More Change After 9/11

In Columns, Just My Bellybutton, Opinion by Nathasha Alvarez

What should be done to ensure that we are not kept in the dark when it comes to our safety? Is there a special Anti-terrorist newsletter or email that went out for people with physical disabilities so we have a better chance of survival? Or will we be the vanishing silent minority waiting for someone else to speak up for us?

Maybe no one will speak up for us. Maybe people are speaking up for us and there have been major improvements and no one sent me the memo on it.

I know what to do if there is a fire on the third floor. According to that very clear sign by the elevator, I am supposed to take the stairs. Now if someone can get that message across to my legs, we will be in good shape.

I joke about how an amazing miracle will occur and I will stand up and bump down the stairs to save my life. But what about those people who really can’t even stand up?

Every September 11, I think of all of the people who died when the Twin Towers collapsed. In fact, I think of this quite often and never without shedding a tear. While I might not know the details, I remember the story of two men, best friends, who died on that day.

According to the story, one of the men was a quadriplegic and sent his personal assistant to get help while his best friend stayed with him to keep him company. The story goes on to say that he knew that by staying with his best friend he was signing his death certificate.

Could something have been done to give these two men a chance to escape like the others who were racing down the stairs?

Years have passed and safety regulations have been placed for these types of emergencies but they must be in a secret handbook that we can only get by knowing the secret handshake because I have asked several groups of people with physical disabilities about this and no one knows.

Do we have to wait until another major disaster hits our country and we hear more stories about people with physical disabilities dying helplessly?

Let’s not forget Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans! That picture of the dead woman in the wheelchair gives me the chills! I refuse to go to a shelter. I have a better chance of surviving a hurricane in my Miami apartment than to wait for the government to come and rescue me.

I am not anti-government.

I am anti-stupidity! How can you ask people with physical disabilities to enter a stadium and not help them out until after days and days with no water, food, or even protection?

So yes, I am a bit bitter about these situations in a country that is too proud for its own good when it comes to equality.

But hey, someone once said I should run for president. If Obama can get nominated for saying he wants change with no experience than I should definitely have a smooth road ahead of me when I state that I want even MORE CHANGE on the road to my presidency.

Comments and questions?