Sometimes I wonder just how people can be so messed up. I know, I know. I spend considerable time writing about fools and charlatans, but this is a different kind of messed up, in which hatefulness is added to the ignorance. Consider this story, sent to me by a reader:

“I’m 4 years old,” he said, “and I have a sister named Olivia, and I ride my bike all day long.”

He lives in a piece of suburbia that seems picturesque: the Venzano development in San Marcos. His parents, Gary and Marla Trussle, moved the family here five months ago.

“I thought it would be good for the children,” Marla Trussle explained.

But instead of being welcomed, the Trussle family has been under attack, they said, by neighbors. The accusations against them have been wild, including that 4-year-old Spencer “might come out with a firearm at anytime.”

“I thought they had lost their minds,” said Marla Trussle.

They are neighbors Sarah Fisher, Danielle Harway and Kelly Plaster. All three filed court papers asking that Spencer, his sister Olivia, and mom and dad be restricted to their own home and driveway.

“There was nothing I had done, my husband had done, my daughter had done, or I had done that warranted that response,” said Trussle.

In court papers, Sarah Fisher wrote that, “Gary Trussle is a very violent, unstable and unpredictable man.” Daniele Harway said, “He looked to be on drugs.” And Kelly Plaster added, “I’m concerned that Gary or his son will gain access to Gary’s firearms.”

Fortunately, in this case, reason, common sense, and justice appear to have prevailed. After these neighbors from hell had tried to get Child Protective Services involved and complained to Trussle’s employer:

The neighbors’ accusations and court filings could have ruined the Trussles, but a San Diego Superior Court Judge tossed them all out. In addition, the neighbors have been ordered to reimburse the Trussle’s legal fees, which top $12,000.

While I’m happy that in this case the idiots who let their fear and prejudice run wild to the point that they feared a four year old boy who had never shown any signs of violence only because he is autistic, that they would do such a thing to the Trussles shows just how irrational neighbors can be. I’d like to think that the other neighbors in the area will shun these morons. I’d even like to think that they would have learned something from the righteous slapdown they’ve suffered thus far in the courts, coupled with the publicity their actions have brought upon them, but I’m not that naive. I hope I’m wrong, but my guess is that these fools will make the Trussles’ lives so miserable that they’ll eventually be forced to leave and that, because they had been there before the Trussles, the other neighbors will be more likely to side with those who filed the complaint and resent their having to pay big bucks as a consequence of their idiocy.

Such is the power of blind prejudice.

I also can’t help but wonder if all the posturing by antivaccine advocates that paint autism as due to vaccines and autistic children as “toxic,” “poisoned,” or “damaged” contributes to the fear that leads to behavior like this. It’s just speculation, but demonization of autistic children in that manner can’t help but add to the prejudice against the different, especially those with behavioral problems.