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Time for Action! (was Re: [IP] Ann Landers)

I read the column in the paper Monday and was appalled.  I also decided that it 
was time for some action.  I invite you to write your local paper if they carry 
the column.  Be sure to send a copy to Ann Landers too.  If we don't speak up, 
then we'll wonder why nobody listens...

Here's what I wrote:

To the editor of a local paper -

Dear Editor:
 On Monday, November 23, your paper published a column by Ann Landers which was
 a prime example of why that column is on the comics page. The paragraph that I
 found to be a perfect example of crude, insensitive and offensive opinion
 masquerading as "advice" was the part where a "Mrs. Anonymous" was complaining
 about a relative with diabetes who checks his blood glucose and takes his
 insulin at the table.  Ms. Lander's response was "A person who would inject
 himself or herself at the dinner table in the presence of others exhibits gross
 insensitivity and very poor manners." 
Such an attitude as Ms. Landers expressed has overtones of ignorance, 
hostility and insensitivity.  In many restaurants and other public places you 
cannot "hide" to take a shot or test your blood glucose.  The restrooms in most 
of these places are not clean enough to take a shot or do a finger stick 
without risking an infection. They are also often cramped, poorly lit and have 
a lot of traffic in and out, thus exposing you to more people who will watch to 
see if you are "taking drugs."  
I speak from personal experience - I have had diabetes for almost seventeen 
years.  I know what it's like to try to find a clean, quiet, and private area 
to test my blood glucose and take an insulin shot.  I've also had people make 
snide remarks about "druggie" when I have risked using the restrooms.  My 
experiences have been that people may be curious about the activity, but hardly 
anyone is really offended by someone trying to protect their health.  
Those who are offended by such an activity fall into the same category as 
people who are offended by a wheelchair  - it's their problem and their 
responsibility to "get it together" and get over their "easily offended" 
I suppose the next thing we'll see from Ms. Landers is a column about 
how people in wheelchairs, people who are undergoing chemotherapy, using an 
oxygen tank for emphysema, or anyone who isn't "perfect" in mind and body is  
"exhibiting gross insensitivity and bad manners" by showing themselves in 
public.  Maybe she will follow her own logic and give us a diatribe about how 
people who are of the "wrong" racial stock should also hide themselves. 
I request that you consider dropping Ms. Landers and finding someone with a 
more humane, sensitive and intelligent view of the world.  There are many other 
excellent columnists and dropping this source of bad "advice" and replacing it 
with a column that contains real useful and accurate information would only 
improve your newspaper.  Leave Ms. Landers and her ilk to the supermarket 
tabloids, next to the other prime examples of "yellow journalism." I am also 
sending a copy of this letter to Ms. Landers address as listed in the column.   
      Sincerely, Randall Winchester

The copy that I sent to Ann Landers was accompanied by this cover letter:

Dear Ms. Landers:

 A copy of the letter to the editor of our local newspaper that was written in
 response to your column that was published on Monday, November 23, is attached.
  By your response you  seem have joined the ranks of the bigots who are
 offended by anyone not exactly like yourself.  Such an ignorant and
 close-minded attitude does not benefit you or your readers.  You may continue
 to dispense "advice" or entertainment on pet squirrels but please attempt to
 use better judgement on issues concerning equal access, handicaps or other
 significant social and moral concerns.  
 I am also forwarding a copy of my letter to the editor to a large group of
 people with diabetes and asking them to raise the issue with the editors of
 their local papers if the paper carried this column.  This will go out via
 e-mail this evening and I expect that a significant number of the over
 six-hundred people may respond.  Many of us are active in our communities as
 advocates for people with disabilities.
 As a minister some of the challenges I have faced in counseling other people
 with disabilities is teaching them how to face the attitudes of society such as
 you have demonstrated.  Many people with disabilities hide inside their homes
 because someone has told them that their wheelchair offends, or their slurred
 speech is offensive, or their uncontrollable tremors bother others.  Those of
 us who care and who are able to must fight to protect the rights of everyone,
 including those who must sometimes "offend" others by taking medication, using
 a wheelchair or other devices to stay alive and participate in society.
 I hope that you seek information about problems faced by people with
 disabilities and the challenges they and their families face.  I hope that as
 you learn you grow into a person with a more accepting, understanding and
 caring heart, instead of the "don't offend me" or "pretend that it doesn't
 exist" attitude you seem to have now.  You would be a great benefit to our
 society if you became an advocate for people with disabilities instead of
 trying to pass judgment on them by declaring them to have "poor manners" or
 "gross insensitivity."  By such a declaration in your column you demonstrated
Randall P. Winchester
* The views expressed here are mine and do not necessarily *
* reflect the official position of anyone in particular.            *
* There's no guarantee on anything said here...
* If I say I understand something completely the only thing
* we can both be assured of is that I must have completely
* misunderstood something. 
Insulin-Pumpers website http://www.insulin-pumpers.org/