our state newspaper this morning about a one-eyed driver who has had eleven accidents. One of those accidents resulted in the death of another person. Despite that he has been allowed to keep his licence to drive. Admittedly it has now been restricted to driving during daylight hours and he is, at last, back on a probationary licence but he still has his licence. His occupation is, unbelievably, that of a courier-van driver.
Now I have problems with this. As someone else with a disability I am all for people with disabilities "doing things" if they can. I do not think people should be restricted simply because they have a disability. That is obviously wrong but there may be times when, for the good of everyone, you need to restrict your activities or ask someone else for assistance.
I remember another person of my acquaintance with severe eye-sight problems. Even after he had been declared legally "blind" he continued to ride a motor-bike. I rather suspect he was riding without a licence. In the end one of his children, on a visit from interstate, found out and removed the motorbike. Fortunately he did it before his father actually had a serious accident and killed someone. It caused a severe rift between father and child.
Another friend of mine with a very severe speech impediment due to cerebral palsy was invited to accept an important award on one occasion. It necessitated the giving of a speech as well. He knew full well that he was not going to be understood so he did the sensible thing. He accepted the award, thanked the audience and then got his wife to read what he had written. His aim was to have the audience hear what he had to say. Some disabled members of the audience were strongly disapproving of this. They said he should have delivered the speech himself and made people listen harder. I disagree and I am not even going to be respectful about the way in which I do it.
I know this attitude once lost me a job. I was asked at an interview whether I thought a person with a "severe visual impairment" should be accepted as a soldier-in-training. I said "no" and, among other reasons, pointed out that such a person could put his or her fellow soldiers at risk. It was apparently the wrong answer. I was supposed to say yes. I still think no was the responsible answer.
There are limits and my friend who accepted the award knew his limits. I hope I know my limits and that, while I still want to explore the boundaries, I will not fall over the cliff by taking unnecessary risks. That puts other people at risk too. They may need to rescue me. It may prevent another person with a disability exploring their boundaries. I have to be responsible not just to myself but to other people as well.
I think all of life might be a bit like that - for everyone.