Bound and Gagged?

Yesterday evening, a terrible story broke: a white 18-year-old, described as “having mental health challenges,” was kidnapped in a stolen van by four African-American young people and tortured. The victim was sworn at (“fuck white people” and “fuck Donald Trump”), physically assaulted until he bled, and forced to drink toilet water over a period between 24 and 48 hours. It’s difficult to imagine, but for the actual footage the assailants broadcasted on Facebook. Absolutely sickening.

You’d think that organized minority groups, and justice arms of the government, would come out strong against this behavior. After all, these are the entities that clamor for hate crimes legislation and are supporting one another on the eve of Trump’s assuming office. I expected to go on my own Facebook account and see my liberal friends sharing the story, condemning the unjustifiable behavior of the assailants that demonstrably victimized someone on the basis of his disability and his race. To date, only one of my 900+ Facebook  friends registered as a Democrat has expressed disgust at the story.

Okay, I reasoned. My friend who posted the story is a fellow disability rights attorney. Maybe people simply haven’t heard about the victim and his torture. Not so. I believe they simply fail to see the depravity in the actions. Why? CNN host Don Lemon plainly stated – and then repeated – “I don’t think it’s evil.” Police Commander Kevin Duffin stated, “Kids make stupid mistakes.”

So… Because the perpetrators hated Trump, like their liberal comrades, taking a disabled man, binding and gagging him, and torturing him for hours upon hours, their actions might be justified? Or, at least, understandable? Fathomable? Logical? This boggles my mind!

Speak out, liberal friends. Unlike this tragic victim, you’ve not been bound and gagged – use your voice and condemn this violence!

Chicago Architectural Tour

I really dislike Chicago. It could be the wind, the cold, the inaccessibility, its politics, or some combination thereof. Up until last week, I would say that I hated Chicago. When I discovered I would be going to Chicago on a business trip (for RSA’s regional conference on the Work Innovation and Opportunity Act regulations), I predicted spending the majority of my time holed up in the hotel room, reading something on my iPad.

However, my sister decided to tag along. Despite having lived in the Midwest her entire life, she’d still never been to Chicago at the ripe old age of 25. Goal: Taking her to see the Bean. No reading for me.DSC02265.jpg

After the obligatory photo session at the Bean, we decided to visit Navy Pier. We were thwarted twice, both occasions involving walking down long straights of sidewalk only to reach a curb at the end. As we made our way closer to the lake, I saw a kiosk for architectural boat tours. Were they accessible? No. The only place to load the boat in a wheelchair was at Navy Pier. On the bright side, the kiosk ladies directed us toward the most accessible pathway.

Despite the fact that boat tickets were more expensive at the Pier – $35 a ticket rather than $33 – I’m a nautical nut. If there is a boat ride available, I will find it – even in the middle of Arizona! (True story; ask my sister.)

The boat tour is frankly the reason why I no longer hate Chicago. I learned interesting facts about postmodern architecture, brutalism, and the Chicago Fire. Tour Guide Adam told us heinous stories about the Chicago River, including the fact that it was so filthy it lit during the Fire. He also explained that City officials rerouted the river, so that the filth would flow down to St. Louis rather than into Lake Michigan. (I guess I’m not alone in my dislike of Chicago…)DSC02366.jpg

Anyway, I highly suggest the architectural boat tour for any fans of history, trivia, or boating. While they ramp was not ADA-compliant, it was easy enough for my power wheelchair to get on and off. Wheelchair seating was in a designated section, but was sufficiently spacious for me to turn around and look at buildings and bridges from all angles.DSC02329.jpg