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Definitely Not Getting It
February, 2008
In This Issue
Quadriplegic Man Dumped
Never Hurts To Ask
History Corner
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The last issue of Good Reading shared examples of how our culture is starting to "get it" when it comes to Disability Awareness.

There are still a few gaps, as the first article of this issue all to painfully points out.

Hoping, as ever, that this finds you well.

Have You Seen This??!!

Cops dump quad Police Deputy Dumps Quadriplegic Man Out of His Wheelchair

In Tampa, Florida, Brian Sterner reported in to the police station to deal with his earlier arrest on a traffic violation. He's the guy lying on the floor in the video grab image at right.

The deputy, apparently not convinced he was actually a paralyzed man, put it to the test by walking around behind him and promptly dumping him out of the wheelchair.

Breaking two ribs in the process.

Go ahead. Watch it for yourself on YouTube.

This woman needed some disability awareness training, don't you think?

She could easily have judged that he was the real deal from his extremely thin arms and legs, from his flexed fingers, and from his posture - defined by having no use of his muscles from his upper chest down. You can't fake that stuff.

She should also have know that a wheelchair is an extension of the users body. Uninvited touching - much less putting it in the wrong relationship to gravity - is a personal violation.

This is as clear an example as there could be of what I've been saying in my talks, trainings, and writing - our society is not up to speed with the truth of Modern Disability.

The attitude is this: "Who would think that a man with quadriplegia could drive? People who are that paralyzed can't be active and independent, can they?"

Yes they can. And they can even get arrested. But do they really need to be put to the test in quite this way?

The deputies, by the way, have been suspended.
It Never Hurts to Ask

Gary etiquette slide, DMEC We Can Make the Difference Together

You're receiving this because you're heard me speak, attended one of my workshops, bought my books, or you're a precious friend or family member.

What you share with me is the recognition that people with disabilities have immense, untapped potential.

So I'm asking you to be my active partner on this mission, to help me reach out to the people who can benefit from my ability to communicate these essential truths about Modern Disability.

I help businesses find and keep the best employees. Disability and employment is about productivity and profit. Send diversity, human resources, and meeting professionals my way so I can tell them more. Or point them to my BizCase information sheet online.

The disability and healthcare communities have an ideal cheerleader and teacher in me. Please let them know that I am here to share all that I've learned through research, writing, relationships, and my own experience about topics including sexuality, wheelchairs, patient relationships, and more (like a great motivational keynote!).

Anyone throwing a disability awareness event? It's time to get on my schedule for October, 2008, our special month.

Please email me with their contact information, or invite anyone I can benefit to email me or call 415.491.4280.

This is my passion. This is my life's work. This is my form of advocacy. Your partnership and referrals are how we can best work together so that anyone who wants the freedom to reach for their potential gets that chance.
History Corner

Slaves Picking Cotton Cotton & the U.S. Civil War

The entire economy of the South depended on the cotton trade.

That's how Rhett Butler made big bucks in Gone With the Wind - he was a blockade runner. The Union tried to prevent the South from selling cotton to Europe by stopping ships at the Atlantic Coast, and men like Butler snuck ships through. The Civil War was a naval battle (on the Mississippi, too), not just a series of massive bloodbaths like Gettysburg and Antietam.

That didn't stop some enterprising Union soldiers from making a few bucks on the side. There was a healthy contraband cotton trade going on, with some men in blue smuggling the white stuff north.

Northern businesses needed cotton. Europeans needed cotton, and had to be allowed a certain amount or they might intervene in the war. Lincoln had to balance all of this, so he actually approved a degree of trade with the Confederacy during the war! He just had to make sure it wasn't enough for Jefferson Davis to finance his army too well.

Oh, and you've heard of the Arlington National Cemetary? That was Robert E. Lee's home and property. Lincoln put the war dead there as a symbolic gesture since Lee turned down his offer to lead the Union army and, obviously, fought for the South instead.
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