News reports have suggested that the Virginia Tech shooter was autistic. Reporters should be cautious about such speculation.
First, without proper context, such stories may lead readers to the false generalization that autistic people are violent.
Second, there is reason to doubt that Cho was autistic in the first place. He learned English as a second language — and learned it well enough to major in the subject in college. Autistic people usually have great difficulty with speech and language. They can often overcome this problem, but it takes years of therapy. If news accounts are accurate, Cho had no such therapy.
The speculation stems from accounts of Cho’s coldness. That’s stereotyping. Many autistic people are cheerful and affectionate. Other disorders could account for his behavior.
Have PoliticalMavens.com delivered to your inbox in a daily digest by clicking here