Friday, June 29, 2007

What will it take?

I came across two disturbing news items today. One is a of a diabetic man who was tossed off an Amtrak train in the middle of a forest by personnel who assumed he was drunk, when when he was actually suffering diabetic shock. The other is a report of a police officer who killed a suspect with cerebral palsy. At least the officer has been found guilty of negligent manslaughter and admits that he mistook the young man's jerky motion for threatening behavior.

If only this sort of story was an anomaly instead of one the constant fears of people with disability, that disability will be mistaken for disobedience and disorder. I don't expect everyone to know about every disability. But rather obviously, there are too many people who know essentially nothing about any disability and immediately interpret difference as danger. The result is that people get killed for spasticity, shot for being deaf, abandoned or jailed or tasered for diabetes and epilepsy, deported for developmental disability.

I don't for a moment think that anyone feels good or justified after making such terrible errors in judgment. So wouldn't it be a good idea to give some training to people who deal with the public? If there was at least some guarantee that an effort would be made to read medical alert bracelets, it would be a step in the right direction.

1 comment:

Philip. said...

What happened in the stories you highlighted is disgraceful!