my child with me, because I’m the only one who loves him.’ I did not judge that mother at all, in fact I was moved by the love the mother had, must have, for her child to take her his life rather than rather than have him fall upon a society that really didn’t give a damn.”
I don’t know if there’s a crime worse in this world than a parent killing their child, especially a child with a disability. We need to stop making excuses for people who murder their children. Murder is murder. If the child has a disability, it should be MORE shameful, more heinous because that child is more vulnerable. We do need better services for families, but this should never be used as an excuse to pardon someone who had other options.
Alex didn’t die because he was autistic. He died because the people who should have cared for him the most gave up. They do not deserve our sympathy.