What A Crock
My name is Dan Keplinger, I am disabled by C.P. I ride around in a power wheelchair and speak through an interpreter or by writing. I graduated last May from Towson University with my major in Mass Communication and minor in Art. I am getting ready to start grad school at University of Baltimore this spring. I am telling you this because I am often assumed to be retarded because I can’t speak. I guess I should wear a T-shirt saying University graduate.
I want to share with you two events of the past months which me wonder...Am I in the mainstream of life? Will I ever be accepted or recognized as a contributing member of society?
In September, I was coming up York Rd from office of services for students with disabilities at Towson University. I was by the library when this lady comes across York and starts running up behind me. She said do you believe in the lord? I kept going, because most of time religious fanatics and other borderline crazies get the hint, but not this lady. She kept following me. She says in the name of the lord I command you to stop. This is when I knew to speed up as she was catching up with me. I decided to cross the street with a car coming thinking this might stop her, but it did not. I started up the alley across from the courthouse towards my apartment. By this time she was putting the bible on my head and hitting me with it and speaking in tongues. I got pissed now so I turned around and started going off but she put the bible in my face. We were close to my place but I pulled into the auto repair place, this is when she kept saying I had Satan in me. The guys in the shop had to call the cops. She still followed me home, and the policeman had to get her away from my building.
I was more shocked about it then scared, as I was sitting in the auto shop smirking. It was kind of a pulp fiction situation. Now that I think about it this could have been really dangerous. That was the reason I did not stop to confront her, if she was crazy enough to risk getting hit by a car as she chased me, who knew what she was willing to do. She might have even had a weapon or be thinking of purifying my evil spirits with a blood-letting ceremony.
Yesterday was the court date with the bible freak, what a bullshit job. Basically, she got off and made me look like I did not know what happened. She showed up all fake like, all cleaned and dressed up with her churches Pasteur. First the judge would not hear the case, because she did not have a lawyer and I don’t think he really want to take my statement that I typed. The judge asked the police officer to come and testify. He was fantastic he told the story they way it was. She still didn’t have a lawyer. She admitted to everything. I had given my written statement to the judge and the prosecutor. But they did not read it aloud.
Then the judge said she did not cause a scene. Even though the cop said people gathered when she prayed on hand and knees on the sidewalk. The judge said more people should do it. He also used a lame ass excuse that because I ca not speak she had no way of knowing that I had wanted her to stop. I guess he had already forgotten the testimony of the police officer made only minutes before. It gets better, the judge, lady and the Prosecutor had a conversation about my perception of the event. The whole time they did not asked me one question and Susan was with me. I wanted to say do you understand the term fuck off so bad. The more I think about it the more pissed off I get, because they were questioning if I was retarded or not...it was if I did not exist in that courtroom.
I would like to know why I did not get my day in court like any other person? Did the judge assume I was deaf or retarded? Did the judge not listen to the testimony of the police officer that clearly stated that I was repeatedly trying to get away from this woman. Did the judge not hear the police officer say that many times he told the woman to stop and she would not or that she even followed me home. Was the judge this woman's lawyer? Or did he just like women who apologized - earlier in the morning he had made a joke about a female lawyer who apologized, wondering why his wife could not learn from her. Apology and prayer seemed to be the way to this judge's heart. It seems he would have us all praying on our knees on sidewalks at busy intersections in downtown Towson. What would justice have been? Perhaps not jail, but definitely community service working with people who have physical disabilities. A little education certainly would not hurt and may even enlighten religious fanatics who roam the streets with bibles trying to exorcise demons from people in wheelchairs. And to the judge, I say ... Individuals with disabilities have rights, just the way your son and daughter do. The police officer definitely knew I was in distress and communicated this repeatedly to the woman while she was involved in her bizarre religious ceremony for which I was the very unwilling victim. Although I survived, the event was a definite step backwards for the disabled when judges allow them to become the subjects of prolonged harassment, no matter what the religious label. We are entitled to justice and I think this judge owes many others and me an apology.
Posted January 1999
Like I said, I took my first flight by myself in the summer of 1997. I live in Baltimore and my
best friend lives in Nantucket, I planed to leave on Wednesday and return on Sunday. By the way there are no direct flights from Baltimore to Nantucket, so I had to change planes in Newark. My mom takes me to BWI for a 3:00 flight to Newark, first the flight was delayed because of mechanical problems. then it was delayed because of the weather, the flight finally took off around 6:00. I was not able to take that flight, because my connected flight was schedule to leave Newark 7:00.
On Sunday I left Nantucket about 8:00a.m. and did not get into Baltimore about 11:00 that night. I was stuck in Newark for about ten hours, I had no way to call somebody to let them know what was happening. During the time in Newark they put on and off about 4 planes thinking this was the one that would go. After a while they let me sit behide the ticket desk. I got out my board and started to spell words as a way to communicate with them. It was hot that day and they wanted to drink a lot. I did not what to do this, because I did not know how long it would be before I could relieve myself.
When I finally got to BWI, my mom was waiting with a big sports cup and a bag of burgers. Thinking would dieing of thirst and hunger. She was amaze when I told her, the people in Newark took care of me. The scheduling might suck, but they always see that I am treated well.
Last night I went for my first acupuncture treatment, I did not get stick yet. My friend Jody is almost finished his Master's in acupuncture and offered me to be his last paitents as a student. The first appointment was more of an interview and evaluation session. He ask everything from how I ate and how it comes out, to how I sleep and if I keep company during that time. The next thing Jody was to poked around my body at different points. Then he did a test to see how balance my body is, or something like that. For this Jody used a instance stick to see how close it could get to each finger and toe before it was painful. Jody decided the first thing we will try to work on through the treatments, is my sleeping patterns. I just do not sleep good, infact I hate sleep maybe it is from my C.P.
I went for my second treatment of acupuncture and this time jody broke out the needles. He is working my back for now, this first time was see to witch point work and witch did not. These test needle also pulled out the "porstion", around the test needle got read I do not really know what this means. The needles did not go in too far, in fact they kept falling out. During the insertion of the needles I felt some more then other. In addition while they were in the feel of have them in me come in waves. During the treatment felt very relax and still, I almost fell to sleep. I think I sat there a hour with the needles in me, Jody said I would be so tired after the treatment. I did not think I was tier than usual, but I did notice that my move was decreased for the rest of the night.
Third week of treatment, boy this one was pain. Jody did a few things at the same time plus he used bigger need, so this week the pain was consent and not waves of stings like last week. Because of the pain I was not as relax during or after the session. Although it still slowed down my movement after wards. Last week I did have a few nights of better sleep. I found out that the needles were falling out because of my movement, this week they were falling out like crazy. I was so lucky, last night when went to change close, I found a needle in my undies. Can you imagine how ugly that could have been? Did you know that acupuncturist do not always leave the needles. If they want decrease the energy to that point, the needle stays in. When the energy needs to increase at the point, they only stick the point with the needle.
My friend Jody and I went to New York for a few days to hang out last week while I had some art on exhibit at the U.N. with eMotion Pictures: An Exhibition of Orthopedics in Art.
One night Jody and I got kicked out of a place in n.y. We went to this place for dinner and had 3 beers each. Then we moved to the bar for a few more and the bar tender said he had to cut me off, because he could not understand me. After we had another drink at the bar. That would make 4 drinks all together for me. The guy said he would still serve Jody, but not me and I had 6 drinks. So he decides to cuts me since I can not order for myself.
Jody tries to talk to him and it got heated. when the manager came, he offered to move us to another bar witch were down stairs. I said no and that is Discrimination so we walked out. This was after the fucks got 100 bucks for dinner. Jody did clear off our place at the bar before we went.
I'm like piss at the world. A few weeks ago, I was on my to the print studio and this dumb bitch on her cell phone at a red light ran into me. She was trying to make a left turn. She pushed me a few inches she hit my leg but I didn't feel it at the time, I got a good bruise from it. She asked if I wanted her to anyone. I said no, thinking it would be more trouble than it was worth. Then she took off fast, she knew she screwed up. That night mom had the police come talk to me; he said I should always call the police. Why, so I could have another judge say I was playing tag with a car!!!!
The following week it almost happen again, but worst. I was going to ship stuff to phyllis. I see this fuck speeding down the hill, the light was red. Good thing I slowed down, because he was half way over the cross walk before he could stop.
The woman was in her 30s and the man was in his 40s. So you cannot say it is just the younger generation that does not care about the world around them.
Society, let the nukes loose.
When I was a SR. in high school DORS got me a laptop to double as a communicator and mounted onto my chair. I really hate using communicators, they always break down, and when they are on my chair I feel trapped. Plus I can't use them without my head stick, so either I have to get the person to put my head stick on to talk with them, or ride around with the head stick on. The computer survived my last year of high school, but not freshman year of college. In fact I went through three computers that year. They kept falling off my chair, while I fought with DORS to get it fix I had no way to do my work this sucked so hard. This is what I got from being a good gimp and trying to conform to society.
So how the hell do I communicate with society as a whole, l do not!!! When people are around my enough they get used to the way I talk. My friends and family end up being interpreters a lot of times. Even they have trouble understanding me sometimes, when this happen I just spell out the word of think of another way to say it.
What happen in school? The people that dealt with on a regular bases also got used to the way I spoke. I always tried to get the some note takers, because they would also act as my interpreter. In the worse case, when I new we had to talk in class and no one was used to me, so I did used my computer, but it sat on a safe desk.
What about every day task like banking, shopping. You should know I do not expect everyone to take the time to understand me. When I do my banking I type out what I want and take that paper with me. If I am shopping for a certain item, I type that out to show to the people that works that store. If I am really getting no ware with talking, I do carry around a sheet of paper with some phrase, numbers and the alphabet on it. I use a straw in my month to point, or to spell out the words. I also use communicating by talk as a way to feel people out. Over the years found if people are really interested in getting to know me, they pick up my speech quick. The people that are not cool will not get to understand me.