I am a wide supporter of the disabled and devices that help them live better and easier lives. However, in the last few years, I’ve witnessed odd behavior on the streets, and in public gathering spaces, that sounds an alarm of concern. Some people in wheelchairs — actually, the person pushing the wheelchair, not the rider — and those who use canes, are beginning to use those facilitation devices as weapons!
I understand people being pushed in wheelchairs have no control over how fast or carefully they move down the street, and I’m sure the person pushing the wheelchair easily tires of having to deal with inconsiderate people on the street, but being over-tired is no reason to use a wheelchair as a battering ram on a crowded street to make sure you are not delayed on your way.
Several times, I have seen a wheelchair-pusher, using the more dangerous Reclining Wheelchair, “dive into” a crowd without slowing down — it’s as if they think people will “just move” because a metal wheelchair is coming their way. What these pushers don’t understand is the domino effect — some people might see or hear the wheelchair while others may not… they are silent vehicles! — and those who are stuck in the way of destruction will try to get out of the way by tumbling into other nonplussed bystanders who, most often, become the injured.
I’ve seen people yell at the wheelchair pushers for this boorish behavior — but there is never an apology or even an acknowledgement of the bad behavior.
The other dangerous act I’ve seen is a more passive-aggressive way of using a cane as a weapon. Sometimes, the person will angle the cane away from their body to protect their personal space and “kick you” with the cane if you get too close to them.
Other times, I’ve seen canes used to “clear a path” in a grocery store or restaurant to move people out-of-the-way. A cane is not a machete and people are not the African bush! Few people will say anything when struck by a cane like that — they just obediently move to let the person get ahead of them in line.
Do you think this bad behavior is one of entitlement or an artifact of pure disability?