Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Iowa: The Most Handicapped State In the Union

... and no I don't mean mentally handicapped though I suppose when I say my rant, you might think there are a few in certain positions that are mentally handicapped.

My wife, being a Filipina, loves to shop for discounts. She would love nothing better than to spend a Saturday afternoon in a strip mall going from one store to the next, stopping only at the deeply discounted racks and buying things for ridiculously small sums of money. She can outfit an entire week's wardrobe for what I pay for one pair of house brand jeans. Some of that is because I hate clothes shopping and will simply walk into a store and grab the first pair of jeans that meets my size and color requirements and pay for it, often times not knowing how much they cost until the cashier tells me so. But I digress so I can get back to my point.

Since my wife also doesn't like to go alone to strip malls, I often go with her and spend inordinate amounts of time in the parking lot with a good book so I can get some reading in and another favorite past time of people watching. What I witness is what appears to be a huge population of seemingly healthy people pulling into handicap parking spots, pulling their handicap tag out of the glove box, and literally rush walking into the store. It makes me wonder what their ailment is that required them to get the handicap tag in the first place though I suspect that most got them from their dead grandmother. What really gets the blood boiling is seeing some old lady in a big old Buick cruising by all the handicapped spots and finally having to park far out in the lot and shuffle in with her cane past all those cars of seemingly healthy people. I've always suspected that Iowa has a huge problem with handicap parking and people with ill gotten tags but never had the proof, until now.

Evidently some Iowa Senator also noticed this problem and pulled  a report on how many valid tags are out and about in Iowa. That number came back to 465,000 or in perspective, one handicap tap for every 6.5 Iowa residents. That a whole lot of handicapped people. We obviously are smart enough to know we don't have that many handicapped people but someone wasn't smart enough to put some sort of expiration date on the tags when they were issued requiring periodic renewals so if you received a tag in 1976, it is still valid for your 32 year old granddaughter to use on her Saturday afternoon shopping spree. And yes, I am deliberately using the feminine terms because I have never seem a seemingly healthy man pull into a handicap parking spot and pull a tag out of the glove box. They are always women. What does that say?

Addendum to the post: I neglected to say that the same Senator is proposing a bill that will make all tags carry an expiration date on them so that owners of them have to periodically get them renewed. The same bill will make all existing tags go obsolete at some future date and new ones will have a different color to make them easily distinguishable.


R. Sherman said...

The state is between a rock and hard place on these things. If somebody dances in with a doctor's note, the state either gives them the tag or faces a civil rights suit under the Americans With Disabilities Act. The problem, of course, lies with the people who seek out such tags improperly, in order to scam the system.

(BTW, in Missouri, if you try to get a handicapped tag, you have to retake the driver's test, to make sure you're physically capable. This hassle cuts down on specious tags.)


Ed said...

R. Sherman - I had to add an addendum to the post that I neglected to mention. The same Senator I mentioned has proposed a bill to fix this problem by making all future tags have expiration dates requiring periodic renewal and all present tags will expire and must be renewed in a different color. But I wouldn't mind seeing Missouri's addition in the bill as well.

Eutychus2 said...

People who wrongly use 'handicapped' stickers are morally challenged! I've thought about it a couple times,
but in the end ended up walking the extra steps...

geri said...

I never got this aversion for walking. I'd rather walk far rather drive around the lot waiting for a nearer spot to become available - saves more time plus the exercise is healthier.

Hopefully those women using those tags get caught and fined heavily.

Bone said...

I'm with Geri. I'd much rather park in the first open (non-handicap) space I find than drive around for five minutes waiting for a closer one to open up.

I remember one day in college, I couldn't find a parking space within half a mile of the building my class was in, so I went home.

Ed said...

Eutychus - Agreed!

Geri - I'm the same way. Everyone knows my 'parking spot' at work because it is the farthest one.

Bone - All I can do is shake my head at your last omission. Classic Bone.

Murf said...

What does it say that in Michigan, the majority seems to be of the African-American persuasion? If we are going by gender, I'd say the the percentage is a bit higher that it will be a guy.

Murf said...

And by the way, yes I have wanted to stop them and ask them if being black was a handicap or if there was something physically wrong with them. When I have the testicular fortitude to do that, I'll let you know. :-)

Ed said...

Murf - At least you have an excuse for not having enough testicular fortitude.

fullfreezer said...

Just last weekend I saw a very healthy looking young MALE pull his pickup truck into a handicapped spot- hangtag in place. I don't see how he could have been handicapped- I would have needed a stepladder to climb into the cab!