Joe Scarborough speculated Monday that James Holmes, the alleged shooter in Aurora, Colorado, might have been "on the autism scale." He later released a statement clarifying his remarks.
Holmes was behind the mass shooting at a midnight showing of "Dark Knight Rises." He shot over 70 people, killing twelve of them. On Monday, Scarborough weighed in on the tragic event and said that it was a "mental health issue."
The MSNBC host said he "did not want to generalize," but that he knew who was responsible as soon as he heard about the shooting. "I knew it was a young, white male, probably from an affluent neighborhood, disconnected from society, it happens time and time again," he remarked.
"Most of it has to do with mental health. You have these people that are somewhere, I believe, probably on the autism scale," said Scarborough, whose own son has Asperger's syndrome. "I don't know if that's the case here, but it happens more often than not. People that can walk around in society, they can function on college campuses, they can even excel on college campuses, but are socially disconnected."
He added that autistic people who don't have a strong support network face a "terrible challenge" on a daily basis. "Again, I don't know the specifics about this young man, but we see too many shooters bearing the same characteristics mentally," Scarborough said.
On Tuesday, he said that he had been emphasizing the need for greater attention to mental health in the U.S., and that his statement had been misconstrued.
"Those suggesting that I was linking all violent behavior to Autism missed my larger point and overlooked the fact that I have a wonderful, loving son with Aspergers," he wrote in a statement obtained by The Huffington Post. "Perhaps I could have made my point more eloquently."
Below, read the full text of Scarborough's statement:
During a debate regarding the recent Colorado shootings, I suggested that the Aurora tragedy should make Americans focus more on mental health in this country. I also stated that my own experiences raising a son with Aspergers made me keenly aware of how important strong support systems are to those who might otherwise be isolated.
The growing Autism epidemic is a tremendous burden for children, parents and loved ones to endure. My call for increased funding and awareness for Autism and other mental health conditions was meant to support the efforts of those who work every day to improve the lives of Americans impacted. Those suggesting that I was linking all violent behavior to Autism missed my larger point and overlooked the fact that I have a wonderful, loving son with Aspergers. Perhaps I could have made my point more eloquently.
I look forward to continuing my work with wonderful organizations like Autism Speaks to provide badly needed support to millions of Americans who struggle with Autism every day.