Victorians society always struck me as particularly roundabout in expressing their thoughts. Euphemisms and omissions abound in Victorian literature. The Victorians, we are told, had a whole language of flowers, so that lovers could say with flowers what they couldn't with words. Me? I'm pretty direct. But I'll try out this language of flowers thing, and see if you understand what I'm getting at.
I like to share feel-good stories about people with disabilities on this blog, but I'm sorry to say that I've got a backlog of feel-pissed-off stories to share.
Story number one. A deaf family in Maryland's house is repeatedly burglarized, and after one incident, the police regard the family's attempts at communication as dangerously aggressive, and threw the victim to the ground, subduing him in such a way that he could neither breathe (he had recently had neck surgery) and not communicate via sign language. Apparently, pointing at a police officer, gesturing broadly with one's arms, and pressing a note on them, will get you dragged out your own home in handcuffs. What's really disturbing about this particular story is how the observations of the police officer and a paramedic who was present at the scene differ.
Story number two. A church minister in Lancashire was barred from riding trains because his motorized wheelchair was 4 cm (1.6 inches) too long. Thank goodness for the Americans With Disabilities Act, which guarantees access to all public spaces and businesses.
Story number three. A Toronto man is waiting in the airport, when a security officer comes up to him and begins to confiscate his luggage. The man is told that he is not properly "attending" his luggage, because his is a wheelchair user.
Story number four. Recently disabled veterans were driven from a swimming pool in Surrey, because a woman who was also using the pool objected to their presence. The men, who had lost limbs while serving in Afghanistan and Iraq, were participating in their regularly scheduled therapy sessions when a woman insisted that they had no rights to use the pool. She insisted that they had not paid to use the pool, as she had. And furthermore she insisted that the men should not be allowed to use the public pool because their appearance might scare children. The men's therapist opted to end the therapy session, because of this conflict.
Story number five. Two men with muscular distrophy were forced to crawl to their car, because mall cops refused to allow them to use the mall-provided wheelchairs in the mall's parking lot.
What can I say? I guess bigotry and ignorance are alive and well, and not an outmoded relic of bygone era.