OK, I've posted about carpark vigilantes not all that long ago, but something really creepy's occurred to me.
See the links down in References? Click on the story about the prosthetic leg user. The person who left the note on her car said they had videoed her several times.
Now check the story about the man from Darwin with the heart problem. The person who left that really offensive note also said they'd taken a photo.
OK, so clearly any sense of privacy anyone thinks they have in our modern world is an illusion. Those of us who live most of our lives online were pretty much aware of this anyway.
But, at least in the case of the lady with the prosthetic leg, recording her had been something the person had done a number of times.
Not only had this person nothing better to do with his/her time, but was so obsessed with a disabled woman's parking habits as to be stalking her.
These photos and videos, if they exist, don't just document that disabled people are using disabled parking spaces (how shocking is that?) They raise a lot of questions about the people on the other side of the camera.
What is wrong with these people?
How do they have the time and energy to be policing other people's actions, when it's none of their business?
What makes them think they are so righteous that they can decide, without collecting any evidence, who is guilty or not guilty, of parking in the wrong place? And do they do the same thing for other imagined, or even real, violations? Do they video people who drive at 12km/h through the carpark that has a 10km/h limit? Do they give offensive letters to people who cross the street against the lights? Do they watch the parking spots reserved for parents with prams or for elderly people, and give out offensive notices to parents who have too few children or elderly people who don't look quite frail enough? Do they video the people who smoke under the "no smoking" sign outside the shopping centre? Do they take photos of people who take 11 items through the "10 items or less" checkout?
Why do they pick on people with disabilities? (Are fit, healthy, people too likely to fight back? Or maybe it's because it's not socially acceptable to pick on any other group of people.)
Are they just so petty, and so selfish, that they resent that something is reserved for someone other than them?
If these people did, in fact, turn their vidoes, photos, etc over to the police, would they be charged with stalking or harassment, or something? I certainly hope so. I'd love to be reading about carpark vigilantes being brought up before the courts and fined for their abusive and offensive behaviour, for their victimising of vulnerable people.
These vigilantes will say they can tell by looking whether a person is "disabled enough" to need the parking space. The lady in America only had one leg, the man in Darwin was going to go into heart failure if he exerted himself too much. Just how bloody disabled do you have to be for some people to think you deserve a parking space?
As I've said before, I've never had this problem. The worst I've encountered was someone parking so close behind my car that my son couldn't get my mobility scooter in the back. We've since had a bumper sticker made up asking people to please leave a little space, and so far that's been respected. (Maybe Ipswich is just a more understanding kind of city than some other places.)
But, I'm going to take a wild guess that for everyone whose story is heard, there's a lot of other people out there who have taken abuse because someone didn't see their disability.
I do know that a lot of people refuse to use disabled parking spaces because they're afraid of this kind of abuse. That means that the parking spaces are being under-used, and that people with chronic illnesses and other disabilities are putting extra stress on bodies that just don't need it. Some will not be able to go out often, because they use far too much precious energy walking further on the few times they do go out. If horrible people are causing that much fear in the disabled community, that is a serious problem.
References (News reports): Abusive Note Left on Car of Darwin Couple with Valid Handicapped Permit; Natasha Hope-Simpson, Prosthetic Leg User, Gets Note Saying 'She Should be Ashamed'.
Related Post: Curses on Carpark Vigilantes