Thursday, October 21, 2004

Mr. Cop and Mr. Oblivious

Ever since reading this press release from the Canadian Hearing Society about a deaf Ghanian immigrant's run-in with two Toronto police officers, I'd been waiting to find out the outcome of the case. Today I happened to catch this online. My eyebrows took a quick hike northward. Two cops, one deaf immigrant... a late night trip to a parking lot... well, I guess the courts have spoken.

I haven't had to deal with a police officer or similar authority figure since going deaf, but it's something that's in the back of my mind and it's kind of an anxiety thing. I think back to last summer when I had a US Border Guard holding a weapon scream at me because I didn't leave enough space between my car and the one in front of me, which he was checking. "YOU - BACK!" he yelled, and I knew what "My heart was in my throat" actually felt like as I threw the car in reverse and backed up. What would the outcome have been if I couldn't hear what he was saying? Or the time in Pearson Airport, just post 9/11, when the gate attendant was threatening anyone complaining about the idiotic overbooking of our flight by 30 seats with "security". How much easier would it have been to get myself in trouble if I could only understand half of what was going on?

Stories like this one don't reinforce my confidence. I think cops are used to instant obedience and they get very angry very quickly if they don't get it. And the deaf don't - can't - obey immediately. And the thought that the 'offender' may be deaf doesn't seem to occur to them, at least in these cases. Some education, it would seem, might be in order.

Tomorrow I get the tube removed from my ear, which has been itchy and sore all day, as if in protest. I hope it isn't infected or something (which I presume might mean he couldn't do it tomorrow). I reeeeeeeealy want to get this over with.



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