An exchange with J.B. Handley, Generation Rescue

The following exchange took place after members of the Evidence of Harm mailing list became aware of my letter to Mr. Kirby.

From: "bradfordhandley"
Date: Fri Jun 3, 2005 11:25 am
Subject: For Kathleen Seidel

Generation Rescue would like to sponsor a hair test for your kids through Doctor's Data Lab.

If it shows they are mercury toxic, we will be happy to support you in proper treatment.

If it shows they are not, we will post that on our website to show parents an alternative viewpoint.

Warm regards,

JB Handley
Dad of a mercury poisoned child misdiagnosed as autistic

From: "bradfordhandley"
Date: Fri Jun 3, 2005 1:57 pm
Subject: Open Letter to Kathleen Seidel

Hi Kathleen:

I've been bummed out ever since I read your letter to David Kirby and I wanted to reach out to you.

It's a rule of mine to never disparage any parent with an ASD child because we are all brothers and sisters in this battle to bring our kids back (or love them exactly for who they are, depending on your frame of reference).

Here's my view: it is entirely plausible that those of us with mercury-poisoned kids have been thrown into a bucket of autism or Asperger's mistakenly. While I don't think this is likely, it is certainly very plausible. If true, then semantics are putting us at odds with our brothers and sisters who have "true" autistic or Aspergarian kids and just want them to be respected for who they are.

There was a Doctor and ASD parent a few weeks ago who wrote a critical piece on EOH in the BMJ and I corresponded with this Dad, who I view as a borther, and he conceded to me that he had never had his son tested for heavy metal toxicity. If he hasn't, how can he say we are wrong?

That is why we offered to pay for a hair test for your kids. Done correctly, it is a quick way to see if you're kids are heavy metal toxic. If they're not, it bolsters your position. If they are, it bolsters ours. If you are unwilling to do the test, I think that is a telling choice.

I know for a fact that my son, labeled autistic, is mercury poisoned. I have all the lab work to prove it, which I offer up to journalists every day. I believe my son's symptoms, which caused him to be labeled autistic, are all manifestations of heavy metal toxicity. I know this because I've become a lay-expert on toxicology and because as we detoxify him, many of his symptoms are disappearing.

It is always interesting to me when older persons, who have been labeled autistic, write scathing blogs about what we are doing. I just shake my head. If you met many of OUR kids, you'd know how absurd that really is!! Our kids can't write, for god's sake, they can barely function on their own (at least this was true for me)!! What I wouldn't give to know that my son had the brainpower and skills to write as an adult and defend his label!!

Kathleen, let's find a way to bridge the unnecessary gap between us. Respect that many of us have proof-positive our kids are heavy metal toxic. If you have proof-negative your kids are not, we can start to unravel what may be a very unfortunate case of widespread misdiagnosis making everyone confused.

War regards and your brother in the ASD struggle,

JB Handley

From: Kathleen Seidel
To: J.B. Handley
Cc: David Kirby
Sent: Sunday, June 05, 2005 6:45 AM
Subject: Your Offer

Dear Mr. Handley,

I have received your offer to underwrite hair testing for my children, and your subsequent letter.

Considering that you went to the trouble to respond to my letter to Mr. Kirby, it is unfortunate that you did not address my concerns about the toxic attitudes displayed in such abundance by you and your colleagues. Rather, you have chosen to reply to a communication filled with substantive questions and observations, copiously documented, by disregarding those questions and observations, diverting attention to me personally, and making intrusive personal demands cloaked in expressions of brotherhood and fellowship. This is not surprising, since you took the same approach with Dr. Michael Fitzpatrick, and in a post to the Evidence of Harm list you indicated that this is your basic challenge to any parent who might openly disagree with your interpretation of existing evidence regarding autism causation -- that is, you predictably use ad hominem argument as a tactic of first resort, and attempt to involve other people's children in your pursuit of victory in a debate.

It is not clear whether your reference to a "scathing blog about what we are doing" was a reference to my letter to Mr. Kirby. I would hope not, since such a characterization would be entirely incorrect, not only with respect to that letter, but also to anything else I have written. Re-read just the first paragraph of my letter to Mr. Kirby and you will see that I did not wish to debate the thimerosal-autism question. I have no interest in engaging in further discussion of the subject with you, Mr. Kirby, "killerjabs," "Rescue Angels," or anyone else. Re-read the entire letter and you will see that I did not attack other parents for the choices they have made regarding their own children's medical problems; rather, I questioned Mr. Kirby's claims to journalistic objectivity, and provided an extensive, well-documented litany of abuse, ill-will and damning personal judgements made against parents, researchers and others, emitted by members of the Evidence of Harm discussion list.

It is unfortunate that Mr. Kirby has not responded to my letter. I would hope that it might provoke a little soul-searching on the part of those who were quoted, as well as anyone privy and sympathetic to the ongoing conversation on the EOH list who might not have considered that all those insults have been directed at real people, not cartoon characters, not villains in a mythic battle between good and evil.

As an example of disrespect for autism researchers who concentrate on other areas than biomedical research, I cited your reference to "pie in the sky stuff unlikely to yield actionable results." As an example of disrespect for other parents, I cited your post containing the statement,

"If you do not believe there is a correlation between autism and mercury but have never had your child tested for mercury and/or tried chelation, I do not view that as a credible conclusion on your part. If you have done all the proper testing for heavy metal toxicity and seen nothing or have chelated for more than 18 months and seen no improvement, then you have credibility with me. And, if you have not done any of these things (testing and treatment) and you have an autistic child and you read all the posts from parents like me that say their kids are getting better, what the fuck are you thinking? ... You're in denial, get over it for the sake of your kid."

In sum, you regard as inherently negligent, "in denial" and unworthy of respect, any parent of a person with an autistic spectrum diagnosis whose parenting decisions differ from yours, and who fails to be persuaded by your testimonials to conform to your perspective. This arrogance is the source of your "unnecessary gap."

You assert that you "never disparage any parent of an ASD child," then offer to finance a hair test for my family members (from a specific laboratory, no less!), and state that it would be "a telling choice" were I to decline your generous offer. At worst, this is an attempt to skewer me personally between the horns of a false dilemma. At best, it suggests that you and I have very different ideas about what "disparage" means.

Your offer is presumptuous and insulting. I am under no obligation to prove or disprove your suspicion that my family members have been contaminated. I am under no obligation to explain or defend my family's private medical decisions to you, or to provide you with anecdotal information about our personal lives. You may choose to exhibit your child and your child's private medical records to the scrutiny of curious journalists in order to further your legal agenda; I do not. I am unwilling to enter my offspring into play as pawns in a game of medical show-and-tell, simply so that you might acquire some piece of information that might "bolster your position." You are involved in litigation; I am not. I have no position to bolster and no obligation to provide "proof positive" or "proof negative" about anything to anyone.

I am under no obligation to submit myself or my family to your litmus test of credibility; it is hardly respectable for you to "respect" only those who comply with your inappropriate personal demands.

I wish you and your family well.


Kathleen Seidel

From: J.B. Handley
To: Kathleen Seidel
Sent: Sunday, June 05, 2005 11:11 AM
Subject: Your Offer

We can agree to disagree.

I am categorically not involved in any litigation whatsoever.

J.B. Handley
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