Autism Politico

Discussing the politics of autism.

Editorial #7: The McKinnon Affair

Autism Politico has been watching Gary McKinnon’s case since well before Autism Politico’s founding.

McKinnon is accused of hacking into NASA computers and is facing extradition from the UK to the US.

McKinnon is said to have Asperger’s Syndrome.

The way most Autie net chatter has it, we are supposed to feel sorry for this alleged hacker because he “suffers from Asperger Syndrome.” We are also supposed to let him off the hook, if he is indeed guilty, for the same reason. Some people in the UK are willing to concede that there should be a trail, but only in the UK, because (they believe) if McKinnon is extradited (they think) he will almost certainly be found guilty and face a stiff sentence.

Autism Politico believes that a crime is a crime and guilty is guilty, but Autism Politico also believes that because McKinnon has not been tried yet, we do not know whether he is or is not guilty. Ergo he should be tried.

Question: WHERE should he be tried?

Answer: Anywhere where he will have a fair trial, and anywhere his Asperger’s Syndrome will not be used as an excuse for his (alledged) behavior. This location can be either in the US or the UK. However, given that he is accused of breaking US laws, Autism Politico prefers the US as a venue, as McKinnon’s punishment, if he is found guilty, may NOT be in keeping with US justice and penal code if he is found guilty in the UK.

If it can be proved that McKinnon knew right from wrong, and if it can be proved that he could prevent himself from hacking despite the (alleged) perseverative nature of his brand of Asperger Syndrome, and if it can be proved that he did in fact hack into US NASA computers, then he should be found guilty, and he should receive a penalty in keeping with what any other hacker would experience. Naturally, if he receives incarceration, his health care needs should be seen to.

Autism Politico cannot get into the minds of criminals (alleged or convicted) but believes that people on the spectrum who break the law or intend to break the law should not use their diagnosis as an excuse if their diagnosis is NOT in whole or in part responsible for their behavior. 

Autism Politico feels that there are too many cases in the news about people trying to use their autism as an excuse for their behavior. For those on the spectrum who are capable, they must recognize that they are part of a society, and if they intend to dwell within it, then they need to adhere to its laws, rules, regulations and expect to face consequences if they do not do so.

Replies to this editorial are welcome.

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January 27, 2010 - Posted by | Autism Community & Its Politics | , , , , , , , , ,

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