The face of a walrus

Walrus Awake: An Open Letter to My Diagnostician

Hi Dr. S.,

This is actually one of those “open letters” that people who like to write like to write — people like me. It’s “open” in the sense that in addition to sending it to you, I’m also posting a slightly redacted version of it on my personal blog. The idea here is that in the past year or so since you diagnosed me with an Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD), I have learned a great deal about autism, or at least my own idiosyncratic flavor of it, and I have started this blog in order to write about these discoveries in the hope that they may help others.

In any case, before I get to the real purpose of this letter, I would like to express again my deep gratitude to you for detecting that I am autistic. This new information about myself has initiated a transformation in my life, and I’m feeling quite optimistic about the long-term outcome.

The short-run, however, is a whole other walrus.

This letter is about that walrus. In fact, if you visit my blog post you’ll see an actual picture of the animal in question — a truly handsome beast, in my opinion, and totally worth the mouse click and short wait it will take for your browser to load.

In any case, I have some bad news to share with you. Remember that mediation conference you participated in last April 24, 2017 at the so-called “Equal” Employment Opportunity Commission? Well, apparently that was all just a set up. As it turns out, the three other individuals there aside from us — the attorney, my boss, and even the “E”EOC mediator — they were all just putting on some sort of show. The sole purpose of that show was to get my signature on a worthless “E”EOC mediation agreement so that my boss could then fire me without that loose end dangling around in the wind for everyone to see. And they did fire me, less than a month later. They fired me and they definitely did not fulfill the two promises they made to me in that worthless “E”EOC mediation agreement that we signed at the end of that conference. More specifically:

  1. They did not transition me to that new position they told us that they found for me, and
  2. They did not work with my autism specialist (Dr. C.) to determine my correct reasonable accommodations.

They just blew off the mediation agreement, in the same way that I just now there blew off the “E”EOC confidentiality agreement we also signed. And by the way, I feel totally comfortable blowing off that confidentiality agreement, only because they felt so comfortable blowing off the mediation agreement. Believe me, I hope they press charges against me (they won’t).

Furthermore, the only reason you were there was to make it all seem legitimate. I’m sorry to tell you this, Dr. S., but these people used you. They used you like a weapon in order to deprive me of my right to protection under the Americans with Disabilities Act, and my Constitutional Right to due process under the law. I bet you never suspected you could be weaponized like that.

But it gets worse. You see, when they fired me, they threw me and my family into an unpredictably long period of unemployment and financial free-fall that only ended 5 months later when I found another job. The total cost in missed salary and benefits was about $40,000, and that doesn’t include the cost of all the emotional distress this corporate posse-of-the-popular put us all through. By the way, that emotional distress began at least as early as October, 2016 (possibly earlier, even) and eventually caused (among other problems) a relapse in a chronic medical condition my wife has to manage, and which was only quelled after she followed a two-month course of steroids.

But it’s not all bad news, because it’s actually illegal to do what they did. Turns out there’s a Civil Rights Statute — Title 18 USC Section 241, Conspiracy against Rights, under the investigative jurisdiction of the FBI — that empowers a sentencing authority to impose a maximum fine of $10,000 and/or a maximum prison sentence of 10 years upon any “…two or more persons [who] conspire to injure, oppress, threaten, or intimidate any person in any State, Territory, Commonwealth, Possession, or District in the free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege secured to him by the Constitution or laws of the United States, or because of his having so exercised the same;…”

And that’s exactly what these fools did. They blocked me from my ADA protections, and they blocked me from my Constitutional Right to due process. And that is a federal crime.

What I find especially ugly about this nonsense is that they appear to have done this so smoothly and comfortably that I have to guess they do it all the time. To the extent that my guess is correct, then I’m neither their first victim, nor will I be the last — unless they can be stopped. But I don’t think stopping them will be easy. The fact that the “E”EOC actively participates in this sort of wickedness suggests that stopping them will not be easy.

But we do have at least one resource on our side, because another mistake these fools made is that they tried to pull this scam on me. That was a huge mistake. Boy, they really stepped in it when they did that. I can tell you right now that I am definitely not a good victim for this kind of foolishness. Nope. Not at all. These people really botched things up this time. They have messed with the wrong autistic man, that’s for sure.

I don’t remember if I’ve ever told you that for me sometimes, being autistic is like I have a dead walrus chained to my ankle and that I’m dragging it through wet sand. In that image the weight of the beast represents the struggles I have living in a world that has been designed for and built by “normal” people; and the stench of the rotting carcass represents the impact autism can have on my social relationships — the social rejection, alienation, isolation, etc.

Well, as it turns out, this walrus of mine is not really dead after all. Turns out, this whole time he’s just been sleeping.

But now he’s awake, Dr. S. These fools woke my walrus.


Image Credit: Pixabay

 

 

 

James Blackledge, CEO of Mutual of Omaha Insurance Company

An Open Letter to James Blackledge, CEO of Mutual of Omaha Insurance Company

In “Good Faith”? — Why Mutual of Omaha’s “Code of Ethics” Is Recklessly Incoherent Bullshit

“…As an employee, you have an obligation to know and follow the Code as well as to encourage, promote and practice exemplary business conduct. You also are accountable for reporting potential violations of the Code. There are a number of reporting mechanisms available and there will be no retaliation for raising issues or concerns….”

— James Blackledge [photo], CEO, Mutual of Omaha Insurance Company1

Dear Mr. Blackledge,

In my opinion your company’s Code of Ethics and Business Conduct is recklessly incoherent bullshit. For example, on page 8, under the heading “We Are Responsible for Voicing Our Concerns”, we read.

“…You have a responsibility for promptly reporting any issue or concern that you believe, in good faith, may constitute a violation of the the Code or any other Mutual policy. Reporting in ‘good faith’ means you have given all of the information you have and your report is sincere. You are also encouraged to come forward if you encounter a situation that ‘just does not feel right.'”

What does that mean, “in good faith”? I know the paragraph seems to explain it, but I do not understand the explanation either. What does it mean to report “all of the information” I have regarding such an issue or concern? What does it mean for such a report to be “sincere”? And just what exactly is an “issue or concern” that “may” constitute some violation of the company’s Code or policy? And perhaps most importantly, what does it mean to have a “responsibility” to make such “sincere” or “in good faith” reports?

Please do not misunderstand these questions. They are neither rhetorical nor disingenuous. And although I am autistic, I do not have an intellectual disability (there’s a difference). I assure you that I do have my own way of answering these questions. I absolutely have my own private meanings for the terms under consideration — what I personally happen to mean when I use them; what I in fact think they really ought to mean.

But you see, therein lies the problem. Because last May 19, 2017, I actually got fired for acting on my (apparently mis–) understanding of these terms. I somehow got myself unceremoniously sacked for trying to fulfill what I had then understood to be my “responsibility” to make such “sincere”, “in good faith” reports about an “issue or concern” that I believed “may” constitute a violation of the company’s Code or policy.

See, I did all of that, and then I got fired for doing so. Which is supposedly against the rules. Right? Isn’t that what you mean when you say “…there will be no retaliation for raising issues or concerns….”? And yet, that is exactly what happened to me.

Furthermore, this apparent “misunderstanding” of mine wound up costing my family and me some $40,000 in missed salary and benefits, accrued during the 5 months of unemployment and financial free-fall that it took me to find another job. What’s more, there’s a much larger and heavily relevant contextual narrative that actually began 9 months earlier in August, 2016, and which involved so much emotional distress throughout that it eventually provoked a relapse in a health condition that my wife must manage and which required her to take a two-month course of steroids.

But as if all of that weren’t bad enough, this new job I have — the company that I’m now working for has pretty much the exact same recklessly incoherent bullshit in its own Code of Ethics. So, I hope you can appreciate just how important it is to me and my family that I make some sense out of this insanity — that I find some coherence in all of this rampant, bullshit, business-ethics incoherence.

Now, when these individuals fired me, they had the audacity to allege that I was being fired for some unspecified “violation” of company policy. At the time they refused to be specific, but I found out 6 months later from the company’s attorney that the “violation” in question was allegedly not one but many violations, most of them described too vaguely for me to even know what they’re referring to, but among which was the following very specific one, that did come complete with dates and named witnesses2:

“…For example, on April 26, 2017, Mr. Autistickish contacted Ms. Huntress [i.e. my boss at the time], asserting he wanted to file a complaint against Director of Production Management Aquaman because Mr. Aquaman, a senior leader in the Department, had allegedly tried to ‘hijack’ Mr. Autistickish’s meeting. Mr. Autistickish included with his complaint an excerpt from an instant message exchange in which he admittedly told Mr. Aquaman, ‘Don’t you ever, ever piss on one of my meetings again.’ Mr. Autistickish then also sent a follow-up e-mail to Mr. Aquaman further berating him for his alleged conduct…Mr. Aquaman complained to Ms. Huntress as well as to Human Resources….”

Although that is a viciously misleading rendition of what actually happened3, it does bear enough resemblance to the truth to warrant comment. At the very least I can confirm that yes, I did in fact tell Aquaman in an IM exchange to not “ever, ever piss on one of my meetings again.” I can also confirm that I included that IM excerpt in my complaint about Aquaman to my boss, Ms. Huntress. But even if we assumed that the whole paragraph were factually accurate (it is not), I would still like answers to a number of questions. Once again, these questions are neither rhetorical nor disingenuous — they are sincere questions that I’m asking, because I do not know what the answers are, and I’m hoping you can help me understand them:

  1. Is there anything in the above account of what happened to suggest that my complaint about Aquaman was not “sincere”, or that it was not made “in good faith”?
  2. Is there anything in the above description to suggest that I did not provide “all of the information” that I had? Based on what you read above, do you think I left something out that I should have included?
  3. Is there anything in the above description to suggest that I did not really believe that Aquaman’s attempt to hijack my meeting may constitute a violation of company policy? For example, the company’s anti-harrassment policy?
  4. Is there anything at all about the above description that suggests that my behavior throughout was not a sincere, good faith attempt to fulfill my express mandate as an employee to promptly report any issue or concern that I believe, in good faith, may constitute a violation of company policy?

To my view, the answers to all of the above are in the negative: my complaint about Aquaman was utterly sincere; it included all of the information that I had to offer about it; I truly believed (and still do) that Aquaman’s attempt to hijack my meeting the way he did was against company policy — it is a form of harassment, and it was brutal, unprofessional, and wholly gratuitous; and finally, I absolutely made the complaint in order to fulfill my mandated responsibility as described in the company’s Code of Conduct.

To the extent that one agrees with me on these points, then by Mutual of Omaha’s own definition, Mr. Blackledge, and even as described so misleadingly above, my complaint about Aquaman was made “in good faith”. And yet, for some reason this event was offered by the attorney in question to Federal Investigators for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in explanation for why I lost my job. This event was actually presented as an act of misconduct — a reason for why I got fired on May 19, 2017.

I don’t believe that the above is the end of the story with regards the recklessly incoherent bullshit in Mutual of Omaha’s “Code of Ethics”, but I do believe it illustrates the general point.

I hope that’s useful, quite sincerely.


1 From “A Message from Our CEO”, Our Mutual Commitment, MUTUAL OF OMAHA’S CODE OF ETHICS AND BUSINESS CONDUCT, last accessed Jan. 11, 2018. Although I have never actually worked for Mutual of Omaha, the company is quite similar to a company that I worked for, and their published “Codes of Ethics” are virtually identical. In fact, the problems I’m discussing in the above letter are in pretty much every corporate ethics document I’ve ever seen. To the extent that they are identical, they are all of a piece: recklessly incoherent bullshit. I’ve chosen to target Mutual of Omaha more or less at random.

2 I’m using DC Comics characters to hide the identities of the individuals in question. I have several reasons for doing so, which I have explained elsewhere.

3 It is beyond the scope of this letter to explain why it is viciously misleading. For background and the complete text of they attorney’s version of what happened, see What I Did Not Do To Get Fired From My Last Job

Please Excuse my Autistic Obsession with Title 18 USC Section 241

A hand holding an ace of hearts playing card.

Image Credit: Shutterstock

I’d like to apologize for my current autistic obsession with Title 18 USC Section 241.

I know that in general I’m not supposed to play the autism-card, but I really don’t see how else to explain it — and this is not for lack of trying. I assure you, I have tried repeatedly and with numerous people to explain this obsession so that it makes sense to to them, but so far even the friendliest responses have been — however politely so — implacably skeptical. I’ve reached the point where really the only thing left is to throw up my arms and say “oh, well, autism strikes again!”

If that seems like a cop out, well, I’m sorry for that too.

To be honest, and only in a strictly rational, dryly intellectual sense, even I can see that Title 18 USC Section 241 is probably the last thing I should be obsessing about. Back in October I found a great new job, with a great company, and which allows me to make a decent living writing and fixing computer programs — really the only thing I’ve ever tried to do  professionally that ever showed any stable-career potential, even though I have never actually been able to fulfill that potential.

And the really cool part is that I can do this full-time from home!

It was incredibly lucky for me to get this job. For my family and me it was like winning the lottery. It’s really the first dream job I’ve ever had, and it’s perfectly obvious to everyone in my life, and even I can see quite clearly — again, in a strictly rational, dryly intellectual sense — that I really ought to be obsessing about my new job, instead of Title 18 USC Section 241. Even worse, my obsession with Title 18 USC Section 241 is distracting me from my work and making it difficult to focus, thus threatening to eventually add this new dream job to my long list of career failures.

But that pit bull in my skull doesn’t seem to care about any of that.

I mean that figuratively, of course. I know that this “pit bull” is just me. In fact, I’m actually being somewhat disingenuous in talking about it like that, as though this imaginary animal’s motives were somehow inscrutable even to me — somehow not my own. But that’s not quite right. To be perfectly candid, I really do think I understand exactly why I’m so obsessed about Title 18 USC Section 241 — why it has become the most important focus of my life right now, why I think that even if it does eventually fuck up my current job, then, well that’s just too friggin bad — this law is simply more important than that. I have no problem whatsoever explaining this to myself. Within the confines of my own skull, it all makes perfect sense to me. Furthermore, and believe it or not, despite my many attempts and consistent failure to do so, I even still think that I might successfully explain my reasons to others — to you, even — if only I would just keep trying, and trying, and trying.

Which, of course, is exactly why I keep writing about it. Because from where I’m standing — given my own unique and admittedly autistic perspective on the world — I can see quite clearly just how utterly important this law actually is, even if the rest of you cannot…yet.

 

 

 

 

 

An Open Letter to a Certain FBI Special Agent in Charge

FBI Office

Image Credit: iStock by Getty

Dear Sir,

This is just the latest in several attempts I have made to request the FBI’s assistance in the investigation of the Conspiracy against Rights crimes that I earnestly believe were committed against my family and me during the past 14 months, most likely because the perpetrators were too ignorant and confused with respect to autism to be able to distinguish between clinical symptoms of autism and workplace behavior that is genuinely “inappropriate” or “unprofessional”. I earnestly believe that these individuals — most but not all of whom were fellow employees at the XYZ Insurance Company until they conspired to fire me last May 19, 2017 — ignorantly and confusedly stigmatized certain autism symptoms of mine as “professional misconduct”, and subsequently took it upon themselves to punish me harshly for these pseudo-crimes.

Most recently I spoke to technician #9263 of the FBI’s Tipline, and as kindly and compassionately as he listened to my tale of woe, since speaking with him I cannot shake the impression that I have not yet provided enough evidence of the crimes in question in order to engage the FBI’s attention.

Here I wish to provide you with a few additional facts, which I hope may remedy that problem.

To begin with, I hope you can see that regardless of whether the crimes in question actually occurred, the fact is that I earnestly believe that they did. As it appears to me at least, my family and I are victims of these crimes. As such, I earnestly believe that we have suffered both financial and health consequences at the hands of the perpetrators. As a direct result of their ignorantly confused and unlawful behavior, we sustained a financial loss of roughly $40,000 dollars in missed salary and benefits, accrued during the initially unpredictable period of unemployment and financial free-fall they subjected us to when they fired me illegally last May 19, 2017, and which finally came to an end when I found another job 5 months later. And among other untoward health & wellness consequences, the protracted emotional distress we all had to endure caused a relapse in a chronic health condition my wife must manage, and for which she had to take steroids for two months in order to quell the flareup.

In addition, I also earnestly believe that we are not the only victims of this sort of crime. I earnestly believe that not just autistic people, but most generally anyone with a psychiatric disability is vulnerable to this kind of crime. Furthermore, I earnestly believe that such crimes have been, are being, and will continue to be perpetrated against this most vulnerable sub-population of human beings, if action is not taken to stop them.

Finally, I earnestly believe that I am currently in a good position to help stop this sort of systemic abuse against people with psychiatric disabilities. Please note that whether I really am in such a position is actually not what’s relevant here, for now. What is only relevant for now is that I earnestly believe myself to be in such a position.

The primary fact that I want to share with you here is that at this point it really shouldn’t matter to the FBI whether my earnestly held beliefs are actually true. That will eventually matter, of course, but for now the only thing that need concern the FBI is that I earnestly believe them to be true; and this because to the extent they may not be true, then these (very) earnestly held beliefs of mine indicate that I may be suffering from some sort of paranoid persecution delusion. And to the extent that that may be what’s really going on here, then I’m pretty sure that would make me quite dangerous, at least to the people I earnestly believe perpetrated these crimes against my family and me.

Now, to be perfectly honest, the only sense in which I might be dangerous to these people is that I wish to help the Department of Justice bring charges against them. But I will confess here that I am quite obsessed with bringing about this result. I earnestly believe that accomplishing this — bringing these criminals to justice — is so very important and to so many people that it may in fact warrant some fairly extreme but wholly non-violent gestures of civil disobedience on my part in order to ensure its outcome.

For example (others could be given), I am seriously wondering if I should go eat lunch every day on the property of my former employer in protest of what appears to be their callous endorsement of the vigilante tactics of these perpetrators. I am seriously wondering if illegally trespassing in this way might be an excellent way to draw the sort of attention to this matter that I earnestly believe it deserves. It really seems to me that getting myself arrested for eating lunch would be the perfect follow up for getting fired for the ridiculous pseudo-crime of showing signs of autism in the work place. Heck, I might even wear a baseball cap while doing it, in flagrant violation of the company’s dress code.

I eagerly await a response from the FBI, and I will interpret every day that passes until I get such a response as evidence that the FBI thinks that my plan to get myself arrested for eating lunch while wearing a baseball cap is a good one.

 

 

An Open Letter To A Certain EEOC Enforcement Superviser

Seal of the EEOC

Image found here.

Dear Wonderwoman,

In order to protect the health and safety of my family and me, I have decided to withdraw my charge 433-2017-ABCDE against my former employer the XYZ Insurance Company. Please accept this as my formal request to do so. And please let me know if there’s some form I need to fill out in order to make the withdrawal official.

I wish to be clear about my reasons for doing this. The charge was sincere and legitimate, but based on what I learned in our phone conversation yesterday, I can only conclude that allowing you and your sidekick Batgirl to continue with your so-called “investigation” will only result in even more damage to my family and me than we have already been forced to endure. I think we have all had quite enough of your so-called “help” in this matter. It’s time to cut our losses.

But I would like to sincerely thank you and Batgirl for taking the time yesterday to speak with my wife and me. And thank you, especially, for recording that conversation, as I’m quite sure you did. Please do hold onto that recording, as it captured some important information that will be necessary to support the Title 18 USC Section 241, Conspiracy-against-Rights charges I intend to file with the Department of Justice against you, Batgirl, Andromeda (the EEOC mediator), Batman, and the rest of your Unconstitutional, self-appointed, Inappropriate-Behavior Police force, which I’ll refer to here as the Justice League Gang (JLG). By the way, I’m not using these DC Comics pseudonyms simply because I think you’ve all acted like a posse of buffoonish Saturday-morning cartoon characters, but also because I’m trying to protect your privacy and especially your Constitutional rights to due process. You will want to know that this email you’re reading is actually what’s called an “open letter”, and that by the time you receive it, it will have already been posted on my blog, with minor editing, for the whole world to see.

Yup, that’s the whole fucking world!

Hey, what do you think of my use of the F-word there? I happen to think it was quite appropriate and professional, but do you agree?  If not, maybe you missed the following memo from our POTUS regarding the modern understanding of the terms inappropriate and unprofessional. It seems the rules have changed in that regard:

Immortal_Words_Donald_Trump_400x517

Image Credit: TBD

Or maybe you just disagree with Mr. Trumplethinskin. If so, then all the more reason for me to withdraw my charge, because now you definitely have all you need to complete your sham “investigation” and to publicly agree that Batman and the rest of your Justice-League-Gang vigilance committee acted with great if not extra-judicial rectitude by denying me my legal right to protection as an autistic person under the Americans with Disabilities Act, as well as my Constitutional right to due-process, and thereby bringing me to vigilante pseudo-justice for the pseudo-crime of exhibiting signs of autism in the workplace.

Maybe now you can affirm to the world that the (allegedly) “Equal” Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) officially agrees that Batman and his Saturday-morning cartoonish Super Friends made a good decision to punish me for exhibiting signs of autism in the workplace, and that they all acted quite reasonably when they sentenced me and my family to an unpredictably long period of unemployment and financial free-fall that eventually cost us some $40,000 in lost salary and benefits; when they inflicted upon us so much emotional distress that it provoked a relapse in my wife’s chronic health condition, so that she had to go on steroids for two months to quell the flare up. (FYI, the distress caused other problems too, but you get the picture.)

Yesterday’s phone conversation convinced me beyond any reasonable doubt that your obvious decision to conspire with Batman and the JLG is most likely based entirely in your own ignorance and confusion regarding Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD, autism) and probably the entire DSM V. I think it’s very unlikely that you actually went to work for the EEOC because you secretly wanted to indulge some sadistic desire to punish people with autism and other psychiatric disabilities. On the contrary, I feel quite sure that you go to work everyday with nothing but the purest intentions. In fact, you are no doubt utterly aghast at my accusations that you and your sidekick Batgirl have somehow illegally conspired with Batman and the JLG to punish me in the way you have done.

And because I am quite sure that your own defense attorneys will make much of these good intentions in their arguments for leniency, along with the fact that your own ignorance and confusion regarding psychiatric disabilities seems to be a cultural norm, I hope you can appreciate why I might care less about why you think you are entitled to deprive Constitutional rights to people with autism and other psychiatric disabilities, and am focusing now more on the fact that you clearly do feel thus entitled.

To be clear: you are not thus entitled — at least not according to the U.S. Constitution, and specifically not according to Title 18 USC Section 241, Conspiracy against Rights. And for now at least, I do not care in the least about how much good you think you have done, are doing, or will do in your capacity as EEOC Enforcement Supervisor. What I do care about is that your obvious ignorance and confusion regarding psychiatric disabilities like autism poses a serious public health hazard to everyone with such a disability, and who dares petition the EEOC for help, as I have so naively and foolishly done in this matter.

And that is why, as stated above, for the health and safety of my family and me, I hereby withdraw the above mentioned charge against my former employer. I can see now that not only is this billion-dollar, global multinational insurance company wholly incapable of taking any responsibility for its actions in this matter, but that actually the company itself should not even be held accountable for the Conspiracy against Rights crimes that a dozen or so of its own employees committed against me last year. This ruthless posse of self-appointed enforcers of XYZ’s fundamentally incoherent “Code of Conduct” would never have risked doing what they did if they hadn’t been absolutely confident that you, Batgirl, and Andromeda would have their backs at the EEOC.

The way things appear to me now, the real ring leader in these Conspiracy-against-Rights crimes is probably not actually Batman at all, but is most likely at least you, dear Wonderwoman, and quite possibly the entire EEOC. As captured in the recording of yesterday’s conversation, you clearly do not have the first useful clue about how to distinguish between symptoms of autism and behavior that is “inappropriate” or “unprofessional”, and because of this ignorance, I believe you are dangerously incompetent and unfit to fulfill your mandate to enforce the ADA in its objective to protect people with psychiatric disabilities.

And so I say to you this: thank you, Wonderwoman and Batgirl, but your services are no longer required in this matter. To phrase it in those other words made so famous by our magnificent POOTUS (pardon the typo): You’re fired!

 

Help, They’re Out to Get Me! — An Open Letter to the FBI

FBI Office

Image Credit: iStock by Getty

Dear FBI,

First, a little about me: I have a gift, sort of. I’m pretty sure I can take any given group of human beings and rapidly turn them against me. I don’t need them to all have anything particular or remarkable in common. They don’t even have to know each other. Whoever they are, and however many of them there are, I believe that I can more or less instantly bond them together — transform them, really, into a cohesive group, organized entirely around a shared belief that I am batshit crazy, in the first place, and in the second place, around a shared goal of rejecting me because I am batshit crazy.  In short, given some otherwise arbitrary ensemble of human beings, I can unite these folks into a conspiracy against me.

Now, does that sound paranoid? Maybe a little delusional? Do you think I’m crazy? Might you say that I am batshit crazy? And if so, does this new opinion you have of me — that I’m batshit crazy — make you want to reject me?

Well, if it does, let me assure you, you’re not alone. In fact, out there in the world right now are a great many of your brothers and sisters. I believe they meet every third Wednesday of the month to commiserate, roll their eyes, chant things like “That guy!” and “That fuckin’ guy!” and “wow, what a nut job!” Of course, I’m not allowed to go to any of these meetings, so if you do go to one, please give them all my regards, will you?

Pretty funny, right? Ha ha. But I’m really not joking — well, except for the monthly meeting; I don’t think there’s a monthly meeting. But causing conspiracies against me is an actual thing that I can do, and I’ve been doing it my whole life since childhood. Some might call it an ability, but I definitely don’t feel like it’s the sort of ability that I can control in any useful sense. It’s really more like an attribute — like a smell, perhaps; or a way of appearing; or sounding to others; or a weird taste that I leave in their mouths; or maybe a way of making them feel when I’m in their presence — a way that I give them the “creeps”.

You should also know that I’m autistic, and if you know anything useful at all about autism, you know that we autists find it very difficult to navigate the subtleties of interpersonal relationships. As a group, we are not known for our people skills. And really nobody need raise an eyebrow, or squint, or be even a little surprised when an autistic person, such as myself, inadvertently transforms some otherwise unrelated group of human beings into an actual conspiracy. This sort of scenario is practically a diagnostic criterion of autism. And if the FBI is not equipped to cope with this basic fact about autism, if it doesn’t understand it, or is not equipped to handle it in some way, then there is no meaningful sense in which the FBI can help protect autistic people from the very real conspiracies that spontaneously and far too often arise and turn against them.

Now, maybe you’re thinking something like, “Protect? Why protect? Why on Earth should the FBI protect someone from a conspiracy that he or she caused to arise in the first place? If such a person wants protection from their own self-created conspiracies, let them stop creating the damned conspiracies to begin with!”

And if that’s what you are thinking, then rest assured I agree with you, wholeheartedly. I could not be more in agreement with that advice. Really, I think that’s excellent advice. Good job, sir! You clearly have a superior sort of mind. I mean you obviously don’t have any formal training in Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD), probably never read more than a magazine article about autism. I’m guessing that pretty much everything you know about autism you learned from watching Rainman, am I right? And yet…your mind….wow, your amazing mind….your laser beam perspicacity…your ability to see the one tree in a very complicated forest that even the real autism experts have been seeking for so long, and yet have not found. I mean, your ability to see the simple in the complex, to detect the subtlest of signals in the overwhelming noise, bring fresh eyes to a problem about which you really know absolutely nothing…NOTHING! I MEAN, OBVIOUSLY YOU KNOW NOTHING ABOUT AUTISM! CLEARLY, YOU DON’T HAVE THE FIRST FREAKIN’ CLUE ABOUT AUTISM, and yet, despite centuries of dismally failed efforts to cure autism with good advice….man…until you showed up! Golly, did you ever knock that one out of the park — cut through the layers of bullshit, and technical jargon, and Science — oh, gosh, those arrogant scientists. They always think they know what’s “probably” true within some “margin” of error based on the “best available evidence”, preferably obtained by conducting “carefully controlled” experiments published in “reputable, peer-reviewed journals”! But you….you….un-be-leevable…Really, I think your really on to something there. Yeah, you should write that up and submit it to the American Journal of Armchair Psychiatry. I think I see a Nobel Prize in your future.

OK, sorry about the rant. I know it’s a common stereotype that autistic people can’t understand sarcasm, and clearly I’m some sort of sarcasm genius….a real professional level sarcasticker. I’m like a super hero — Sarcasm Man from the Planet Sarcasticon! Saving the world from pompous fools by making them feel ashamed of themselves!

No, seriously, listen, you shouldn’t feel totally ashamed of yourself  for thinking that autism is somehow caused by a lack of good advice. Really, I think everybody wants to think that. Heck, I would like to think that. The problem is that autism just doesn’t work that way. If it did, it wouldn’t be in the DSM V. In fact, pretty much nothing in the DSM V can be cured with good advice. Imagine if you tried to advise a blind man into seeing: “You just have to really open your eyes. Come on, wider…wider!” Or to advise a man with no legs to “just grow another one. Hey, you grew the first one, didn’t you? Don’t be so negative!”

The point here is that if an autistic person were able to stop creating these kinds of conspiracies, he or she would have done so a long time ago. Nobody wants to get rejected by a group of people. I know in my own case, that has never been my goal. In fact, I’m pretty sure that whenever this happens, it does so because I’m actually trying to participate in the group, to be a constructive member, to contribute, to make myself useful to the others, to connect with them, to fit in, but then I somehow totally botch it up, and by the time I realize that it’s happened, it’s too late to fix.

And for reasons that I really do not understand, it appears to be true that the only thing I’m actually choosing to do and which appears to be causing the conspiracy is to try to participate in the group. And the only reliable way I’ve found for not causing such a conspiracy, is just to avoid people as much as possible. This was much harder for me to do as a child. As a child I spent most of my time feeling lonely. But eventually I came to embrace the solitude, even to enjoy it. Now I actually prefer it. It’s safer. People are just too complicated.

But they are also inevitable. Sooner or later, I have to cope with other people. I have to live with them, work with them, interact with them, and because they are inevitable, sooner or later I am going to botch things up and create yet another conspiracy of people who all think I’m batshit crazy and who feel compelled to reject me for it. Now, really, most of the time this collective rejection is just frustrating and depressing, and occurs for the most part without too much visible drama. But every so often, one of these conspiracies will appear to lose its hive mind and take things up a notch, going beyond mere rejection to reach down deep into to a much darker place in the human psyche. Every so often, one of these conspiracies gets it in its head to preemptively “defend” itself against me, which from my perspective feels like an arbitrary attack. And when that happens, I start to defend myself in return.

That’s when things can get really hairy — when they can really start to spin out of control. Last year, one of these conspiracies arose among a number of colleagues at work, and these people decided that they wanted to get me fired. And they eventually did. And because they didn’t have anything on me other than their mutual dislike of me, they had to poke and prod me until I overreacted enough times so that they could spin my overreactions into evidence of misconduct. They had several ways of provoking me, but one of these was to take an unbelievably long time to grant me the reasonable accommodations that I was trying to set up, so that I could do good work for the company. To give you an idea of how long: in the end the people involved in preparing the reasonable accommodations document wound up having to write/revise about 4 pages of text. To clarify, the document was just one page long, but it was went through 4 versions — 1 original, and 3 revisions. It took them 7 months to write/revise those 4 pages.

In doing this I believe they broke the law — in particular, I believe they violated the so-called Conspiracy against Rights Statute (Title 18 U.S. Code § 241). (For background see An Open Letter to the Inappropriate-Behavior Police). And even though I can see that my autism played an important causal role in creating the initial conspiracy — in making them dislike me, in turning them against me in the first place — as I understand it, our Constitutional rights to not require us to win any popularity contests. Even the worst of criminals are granted their Constitutional rights. As such, these individuals collective dislike of me did not somehow entitle them to block my exercise of the ADA and to set me up to get fired. This is just vigilantism, pure and simple. It is one thing merely to dislike someone, even collectively; quite another indeed to gang up on him in order to block him from exercising his legal rights. The first is perfectly legal; the second is a violation of Title 18 U.S. Code § 241.

I respectfully beseech your assistance in bringing these individuals to Justice.