When Crabby Old Lady had a hissy fit a few days ago about the Los Angeles police department ticketing an 82-year-old for walking too slowly, Ian of Panchromatica (who lives in England) popped off in a comment:
“The US is, I am afraid, the country that tells every one else about liberty, but it is the US also that seems to generate stories like this.”
Now Ian is a long-time friend from Crabby’s pre-blogging days at fotolog.net, and it is true that Crabby is embarrassed sometimes at her government’s unwarranted, holier-than-thou stance vis a vis other countries. Nevertheless, she was mildly ticked off about his swipe at the U.S.
Then, helping to prove Crabby’s contention that bloggers are, in general, remarkably quick to correct themselves when they have erred, Ian emailed a news story noting in his message that, “I was obviously wrong to think it couldn't happen here.”
“A woman found semi-conscious on a pavement in the early hours during a diabetic seizure was given an on-the-spot 'fixed penalty' fine by a policeman who thought she was drunk…
“’When the paramedics came, I gave them my insulin and explained I was diabetic and I tried to tell the policeman the same,’” the woman said.
- - Daily Mail, 16 April 2006
[As Ian explained, a “fixed penalty” is equivalent to the U.S. “ticket.”] In this case, the victim of the mindless, municipal callousness is, at age 30, not an elder, but the principle is the same and no doubt, the fixed penalty would have been written whatever the her age.
Elders and the disabled often share similar limitations along with many of the aids and remedies - walkers, wheelchairs, voice-activated technology, etc. They also share the ignorance of the young and able toward those who are not physically “perfect”.
Is this bureaucratic antagonism toward elders and the disabled a trend in western democracies? Crabby wonders. Are these tickets and fixed penalties a warning to us to stay out of the way of the swift and the fleet?