Welcome To Kaitlynn's Place

Kaitlynn was born September 29th, 2004. We have seen neurology specialists from St. Louis to New Orleans since she was born. Unfortunately, we still do not have a definitive diagnosis for Kaitlynn. The best guess her doctors have to offer is mitochondrial disease.

Your Convenience and Excuses Are Not Worth The Life Of My Child

8:42 AM Posted In , , , , , , , , Edit This 6 Comments »
I recently wrote an article at Triond about handicapped parking. I will share most of it here, but to see the Mississippi law on enforcement and violations of the handicapped parking laws, see here. My five-year-old daughter, Kaitlynn is handicapped. Her life is confined to a wheelchair and her medical needs are extensive. She thoroughly enjoys our weekly trips to the Columbia, Mississippi Dirt Cheap and Wal-Mart. Although she can not “talk,” she vibrantly squeals with delight as we turn into the Town Square parking lot. As one might imagine, getting out and about is cumbersome and physically trying for me, but seeing the enjoyment on Kaitlynn’s face is well worth it.

That said, what isn’t worth it is risking her life.

It never fails that I pull into the Dirt Cheap parking lot to find both handicapped parking spaces and the blue line “no parking” area in between the two parking spaces occupied by at least one vehicle without a handicapped parking permit/tag.  I have called the Marion County Police Dept. dozens of times over the past 3 years to report the problem. I have been told everything from -“go inside the store and ask the store to ask the violator to move” …. “an officer is on the way”……“all officers are busy.” Not once has an officer actually showed up, much less ticketed the violators. I have given up on the police enforcing the law. I do wonder if they might show up for someone reporting their car vandalized?

Violators may look at the handicapped parking spot and those empty blue lines as a clear shot to the door on a rainy day or a pardon from a long walk from the back of the parking lot. Others may justify the violation with excuses like, “I’m only going to be a minute” or “if the person is handicapped, then they should stay home.”

If you think you get wet, imagine how wet my daughter and I wet after lugging an 80lb wheelchair out of the trunk, strapping her in, and pushing her to the door! A long walk for you is an obstacle course of danger for a person in a wheelchair, as  larger vehicles backing out can not see a wheelchair behind them. Parking in the blue lines may seem harmless to you, but those blue lines are not there just to look pretty. Handicapped vehicles with a lift can not let their lift out if you are parked in those blue lines. If someone parks aside me in a large vehicle, or just too close to my vehicle, I can not get my child back into the vehicle. I must trust some stranger to watch my daughter while I back out into the middle of the road to load her up, and then pray that no one runs us over in the middle of the road. You convenience and excuses are not worth my daughter’s life!

I realize that many will probably not care about this ongoing problem. It is not something you have ever experienced. It is not something you are willing  to imagine experiencing, that would just make it too real. Therefore, many will dismiss it as a passive aggressive mother complaining about something trivial. But, I will remind that we are all just one accident or slap of nature away from finding ourselves in need of a handicapped parking space.

If you do not empathize with the plight of the handicapped, you might find merit in the money that handicapped parking tickets would contribute to the things you do care about. State and local budget deficits across the country are causing “cut backs.” Handicapped parking violation fines in Mississippi are $200.00 each.

If you want to make an impact on handicapped parking violations: call the police each and every time you see someone parked in handicapped parking that does not have a permit/tag, report the violation to the business that is responsible for the parking lot, make it a community
project to report and document infractions, etc…

Read more what Mississippi law is on handicapped parking here. 


BrettBMartin said...

i can't believe that people won't do more to help you with this!! that's infuriating! i can imagine how stressful it is- pushing a stroller makes me nervous when people are backing up and that isnt near as heavy as a wheelchair. i hope someone listens to you and pays attention. they should quadruple that fine!

(i'm also stopping by to subscribe from the mailbox monday hop)

i will be continuing to follow your and kaitlynn's story as you share more

Onideus said...

The next time they say there aren't any available officers call back and tell them there's a robbery in progress and a man with a gun. You'll get at least a dozen police officers showing up in about two minutes or less. When they ask, "I thought you said there was a robbery?" Respond with, "I thought you said there were no officers available?" ^__^

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