Friday, September 17, 2004

Handicapped incident

This story presents an interesting legal question. Well, kind of. First off, I feel sorry for the kid with cerebral palsy, and I would really be upset if Kinnick Stadium didn't have some sort of accomodations set up for him. I think with an event of 80,000 people, there should be some concessions made for disabled folks.

But I don't see how a train that services so few people should have to do the same. First off, it's not as if the train has outlawed handicapped people from riding it - in fact, a number of wheelchair-bound people rode it last weekend. I just don't see why the University should have to spend the large amount of money (I'm assuming that putting in one of those mechanized elevators would not be cheap) to accomodate so few people, particularly when the function of the train (to get to the game) can be handled by the handicapped parking spots right next to the stadium.

I also dislike the victimology parlance being used here: that his son was "demeaned and degraded." Come on, now. Demeaned and degraded means not being served dinner at a restaurant because of your skin color. There has to be some intention to maliciously slight another person before I think something can be categorized as demeaning. It's "inconvenient" that a handicapped person has to make special arrangements to attend sporting events, but it's certainly not demeaning. Also, his claim that the train operators were effectively telling him that his "son isn''t as good as everyone else" is ludicrous.

I guess I see this sort of thing as a slippery slope argument, even though I normally hate that principle. What happens if his son can't reach the counter at the concession stand because he can't stand up? Is that being told you're not good enough? Will the stadium have to provide concession stands for handicapped people, with lowered counters? At some point, it seems like he should stop blaming others for trying to exclude his son.

I admit that a lot of why I'm hot about this is the victim mindset that this guy employs. It really is a tragedy that his kid is confined to a wheelchair, and on an emotional level, the case sure is striking. But on a legal level, should the UI really be held responsible for getting his son to a football game?

I'd welcome some comments here, especially if you think I'm being insensitive.


At 7:38 AM, Blogger Tortfeasor said...

I had just written a long comment when my computer screwed up. I'll write it again later in Word and transfer it over.

At 5:41 PM, Blogger MSR said...

Why use Word when you can just make an identical document with a 1972 IBM Selectric?


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