Think before you judge

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IGNORANCE is a very dangerous mental disorder. It makes some people say and do very strange and sometimes dangerous things.

This week, UK media ‘personality’ Katie Hopkins put on Twitter that she was at an airline gate watching ‘hundreds’ of miracles. Of course, that statement alone is nonsense. She was referring to people formerly bound to wheelchairs, suddenly gaining the ability to walk. She then went on to say ‘praise be, the miracle of why walk when there’s a wheelchair to skip the lines.’

This is a pure and utterly dangerous thing to say because this tweet caused many of her followers to agree with her. On the plus side there were many – like myself – who tried to explain to her and others that there are many disabilities which mean you have to use a wheelchair for certain parts of your journey and for other parts you can walk.

It’s no miracle, just the nature of the illness. So once again I am going to explain my particular disorder. It’s called Primary Orthostatic Tremor. It’s one of the rarest neurological disorders in the world and there is no treatment. It means I spend a lot of time using a wheelchair. I can walk – I just can’t stop for longer than a few seconds. So I can walk my dog, but I get a tremor every time he stops to do what dogs do.

I have a particularly ignorant neighbour who, on top of his racist remarks and other insulting comments, cannot grasp this at all. In fact, he can’t even understand that disabled people use wheelchairs not pushchairs! I kid you not. He’s apparently going to report me to the hospital because he’s seen me walking.

This is the sort of rubbish that disabled people, who are not confined permanently to a wheelchair, have to put up with. Of course there are some people who do mess with the system, but there is a way round that.

Make people show a doctor’s letter or blue badge to airport assistance. Obviously there has to be discretion if someone has had an accident etc. The people who cheat the system are the people who park in disabled bays and then abuse you when you explain that you need the extra space to get in and out of your car with your wheelchair.

On the plus side most people are very understanding, sympathetic and helpful, and I thank you for that.

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1 COMMENT

  1. I heartily endorse your statements Mike. My wife is also a ‘part-time’ wheelchair user and we have encountered the same problems with the same types of people. They think you can only be totally disabled or not disabled at all with nothing in-between. She has a chronic nerve-pain condition which allows her a small amount of mobility. However it flares up to intolerable levels of pain if she attempts to walk more than a few feet despite being on a huge cocktail of painkillers up to and including morphine. People often stare or make sarky comments when they see her stand up or walk a few steps when out in public. It is astonishing how so many people can adopt an all-or-nothing approach to life – never able to understand the concept of partial disabilities. It makes me wonder how they look at other things too. For example, do they only support far-right or far-left views in politics and social media? Are they unable to support moderate viewpoints? No wonder our society has become so polarised.

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