Sunday, August 3, 2014

Horrible, Wonderful

This is an essay about a lot of horrible things, so you've been warned; terrible awful things done to people with disabilities and able-bodied people whose bodies have been torn the shreds by heinous violence.

In Russia, the Malaysia Airlines plane shot down by a military rocket killed all the passengers, including children and several AIDS activists and HIV specialists headed from Amsterdam to the Melbourne AIDS Conference.

Dozens of memorials around the world have commemorated those lost. But even though it's now known that this was an intentional act committed by the military, albeit mistakenly, no international governing body has taken steps to sue, punish, or lay blame where it belongs; with the fascist Putin regime and his missile-wielding military thugs, who tried to cover up evidence, abscond with corpses, blame others, even spew out conspiracy theories about the passengers "being already dead" to the lie-filled Russian media. 

But all that became old news, like a confusing and quickly forgotten episode of LOST, when the Middle East once again erupted into bombings and bloodshed. 

In Gaza, Israeli air strikes have killed hundreds, two thirds of them children. Supporters of Israel's violence will shriek "Anti-Semitism!" when anyone dares to criticize the Israeli military, which is once again decimating the shrinking regions of Palestine, courtesy of the billions poured into said military by your U.S. tax dollars.

Pro-Palestine people deny the decades of terrorists acts, the creepy creation of underground tunnels, and it goes back and forth, until the entire region is nothing but rubble.

It's difficult to rationalize these events, because they are not rational. They are the violent irrational actions of power-mad men, and of course the majority of those killed are women and children. All of it's quickly trivialized into link-bait listicles: 10 Things You Should Know About Gaza!

What do your friends and my friends think about it, do about it? We type on a screen, make memes, post on Facebook and unfriend anyone who disagrees with us. We flame war. We lash out. Or we scroll on by.

Author Dale Peck wrote: "I find the idea of trying to conduct a meaningful discussion on social media to be ridiculous—any conversation seems to reduce to soundbite and dogma and vitriol almost immediately. "

Musician and activist Annie Lennox had this to say. "Gaza fighting continues as both sides reject each others' cease fire announcements. According to Unicef the death toll in Gaza has risen to more than 1,030, with 218 children killed, two thirds of them under the age of 12.

"At some point in time the leaders will have to come to some kind of agreement, otherwise the future will be total oblivion on both sides… That has always been at the core of any statement I've ever made about this horrendous situation. It's in everyone's best interest to find a peaceful solution."

Linkbaity Huffington Post noted that a Mosque that was also a center for the disabled was among the buildings bombed.  

One Awful at a Time
When all of this is too overwhelming, I find it necessary to take it down to smaller events, which are still awful and incomprehensible.

For example, somebody stole Aaron Fotheringham's wheelchair. Yup, early last month, some completely awful person swiped the adventurous stunt-riding dude's specially-made chair, named Slammy, within moments of his wheeling in his other chair while he was running errands with his truck.

You can choose to ignore that fact that Fotheringham's also a gun-owning Second Amendment bro. In his case, I wish he had been carrying his gun, to protect himself from such a heinous thief. Because crimes against disabled people happen a lot.

A woman selling kittens had her wheelchair stolen. Awful! And so is the dumb media that called her "wheelchair-bound." She wasn't tied to the chair, idiots.

Also idiotic are members of a Montesano city council who still won't provide an ASL interpreter for their deaf councilwoman.

How about the multiple cases of businesses, like a TJ Maxx, that refuse entry to people with service dogs? And not just any disabled person, but a survivor of the Boston Marathon bombing!

These individual acts of cruelty are well documented via's blog and the Facebook page Representing Disability in an Ableist World.

Despite having finished my two disability-themed novels, I still keep up with events that sometimes make me sad. While the main characters, Reid and Everett, hope for an improved society, amid their own relationship problems, it seems their future would hold a continuing assortment of difficulties. 

Recently, a reader critiqued my new book, Message of Love, for not including "enough drama," meaning bad stuff? Death? Violence against a paraplegic? I'm not sure. I do know that I went easy on my characters, because I love them a bit too much. I'm weak. Sue me.

But actually, to make their lives more difficult, in the years before the Americans with Disabity Act, they wouldn't even be able to sue, as so many people these days are forced to do.

For example, in Pennsylvania, where the two novels are set, disabled people have had to sue Starbucks, Wendy's and entire shopping malls for refusing to make their buildings accessible.

In Lafayette, Indiana, a cop shoved a man in a wheelchair, was caught on tape, and not convicted of any wrongdoing, until he was sued.

Nearly 50 disabled people successfully sued the gas station chain QuikTrip after its facilities were cited as inaccessible.

Disabled New Yorkers have had to sue the city because of the dangers of streets and intersections.

In the arts, the Guardian reports that nearly all the progress achieved from the 2012 London Paralympic Games has pretty much been set adrift due to massive funding cuts.

And in the most awful stupid celebrity news, Justin Bieber faked an injury so he could use a wheelchair and avoid the lines at Disneyland. Really, can't that horrid little monster just rent the park for the day? Why can't we bomb Canada for inflicting this little shit on us?
But then, you find good news.

In this Poor Magazine article, Palestinian hip-hoppers are coming together to share their perspectives with a song specifically focused on disabilities.

A Vietnam veteran had his wheelchair break down while he was shopping at a Lowe's hardware store. The employees spent hours making him an upgraded and repaired chair.

A double amputee has started a shoe company specific to footwear for the disabled.

And some Good Samaritan apparently went into a "dodgy" neighborhood and found Fotheringham's wheels. But not before he got another one, specially built, and prepped for his daring stunt-riding.

When asked on Facebook why he isn't using 'Sammy,' his old returned wheelchair, he replied, "If you got a new bike would you still use the old beat up one?"

So, we move on. 

Or, like author Rabih Alameddine, you find humor in the darkest place, as he wrote when posting this photo (above): "Israel, you wankers, you missed the tree!"

No comments:

Post a Comment