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Questions One and Two

It's funny how the same questions keep cropping up for me. You'd think after all the years I've been at the disability dodge that I'd've figgered out more stuff.

Question One: Why does public condemnation of access so often go unrebutted? Why aren't there more local and national gimp groups speaking out in condemnation of the anti-access lobby?

This probably seems like I'm still on my rant from Monday. In fact I was put in mind of this perennially unanswered question of mine by an email in my in-box this a.m. with a couple of nasty stories from a San Diego TV station about disabled attorney Theodore Pinnock who has filed some more access suits.

"Some La Mesa businesses are being sued, accused of violating the Americans with Disabilities Act," begins the brief item on the KFMB website. " The accuser is no stranger to these types of lawsuits. . . " Note that KFMB chose to file the story in its "Consumer Alert" web section.

KFMB's later update reports that the five La Mesa businesses "are crying foul over a lawsuit accusing them of violating the American with Disabilities Act" and goes on to report that "Theodore Pinnock, a local attorney with cerebral palsy" who filed the suits, "is known for suing 67 businesses in Julian last year for not making their shops more accessible to the disabled."

Those being sued in La Mesa claim Pinnock is just trying to extort money from small family businesses.

Now I know it's accurate for a TV station to report what the defendants said -- but how about a little balance in the reporting? All that's said is that the TV station tried to contact Pinnock and he was "out of the country."

Are there no other access advocates who could have given a quote?

The stories certainly don't qualify as journalism. Journalism, as I learned it -- where a reporter tries to actually get the story; to find out what happened, to at least appear to be objective, to interview parties with varying viewpoints, seems to be a thing of the past.

But here's the rub: maybe no gimp groups in San Diego ever speak out about access. Maybe TV news departments don't know any spokespeople to give "the other side." Could that be true? Could it be that when reporters try to reach access activists their calls aren't returned; or they're told to call back later, or the source is reluctant to say anything publicly without having a meeting with other gimps first, or...

I don't know, but I do know the pattern. Stories like these appear again and again. And unless I'm mistaken (and I surely hope I will be!) there'll be no press conferences, no statement, no opeds, no anything much by disability activists. Let's watch and see.

Question Two: Why are there so many ridiculous stunt projects put on in the name of "cure" -- and virtually no public-involvement projects in things like access or visitability? Question Two popped into my mind when my eyes fell on a story in my local rag this a.m. about -- I am not making this up -- shooting guns to raise money to cure cystic fibrosis. The organizers actually call their event "Shooting for a Cure," and it's described as "a clay-shooting event that benefits the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation." (Read Ready, aim, shoot for cystic fibrosis cure.) Like the JailAThon for the MDA Telethon, these events are a dime a dozen. This being Breast Cancer Awareness Month or whatever it's called, I'm sure there are scads of variations on this theme being trotted out by those "Racing for The Cure."

Question Two isn't so much about why community-minded folks stage these events (although that might be the topic of another blog entry some day) -- no; my question is more about why so many folks seem to put energy behind these things and so very very few put any energy behind "get involved community projects" that have to do with access or rights.

You know Questions One and Two are related, of course.

I think Question Two is a new one for you dedicated Edge-Centric readers, but you know I've flogged Question One over and over (here and here and here).

And I still don't have an answer.

Does anyone out there have one? If so, please comment.

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