So this article was published recently about a person in Maine that lived by himself in the woods for 30 years, supporting himself by stealing food, clothing, and toiletries. It’s about as balanced an article as one is going to find in mainstream media, but I’ve got a few problems with it.
Not all hermits are introverts. Not that my statistical sample is large, but I know hermits who’re introverts and ones who aren’t. While I’m at it, the “crazy” label has to go. Knight, himself, brings up the point that once he gets labeled as a hermit, his sanity comes into question. He was obviously sane enough to stand trial. It’s tiring to have people who don’t fit the status quo labeled as “crazy.” First, not everyone who’s the least bit “odd” is mentally ill. Also, this makes it hard for people who fit in, as it were, to seek help for what mental illnesses they might be struggling with. Mental illness is something affecting a large swath of people with a big enough stigma. Neither it, nor those who choose to live an eremitical life, deserve more stigma.
Not all people with Asperger’s or some form of autism act “weird.” The article just drops the possible diagnosis in, as if it explains everything. Again, my sample is not statistically accurate, but the folks I know who aren’t neurotypical try their damnedest to fit in. Not everyone who behaves oddly has Asperger’s or the like.
Finally, I’m bothered by the sentence. Yes, stealing was wrong, and I’m not trying to minimize the community’s fear, but it feels like he’s being judicially pushed into a society he doesn’t want to be a part of. If he wanted school or a job, he would’ve gotten one thirty years ago. It’s an indictment of our society if there’s no value placed on anyone who doesn’t directly contribute to the capitalist empire.