The Old Bailey appears to have radically changed notions of punishment in the criminal justice system. Satpal Kaur-Singh, 44, confessed to forcing his autistic son, Ajit Singh-Mahal, 12, to drink bleach to kill him. She succeeded in Barking, England. Her sentence: seven years — less than what you get in this country on some burglary charges.
Prosecutors allowed Kaur-Singh to plead guilty to manslaughter by reason of diminished responsibility. Judge Peter Beaumont, the Recorder of London,explained “I recognize how difficult Ajit was to care for.” Really? Is that now a viable defense or mitigating circumstance to murder?
He noted that she was worn down and traumatized as a result of the care (which I agree is a mitigating circumstance), but hardly on the level of a reduction to seven years. Moreover he noted “You faced the prospect of Ajit being taken away from you, but you killed him.” That would appear a countervailing aggravating circumstance if she knew that he could be cared for outside her home. Beaumont then added the world’s most understated conclusion: “You were, in my judgment, making a statement, without any consideration of his interests.” Well, yea. I would put bleach ingestion as a lack of consideration and then move to other descriptions.
Once again, I am not against mitigation, but the decision to kill the boy and the manner still deserved a more severe punishment. This sends a rather chilling message to those in charge of special needs children, doesn’t it?
44 thoughts on “Barking Mad: Mother Kills Autistic Son By Making Him Drink Bleach — Receives Only Seven Years”
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If you believe what follows will bother you, please do not read what follows. If you find yourself becoming bothered, please stop reading. What follows is intended only for those who are not bothered by it.
I watched the YouTube video, focusing on the children and their situations. When people treated me as I observe those children being treated, my behavior was more intense than anything I saw on that “Autism Speaks” thing.
My parents recognized the “temper tantrums” during my late infancy, only, instead of deciding that my responses were inappropriate to my situation, my parents decided that my responses were situation-appropriate and changed what they could of my situation so as to preclude the sort of intense frustration I observe in the children in that “Autism Speaks” video clip.
Do I “flap”? Yes.
Do I “stim”? Yes.
If I do not experience unmanageable stress, can I pretend to be as though “normal” some of the time? Yes.
Yet the behavior of the children in that Autism Speaks video thing strikes me as far more appropriate in context than the behavior of the parents.
The behavior of most of the children in that “Autism Speaks” video are what my parents called my similar behavior, “temper tantrums.” When I went into a temper tantrum similar to what is shown in that “Autism Speaks” video, my parents recognized that they needed to change how they were treating me, because, to my parents, temper tantrums indicated that they were not treating me according to my actual needs, and my temper tantrums were my only way of communicating that my needs were not being met.
So, my parents changed how they were treating me according to the intensity of my tantrums, and set out to find how to both treat me decently and safely according to social standards while also treating me with such respect and affirmation as caused the tantrums to stop.
My parents understood that I understood my life and needs better than they could because they were not living my life because I was living it.
In that manner, my parents understood the behavior on my part similar to what is shown in that “Autism Speaks” video as appropriate, not inappropriate, and responded to my appropriate behavior in ways so appropriate that I soon ran out of situations which set of temper tantrums.
Face down on the floor, pounding hands, arms, feet, legs, and head on the floor with severe intensity out of unbearable frustration? When I did that the first time, my parents recognized that they had not treated me according to my actual needs and rapidly changed their ways of treating me, so that I soon found my sense of needs properly respected.
What I have described is “authoritative-reciprocal” parenting of a profoundly autistic child, to wit, me when I was less than two years of age, with such effectiveness that people will attempt to tell me that I am not profoundly autistic, when the only difference between my life and the lives of many other profoundly autistic people is my parents having decided that I was, and they were not, the proper authority as to my actual needs.
One of my needs was avoiding becoming dishonest through the commonplace experience of the infant-child transition, so my parents allowed me to avoid that transition. This puzzled my dad to a fair extent, yet my mother rejoiced because I never transitioned from infant to child in the usual social manner.
So, when someone tells me that a mistake was made which could have been avoided, my dishonesty detector activates at full strength. No one will ever persuade me that any mistake ever made could have been avoided without demonstrating, as I have previously indicated, the actual existence of at least one mistake made which could have been avoided by demonstrating the mistake being made and thereafter demonstrating the unmaking of the mistake before it was made.
In a society where “everyone knows” that people often make avoidable mistakes, is not my belief to the contrary not some sort of indication of my having a belief system that is far from ubiquitous among humans?
The curious irony to me is, my continued insistence on my belief being biophysically correct appears to set of temper tantrums in those who most strongly disagree with me, and the greater irony to me is those temper tantrums, as I have observed on this blawg, being clear evidence to me of the probable rightness of my view as contrasted with the probable wrongness of the apparent majority view to the contrary.
As I understand the original meaning of autism as used by Bleuler circa 1911-1912, autism was a condition in which the self was an object of study. It is in this sense, along with the language delay thing of my not “thinking in words or pictures,” and my not believing that any mistake ever made either could or should have been avoided (regardless of the nature of the mistake made or its consequences) which may most usefully identify me as autistic.
I am willing to allow that my absolute refusal to accept the validity of the “adversarial system” might constitute a temper tantrum of intensity far beyond anything shown in that “Autism Speaks” video, if that helps anyone understand how it is that I am autistic and what an “intransigent temper tantrum” might be in an autistic adult.
Tragedies happen. Terrible things happen. Life is what it is; so I observe. Nonetheless, I, personally, prefer life to non-life.
Would I pretend away, or otherwise attempt to deny, the exceptional difficulties some parents of “severely autistic” children encounter? Never, not one bit.
Neither would I pretend away, or otherwise attempt to deny, the exceptional difficulties “profoundly autistic” people encounter, whether children or older…
As I once heard it put, “Why can’t we be friends?”
Excellent video, thank-you for letter other see a day in the life!!
That was an amazing video!
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