Newtown, Connecticut, as soon as one reads the names, the grizzly shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School by 20 year old Adam Lanza comes to mind.
As per Huffington Post, an official has said that the 20-year-old gunman in the Connecticut school shooting had Asperger’s syndrome. Well, may be he did have Asperger’s syndrome, but does that make him prone to violence? No, say experts.
What is Asperger’s Syndrome? As per Autism.org, Asperger’s Syndrome is a form of autism. It is a lifelong disability that affects how a person makes sense of the world, processes information and relates to other people. It is often referred as a ‘hidden disability’, since from the outward appearance one cannot identify Asperger’s Syndrome.
Elizabeth Laugeson, psychologist and an assistant clinical professor at the University of California, Los Angeles, says,
There really is no clear association between Asperger’s and violent behavior.
But aren’t those who are autistic prone to greater violence?
Sharing his views, psychologist Eric Butter of Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, who regularlytreats autism, including Asperger’s, said,
Research suggests people with autism do have a higher rate of aggressive behavior – outbursts, shoving or pushing or angry shouting – than the general population. But we are not talking about the kind of planned and intentional type of violence we have seen at Newtown. These types of tragedies have occurred at the hands of individuals with many different types of personalities and psychological profiles.
It is a combination of factors and not just one factor, which lead to Adam Lanza flipping-the-lid as one would say. I seem to be on the same page as Laugeson. She says,
I think it’s far more likely that what happened may have more to do with some other kind of mental health condition like depression or anxiety rather than Asperger’s. There’s something more to this. We just don’t know what that is yet.