Quick note for readers. I think it’s important that I consider my back catalogue of posts to be part of the site and that they get maintained, looked after and followed up on. So each Friday I’ll be picking a post I did from that week last year, and see if my opinions have changed, or find out how the story develops.
This is an update of this post, written last year.
One of the things I find fascinating about disability is that it breaks your argument.
It doesn’t matter what your argument is, disability will break it.
You have yourself a nice simple world view like, for example:
(which I happen to broadly agree with) and suddenly you have to contend with a range of cognitive issues, which make a simple issue complex. Obviously, that’s very hard for you.
You may also have the view: I believe “fat pride” is absolutely disgusting, offensive to everyone at a healthy weight, and deserves to be shamed at will.(which I happen to broadly disagree with) which runs into a problems as soon as you consider a wide range of health issues.
Or you might have a nice clear ethical principle about suicide and you find that various of the disability-related aspects around right-to-die might make your position really quite uncomfortable. Until recently I was slowly developing a career around exactly these complexities with privacy control and disability.
Abortion is always a can of worms regardless of the consequences, but both pro-choice and pro-life positions (as they are generally presented) have nasty consequences for various disability issues.
The point is that because people are different, solutions for many people can’t be simple. Never has this been more apparent than this story from just before Christmas:
Many disabled citizens have difficulty wielding traditional pistols and rifles, which has prompted some to become vociferous allies in the campaign to block new restrictions on assault-style weapons.
“They’re banning these weapons for arbitrary reasons — because it has a certain grip or stock — when in reality those are the features that someone with a disability like me needs to operate a firearm,” said Scott Ennis, a hemophiliac who started the Connecticut-based disabled firearm-owners group and serves as its president. Like Foti, Ennis suffered joint damage that makes it difficult for him to grip and shoot.
Ennis and others insist that all citizens have the right to bear arms, and disabled citizens often have an even greater need for weapons for self-defense.
Yes, someone has raised the (sensible) issue that if you are banning guns based on the type of grip they have (which is pretty strange gun-control from a British point of view anyway, and even stranger for anyone from a technical point of view… we can make grips), then you are disproportionately causing problems for people with disabilities. For those of you keeping score, the court case in question was reduced to an individual plaintiff in February, and hasn’t made the news since.
(page image from http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Disabled_parking_place.jpg)