I was talking to Penn Jillette in Vegas a couple of years ago about one of their Showtime specials I helped with. He said, “Every time I see a round door knob I think of you!”
I suppose there are far worse things to be remembered for…
Is this cool, or what?
Thanks to Robb Pritts for this interview. It was fun talking to him.
As usual, the only people who seem obsessed with lawyers, the government, and Psychiatrists helping the handicapped are the lawyers, politicians, and psychiatrists who aren’t handicapped.
(With special thanks to Lew Rockwell)
Doing John Stossel’s show last week caused me to come to new conclusions about the eADA (the evil Americans with Disabilities Act). The Americans with Disabilities Act celebrated its 20th anniversary in August. More precisely, America’s lawyers celebrated because they are the only ones who benefit.
First, the show’s subtitle was unintentionally misleading. “Good Intentions Gone Wrong.” The flaw there is the ADA was not founded with good intentions. People were not kicking my crutches out from under me before the ADA was passed. People were not pushing my wheelchair into traffic before the ADA was signed into law. It took the Americans with Disabilities Act to break the backs of handicapped people and increase discrimination against us.
People never viewed the handicapped with disdain before the ADA. People actually hired the handicapped! Normal people admired the handicapped. People thought, “This person can overcome a physical challenge and still do the job? That’s a person I want to hire! That’s a person who shows fortitude!”
In addition, as Walter K. Olson so wisely states, handicapped people did not view themselves as victims of society when the liberals passed the ADA. (Spearheaded by George H. Bush and Robert Dole, two of the liberalist liberals the USA has ever seen — and not in the classic sense.)
It took major effort to turn a class of proud, noble people into victims who would take handouts from the government (Bob) dole.
A man you might have heard about, Lew Rockwell, has been known to say that today’s handicapped people are “walking lawsuits.” I take issue with that because many are actually rolling lawsuits.
An employer is not allowed to ask anything about a handicap. An employer is not allowed to ask if you need special devices. An employer is not allowed to ask about the extent is of your problem. Once hired you can come back with an EEOC or Department of Justice or one of the plethora of ADA lawyers around the country and sue your employer if he cannot afford to retrofit his place of business to accommodate you. It’s a great deal for the advocate and hey, it’s a business expense so who’s really harmed? (Oops, a bit of sarcasm just dripped onto my shoe.)
The reason that 10% fewer handicapped people today are working than before the ADA is precisely because of the problems the ADA causes employers across the country.
That type of discrimination is difficult to put a finger on (especially with my hands!).
It’s a hidden, sort of “soft” discrimination where the employment figures have dropped since the ADA’s inception.
Now if there was blatant discrimination against me by private businesses, I would tell you. If people didn’t hire me because I am handicapped, instead of not wanting me because they fear the ADA, I would tell you.
And there is something I want the government to do to make me more equal. There is something I want Congress to do to make it easier for me to get around. I want the government to do exactly this: Stay out of my way and leave me alone.
See, I more easily trip over things that get in my way.
And there is something I want private businesses to do to make me more equal. There is something I want Wal-Mart to do to make it easier for me to shop in their stores. I want Wal-Mart to do exactly this: Whatever Wal-Mart wants to do to keep me as a customer. Because, see, if Wal-Mart doesn’t want me as a customer there is someone else who does. (Wal-Mart does want me as a customer.)
And if an employer doesn’t want to hire me because I am handicapped, maybe — just maybe — that employer cannot afford to retrofit his business to my special needs. Or… perhaps that employer hates the handicapped! Maybe he is a jerk.
But guess what? If someone doesn’t want to hire me then I certainly don’t want to work for him! My self-worth is more important than getting some ADA advocate to force that employer at gunpoint to give me a job. Why would anyone in his right mind want to work in that environment?
20 years ago, I considered going to Washington and lobbying against the ADA. I knew it would be a horrid law and would actually harm the very people it supposedly was designed to help: truly handicapped. And I knew it would be far worse and cost normal people time, money, and resources.
But I had absolutely no idea it would become the mammoth behemoth it is today. I kick myself for not lobbying against it. And for me… the idea of kicking myself has special meaning.
I described the soft discrimination that takes place all across the country above. Employers are rightly fearful of the ADA and the lawsuits it brings whether they hire or don’t hire. I understand that discrimination. And guess what? One of the reasons I got out of the rental property businesses was because I feared having to rent to some handicapped person!
A law was coming down the pike in Oklahoma that I was supposed to install visual smoke alarms in all my places, the kind that has flashing strobe lights on them when they go off. Because how can a deaf person hope to hear a smoke alarm?
And guess what? If a deaf person wanted to rent from me before that law, I would have been thrilled to change out the home’s smoke detectors! But why install these ultra-expensive (then at least) visual smoke alarms when nobody I rented to had hearing problems?
I should have just ignored it and then hobbled into the courtroom when some ADA lawyer took me to court because I was so mean to handicapped people. Now that would have been fun!
I do not at all concern myself with the soft discrimination. It’s not private business’s fault that they have to protect themselves.
But do you know what is not fun? What is not fun is the blatant discrimination I and every other handicapped victim in the nation experiences.
Today, the only organization that insidiously discriminates against me is the government.
And it is ruthless in its discrimination. And there’s nothing I can do except keep my mouth shut or the government will punish me, either by a brutal take-down arrest or by denying me an inalienable right.
I no longer fly when I have any other choice. If somebody else pays for my ticket I will fly. (I am not stupid.) But ever since the airports and TSA began treating customers like criminals, I said I will never again fly when there is any other option. And I haven’t.
Still there are times I must fly. Such as when Stossel’s show flew me to Manhattan for what turned out to be about a 1.5 minutes of on-air talking last week. Airfare, elegant hotel, my own personal driver, and more, all for 1.5 minutes of work? Let’s me think… okay, it’s a deal! Wait, just to be sure let me do a quick Excel spreadsheet analysis… okay, it’s a deal!
But guess who gets to strip in front of all the other passengers at the airport? Me. And unfortunately this is not something I get a thrill from.
“Mister, what is wrong with your leg?”
“Mister, come here and sit in this chair so I can frisk you more closely!” (TSA is nothing if not perverted.)
Big observation: No employer can ask me that question. But the government can. Are you beginning to see how compassionate the government is?
“You have an artificial leg? Don’t move!”
I thought I was being arrested the way he forcefully said “Don’t move!” (He brings back wipes and some device and fluid.) This all happens while my laptop, shoes, belt, and carry-on bag are leaving my sight and heading into a pile of people rummaging through things trying to find their items, and perhaps looking over mine too if they need a new laptop.
“We could go into a private room for this if you need to take your pants off” (In case you have forgotten, the TSA is nothing if not perverted), “or I can just raise your pant leg up. Here, that is easier.”
So he begins doing just that. And it’s surreal. And I am trying to keep an eye on my stuff that I can no longer see. I say, “All my stuff is going way over there.” And he replies with his highly-trained, razor-sharp skilled wit: “So is everybody else’s, don’t worry about it!”
TSA is nothing if not perverted and rude.
So in the middle of everybody, and let me stress, this was in the middle lane right in front of the metal detector other passengers all walked through and therefore all watched, he has my pants leg up as high as it will go and begins rubbing my prosthesis with gauze soaked in some fluid.
Have I mentioned how compassionate the government is?
He then leaves but not before saying, “Wait here!” Have I mentioned that TSA is nothing if not perverted and rude?
He comes back and says, “You’re free to go.” Then he walks off.
The left always goes around saying we should say no to hate. I say no to saying no to hate. I hate the TSA. I hate the ADA.
It is my contention that if ADA advocates were honest — and they are not — they would require every handicapped person in the country to carry firearms.
I cannot make a fist like you normal people can. I can’t defend myself the way you normal people can. So having a firearm would make it more fair and fair is the ADA advocate’s favorite word. But you know the same people who love the ADA hate firearms. More accurately, they hate citizens who have firearms. So the ADA will never fight for handicapped people’s right to defend themselves.
That is why the government hates the handicapped so much that it works extra hard to keep guns out of our hands. The government is opposed to arming the handicapped… even the one-armed.
Unless you have been to a Motor Vehicles division recently, you would be shocked at how the government treated me when I applied for a gun permit. You would have thought Jesse James had been resurrected and was trying to go legal.
They first denied my fingerprints. Months after I had jumped through all their hoops, filled out all their forms, and paid them their bribe hush money to stay quiet while I carry my gun, about the time I thought I was about to be approved, they denied me. They said there was a problem with my fingerprints and that I would have to get them redone.
I finally found a human at the Department of Justice and… let me re-phrase that. I finally found a worker at the Department of Justice who works in the concealed carry approval division. I don’t recall if he was a state worker or a federal worker. He actually pulled up my file quickly and said, “Your fingerprints are bad.”
I asked what did he mean by bad? He said that seven prints were missing and the three that were on the card were not clear.
I told him I was missing seven fingers and had only three fingers that were deformed. This is true: He said that was beside the point and I needed to go get my fingerprints done again before my application would be considered. I said a new set of fingerprints would result in the same card. He said that was beside the point and I needed to get my fingerprints done again for my application to be considered.
Have I mentioned yet in this sentence how compassionate our caring, non-discriminating government can be? I am so glad the ADA was passed because otherwise, they might have given me the runaround.
I asked to speak to his Supervisor. He sighed and gave me another number to call. (No, it was not a toll-free number this time.) I called. His Supervisor-ette answered. She was much more hopeful. She said she would call my state concealed carry division and that I was to go to my state capital and get my fingerprints done there and they would be accepted.
Get that? I would only have to travel 100 miles to my state capital and get my fingerprints taken in front of her bureau. Then they would know that my local sheriff’s department was not lying when my fingerprint card said I was missing 7 fingers. And for a guy with only one leg, isn’t it reasonable to ask me to travel 100 miles to go above and beyond what they require from all you normal people? Sure.
It’s so nice, it’s worth saying thrice: Do you see how compassionate our caring, non-discriminating government can be? I am so glad the ADA was passed because otherwise, they might have given me the runaround.
She assured me I would not be approved until I got myself to the state capital to be fingerprinted by government officials who were more official than the government officials who fingerprinted me the first time. It was actually my fault probably since I didn’t think to travel 100 miles to get them done in the first place. I am lazy and thought I could ask my local sheriff’s office to do them since that is what normal people who live in my county all do for their permit.
I went there. Their official officials fingerprinted me. A few weeks later, I had my permit.
I used to travel to Nevada quite a bit. So I needed a carry permit there and Nevada does not honor other state permits. On one trip I went, took their course, shot the required 50 rounds in front of an official trainer, filled out all the paperwork, and went to the Las Vegas Sheriff’s office to get my fingerprints done.
210 days later, I get a notice that my fingerprints are bad and I would have to get them redone.
I call them. They said they could not verify over the phone that I was handicapped so all I needed to do was travel to Nevada and get re-printed. I am not making this up.
I asked for a Supervisor. I promise you that I was ready to pit the Department of Justice BATF lawyers against the Department of Justice’s ADA lawyers and go to court. Because really, in that match it doesn’t matter who loses as long as one of them does.
The Supervisor said I would have to come to Nevada to get re-printed. I told her that I would contact a Department of Justice ADA official and give him her name and that she could convince him that I had to travel to Nevada. She put me on hold. She came back and said, “You will not have to be re-printed, we’ll send you the permit.”
And a few weeks later it arrived.
See, nothing would have made her happier than for me to pay to travel to Nevada and go through it all again. Because nothing makes a government worker happier than to say “no” to a citizen.
As you can see, now that the ADA is 20 years old, I am only discriminated against in any real way by the government.
For readers of this column, that truly is no surprise to you is it?
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