Dear Reader’s Digest…

Thank you for a cheering picture after a week of depressing disability-related news stories, from the blind man who was ‘forgotten about’ and left stranded on an Underground platform in Victoria for 70 minutes…
to the wheelchair user who had his wheelchair nicked for scrap metal…
to, worst and most depressing of all, the deaf, elderly, disabled man who was tazed for failing to respond to a police officer’s commands. He died. The police officer has been put on ‘administrative leave’.

I’m still in shock over that. The original report the police got was for a man who fell off his bike and appeared to be drunk. It wasn’t “Help us! He’s got a knife! He’s just mugged me! I want my wallet back!”. It wasn’t “Oh Jesus Christ, he’s got a bayonet strapped to his bicycle like a jousting pike! Do something!”. It was “Excuse me officer, this elderly man seems to have fallen off his bicycle. I wonder if he’s all right.” How do we go from that, to a situation where, OK he appears to be ignoring you, but he is no direct threat. He’s no threat to the public or to you. He’s riding a bicycle. How on this green earth do you justify zapping him? Even the mayor of the town said he wouldn’t blame the family if they sued. If?

As for the officer concerned, administrative leave? Let’s contrast the situation a little. An ordinary member of the public is told of a man that has fallen off his bicycle, but has got up and continued on his merry way. The member of the public tracks down the man and asks if he’s OK, and if he could stop his bicycle. The man appears to ignore them totally. Unable to handle this slight to their ego, the member of the public takes out a tazer and zaps the man. The man promptly dies. In these circumstances, how long would it be before they were arrested and charged with, at the least, suspicion of second-degree murder while an investigation was conducted? If the autopsy came back and said the man didn’t die as a direct result of being zapped, they might lower the charge to involuntary manslaughter or felony assault or GBH (Grevious Bodily Harm). This police officer has been placed on administrative leave while an investigation is conducted. I’ll be following what happens next with great interest.

Too often I bemoan the lack of deaf and sign language awareness in the general population, and as we’ve seen, it can have tragic results.

Sometimes however, this lack of knowledge can be hilarious for those who understand sign language. And for this, I thank you, Reader’s Digest, for cheering me up when I was starting to think the world had it in for the disabled. And to the person who brought it to my attention on facebook, thanks for the laugh. You may wonder I’m talking about, RD. After all, RD isn’t known for its comedy. I refer you to the cover of the Dec 2011 / Jan 2012 issue, where you have Michelle Obama, wife of one of the most powerful leaders on the planet, signing a word. It’s not a ‘family-friendly’ word. You’ve even managed to get her to sign it in a position approximate to where it actually is. What is this word, you ask? Look at it. Look at the picture. Where are her hands? What shape is she making with her fingers? Oh really, RD. Do I have to draw you a picture? Look at it! All right then, in its loosest, most polite translation, it means ‘fanny’ (British meaning). Or, in a less polite, more accurate translation, it means ‘cunt’ or ‘twat’. Yes, that’s right, RD. You have taken a picture of a smiling Michelle Obama signing the word ‘cunt’, and put it on the front cover of an international magazine and on a website for the world to see. I hope the Secret Service are gentle with you.

Mwahahahahaha hahahaaahaha haaaahahaaaaaahahahaaaaahahaha

Mwaahahahahahahahahahahahaaahahaaahahahaahaha *falls over laughing*


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