BOISE, Idaho. -- A mother's fearful plea has gone viral and put a spotlight on mental illness after she made a link between her own son and the killer in the Connecticut school shootings.
Some believe Liza Long was out of line when she posted a blog explaining that she loves her 13-year-old son, but he terrifies her. Her son has Asperger s syndrome, a developmental disorder in the autism spectrum.
Family friends and former schoolmates of the man who gunned down 27 people in Newtown, Connecticut said he also had Asperger s.
Critics have said Long has painted the disorder in a negative light, and with an inappropriate broad brush.
This mother in great detail painted her son, who is innocent, as a murderer a future murderer, which is wrong on a number of counts, said Belinda Hanson, whose 8-year-old son has autism.
If somebody s intending to harm you, with malicious intent, that takes planning, said therapist Lauren Corder, who specializes in helping kids with autism. She said while there is an increase in aggression for some, it's not premeditated, not the kind of violence that causes a horrific scene like the one at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
If we limit ourselves into thinking that everyone with autism is aggressive, we re never really going to get to the root of what s going on with our kids, Corder said.
Law enforcement officials are an integral part of the mental illness safety net. Portland police officer Chris Burley said serious mental illnesses deserve more attention.
It s really important that we are able to supply resources to persons and recognize when a person initially is experiencing mental illness, he said.
Long said her son defends the blog about him, saying despite the controversy maybe it will help others who are struggling, to finally discuss the issue.