The Angry Cripple goes out on a limb
Most Australian media like to run the “Crippled Orphan Boy overcomes Headlessness to Swim the Murray for Charity” or “Wheelchair Bound (yuck) Woman Speaks to Schoolkids about Dangers of Drunk Driving” kinds of stories.
They are not often actually inspiring to me. Mostly, they make me feel as though people with disabilities are to be routinely pitied, and awarded if they do anything more than get out of bed in the morning.
There was, however, one guy doing the rounds last week who was a little different. Nick Vujicic, a 28-year-old Brisbane bloke who is a Minister and motivational speaker, and he’s got no arms or legs, just a kind of a foot that sticks out from one hip. This guy’s ‘can do’ attitude is almost sickening.
Almost. Somehow he manages to pull off something exceptional – he makes you think he’s a cool guy, and, well, not disabled at all, though he clearly is, disabled.
During his appearance on “The Circle”, some morning talk show I’d never noticed before, he wowed the hosts with his story of depression followed by inspiration.
His interview went straight to an infomercial where Maryanne opened her segment (presumably pre-recorded) by touting some product that wouldn’t “cost an arm and a leg”.
Now if that was my studio, I’d be shitting myself, but from the other side of the television, after an initial sharp intake of breathe, I started laughing, really hard.
I emailed the guy to get his perspective. One of Vujicic’s staffers in California (where he’s now based) said Nick “would just laugh along with anyone else who would find it humorous” and often jokes about things “costing an arm and a leg”.
Now that’s what I like to hear. That is life for one man with a disability.
Noble, an indigenous bloke in WA with an intellectual disability, has been held in custody for ten years without trial. The allegations are serious, but they are allegations only.
Noble maintains his innocence, yet under the Mentally Impaired Accused Act he’s been locked up for ten years because he was deemed unfit to stand trial.
With law like that, I can think of several politicians I could accuse of some crime, deem them unfit to stand trial, and lock them away too.
Waller, who at 17 suffered a brain injury when some drunk jerks smashed his head in, is now 40 and too big for his elderly parents to transfer in and out of their station wagon – they need a wheelchair accessible van to get their son to his accessible sailing program and they can’t afford it.
A former disabled sailor of the year, and international medal winner in the sport, the Victorian Victims of Crime Assistance Tribunal seem unable to even schedule a hearing for Waller to get an answer on their request for the funds.
Strathmont Centre, an institution in Adelaide that once housed 700 people with disabilities has been “closing” for ten years.
The last 66 residents are doing it tough, with grounds that resemble a nuclear holocaust. Dirt and chicken wire abound.
The SA government appear to have left these last vulnerable folk, many of whose parents are elderly or passed on, to rot while they appear to wait for community housing with the government refusing to answer questions about the future of the site.
The online comments were the most interesting part of the story, with only some demanding they knock it down, and the majority demanding they fix it up.
And my choice story of the week would have to be the one about Brisbane woman Susan Lister, who has been convicted of assaulting two boys with autism, and has admitted her guilt in slapping, hitting, pulling hair and humiliating intellectually disabled children at the residential care home where she worked.
Lister wants a Blue Card, something that will allow her to work with children, and she wants to work with intellectually disabled people again.
She’s appealing a decision to deny her that opportunity.
Personally, I don’t reckon this woman should be walking the streets, let alone working with children.
Last, and probably least, was the enlightening piece from the SMH about our Human Rights Commissioner and lawyer Graeme Innes who by all accounts is a good bloke.
Graeme was born blind, led a privileged upbringing and complains about having trouble getting into Parliament House because of some terrorist-resistant concrete barriers that make it difficult.
I know Innes can’t help what the media choose to focus on, but really? I can think of other human rights issues for people with disabilities that could do with more attention. Can you?
Read all about it
Up to the minute Twitter chatter
The latest and greatest
Good morning Punchers. After four years of excellent fun and great conversation, this is the final post…
I have had some close calls, one that involved what looked to me like an AK47 pointed my way, followed…
In a world in which there are still people who subscribe to the vile notion that certain victims of sexual…