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Annoyingly Blind Justice

And so it begins… the first post of The Daily Rant which more than likely won’t be daily, weekly perhaps, or basically whenever I get frustrated enough with our society. My original blogging (and brief FM radio show) intentions were to report my thoughts on the most asinine news stories of the day, but I realized this plan would leave me angry on a continual basis and for the sake of everyone around me I abandoned this idea. I may not always be right, have all the solutions, or be compassionate towards people’s delicate lives and this is your mild forewarning.

I haven’t yet decided if I find entertainment in reading articles about jealous, whiny, stupid, and greedy people or if I subconsciously like torturing myself. Tonight was going well and I was just off to bed until my eyes had to notice a potentially unsettling link in the news section of my Yahoo homepage. I keep Yahoo as my homepage so that whenever I want to be productive I knowingly open up my browser and begin mindlessly clicking through articles, stories, and funny pictures that I have absolutely no interest in until I’ve wasted the better part of an hour (nobody wants the petty remaining minutes of these hours–leave the table scraps for the dogs). “There’s no reason now to get started on the work I was hoping to get done,” I say out loud as if I’m a character in a children’s novel about a boy and his imaginary friend, “It’s already late.”

Anyways back on my unstable track, there was an article about a blind group suing an airport over ticket kiosks and a hatred for proper sleep deep down in my heart convinced me to click the link. Shortly after reading I followed my usual routine of complaining to Steve (my housemate, roommate, tall guy, whatever you want to call him) and for another ten minutes we irritatedly discussed these individuals. Here’s my take, and therefore all you need to know, about this particular lawsuit story: the National Federation of the Blind is suing McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas for not treating blind people as “equally” as the other customers. They’re not refusing peanut snacks to blind passengers on the planes or making them strip down more in the security lines than any other old, wrinkly lady (but maybe they should check their bags more carefully because who knows what somebody could slip in there “seeing” as how these particular individuals can’t keep a “close eye” on their luggage… guffaw guffaw). Instead the issue is that other passengers get the option to check in to their flights through touch screen kiosks and the blind are not capable of operating these machines (not to mention finding them! hee. hee. hee). These unfortunate souls have to go through what most fliers in the world go through of, are you ready?, waiting in line for an airline employee to check them in! GASP!

I don’t mean to be harsh towards any disability because there is always something to be said about the potential chance that it could happen to me one day, but when I begin reading about lawsuits and equality and practically, “They get to do it waaa so why can’t I?” my gloves come off. Four blind passengers fronting this lawsuit through the national organization are seeking “unspecified damages” for not being able to use a touch screen ticket kiosk, yet as far as I can see there is absolutely no physical or truly mental damage done to your persons. I’m honestly sure that fear of being hit by a car as you cross the street is more damaging than not being able to press your finger up against a screen to get a piece of paper. Technically there is nothing preventing them from properly using these ticket kiosks besides the obvious fact that they can’t see what they’re pushing, so I repeat, where’s the damage here? Did you know that through the technological wonders of the world wide web I can go online to print tickets out from my home personal computer too? I wonder how easy that would be if I were blind, yet maybe I can follow suit and sue the airlines for not providing my potentially blind self with the equal opportunity everyone else has to print tickets from the comfort of our desk chairs.

“It limits the ability of blind people to get done what they need to get done at the airport.” First of all, no it does not. Need I say it again that it’s your unfortunate life circumstances that limit your ability to get done what you want to get done in a speedy, yet ultimately unnecessarily quick fashion. If you timed your trip to the airport properly, fully aware of every experience you’ve endured so far, you’d leave yourself plenty of time to get your ticket, get through security, and get to the plane by whatever means truly necessary.

“Everyone else can just run up to one of these kiosks and get their stuff taken care of and blind people are still confined to consulting with airline or airport employees.” Let me rephrase this quote given one of my most recent flights. “In order to get back home from the Denver airport, Geoff and his family were confined to consulting with airline or airport employees in order to get their flight tickets.” I don’t think I need to say anything else about that last quote, aside from this redundant sentence mentioning not mentioning anything further.

I have not been through McCarran International so I can only hypothesize that inside the terminal there is in fact at least one ticket counter with an airport employee present at all times in order to assist passengers. I highly doubt that the purpose of the kiosks was to say, “Suck it to anyone who can’t use a touch screen. I guess they won’t be flying today.” One counter may not be as efficient as you prefer, but at least there is a way to get your ticket; again, if you know ahead of time that you’ll be needing certain accommodations or assistance especially for the blind, don’t get to the airport at the last minute. Get there with plenty of free time to get your ticket and while your at it mingle on over to one of the terminal’s many bookstores… oh wait… In the end, I find this to be nothing more than a greedy lawsuit, like 98% of them that this country allows, and being blind or having any other disability doesn’t rule you out from being greedy like the rest of us.

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