Students at the University face many challenges. Aside from their obvious academic concerns, practical matters creep into their daily lives. What should I eat for dinner? When am I going to do my laundry? How am I going to get to campus? Where am I going to park when I get there? How one answers these mundane questions day in and day out reveals more about a person than those rare big, life-shaping decisions. Unfortunately, some have answered by demonstrating that they have not evolved with the rest of us. Every day they take advantage of the handicapped.
Many students cannot find affordable housing within walking distance of their classes and therefore drive from Uptown or Loring Park to campus every day. All of these commuters share one thing in common: a need for a parking space every day. With the parking shortage around campus, the morning commuter seeking a place to leave his car for a few hours feels like Ponce de Leon questing for the Fountain of Youth. Some Neanderthals among us have realized, however, that the only thing stopping them from a premium parking spot is a simple placard.
All you really need is one of those red or blue handicap tags and suddenly the world of oh-so-close-to-the-door spots is yours. Even beyond campus, your new advantage can be exploited. Why carry your groceries so far? Why run through the rain to the store’s entrance when the handicap spot is empty right there?
Why? Because if it doesn’t get you damned to whatever metaphysical manifestation of eternal suffering in which you believe, it should at least earn you the scorn and derision of your peers.
Forget that impersonating a person with a disability to get a good parking spot is illegal; the law has little to do with morality. The almost $600 penalty for perpetrators hardly reflects the moral affront of this crime. This sort of deception is a high crime against all mankind and a direct slap in the face of those for whom handicapped parking is intended. It may not be murder, but it is nearly as disturbing.
Why not let the air out of a cripple’s wheelchair tires or kick the crutches out from under an invalid? At least then you would be face to face with the person you are harming. You can tell him you have no respect for his efforts to succeed despite having a disability. You can mock him while he limps from the distant parking spot or while he goes the long way around the building to get to the handicap accessible entrance. Put your callousness out on the table so everyone knows what a cretin you are. Just because you never see the people whose parking spot you have stolen doesn’t mean they aren’t out there.
Don’t halt your repugnant practice because University Police Officer David St. Cyr is out there looking for you. Don’t leave that handicap parking space open for someone that deserves to park there just because you might get a fine. Throw away that pass you stole, inherited from your grandparents or forged on your computer because you are a human being.
If you find the convenient parking spot too tempting to resist, at least go apply for your own handicap tag. You just might get it as you obviously have some sort of mental disability. If your request is denied, crawl back under the rock from which you came.