As I look around today I see a lot of fear from the autism community, both parents of autistic children, and ASD adults, that the fact that Cho Seung-Hui's name has been linked to autism, it will result in increased prejudice against others with autism.
Perhaps it is just hopeful thinking, but I really don't think that will happen. Now we have only been on this road for three years, and we have already been seriously mistreated by those who just didn't understand autism and that should have known better, so I don't by any stretch want to give the impression that I am looking at this through rose colored glasses. Arrogance and prejudice among those whose lives are not touched by autism is real and needs to be taken very seriously.
However, the compassion that I see from the growing majority of people for what people with autism and their families go through while living in a world that just does not work right for them, I believe, will not be largely changed by this.
Even if Cho's diagnosis is confirmed with complete certainty, with autism as pervasive as it is (1 in 150), and autistic killers as rare as they are (I can think of 2 reported cases) people will come to the conclusion that his psychopathology was in addition to autism.
Sure there will be a few people who make the leap that all autistics are potential shooters, but those people are probably looking for a reason to look down on those who are different from them, and would have found another way to do it if not for this. Those people would have been lost to the cause of understanding and respecting those with autism regardless.
I don't know what will come in the days ahead, but it seems to me that the fact that the media is not jumping on the autism piece of this story, and we are not seeing AUTISM! graphics floating across pictures of Cho's face, says that even the 24 hour news networks, who tend to suck the marrow out of every facet of a big story, don't even really think that this guys autism is why he killed.
The autism community is talking about this a lot more than the rest of the world.
Autism is pervasive and almost everyone knows someone with autism now. They see the tenderness and sincerity that can come out of our kids. They won't be fooled into thinking that this incident teaches that autistics are dangerous any more than it teaches that Asians are dangerous.