Tuesday, July 08, 2014

With Disability comes Vulnerability or Vulnerability a new Disability? - by Ari Seirlis

This weeks Oscar trial and tribulation has prompted me to form opinion on the matter of “vulnerability” and its benefits or curse.

Defence witness Derman from my interpretation and understanding of his statements in court, is suggesting that disability creates vulnerability and thus a softer approach to crime and reaction. He has established this, not from his interactions with many people with disabilities broadly, but rather his interaction with Oscar.
If these statements and observations of Oscar were accepted by the court, then one of my questions would be, why is “vulnerability”, the effects of and the consequences of not dealt with in our formal Rehabilitation programmes. 900 people per annum in South Africa become spinal cord injured and this constituency of paraplegics and quadriplegics are far more limited in their agility speed, height and self defence yet we don't promote the brand of vulnerability.  We are vulnerable in many ways, by our inaccessible environments and societies attitude and mis-understanding of our lifestyle needs, attributes and abilities.

Another outcome would be that medical aid insurance companies would have to fund psychological and psychiatric support for “vulnerability”, as a prescribed minimum benefit?
Furthermore would Employers rebuke the Employment Equity Act requirements for fear of the safety of their staff as a result of our vulnerability and perceived risk in the workplace.  Would reasonable accommodation for staff without disabilities be “bullet-proof” workstations “?  Will we be situated in isolated areas so we are no risk to colleagues. Will we still get jobs.

Are we now allowed to shoot “to nullify any threat”? If it ever happened, that the law changed to suit vulnerable disabled people then there might even be a notion of getting away with blasting people with lead who abuse wheelchair parking bays. That would be interesting. Shopping centres would become killing fields.

We don’t want our own laws. We are happy with the Equality Act (PEPUDA).
Pray the court does not accept this argument that disability causes vulnerability and so we can shoot ourselves out of arguments, threats and confrontations. We would be totally isolated from society

Will there be a new and increased speed limit for us drivers with disabilities? Maybe 160kph?

Or was and is it just OSCAR who has “fright & flight” and gun slinging and speeding allowances as he feels he is vulnerable.  You cannot hold up in one hand ,multiple gold medals for being one of the fastest men in the world  and a pistol in the other and then declare “vulnerability”.
My opinion is that Oscar has an unusual condition and there are a few more South Africans with the same.  “AAAAA” is the acronym for “Anger Arrogance Athleticism Accelerator Attitude”. Throw in bad company, beautiful woman, alcohol, fame, fortune and somewhere along the line, shit is going to happen.

We don’t want to be Painted by the same brush.

My Lady please don't accept this argument.  We will be cursed if we are perceived as vulnerable and unpredictable.

Ari Seirlis is the CEO of the QuadPara Association  of South Africa (QASA) and has been a quadriplegic  as a result of a diving accident in 1985

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