Is it just me or is our country actually becoming more handicapped? Or has our egotistical/narcissistic personality merely found new ways to feel special?
Case in Point:
I observe the use, and unfortunately abuse, of the handicapped placard as one example. Here people use their relatives’ placards when they aren’t present because, heck those spaces are being wasted by non-use anyway. Or they sometimes exaggerate and request placards when truly a little more walking would do them some good. (Note I could qualify for a placard because of my current heart condition but I am in the camp of “a little more walking does more help then harm” so I have elected to not request or apply.)
Besides prime parking spots, many cities allow handicapped parkers to avoid paying parking meters and tolls. And who wouldn’t like that? It is understandable, and frankly no program is foolproof and subject to some reasonable policing, we will have to live with a certain level of fraud and use more ridicule to help the Abusers kick their habit.
What has certainly been on the up rise, much like the spread of a virus, is the Service Animal. I am not speaking of seeing eye dogs or hearing dogs or the ambulatory type service dogs that are certainly helpful; and, we as a society should support such use. I am talking about the 30 year old that just “can’t be without his or her pet” and insists it flies for free (or goes to the grocery store, or sits inside the restaurant).
We know many of the service dogs are just that. Solely for people who are so self centered that they just feel it is their right to have their family pooch with them 24/7 (probably why I like Cat people). I place our dog in a doggy hotel when we all leave town. I would never support its claim as a service dog even though I can guarantee that my wife would certainly feel better with her family pet licking her face. But feeling better isn’t a handicap. If it were, then I am handicapped too; as I would feel better with lower taxes.
I have seen hunting grade retrievers, with rope for a leash, connected to someone who has been bird hunting in Canada claim the dog is a service dog and is allowed to fly for free. And the agents and security people are unable to question the right of these passengers. Hogwash. There is no right to fly the pooch for free. Yes, I know about the ADA. The intent of the ADA was to help free barriers to the disabled – not the lazy, simple, or egomaniacs I too frequently encounter. Well intentioned legislation that is extended through regulatory or legal expansion beyond any rational measure.
Accommodating real needs should be expressly desired. Trumped up ones should be told to take a hike (without the aid of their pet).
Also, I have been on delayed flights where a passenger who is allergic to dogs was unfortunately in both a middle seat and next to one of 3 dogs on that flight. She had to move. Did anyone volunteer to help? No. So we waited for the stewardess to negotiate a change. At some point to get the flight going I would have exchanged my 1st class seat for a middle coach to get the plane down the runway.
The challenging thing is I know there are real non-visual handicaps like Epilepsy where a trained dog can help. I am sure there are others. But the numbers in reality are way fewer then the percentages I witness of flying public. That is where I just know the system is too easy to abuse.
Who is at fault? Well we all are. We start by giving all the kids trophies for showing up. We teach them they are so special. We treat them as all smarter than average and then we reward every student a Student of the Month award for merely showing up. We reward them for seeking special treatment. We demand their teachers and schools accommodate every nuance. We demand higher grades for Johnny and Bessie as God forbid any one is Average.
We look at others and feel short changed. We want that better mortgage rate, nicer car, and then we see the Service Dog. Or our friends have one and we don’t, so we become envious. So we plead with our doctor for a note and voila, we have the required note. And pooch doesn’t have to suffer the kennel and we all pay the price of these insecurities.
Let’s face it. We all want to feel special. And sometimes we are. Oftentimes we aren’t. And having others subsidize one’s behavior and choices is unfair to those that pay and foot the financial and psychological price. The real cost is the implications to those that really and truly need to privilege because We, the Public, simply see the picture in front of us and deem the person guilty.
Think about it.