Demands 'Equality' On Rides And In Theme Parks
By Crusty Blanche-Froid
Thrill seekers dangle over hell fires in Ride Thru Hell
ORLANDO FLA. (NP) A totally immobilized cripple complained today that he was unable to ride Orlando Amusement Park's Ride Through Hell because there is no access ramp or other facilities that would accommodate his specially equipped wheel chair. Joe Russell is a blind paraplegic who for twenty eight years has felt no sensation of any kind from his eyelids down. His life in a wheelchair began in 1973 after a Muscular Dystrophy telethon hosted by Jerry Lewis. While rushing to his telephone he tripped on his shoelace and broke his neck when his head struck his dog's food dish.
Like Stephen Hawkings the celebrated astrophysicist, Joe has control only over his left eyelid, which he blinks into a reader that is attached to a computer slung under the seat of his wheelchair. The computer decodes his blinks and within the limits of technology, Joe lives a more or less normal life. His only regret, apparently, is his inability, even with the wheelchair's 1.3 GHz computer, to carry on the physical aspects of a romantic relationship. Still, he says, he has lots of female pen pals and he gets a "big kick" over the e-mail stories they send him on his braille reader. Since Joe has no feeling in his hands to feel braille dots, he must brush his left eyelid over a sensitized pad that is programmed to move across his face whenever a new message comes in. The messages picked up by Joe's eyelids are converted to tiny electrical pulses that are relayed to Joe's brain.
Representative Gary Condidit, (Dem. Cal..) vowed today as news of Joe's predicament received nation-wide coverage, that he would convene a special meeting of the US Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board, to deal with the situation. After the emergency board hearings are concluded, Rep. Condidit expects that Congress will enact legislation to force amusement park owners and "anyone offering services to the public", to provide unfettered access to their facilities even to the severely handicapped like Joe.
"They do that and I gotta close down," complained Sid Binderstream owner of Ride Through Hell." Does Condidit realize what's involved if I have to make this ride accessible to people in wheelchairs? Look, the goddam ride is not for cripples. I even discourage Catholics who believe in a literal Hell. It's for guys who don't mind spendin' fifty bucks to have the livin' shit scared outta them."
Binderstream owner of Ride Through Hell, says new access bill will bankrupt
RIDE THROUGH HELL
Asked to describe his ride, Mr. Binderstream said it's not like a huge ferris wheel or roller coaster. "In Ride Through Hell, people are strapped into safety boots and a restraining harness. Then a bunch of guys dressed in devil costumes poke at them with pitch-forks as they're whisked away to begin the tour. Hangin' from their boots while hi-decibel acid rock from The Grateful Dead is drivin' them nuts as it is, there's not one of them that ain't screaming their fuckin' heads off as the belchin' flames lick at their asshole and dragons snap at their gonads. When Satan, complete with horns and laffin' fiendishly, prepares to dip them into the bubblin' Hellfire, there ain't one of 'em who'll ever mock God again!
"Now, for chrissakes, how'm I gonna adapt this ride to accommodate wheelchairs? I mean no disrespect to Mr. Russell, who I'm sure is a nice guy, but as he was described to me, I'm sure he can't even feel it when he's takin' a piss. What's he gonna get out of ridin' an upside-down wheelchair through Hell? This human rights shit is goin' too far!
Sam Outhaus who owns an African theme park in Fort Lauderdale agrees. He says he'll be ruined if Congress forces him to open his park to people in wheelchairs. The park is for guys who like to hunt animal game and will pay big bucks to take part in an African bushman hunt.
The 50 hectare theme park simulates the bush in the Dark Continent. Players are given spears, stun guns, and nets and have two hours to return to the starting gate with a bagged 'bushman'. These are out-of-work actors who smear themselves with chalk and get 50 bucks an hour to outwit the 'hunters'. When a hunter finds one he has to bring him in and usually the only way they can do that is to truss him up like a pig. It gets pretty hairy at times and and a lot of blood can be spilled but the hunters get the thrill they paid for. "Can you see us adapting this game so that guys in wheelchairs can play being hunters?" asked Mr. Outhaus.
Rep. Condidit poo-pooed the owners' heated comments and said that for such insensitivity and insults about the physically disadvantaged they could find themselves facing the Human Rights Tribunal at the International Court of Justice in the Hague. He said that Mr. Russell has the 'universal' human right to feel whatever sensation the ride provides him, if it's only the satisfaction of being able to do what normal people can do. "He cannot be denied his basic human rights," Mr. Condidit said.