Free Speech vs Free Will

rulingsword

Drawing from my ex-co-blogger of an image that I created on the computer, shows my core values of love, unity, truth, knowledge, and free will

I already wrote my opinion on this issue in No, you don’t have the right to your opinion: on tolerance for bigotry as “free speech”, and its reactions were…argumentative as I desired (a friend taught me that the best way to provoke people was to say that they don’t have the right to do something, and my goal was to provoke conversations and opinions).

But we can write article after article on opinions for or against “freedom of speech”, but it doesn’t get to what the essence of this conflict for those like myself actually is.

In my view, this fight is between two concepts: free speech and free will.

My problem with my opponents is that they believe that people should be able to say anything no matter the consequences of their words, but don’t think about what that actually means and the effects it has. It’s a conflict of priorities: the right for the oppressor to spread fear, hatred, and stigma vs the right of the oppressed not to be stigmatized, hated, or live in fear.

The instance that inspired this article happened today in an argument with a classmate in class regarding Milo not being allowed to speak at Berkeley by the protesters, an incident which I touched on briefly in the introduction in my article on the ableist notion of slacktivism. She stuck to her guns even as I mentioned how he was planning on outing undocumented students on a live stream, saying that they could file lawsuits…against a rich celebrity guy that would probably fail while being afraid for their lives and at risk of harm or worse because their names were released to people who have already shown that they’re more likely to harm undocumented people in the wake of Trump’s increasing anti-latinx rhetoric.

Our conflict essentially comes down to this: which is more important:

Milo’s right to say whatever he wants?

Or the right of the people he targets not to be hurt or afraid for their lives?

In my article Tell Me I’m Exaggerating where I called Nazis Nazis, I described how someone told me that autistics are horror shows will be aborted in the future and my friend was told by someone who he thought was interested in him and her friends on a phone call that the world is too good for us autistic fucks to live in.

Which is more important, their rights to tell us that the world is literally not meant for us to exist in or my friend to not be driven to the edge of suicide by that 45 dehumanizing hate speech?

People will claim “well, the first amendment,” but…personally, the words on a paper written hundreds of years ago by racist sexist rich white men, many of them slave owners, are less important to me than the safety of my fellow humans today.

I believe that humans deserve to be free of hatred, fear, and stigma based on things intrinsic to their nature like orientation/disability/gender/mental illness/etc, and that we should be protected and protect others from degradation and dehumanization.

I believe it is right and just to protect people from harm from those who seek to cause them harm.

I believe that we should choose the freedom of the oppressed over believing in free speech of their oppressors, enabling them to incite violence and fear.

When given the choice between first amendment rights and something that I consider a basic human right, I’m choosing the latter, and honestly feel like the morals of those who choose to love the hateful and enable them in their tyranny instead of caring about those they hate and seek to bring harm to are fucked up. My morals aren’t based on the Constitution (which really only protects people from the government not from the court of public opinion) but on the belief that humans deserve to be happy and free from hatred. I refuse the notion that I should consider speech that hurts my fellow Outcast sacred and deserving of my defense just because old dead people said so. I seek to unite those who are fighting against that oppression in The Outcast Army Facebook group because I see so many who are determined to enable those who hate us to cause us harm. The choice between the oppressor and the oppressed should be an easy one, but to people I honestly consider immoral in their defense of hatred, it somehow is. To them all I can say is that we see you, and know who we can trust.

-Laoch Onórach

Sick of This Story

The picture I use for the blog and the FB group The Outcast Army for minority activists representing feelings of minorities after Trump with anger rising out of despair (merch here). However, the first time I had this image in mind was after an autistic child was killed by his mother, one in a far too long list

The picture I use for the blog and the FB group The Outcast Army for minority activists representing feelings of minorities after Trump with anger rising out of despair. However, the first time I had this image in mind was after an autistic child was killed by his mother, one in a far too long list

“And how many lives have been wasted?
How many bodies laid to rest?
Sick of the lies, the same old story
All over and over and over and over
Over and over and over and over again”

How Many Walls, Rise Against

A couple days ago, the worst month of the year for autistics began. Autism Awareness Month, the global hatefest where people support the eugenicist hate group known as Autism $peaks. I’ve already written an autism acceptance #RedInstead article, (well, technically two but the older one was too nice), made a masterpost of articles from different sources and perspectives, written an essay for class and a poem about the puzzle piece, and created this toolkit to help people debunk talking points they might encounter (that includes all those 5 things) and a guide on how to take action to get people to not support them (that has the toolkit linked).

After writing seven things on them of different forms and purposes, I want to make clear that in reality…they aren’t the real problem.

They’re a symptom of something that is larger and more pervasive and has existed since autism was first diagnosed in the US when it was said autism was caused by “refrigerator parents”. (though the effects of hating us for how we appear differently could arguably be considered to have had signs in faerie tales.

The reality is, people have always hated us, and will long after A$ is gone. They’re a juggernaut that perpetuates and profits off of it, but I could name ten other people/organizations that do the same thing (though not as successfully), and there will always be more (a rather horrifying [because it revealed just how much people hated us] example of hatred becoming far too popular was the New York Times bestselling book To Siri With Love, ableist screed where she talks about sterilizing her son, misgenders and insults an autistic activist and other horrible things, here’s a chapter-by-chapter analysis, review, and screenshots of an engagement between the author and the nonbinary activist who she called a “manic pixie dream girl” in the book).

That’s because this fight isn’t against a corporation but against a narrative that is ingrained in society, the narrative of autism being a tragedy.

The effects of this narrative go beyond just the ads and propaganda (though A$ ads like Autism Every Day and I Am Autism [don’t read these if you’re autistic the first one made me cry and ask why they hate us so much] definitely have a huge effect); they hurt and kill us.

The main therapy in the US is ABA, (here’s a masterpost of links), a “therapy” that has the goal to train us out of looking like autistics. Therapy is in quotes because it’s abuse, as these accounts from someone who went through it and someone who used to do it should make clear. This idea of autism being a disease needing a cure like A$ says leads to horrible “cures” like MMS which is bleach that parents are forcing kids to swallow. It’s the real reason for anti-vaxxers because it’s much less about being anti-science than trying to find a cause for the damage to their kids (one of them wrote a book called “I Wish My Kids Had Cancer: A Family Surviving the Autism Epidemic”). It’s the justification for shocking people at the Judge Rotenberg Center which is still happening even after it killed someone. It’s also the fuel for the endless cycle of parents killing their autistic kids, with the sympathy and justification for the murderer leading to yet another death.

This hatred is everywhere, all the time, but most of the time I’m allowed to ignore it. This month is like a magnifying glass taking the hatred and focusing it into a single blue beam that pierces like a spear in my skull.

I’m sick of this story that leads to so much death and suffering. How many bodies of innocent children need to be laid to rest for people to stop believing this lie. We’re human just like you, but nobody would justify shocking/poisoning/murdering allistic kids as often as it’s done to us.

If A$ disappeared, all of this would still be here year-round. Don’t let your fight alongside us be any less when May 1st comes around just because it’s returned to where you aren’t forced to think about it.

I don’t have that luxury.

-Laoch Onórach

Anti-Anti-Vaxxer Toolkit to Debunk and Explain Their Arguments

Proud member of the Autism Epidemic

 

(Before anything else, a point: the main thing that separated me from the skeptic community, and led to the creation of Autistics Against Anti-Vaxxers was that often the skeptic community would just stop at saying vaccines don’t cause autism. Well, as the title says Vaccines Don’t Cause Autism, But That’s Not The Point. Stop Being Ableist. I fight anti-vaxxers not because I’m a scientist but because they hate me and think I’m broken. Please when you hear us being mentioned go the extra mile and actually say that being autistic isn’t horrible. The root of this movement sticking is them believing that and it’s hell.)

After my Autism Speaks Resource Toolkit went so well I thought I’d do the same treatment for another bane of autistic people, anti-vaxxers…one of which is currently the President of the United States (his election turned me from fighting them for fun to becoming highly political which will be a different article). This one is a lot longer because they have a lot of arguments so I’ll first have a guide to what each one is then the in-depth explanation to make it so you can easily find each claim that I’m debunking (it also took hours to put together so sharing around would be really appreciated). I chose the picture because if you’re going to be called a plague by these people you might as well have fun with it…anyways, here we go:

First: Table of Contents

  1. Progenitor of the autism-vaccine connection and the issues with him
  2. Explanation of being nonverbal/head banging the two things that are oft pointed out as signs of vaccine damage
  3. Correlation between rise of autism diagnoses and vaccine usage
  4. “Where are all the old autistics?” argument for proof of “autism epidemic” (cw:suicide)
  5. “High functioning” autistics can’t speak for “low functioning” autistics
  6. Chemicals in vaccines
  7. Spacing out vaccines
  8. Package inserts/VAERS
  9. Vaccines all about the money
  10. Vaccine injury compensation
  11. “My child, my choice.” Herd immunity, why the vaccinated can get measles, and the lives lost.

  1. The origin of the vaccines causing autism myth was this ex-doctor named Andrew Wakefield. Andrew Wakefield wrote a paper saying that the MMR vaccine causes autism, one which has been repeatedly debunked (link to 107 studies debunking the link here, anti-vaxxers accidentally funded a study debunking themselves), condemned by multiple other science organizations (here and here), and retracted from the medical journal. He also lost his license. This was not because of a secret Big Pharma conspiracy, it was because he was paid by lawyers the equivalent of $535,832.00, and had his own version of the vaccine. He also took blood samples from children without their parents’ consent at his son’s birthday party, charming individual. He wasn’t originally an anti-vaxxer at all, just a terrible human out for profit who didn’t care if he caused measles epidemics and started a movement that is based on hatred of me and mine. He migrated over to the US and somewhat recently made a hate film called Vaxxed, which was an hour and a half long movie of bad effects and horrible parents often calling their kids vaccine damaged in front of them.
  2. The main things that anti-vaxxer “autism moms” point to often as signs of “vaccine injuries” are kids not being able to speak or banging their heads against the wall. Well to the former, as I mentioned in Why Is How You Communicate So Special? our focus on spoken communication as a society is harmful, and there are many ways of communication either by simple behavior (because behavior is communication) or multiple variants of alternative forms of communicating. A parent just needs to actually care about their kid in order to look for these ways. And headbanging or other self-injurious behavior is often a form of stimming, a way of dealing with overload (read this for more information about what stimming is and if you or someone you’re caring for has a stim like this check out The Dark Side of the Stim for more help). Pain drains other things out, I’m a master at appearing “high-functioning” (please read this on my personal experience of the hell of that label) and I still do that when everything gets too much.
  3. They like to point that the rise of autism diagnoses correlates to the rise in vaccine usage. First off, correlation doesn’t equal causation, as this fun site allows you to show by creating your own random correlations, because by their same logic sunlight in California causes people to go to Seaworld in Florida, people visiting California Adventure causes dogs to kill people, and Nicolas Cage making movies causes people to drown in swimming pools (an unrealistic reaction to his movies no matter their quality). But besides that easily debunkable fallacy, I always make sure to correct people by saying rise of autism diagnoses not the rise of autism itself. That’s because this is a huge point, as their fearmongering and statistic charts are based around saying that the amount of people being autistic is growing when in reality our understanding of what autism is and how broad of a spectrum it is is growing which is awesome and needs to grow more as I explained here. When autism was first diagnosed in the US psychiatrists would only diagnose a very very small amount of people with an even more limiting criteria than we have today, and there’s major issues when it comes to diagnosing people who aren’t white or aren’t guys. It’s also hard and often unnecessary to get a diagnosis as an adult (there aren’t many services for autistic adults so unless you need it for validation it’s a large amount of money for no point) so if you were born when the diagnostic criteria were exclusive then unless you fork out the money you won’t be counted under that number and even if they do a lot of psychiatrists will base their decision on whether or not to diagnose us on how we present when we’ve learned to look NT…there are a lot of self-diagnosed people also not under that umbrella, long story short, we have ages to go to make the diagnosis number match the number of actual autistic people.
  4. Where are all the old people with autism? Most of them are dead. Can we stop denying their existence and start trying to make a difference? Article title is both a talking point in addition to an explanation, one of the things they mention is if autism isn’t caused by vaccines then where are the old autistics, as the article says those of us that have a learning disability and are autistic (like myself) have an average lifespan of 40 years and those who don’t have an LD are 9 times as likely to commit suicide (and the diagnosis thing in the previous point) . As opposed to wondering where the old autistic people are please change yourselves and the world to make it a place that doesn’t make us die younger/want to kill ourselves more/has more accurate diagnoses so there are more of us alive.
  5. Sometimes people will tell us “high-functioning” autistics we don’t speak for “low-functioning” autistics because we’re not autistic or “less autistic”. Well, there’s no such thing as more or less autistic, “low-functioning” autistics have said we do speak for them, and being put in this high-functioning” box literally (not being melodramatic read this) kills us, forcing us to internalize everything until we can’t be ourselves (caused myself a meltdown explaining that here) this is an erasive tactic designed to invalidate our experiences and deny our voices.
  6. Another scare tactic is to point out the dangerous chemicals, especially aluminum formaldehyde and thimerosal (variant of mercury). Everything has chemicals, the amount of them is what matters (the dose makes the poison, even drinking too much water can kill you), anything can sound scary if you list out the chemicals in it (like your blood), aluminum is the most common elementthere’s much more formaldehyde in a pear than a vaccine, thimerosal is ethylmercury which goes through your system unlike the deadly methylmercury found in tuna, and despite its harmlessness thimerosal has been removed from every vaccine other than the multi-dose flu vaccine. This is a good breakdown of the Toxic myths about vaccines.
  7. A common middle ground approach is to get all the vaccines just spaced out. The vaccine schedule is planned out, and spacing them out is actually harmful.
  8. Anti-vaxxers think the government is evil and lying about everything…except in package inserts and this site called the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System or VAERS for short, in which case because they can be used for fearmongering they are telling the absolute truth. Ignoring the doublethink, both of those things are easily misunderstood. VAERS allows you to put any event like the one time someone said vaccines made them the Incredible Hulk (this is a list that breaks down deaths attributed to the HPV vaccine) and vaccine inserts have many different categories with different meanings including the adverse reactions section which doesn’t require any evidence of causation to be mentioned. which is why the adverse reaction section for Aspirin looks like this.
  9. Vaccines are all about the money…except there are layers and layers of why that’s wrong, and it’s a bit disingenuous to talk about the profit margin of “Big Pharma” when “Big Placebo” makes so much more.
  10. Big numbers are scary, so they mention that the US has spent $2 billion in vaccine injury compensation paying out to 3000 claims (as of 2012 in the articles). These are big numbers, but not for a program that has been around since 1988. Broken down one person estimates that $0.99 cents have been rewarded for every vaccine administered and that the percentage of compensations to actual vaccines administered is 0.003%, both of which look a lot less intimidating.
  11. “My child, my choice. If your kids are vaccinated, why do you care?” This sounds like a just argument, but it isn’t. There’s this thing called “herd immunity.” Essentially, the most vulnerable of us can’t vaccinate, so when a large enough population vaccinates it prevents epidemics from spreading and hurting those who are vulnerable. The lack of it is what led to the 4-month-long Disneyland outbreak that had a total of 159 measles cases from 18 states and DC (and yes some vaccinated people got it, there’s a reason for that, and those who were vaccinated bounced back quicker and didn’t spread it). That didn’t cause deaths despite infecting almost half the country thankfully, but others aren’t so lucky. And if you don’t want to listen to me, listen to the parents of a child with cancer who got measles and the parents of this 32 day old baby who died of the whooping cough. It’s not just their kids, and people die from their choices.

If there are more claims that you run into let me know and I’ll edit this to add more data and please share there are literally 49 links in here that I hunted down as backing for arguments because they need to be fought, it was a huge amount of work (and if you find this useful and want to compensate me [I’m out of a job at the moment and need money for a new car and rent so could use assistance] I have a Paypal and Patreon).

-Laoch Onórach

Autism Speaks Resource Toolkit

One of the main aspects of my activism has been spreading awareness (to steal their term) of how horrible Autism Speaks is as they are the main organization that people think of when it comes to autism and also a hate group. As I’ve been doing this for three years now I have amassed multiple resources including my own writing to cover the problems with them.

I asked on my page An Articulate Autistic if people would be interested in resources to also become better activists and advocates against the organization which has been screwing us over for the past twelve years and the answer was a resounding yes so I thought I would make it…and then completely blanked on it for probably months.

This collection isn’t just a dump of links (though I do have an aggregate of many links in here), but organized in argumentative points to better equip you to articulate issues.

Better much late than never, here they are:

First my writing (with what they are as they’re different styles for different purposes):

  • You See A Puzzle Piece was a poem-esque thing that I wrote before I started on the old blog was originally a Facebook note/mental allergic reaction to seeing a plaque in an old job, it’s what comes to my mind when I see the symbol
  • You Have The Choice was my nice Autism Acceptance article from last April asking people to choose acceptance.
  • A Red Rage #RedInstead was my article this year demanding people to accept us because acceptance of our humanity shouldn’t be a choice but a moral obligation (note on language: Autism Awareness Month is what A$ calls April it’s pretty much their main fundraiser. In response autistics have created multiple Autism Acceptance Month movements, including #RedInstead. I started wearing red shirts and shoes for Acceptance the whole of last April [2016] and it’s become my aesthetic).
  • Please Don’t Support Autism $peaks was a letter I wrote to a sorority that has become an aggregate for links. While it has the stuff that I’m linking in here its main design was to overwhelm with a total of 20 links from various sources (autistics, autistic mothers of autistic children, allistic mothers of autistic children, and The Daily Beast along with various others), it wasn’t really meant to be read as much as show there’s a lot of people, I’m putting my favorite ones in here.
  • Why You Should Not Support Autism Speaks is a persuasive essay I did for my class for teaching writing, I linked the sources of information within the essay like I would with an article in the doc, it’s definitely more professional and it does do something others don’t, give a fair mention of the arguments that the opposition would make. I don’t usually do that because thinking about the arguments people make to support a hate group kinda hurts and they’re wrong and don’t deserve my time in articles.

Now for the other useful tools:

  • Honestly, this is one that shouldn’t be arguable, their horrific I Am Autism ad. I share the transcript because I have sensory processing issues and I couldn’t handle the stalkerish voice from the perspective of autism saying horrible stuff about us. Read at your own risk, it’s…really bad.
  • The main therapy that A$ supports is Applied Behavioral Analysis or ABA. It’s also utterly terrible, designed to make us look allistic by forcing us to suppress behaviors that are coping mechanisms. Julia Bascom wrote her perspective from going through it in Quiet Hands (with the haunting line “And when you’re autistic, it’s not abuse. It’s therapy) and my friend at Ink & Daggers Illustration wrote this view from the perspective of an ABA therapist which I call by the first line “First time I hurt a child”. It’s also the main therapy which is why you’ll get “Not my ABA” apologists. The thing is, as this article Screams, Slaps, and Love shows, it’s the original form (the article is as bad as you would think an article with slaps and love regarding autism would be, but it’s about the creator of it). There’s a form of it that many have called “diet ABA” which only has positive reinforcement but as this picture shows it’s still dog training if you just use treats to reinforce behaviors that might harm us (stimming is a coping mechanism and eye contact takes focus away from me and hurts others) instead of using a spray bottle and treats (spray bottle is actually used and the treats are skittles when it’s humans). This is an autistic reading of The ME Book which is the original manual…this is real ABA. (edit: awesome masterpost on ABA resources)
  • They use a blue puzzle piece as their symbol, they weren’t the original to use it for autism so Why you need to stop using the puzzle piece to represent autistic people is useful for the history and why it’s a problem and their blue is because blue is for boys and only boys get autism, which isn’t true at all. According to this, the diagnosis rate is currently 1 in 45 and 75% of the diagnoses are male, which is solely due to diagnostic criteria problems and societal misconceptions, the latter of which isn’t helped by the fact that the main organization reinforces this myth with their color scheme. You See A Puzzle Piece was my mental allergic reaction to seeing it in the break room at Sprouts (one of the 24 corporations that donate yearly to A$)
  • This is a handy printable flyer showing their financials (as I said in the article about those, “This year, they spent 39% of their funding on advertising and lobbying for more money, 24% on fundraising, and 3% on family services. This is 21 times as much trying to get money by ads, fundraising, and lobbying than how much they spend on actually helping people”) and various important details about why they’re a problem.
  • From other bloggers, the Caffeinated Autistic made this bulleted masterpost and Radical Neurodivergence Speaking wrote this beautiful Autism Awareness piece I’m aware of your hate.
  • Most people have major issues with Nazis and would regard organizations as suspect if they would allow them at their fundraisers…which isn’t a common situation, but was the case with an A$ fundraiser in Canada which was going to let the Soldiers of Odin walk until multiple people called them out on it. They responded saying they would look into it, which honestly considering the first article that pops up is this Wikipedia article calling them an “anti-immigrant street patrol group” it should have been rather easy to look it up beforehand. However, no autistic activist I know was surprised…Nazis and A$ both hate autistic/disabled people, so they’re natural allies.

They have the advantage in every single way, but something we do have is our voices. So please boost ours and speak against them.

If you like this and want to support me this is my PayPal and my Patreon which you’ll get rewards from my writing about mythology taking back the modern world about. I wouldn’t ask this here if my car, phone, computer, and bike weren’t all taking a dive and I don’t have a job or source of income to pay for them.

-Laoch Onórach

From The Ashes: Week 2 update

Original article: please read and share, will have links to updates as they’re posted

Update One

Important information:

There are currently 12 active fires in California (the main one affecting my area is 94% contained and 36,807 acres)

There are now 42 people dead from the fires, 23 of which are from my area

6768 structures have been destroyed

Important fundraisers if you can help: My friend’s farm could still use helpthe city of Santa Rosa has a fundraisermy old school (which the pheonix is mascot for) could use donations on their page, and a reservation has opened its doors to many evacuees and is trying to build tiny houses purchase camping equipment and other things to be a better shelter


Blue Phoenix (Anova's mascot is now going to be a phoenix and their color is blue, however they are getting a logo designed by someone connected to Disney not this from Google

Blue Phoenix (Anova’s mascot is now going to be a phoenix and their color is blue, however they are getting a logo designed by someone connected to Disney not this from Google)

“The school was lost in the fire but the ‘real school’ is alive and well.”

Words from a teacher’s email the day of the fire when I asked if they were ok

 

Last update I focused on the negatives of my old school being destroyed.

This last week has changed my perceptions of everything regarding it and its future though.

On Tuesday night I attended a meeting about the future of the school where all the parents, students, and staff attended to hear the administration team tell us where the school was going from here on. I was somewhat proud to hear that the administration team was already looking for places to start classes up until the old campus is rebuilt. They also said that donations to the Gofundme or on their site (Gofundme takes a cut, direct donations won’t) will be used not for insurance but things you can see, like a library, a playground (which they were working on), a gym (something we’ve never had), all the things that normal schools have that Anova never did.

However, the thing that made me realize that what my teacher said was true wasn’t the meeting but a dance. Friday night was a dance which was the first time the teachers and students got together since the fire and seeing what was happening made my heart soar. All of the people who made the school great were there, dancing and celebrating being together. It was as if nothing had happened, the people not affected by the fires which destroyed the school and so many lives.

My old teacher was right. The campus was just a building, a container for people to be in. What made Anova Anova is still here, the people who made it a wonderful place that helps us. As long as the people exist, nothing will stop the school from rising from the ashes.

-Laoch Onórach

Adaptability and Uncertainty: 1st update on the Santa Rosa fires, 1 week after

(I’ve decided that I would do weekly updates on the fire’s effects so people know what’s going on from a personal perspective not just the news one, both providing data and my own experiences. If you’re interested in following you can subscribe to the blog by putting your email in the sidebar on the left)

 

Original article: please read and share, will have links to updates as they’re posted

Important information:

Total fires in California as of now: 28, 16 of which are 100% contained (none of the ones near me are yet, the main one affecting the people I care about, the Tubbs fire, is now 36,432 acres and 75% contained)

Death toll is now 41 in Northern California, with 88 people still missing.

As of 4 days ago, Santa Rosa (city that has been destroyed) has lost 2,834 homes and 400,010 square feet of commercial space.

Important fundraisers if you can help: My friend’s farm could still use help, the city of Santa Rosa has a fundraiser, my old school (the picture) has a fundraiser to help rebuild, and a reservation has opened its doors to many evacuees and is trying to build tiny houses purchase camping equipment and other things to be a better shelter


 

The school for autistics that I went to and plan on teaching at with a picture of students in front next to what the school looks like now.

“We all fall down and we get right back up again”

Broken English, Rise Against

Life in my city has altered radically in large and small ways.

The small ways are things like how small talk now includes “is your family ok” as a common question, more common emergency vehicles, and now only smoke in the distance if you look hard.

The large ways are how there are multiple places that have converted to shelters (4 that I know of, I’ve volunteered at three), and seeing the places which I knew and was familiar with converted into temporary homes and donation centers for survivors.

In the original This is our time: Thoughts on How People Respond to Disasters, I said that after natural disasters is when the best and worst of humanity is shown, when people can show who they truly are.

In the wake of the fires, my county has shown to be downright amazing.

Multiple donation centers are at full capacity, unable to hold anything else because so many people donated. At the Elks Lodge where I used to have Scout meetings, there was a huge dinner for people after we volunteered, with food that my mom recognized as coming from a family owned restaurant locally. When I volunteered at the fairgrounds (a weird experience in itself, a place that I’m used to having rides and animals becoming a massive center where trucks full of donations and many people are located), I helped unload a truck full of donated food (including far too much bread). There were bagged lunches that people had put together for survivors, many of which had messages drawn on them telling survivors to “stay strong” and many other things on the bags that were telling the evacuees they were cared about. It’s amazing how my county has adapted everything to fit the need of supporting those in need. I saw people I haven’t seen in ages volunteering, people from my Scout Troop (I got my Eagle Scout 8 years ago and turned 18 [when you can’t be a Scout any longer] 6 years ago) and old classes. The people here have fallen in a lot of ways but managed to come right back up in a new form designed to help each other.

It hasn’t been just the best of humanity here though…9 people have been arrested for trying to start new fires (5 individuals and a group of 4 teens) in the areas where the fires in North California (thank the Gods not just in my county), and I heard that some houses have jacked up in price to take advantage of the people who need homes.

However, with all this help…it’s all temporary. Eventually the fires will be out, and people will no longer be at the shelters, people have already gone back and seen their destroyed homes in places where the evacuation orders have lifted. As the picture shows, the school I went to is utterly destroyed, and tomorrow I’ll be going to a meeting about its future (which will be mentioned in the next update). It’s awesome seeing what is happening now but in the long term that’s when we’ll need you more. There’s a lot that’s still up in the air, we don’t know the exact damage, people don’t know if their homes are still here or not because they aren’t allowed to look yet, and it’s too soon to know what we’ll need. It’s only after the fires are out when we’ll know, and that’s when the news coverage will stop…please don’t stop paying attention then. We need you. I’m going to keep writing these updates so please subscribe, if enough people do I might ask others to share their stories of what they’re going through.

The struggle is going to go on for quite a while, whether or not you’re paying attention. For all those who have lost so much, I beg you to keep doing so.

This is Our Time…Again: Thoughts/a plea From Someone Going Through A Natural Disaster (with updates)

(With the goal of making it so people can follow what is happening, I’m going to make weekly updates with data about the fires and my own personal notes and put them at the end of this article, please subscribe on the left if you want to get them, if enough people do subscribe I’ll ask other people who were actually affected to give their stories as time goes on)

(The picture is of my friend’s and his family’s farm, their animals were evacuated but they need help so please click this, donate, and share along with/instead of the article [if you don’t want to share this, I want people to know what we’re dealing with but it’s not as important] , they need it)

My friend’s destroyed farm

“Neutrality means that you don’t really care

Cause the struggle goes on even when you’re not there

Blind and unaware.”

Collapse (Post-Amerika), Rise Against

When I started this article a couple of weeks ago, it was going to be very different.

It was going to be about Trump’s response to Puerto Rico, how he demeaned its leaders, said it wasn’t a “real tragedy” like Hurricane Katrina (the response to which inspired the rage in the first time I wrote on how people respond to natural disasters, This is Our Time, thought I would rewrite it after so many others were happening) because there were only 13 confirmed deaths (confirmed because death certificates take labor to do that a destroyed island can’t really do), and capped it off with saying he had fun, how he donated $1 million to help Texas in the wake of Harvey which is nothing to him and how he paid 5 times as much to find Obama’s birth certificate which was basically just a racist dogwhistle.

That was before Monday, when I learned that a fire had started during the night that was ravaging the main city in my area, burning down a friend’s farm and another’s mom’s home that has all their stuff in it while they’re in Los Angeles and forced many people I care about including my godparents to evacuate.

There are now 22 fires ravaging California and 21 dead statewide, and the fire here is 29,800 acres, has destroyed 576 buildings and threatens 29,192 others, and has caused 5,000 people to evacuate from 20 shelters as of Tuesday night. While the fire itself is about 19 miles away, thanks to going to a school for autistics in the area (which was also destroyed) a lot of my old classmates, friends, and people I care about are in danger if not already affected.

From going to volunteer and seeing the devastation in New Orleans in the wake of Katrina for 6 years I have always felt connected to survivors of natural disasters.

I have watched as the country constantly fails them, with government programs consistently being terrible to the people who need it most and people as a whole sinking into apathy when the fires go out or the floods recede when they’re actually needed the most.

I became jaded and bitter as the same betrayal happened after each disaster, the Valley Fire in the county north of me, Katrina, Irma, Harvey, Maria…but now it’s my home and the people I care about.

I look out my window and see yellow light because the sun is being filtered through smoke that is said to be as far as San Francisco which is 47.6 miles away.

I’ve been breaking down crying off and on through the past three days, am now as I write this.

So instead of asking you to not forget flooding in Baton Rouge I’m asking (rather selfishly as other places are going through worse), to not forget us. We’re human beings as well that deserve your care even after the fires are out, especially because these are going to leave a scar on my state for many years to come. Part of me is expecting people to do what they always do and stop caring after the flames go out when we need people to help because that’s when we’ll actually be able to do anything, when the news decides that the fire was the pretty thing that was what actually mattered and moves on from us.

However, I’m begging you not to, to actually think of us as people who need and deserve help not just some spectacle to look at and turn away from like has happened over and over because we actually need you. Donate to my friend if you can there’s also this for the city of Santa Rosa, share articles about us and let people know, life is hell right now and the feeling that it’s going to go on with people ignoring it all like it they have in the past is only part of it.

CalFire for the fire here is this link, this is the fires in general throughout the state, and my friend has been updating this for information for locals.

I’m begging you not for myself because I’m safe for now but for those I care about don’t forget that we’re here and need help, the whole state pretty much, and that’s going to be the case for a while.

I don’t think that’s too much to ask.

“Now I know we’re gonna be alright”

Parts Per Million, Rise Against

One thing that you don’t realize happens when you’re watching from afar is what your community becomes. Yesterday I saw something amazing as I worked at shelters…donations from everywhere, people rallying together for those who need it, and it was beautiful. It’s not enough for the long term, but if it’s hell to see the suffering of people at least it’s awesome to see what people do to help those going through it. I’ve never been more proud of my city until now, as we’re not affected directly but have rallied around supporting people who have evacuated here…if that same spirit spreads to others, and everyone rallies around those in need, maybe we will in fact be alright.

Updates:

Update 1: Adaptability and Uncertainty

Update 2: From the Ashes

Redefining Revolution: Fighting as a Marginalized Person in a Trump Presidency

“Are you going to wait here for a sign to let you know now?
Are you going to sit there paralyzed by what you’ve seen?
Or are you going to finally grip the wheel?
(I think you know how)
Is this more than you expected it to be?
Don’t wait for a miracle to tumble from the sky
To part the seas around you or turn water into wine
Don’t wait for a miracle, the world is passing by
The walls that all surround you are only in your mind”

Miracle, Rise Against

“Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.” Audre Lorde

Revolution is a word I see a lot recently as I get more involved with the leftist side of Facebook.

People talk about the various systems they’d replace the current system with after we overthrow it, hearkening to successful rebellions of other places and eras.

That being said, our fight is different, and in the interest of better fighting this system, I think it’s time we redefine what we consider a revolution.

One of the greatest problems I have with how we perceive revolutions is that we view it as solely a violent battle. Of course my issue isn’t with the violent aspect, right after the #DisruptJ20 protests I wrote On wings of fire and broken glass we shall rise as a war call.

My issue is that the reality is that, especially if you’re marginalized, this isn’t the only form of rebellion, and that focus is both harmful and counterproductive.

It’s harmful because it leads to a prioritization of tactics that many people, especially disabled people, can’t do (check out my article on the ableist notion of slacktivism for more talk of this issue). While I can write articles telling others that other tactics should matter, it doesn’t change that my internalized ableism makes me, and others, feel utterly useless when we look at things like Charlottesville (which was the center of my most recent article Why aren’t you upset?). In reality as a marginalized person, in the face of a system that hates you, Audre Lorde in the picture I chose is completely right, taking care of oneself, living, being happy, is in itself an act of revolution. It also ignores the fact that, especially with Cville, being obviously of a minority might be more likely to get you targeted (it shouldn’t be too hard to connect the dots that it would be much more dangerous to be a black person protesting a KKK rally than if you’re white…a good rule is to not criticize how a different minority does activism especially against their oppressors, there is almost definitely context you are missing that makes their fight different).

It’s counterproductive because there’s a lot more to a revolution than fighting especially in this era, and usually the physical war happens after a lot of work in other avenues, all of which are just as important when brought into a united whole. People decry Facebook activism but used well the internet is the best way to spread information and call people worldwide to action (I do agree it’s an issue when those who can do more choose not to, the ones who do token activism to make themselves feel good like an online equivalent of the safety pin [so glad those are gone], that being said the internet has been the way the autistic community exists, how I’m reaching you, and has been a key component in other activist movements such as the Arab Spring). Outreach, organizing rallies of our own, having social programs to help people so they can see who we are and will hopefully join our cause, even just tactically directed conversations around the dinner table urging discussion into radicalizing people are all important methods for fighting the system.

The other issue is that we depict the revolution as this mythical future event. People say the revolution will be intersectional for instance (intersectionality is an important activist principle which I wrote about here). A particular brand of leftist that I hate, class reductionists, say that the only fight that matters is class war and after the revolution they’ll care about the concerns of minorities (sure, we’ll be dying until then but it’s great to know that eventually our lives will matter).

The revolution won’t be anything because our fight is now, the constant struggle against the oppressive forces that are controlling us is the revolution, the fight against the system of oppression that has always existed

The system is something that we need to fight now. We need to move not wait for some sign to let us know now is the time to fight. Get active, get involved, speak out. There’s never going to be a sign that let’s us know that the revolution against the forces controlling us has started because the long war with its wins and losses, alliances and enemies, has never stopped.

The revolution shouldn’t be considered a future bloody battle but the multifaceted war against oppression that has been a background in our nation’s history. It’s the combination of tactics and ideologies that we’ve had moving us forward through history, fought not by soldiers but by MLK and the trans women of color who threw bricks at Stonewall and the disability rights movement and anyone who has said that this system is wrong and we need to do something about it. It’s not something to be solely fought with guns but also speeches and blogs and thrown bricks and counterprotests and food drives and any action done in the spirit of seeking to bring change to the many intersecting injustices that have harmed people for so long.

The time is now to participate in this fight, to learn from our victories and losses and move forward despite the rising forces that are paralyzing us.

The fight is ours to take part in. Will you rise to the battle?

-Laoch Onórach

Why aren’t you upset?

“If you aren’t outraged, you aren’t paying attention.”

Last Facebook post of Heather Heyer

Memorial to Heather Heyer who died at age 32 yesterday. She died and 19 others who were counterprotesting the Unite The Right rally were injured when James Alex Fields Jr. rammed his car into them for standing up to their hatred. Fight in her name.

(I’m dedicating this post to my friends and comrades protesting the rally, if you can spare money please donate to support logistics, the street medics, or the legal fund, they deserve our support.)

One of the things I recently was told that a friend stopped reading my stuff because it wasn’t “happy.”

Hell no, it’s not.

But I feel a profound disconnect with anyone who needs something to be “happy” to listen to it.

Because, well…welcome to 2017.

Or the US in general to be honest.

We live in a system built on oppression. Trump didn’t create hatred he simply brought it to an unprecedented high, using his office to deconstruct the protections we have and encourage bigoted acts by validating hatred with his voice and power. The Nazis and the KKK that we see didn’t start to exist at the beginning of his campaign they’re just emboldened to step into the spotlight.

Now, of course, it’s getting even worse, with the KKK now walking brazenly without hoods (the problem with doing that is that then people can share the faces that you decided to show everyone to let people to know you’re evil…feel free to click the link and share, and if you’re going to protest mask up so they can’t do the same) and driving into the crowds protesting them with the aim to kill people solely for dissenting against their hatred.

The world is and has always been hell for a lot of people, and that is a problem.

It’s not happy, it’s not good, but we should be facing it…if you have the choice not to.

In my formative years I felt like something was wrong with me and how I exist, now I know that the world is the problem not my brain, that the world is screwed up and needs to be fixed.

I never had the choice to think that everything is moral in this place and so realizing that this world is screwed and doing what I can to make it better is all I know.

The rest of you who aren’t faced by some form of hatred for something intrinsic to your existence, you have the choice to pretend the world is perfect.

However, the only moral thing is to do the opposite.

In the face of such grave injustices you should be enraged. You should stand up and fight the forces hurting and killing your fellow humans because it’s obviously something that we need to fight. You shouldn’t be clinging to your happiness by ignoring the reality of other people suffering but should use your voice to call attention to it.

To do otherwise, to stand by and let hatred happen, is wrong.

To get pissed off at us who are calling attention to it for disrupting your happy day instead of getting upset at murderers is all kinds of screwed up.

I’m not going to apologize for rubbing your nose in the system’s hatred. I’m going to stand up and demand you acknowledge the world around you.

And if you refuse I’ll know that you’re not someone I can trust, because in this era not paying attention is deadly.

It’s because people clung to their apathy that we got in this mess. As I mentioned in this post on my Facebook page An Articulate Autistic, hatred festers if unchallenged, and when you’re literally getting upset with people for mentioning the existence of hatred you’re actively hindering the efforts to challenge it.

If more people listened to Heather, if more people stood and fought this before the election, we wouldn’t be here. They wouldn’t feel welcome to do this huge festival of hatred.

But we’re here now and now it’s necessary, not just moral but needed, to stand and fight now before even more deaths happen.

Pay attention, get outraged, don’t let her die in vain.

-Laoch Onórach

You’re Not As Important As You Think: on “Being Divisive”

Remember folks: If you don’t hold your oppressor’s hand while softly explaining to them things they could just as easily google and maybe make them some cocoa to help them feel comfortable learning about your lived struggles, you’re just a big ol’ meany who doesn’t deserve to be treated like a person.

Remember folks: If you don’t hold your oppressor’s hand while softly explaining to them things they could just as easily google and maybe make them some cocoa to help them feel comfortable learning about your lived struggles, you’re just a big ol’ meany who doesn’t deserve to be treated like a person.

“Like a fire
Don’t need water
Like a riot
Don’t need order

We don’t need them”

Red Flag, Billy Talent

If you’ve followed me since the beginning, you’ve probably noticed that the most common topic is allies I don’t want. I’ve said I don’t want allies who can say they care about Trump, allies who can be turned away by us not being nice, conditional allies, or performative allies.

A common accusation that people get is that people who have my particular tone including many of my friends are “being divisive”.

In the radical leftist side of Facebook (known as “Leftbook” by those of us involved in it), a popular accusation when minority activists speak out is “you’re dividing the Left”.

I find this accusation humorous because not only do I know I’m being divisive, it’s deliberate and a core of my activist practice.

As I touched on in By Our Side or Out of Our Way, I used to be nice in the old blog I was part of before Trump was elected.

I sought to reach out and change minds.

Nowadays, I have come to realize that in this burning world if what’s happening isn’t enough to make you steadfast against oppression, you’re not going to ever really change.  This regime is getting more and more oppressive and decent people will stand against it and by our side believing we deserve to live without investment of labor. I don’t have spoons to invest labor in presenting myself a certain way and nurture people, if the fact that people want to hurt people like myself just because of aspects of our humanity won’t move you to action I can’t trust that you will help me when I need it the most.

My goal now isn’t to reach out to people but to push people away. I need to know who I can trust, and that means seeing who can be moved from caring about my life.

There are a lot of people who tell us that we should be nicer if we want more allies…but my question is why would we want people who would require us to police our language around them, censor and watch our words when we’re in hell?

There are so many people who claim the title of ally and expect it to matter (to the point where we have created the term accomplice instead of ally to be more specific in what we want) to us that anyone who says they are one honestly makes me skeptical.

I need to know who is willing to help and stand by me and mine and who will ditch us when they don’t feel fulfilled. The only way to do that for me is to be hard and challenging in my words and actions so that people need to confront themselves and realize that they are doing wrong and this system is something that they need to be fighting or that I am the problem and they need to stop helping me.

I’m not creating division but exposing divisions of values and commitments. If these people can be turned from thinking I’m a human who deserves help, they never truly believed that. Believing that we deserve rights should be a matter of morality not comfort. My goal is to shake things up, expose who people truly are, and that ends up polarizing and angering people because they don’t like being called out on harmful behaviors or can’t handle me saying that their feelings aren’t actually the most important thing in the world. I’m not the one who is breaking people apart in their ideals, I’m exposing divisions that are already there.

I don’t need everyone and nobody is extremely important to have when the net result of them being here is going to be a drain on my sanity trying to make myself presentable enough to keep them around. People I know and love are suffering and I refuse to prioritize anybody else’s feelings over them. I’m not going to be nice all the time to people who have the luxury of being able to just ignore the reality of what is going on with the world because I frankly don’t trust anyone who is willing to look away from the horror that is happening and say that if they’re going to stand by my side against it I need to be nice to make them feel like there’s a reason to fight, who requires more than the fact that people are suffering and dying to do anything.

When people are suffering from oppression it’s a moral imperative to stand strong and say that is wrong. When the government is doing things that are going to kill innocents, you fight back. You tell yourself this is wrong, you do what you can, which if you’re one of the people who are suffering might just be existing and living, which is huge if a system wants you gone. But if you aren’t you should be doing what you can to help because you know in your heart that it is immoral that the system that makes it so you don’t have to worry about what is happening is making others suffer. We are fighting, rioting because it’s the only language that has ever been heard, rising on wings of fire and broken glass to burn this corrupt order to the ground, and if the way we are fighting, the way we have to fight, is too much for you, we don’t need you. Turn your nose and roll your eyes, complain about our tone and get offended by how we aren’t making sure to exclude you from our venting or following the rules of what you think is acceptable rebellion, I frankly care not, you aren’t important compared to the threats against us and my fellow strugglers. But if you know in your heart that this is wrong and will stand by our side unconditionally, use your voice to carry our own, I’m glad to have you by my side.

The choice is yours, the division between action and inaction not created by me but by your own morality.

Make the right one.

-Laoch Onórach