Saturday, February 16, 2013

Pistols and Wheelchairs

Read the story at Slate.com
Long ago I read a simple little summation of human frailty in a novel by Peter DeVries, a writer who often indulged in black humor. 

"Human nature is pretty shabby stuff, as you may know from introspection."

I have used that thought over the years, especially when someone attempted to indulge in the cliches of "heroism" or "inspirational" in the context of disability.

It comes to light again this week with the saga of Oscar Pistorius. Whether his shooting of his girlfriend was deliberate murder or an act of paranoid fear exacerbated by a firearm at hand, I don't know. All I do know is that Pistorius is human, a flawed person like every other soul on this earth—even though he is a peerless Olympic athlete and a man of uncommon drive and perseverance and physical ability.

It's good to see someone in the mainstream media recognize this. Read William Saletan's "The Disability Pedestal" in Slate.

Oddly, considering the congratulations bandied about during last year's Olympics as Pistorius was being marketed, the disability activism community has been silent about Bladerunner's troubles. That's fine. We who speak as people with disabilities have always wanted to be perceived as random human beings, people made no better or worse by disability. We are people, creatures good, bad, common, and uncommon. There are Stephen Hawkings amongst us, but there are also people who are hit-and-run drivers, attempted armed robbers, and sexual deviants. Saletan offers those examples of crips committing crime, including bizarre perceptions of a crip believing the law cannot touch him because of an evident severe disability. 

And that's another example of commonality between people with, and without, disabilities. Crips can be as stupid and ignorant too.
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