An autistic man was surfing the internet on his dad’s sofa. Then the FBI turned up

Source: economist.com 11/21/22

If you read Brandon Fleury a story when he was three, he’d recite it back to you word for word. His father Patrick, then a professional tennis coach, was both bemused and impressed by his physically awkward son. He would tell people about Brandon’s capacity for mimicry – eventually he found himself explaining it to a jury.

Brandon had a tough childhood. One night when he was five and lying in bed with his mother, she had a pulmonary embolism and died. Fleury became a full-time single dad to Brandon and his younger brother. Brandon had always needed extra attention, but after his wife died Fleury began to pick up on more unusual elements of his son’s behaviour. A girl from the neighbourhood would pull him around in a wagon “like he was a puppy”; Brandon seemed uneasy with it yet unable to articulate his discomfort. At their home in Santa Ana, California, he would repeat phrases and questions over and over again, or open and shut doors repeatedly. Sometimes he would flush the toilet 30 times in a row, giggling.

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to make a long story short he was found dead ! hey i disappeared for 6 years and ended getting caught in a raid on the business i worked at,they were not there for me but i guess i became a bonus FTR.

The law makes little distinction between things we utter online and things we say in person, yet, to quote an overused Twitter meme, with cyber bullying you can just “close your eyes,” or, better yet, log off. In real life you don’t have such an immediate remedy, if you have one at all. There are many people, autistic and otherwise, on the internet saying despicable things. They’re really easy to avoid thankfully—just don’t read comments, stay away from strangers on social media. The young man in jail took way too far and emailed parents of slain children, and this warranted punishment, but I think it’s excessive—surely being harassed as the parent of a shooting victim would be extremely unpleasant, but several years in Federal prison for hate mail?