A friend of mine, Paul Ealy, picked up on an article that became an interest to me very much.
Here's the link: http://yourerie.com/content/fulltext/?cid=8423
Let me break it down for you. We have a 19 year old BLIND teenager, Kelly McCammon that has just rode the new Waldameer Amusement Park newest roller coaster, Ravine Flyer II, at least 3 times! The Park's owner stepped in and said "you can't ride the rides because you are BLIND".
I'd like to tell this Waldameer Amusement Park owner that he's dead wrong.
Fact one: Kelly had assistance of his friends to help him to ride on the roller coasters.
Fact two: Kelly wasn't asking for special assistance and/or treatments
Face three: He wants to be treated just like any other normal rider.
Given that being said, I was appalled by what the park owner said in his latter comments of this article: "with some rides we have the manufactures come out and say you can't do it...the coaster is one of those rides that is really bad...in that... there are certain forces against you if you don't know what's coming up and you don't have yourself braced for it you could be in trouble." - Paul Nelson, Waldameer Park
I say " excuse me, you as a park owner permit to build a roller coaster and then say you have to prevent the disabled public from riding a specific roller coaster ? Are you prepared for a lawsuit from the disabled community?"
You know what? I'm ashamed for amusement parks that put in place special policies and procedures for visitors with "special needs". That is to say "oh please stop by our office, sign some forms so that you can't sue us if you get injured on a ride in our park". I can understand that amusement parks want to protect the handicapped people. But this is out of line.
We, the disabled community, (and I say this in favor of all types of disabled people), resent special treatment. I know that there are some of us with special conditions that can't ride a certain ride. But you know what? Roller coaster manufactures and builders have better start taking an interest in the disabled community and to be careful of what they build. If they come out and build a product that strictly for the abled-bodied community and telling a park owner to regulate that ride is like having a chance for a park owner to go out of business once the legal community gets involved and obtains a court order that says "Tear it down and build a ride that all people can enjoy of!".
I'm deaf and I have ridden several roller coasters in my life, even the most fastest ones on earth. I have a deaf blind friend of mine who's proud to have ridden on a roller coaster as well. I have a friend in a wheel chair (most times he walks around with a cane) and he has ridden on a roller coaster as well. Know what? We eschew the handicapped entrance. We want to wait in line, just like an average JOE PUBLIC! (like everyone else!). We don't ask to be at the seated first or put into a seat made "for disabled riders only" area. It's an insult.
If amusement parks are using "Deaf awareness day" to identify who's disabled and who's not, then that's a type of discrimination that we need not to see. Deaf awareness day should be a fun day for the public to get to know the deaf community and the disabled community as well.
Amusement parks are places to relax and enjoy a day off from this stress filled world that goes on every day. But to hear something that they try to rule us in the name of "Safety", then it's going to be a sad day when the paying public avoids some certain parks because of over zealous rules.
For McCammon and the National Federation for the Blind, I hope your efforts to fight the park rules will make it better for other disabled people to enjoy that park!
Salute and Semper FI to you!