My Petition Comment Regarding Doug Bahl
I haven’t written anything about the Doug Bahl situation until now–in good part because I felt too helpless to respond. What could I say that hadn’t already been said, either by other Deaf/deaf bloggers, or in the comments area at places like MishkaZena’s?
I’m still feeling at a loss. I feel angry and sad and afraid. And I feel these things in ways that are too hard to put into words. If you’ve read me enough to see how verbose I usually am, then you know that’s saying a lot.
But, at least now I’ve done a little something about it. I’ve signed a petition protesting Doug Bahl’s treatment.
If you follow the link and sign it, you’ll see that there is a place where you can add your own comments to your petition signature. I encourage you to do this. Anyone can sign a petition without really thinking much about it. A petition signature by itself doesn’t really mean much. But when people take the time, not just to sign their name, but also to say a few words of their own, then people listen more. They know if you’re taking the time to express your own thoughts in your own words that must mean you aren’t just signing the petition to humor a friend — you’re signing it because you truly feel a passion for the issue.
This is the text I wrote when I signed the petition in support of Doug Bahl. I hope it helps inspire you to find your own words to add to your petition signature.
As a law-abiding deaf person, it always terrifies me when I learn of cases in which an interaction between the police and a deaf person goes poorly. It makes me afraid for what could happen to me if I were to encounter police officers in the wrong kind of situation. What if they don’t realize that my failure to understand them is only because I’m deaf and can’t hear them — not because I’m ignoring them or refusing to comply? If I don’t understand them and if they don’t understand my first attempt to explain that I’m deaf, then how can I continue trying to get that concept across to them in a way that also keeps me safe? And if something were to happen (mistaken identity, say) and I were brought to the police station, would they ensure my equal access to communication or would I be thrown in jail for a full weekend without even being allowed to make a phone call (i.e., with ACCESSIBLE technology), like Doug Bahl?
If you’re looking for concrete advice on what to do if you’re pulled over to the side of the road by police, see this vlog. If the visor signs seem like a good idea to you, you can locate them at www.hearinglosshelp.com
I don’t drive so I know any encounter I have with police, if anything ever happens, won’t be in a car situation. If anyone knows of similar advice out there targeted at NON-driving deaf people, I’d be interested in knowing (in English or in ASL, doesn’t matter).
Now that you’re here at my blog, I hope you’ll take a few minutes to look around at some of the blog posts I’ve done lately on the ADA Restoration Act of 2007. No, a law like this probably wouldn’t have helped Doug Bahl, at least not directly. But it IS meant to help protect the rights of deaf, Deaf, hard of hearing, and disabled Americans in other important ways.
See my continually-updated list of blog entries from all over the web about the ADA Restoration Act of 2007. It’s always available from the top navigation bar: just click “On the ADA Restoration Act.”
Also: One group of activists has posted a short list of simple ideas of things you can do to help get the Restoration Act passed. And do browse through background information on the ADA Restoration Act. Or contact your legislators.