Ah yes, we all love those loopholes that allow us to get out of doing things we really do not want to do. Examples are rampant in our highly technical, morally questionable, honourably deficient society. I recently tried to get into a local shop, a nice store I would have enjoyed browsing through their products. Unfortunately their front door is only 27” wide. My wheelchair, with the added pouch on the side, is 27” wide. Do you see the problem?
By law, all stores built or modified in the last few years must have an entrance that is 33” wide. This is to provide suitable access for wheelchairs. Yeah right! The law may say 33” but they don’t really mean it. Actually the law states that there must be A door that is 33” wide, not necessarily the front door. In the case of the store I wanted to get into, their side door meets the code but there is a wee problem. That door is accessed from a lobby that is first reached through a very heavy front door. Then because space is at a premium they pile ‘stuff’ around the entrance that is now impassable. I was forced to call for assistance to even get into the store. Then to make matters worse the entire store had aisles about 24” wide because of more ‘stuff’ on the floor. AAAGGGGHHHH!
I realize that I am in the minority. I realize that the main goal in some people’s lives is the acquisition of sizable amounts of currency. Having to accommodate a small minority of people who really don’t complain all that much, is a bother. So people usually don’t change unless they are forced to. And who is going to do the forcing? There isn’t anyone. One voice is not all that intimidating when there is nothing to back it up.
There are groups out there who say that they are advocates for those with disabilities, and they are, for the big things. But who is there to fight for the individual with what amounts to a minor problem? I haven’t found anyone. Those agencies I have approached have always said that their concern is the big picture. Well this is a wake-up call. I am part of that ‘big picture’ which is made up of a whole lot of ‘little pictures’, a mosaic if you like. It is the ‘little pictures’ that will form the foundation for the ‘big picture’.
Let me restate that. If you ignore what is happening to the individual and focus only on the laws and by-laws to change peoples’ attitudes then you will fail. You cannot force someone to do what is right, after the fact. They will spend a sizable amount of time and money to find the loopholes that will allow them to circumvent the law, legally. If you instill a sense of pride in doing the right thing early on, then you will have people who will offer to do what is right without it being forced down their throats. That is something to encourage.