I am waiting to be judged. Some say I aided and abetted an enemy of our country, a terrorist. I say I just helped a newly blinded guy adjust to his blindness. It all started...
"That's one of those new state quarters, can you tell?" Said the man, who had brought his tray up and handed money to the cafeteria's cashier.
Kevin, blind and manager of all food service within the federal prison, lightly fingered the coin. "Nebraska."
"You amaze me."
"Bob, dealing with blindness is skills, confidence, and determination." Patiently answered Kevin.
"Hey, hear we've got that blind terrorist com'in in? Released him from the hospital." Rejoined Bob. "Bet he's not a super blind guy like you."
Kevin knew Bob referred to the recent discovery of a terrorist cell. Its violent resistance resulting in three of the member's deaths and the blinding of the remaining survivor. "Going from being sighted to being blind takes some getting used to." Assured Kevin.
A couple of weeks later, Kevin was disassembling a coffee machine when footsteps approached. "Kevin, I'm Dr. Anderson." said the man. "I'm the team leader working with the surviving cell member who was blinded. The staff here tells me you have consulted with them on visually challenged inmates?"
"I have." Answered Kevin, wondering if this was going where he thought it might. "We believe if we can get Abdul to be more independent, it would help our program. He is struggling with basic life skills, orientation to his surroundings, eating, general self-care types of things. Would you be open to work with us on this?"
Kevin's first visit with Abdul was in a small room; two guards were present. "I have not seen the blind caring for themselves in my country." said Abdul. He had a Middle Eastern accent but his English was good. "And working ... there are very few of the blind who work alongside the sighted. It is not expected of them. We care for our young and elders and the handicapped, as the Koran instructs."
"Yes, I believe that is the general rule for your culture. Dealing with a disability is like so many other human conditions; what people think about it and do about it tends to be culture-specific, the actions having come about for various reasons. But here we are and I understand that you and the staff wish for you to become more independent. If we agree to work together, know that I will be coming from the belief that if you have good blindness skills, have confidence in yourself, and if you are determined, then blindness will not stop you from accomplishing what is important to you."
"Let us start with the cane. Stand up, please." Putting the long white shaft into the other man's hands, Kevin said, "This is a travel tool. Let me show you how to work it."
They met twice a week. Cane travel was a priority, starting with traveling within the building, later going out onto the extensive prison property where there were sidewalks, street crossings and the like; two guards were with them at all times.
In every visit, Kevin mixed in travel with independent living skills, like eating, grooming, and more. He told Abdul, "I will help you the most by teaching you how to think like a blind person has to think. Then you will be able to figure out things on your own."
Braille was taught. Abdul learned fast with a goal of being again able to read the Koran, and was writing in contracted Braille in less then a month and a half.
During their visits, they talked about their lives. Abdul once asked, "What is it like to live in your community?"
Another time Kevin asked, "Tell me of your culture. What do you want? What can you give?"
Three and a half months after starting to work with Abdul, Kevin heard three men coming down the hall to where he worked in a storeroom, preparing for the dinner hour.
The lead man spoke. "Kevin, Dr. Anderson here. We need to talk. Have you seen Abdul today?" Seeing Kevin's startled look, Anderson said, "He has been missing since after breakfast."
The note that Abdul had Brailled for Kevin yesterday, now made sense. "Thank you Kevin. It was good of you to work with me. I learned that blindness does not change a person; it is the new challenges that change him. Thanks to you I again have good skills. I am confident again. Now I must go and do what is important to me. May Allah be with you."
e-mail responses to email@example.com
**1. I think the question being asked by the provoker is whether or not it is okay to provide basic human kindness (in the form of blindness skills training) to a known terrorist. Well, from my perspective, it is perfectly fine. Even Christ says to love your enemies and to bless those who curse you. Our protagonist was merely helping a fellow blind man to adapt to his new life, and that is a function of humanity. Let the geopolitical situation take care of itself. Let the CIA and the FBI engage in interrogation, torture and whatever else they will, but as human beings, we have our own rules to follow, and for me, one of those rules is to treat other people with kindness and humanity. Now if Abdul had told Kevin that he intended to escape from prison, reconnect with his terrorist buddies and blow something up, then I would say that Kevin might have a responsibility to do something different, but the story doesn't cover that. This story just shows a blind guy trying to help another blind guy, and to me, that is always the right answer.
Ron Brooks Phoenix, AZ
**2. KEVIN USED HIS SKILLS TO TEACH ANOTHER ON HOW TO GET ALONG WITH BLINDNESS. WHAT THE MAN DOES WITH IT IS NOT ANYTHING AGAINST KEVIN. IT ALSO TEACHES US THAT NO MATTER WHAT IF YOU ARE DETERMINED AND CONFIDENT YOU CAN LEARN AND BE ALL THAT GOD INTENDS FOR YOU TO BE. JUST BECAUSE YOU HAVE A HANDICAP DOES NOT MEAN YOU HAVE TO GIVE UP. BE DETERMINED AND USE IT TO YOUR ADVANTAGE.
**3. What an interesting dilemma in self-perception and value clarification. Is it wrong to provide skills to this gentleman or any criminal? It doesn't matter to me whether it is cane travel for a blind convicted terrorist or reading and writing skills for a convicted con artist. By providing skills, we provide the ability for the individual to do more bad stuff even more effectively later. On the other hand, there is the chance that those moments of human to human contact across cultural and societal barriers will break a pattern, cause a second thought and the like at the time of planning the next attack on society-- arranging a con, a break in, a bomb. which side do we err on? the side of keeping them dumb, incapable and dependent based on mistrust, or on the side of competence based on hope. I'll err on the side of hope and love. the other aspect is the hope that with this bit of training and self-improvement, maybe eventually the attitude of the middle-eastern cultures toward our fellow blind people will change.
Davey Hulse, CEO Braille Plus, Inc. P.O. Box 3686 2659 Commercial Street Southeast
Suite 264 Salem, Oregon 97302 Toll-free: (866) 264-2345 Phone: (503) 391-5335 Fax: (503) 391-9359 www.brailleplus.net Every Format. Every Day. And, Everything Right!
**4. This thought provoker is all too true and scary in today's hostile environment. In this country we use our skills to enhance our lives and the lives of others. In other cultures they use them to enhance their own lives and take away the life of others.
Judith Bron NFB Writers' /Division listserv
**5. Well I didn't like the end of the story.Way to bad. I don't feel that Kevin should be blamed for the walking of the first guy. And maybe he wasn't. But because he taught him how to travel, he would get into trouble for the man to take on his own actions. Now come up with what the man was doing? Since the story is left up in the air. Smile
dmgina NFBtalk mailing list
**6. Hi, it sounds like one of our people that being an American just trained some one who might be a terrorist. That's frightening.
**7. I don't think Kevin knew he was helping a terrorist, or even a prison escape. Blindness skills are just that. Blindness skills. What we do with them is up to us. Go forth and lead your life.
Abby ACB-L listserv
**8. OH how *VERY!* COOL! White cane filled with plastic explosive, Abdul the blind terrorist proceeds to board a plane ... Great, just what I need; *MORE* hassle when I go to the airport. *laugh* Still, I query where this one came from. Is blindness training somehow being paralleled with terrorist training? Again, I am in awe of the originality of the concept, if so, and don't necessarily disagree; I haven't the experience with blindness training, and Kevin is obviously following an establish curriculum. And how *DOES* he do that quarter trick? As a caveat, I thought the Kevin performing as trained seal for the amazed eye people was, while being healthier than any other dynamic I've yet experienced, still a bit much. But it's a good trick, so maybe that makes it all right.
**9. I'm confused. I thought that the piece said that two guards were around at all times. How did Abdul get away then? Regardless, it sounds like Kevin did what was asked of him, help another blind person to become more able to be independent. I would say, that Abdul's performance indicates that he was truly motivated, but for what purpose? unfortunately, I expect that his cultural beliefs just might determine his actions, regardless of what he may have learned. Culture and societal influences must be kept in mind, because they will likely influence how a person responds to a condition. For instance, if a person comes from a culture that teaches that people who are blind or otherwise disabled, are worthless and not capable, that person will have trouble accepting that he/she can be independent. It sounds that, in Abdul's case, increased independence enabled him to continue what he really felt was important.
Doug Hall (Daytona Beach, Florida)
**10. I guess I'd have to really understand what today's definition of "treason" is. Since I don't truly know what actions are or are not defined as treason, I have to go with my first reaction. I believe Kevin was responding to another individual in need...agreeing to help another person to learn to live as a blind man. This task was not taken on, by Kevin, in any attempt to work against the United States government. He agreed to help at the request of those people in the prison who were charged with the responsibility of caring for the prisoner. In order for them to do that, it was necessary to have this man be able to care for his own physical needs and travel from place to place. If those in charge believed this could be considered treason; to teach an individual that he can live with his blindness, then they would not have asked Kevin to assist. Kevin might feel some responsibility, if this man was able to escape the prison and commit a terroristic act. But, I really believe he was helping another blind person to learn to live independently. He was not encouraging this individual to go out and carry out his terroristic agenda.
Cindy Handel Willow Street, PA
**11. This is the most unusual Thought Provoker yet, and it inadvertently brings up a totally different issue that has nothing to do with disability.
I assume that, by "treason," you imply that Kevin would be guilty of such, since he is helping a terrorist adjust to his blindness. No, Kevin is not guilty of treason. As long as Abdul does not use his new skills to commit acts of anarchy and murder, there is no treason.
Furthermore, Kevin himself is practicing the Golden Rule: "Do unto others, as you would have them do unto you." Or, "Thou shalt love thy neighbor asthyself." As far as Kevin is concerned, he is simply dealing with a newly-blind man who needs to be taught. He doesn't care how or why it happened. The average person might well be tempted to yell at Abdul, saying he "deserved" it. Let God sort it out. It would be no different than if a bum had drunk wood alcohol (which can cause blindness), or if a man's poor eating habits caused diabetes (which also causes blindness). In this scenario, Kevin is being strictly objective. On the other hand, what is Abdul thinking? All this must be getting through to him. He has to be thinking, "Hey, I just tried to blow his countrymen to smithereens, and yet this American is helping me!" Would Abdul's countrymen have done the same? Only he knows for sure. The goodness of God leads to repentance. Maybe Abdul will come to his senses.
**12. I believe that Kevin was helping a newly blinded man to function. What Abdul did with that was not Kevin’s problem. It was not treason.
Toni & Lenore (my tail wagging assistive device)
**13. interesting, not sure what I think. I would say it is important for any blind person to know basic living skills and how to live with blindness.
Corey Cook ACB-L listserv
**14. I suggest that first you take some time to actually learn about islam, (not capitalized deliberately), then rework this one and resubmit it. I made it a point to learn about islam, long before 9/11. From your Thought Provoker, I think you are buying into the fallacy that islam is a beautiful and peaceful religion. No true moslem, (also not capitalized deliberately), would be so kind to your blind person. If you doubt, I suggest you research how the terrorist animals we have captured act toward the guards that our government has put in place to contain them. What the Government, and media would like the American population to believe about islam is not what any person who takes the time to read their koran, (again deliberately not capitalized), and actually learn about islam would learn. Our terrorist enemies interpret the koran more accurately than the media. They speak the true tenets of the religion more truthfully than the current administration.
It is not the peaceful and beautiful religion that is claimed by those in power. Waging war on any who do not believe as the koran directs is a fundamental order of islam. Convert or kill! It is a direct and specific order to the so-called faithful.
I think you need to research this one more intensively and send it out again. Your moslem is more like to use the blind guy as a human shield for his escape and then cut his throat. After all, your competent blind guy is an infidel. Since the infidel cannot be converted to islam, he must be killed.
Just because the average American has not figured out that we are at war, it does not mean that all of us are running around with our minds and eyes closed. Some of us realize it. Some of us believe that we should strike at the threat, wherever it exists.
William Ritchhart NFBtalk listserv…FROM ME; I'm sure we have not seen all the types of responses this TP can bring.
**15. William, I'm not going to agree or disagree with you because I admittedly don't know what I'm talking about in that regard. I do want to point out, however, that your message doesn't really fit the topic being discussed in this thread which was about whether it is right to help this guy adjust to blindness and if that somehow qualifies as giving comfort to the enemy. You didn't really address that issue. Additionally, I'm sorry, but your message is inflammatory. Now, I generally believe that political correctness is going to be the death of civilization, so I'm not telling you to find a less offensive way to express your views. I believe you should say what you mean and mean what you say. I believe you're saying it in the wrong place, however. Now I'm not one of those fancy NFB list moderators, but I think you should take this kind of think to another, more appropriate forum. I don't think this list, nor likely any other NFB list, nor an at best only tangentially related thought provoker message, is at all the right place. If you wish to debate that point with me, I ask you to do it off-list.
Joseph Carter NFBtalk mailing list
**16. Kevin is no more guilty of treason than those who fed, sheltered, and clothed the terrorist. He simply offered someone the opportunity to live more productively, but I am sure that Kevin will be watched more closely in the future.
**17. Hi William, I find your assertions about Muslims highly offensive. I know many Muslims who are peaceful and do not condone the violent actions of terrorists who use the Muslim religion to spread hatred and violence. Not all Muslims are evil. In terms of being evil, the same could be said for Christians. After all, it was Christians who created slavery in this country and physically, emotionally and physically degraded a group of people based on the color of their skin. Certainly, that is not peaceful behavior. And yet, there are many peaceful Christians. Before you judge one religion based on the actions of a few, you may want to look at what others have done in the name of a religion.
May I also point out that you are making a broad generalization when you say that all Muslims are evil. It is the equivalent of a sighted person who meets a blind person who is not competent, socially inappropriate, and who is not independent and that sighted person deciding that all blind people are like this one person. I'm sure those types of generalizations do not sit well with you. Might I suggest that one should not throw stones at glass houses.
Milissa NFBtalk Mailing lis
In a message dated 8/7/2007 7:43:49 A.M. Eastern Daylight Time, dewey_bradley writes: <99% of the time when you see one of them, they are taping some thing or casing out something...
No, I do not depend on the TV to tell me everything. 99% of the time I personally see Muslims, they are studying or helping someone study. They are my students and colleagues. I live in an area of the country where there are many Muslims. It would be good to talk about actual people and not TV characters. Perhaps we should take this discussion off list.
Laura NFBtalk Mailing list
**19. Okay, I have been processing this since you sent it, and here's what I think. It sounds like Kevin and Dr. Anderson were trying to think of Abdul first as a human being needing help, then as a terrorist. This is quite natural, and certainly in the field in which I worked for a number of years, social work. For example, we certainly would not want a violent husband battering his wife, but if he turned to a social work agency for help, therapy, help getting employment, the idea is that we would try to help him with these issues, assuming he was sincere about needing this assistance. I think there are many of us who would have a hard time understanding the terrorist mind set, that the twisted cause he was fighting for would be first, last, and everything. Anything Abdul wanted to do while in prison would be to further that cause. I think it's very hard for "normal" human beings, and certainly for many of us blind people who want more than anything else to help our fellow blind to achieve what we may have been able to achieve, to understand that mind set when we are presented with a situation in which we can give back, be helpful. I think it is entirely possible, too, that Kevin might have believed that by showing Abdul something positive about our American culture, that often we try to help people with disabilities to better themselves and to obtain skills, he might have contributed to Abdul starting to think differently about his path and about western culture, maybe feel a twinge of remorse for what he had done as a terrorist. I suspect that both Kevin and Dr. Anderson feel tremendous guilt that they may have contributed to Abdul's escape, inevitably resulting in more harm coming from this. So is Kevin a traitor? Inevitably, there will be people who will think so. I would emphatically maintain, however, that he is not a traitor, that he deserves no punishment, that he should keep his job, and that he needs to be treated with compassion and understanding. I base this on the idea that, in my mind, treason involves premeditation. One has to plan it beforehand and actively decide that he/she is going to act in a way that will undermine our nation, our political system, or safety as a nation, our economy, any or all of that. Kevin did nothing of the sort. Evidence of this is found when he doesn't fully understand the Braille note Abdul left for him until Dr. Anderson points out that Abdul has been missing since breakfast. Indeed, the project people seemed to be taking precautions against a possible escape or other mischief on the part of Abdul, always making sure that two guards were with him, even on his mobility lessons. Kevin, and I suspect Dr. Anderson as well, were just trying to do the natural thing, to help another human being obtain some skills and maybe understand our culture a bit more. If they are guilty of anything, it is simply not accepting and understanding the twisted mind set they were working with. Abdul was likely manipulating them all the time. And, through no fault of theirs, probably a lot of harm will occur not only directly from this terrorist and his cell, but psychologically to Kevin and the willingness to help when that help is sincerely wanted, will be much less available. This is just a sad situation for the prison officials who authorized this project, and certainly for Kevin, who was betrayed and may lose his job and will have to live with the unintended consequences of this, probably in some ways for the rest of his life. No, the last thing he needs is criminal punishment, just a lot of support and compassion.
**20. This thought provoker is stretching things a bit. Responsibility of another's act is very limited, if being responsible at all. Kevin, provided living skills to another individual in need. That is all. What clues did Kevin learn or came to know while the blind person? None! Kevin is not to blame for any of the escapee's escape.
jack e. mindrup
**21. Another interesting one. Looks like Abdul had more on his mind than just learning how to live like a blind man. Kevin can not blame himself because he did a good job in helping Abdul adjust to blindness. My thoughts are that Abdul pulled the wool, so to speak, over the warden's eyes. Evidently the guards underestimated the abilities of a blind person. "I think I will crawl in that food cart just before it is rolled out to the waiting truck!"
Ernie Jones Walla Walla
**22. I think that all or most of readers of this thought provoker have thought of the worse case. Before we come to conclusion that the blind individual will go back to his old ways, we should also think that he got the education about the goodness in the world. This thought provoker is not about religion but about changing lives. If you wish to criticize religion, I would like to remind you that in the 15th century there was the inquision. Thousands of people died because they were not Christians. In the 20th century people died because of their religion. Do I have to give more example.
Information & Referral unit
Department of Health & human services
**23. Well, it's not treason. We must care for all blind individuals, prisoner or not. Once you're blind, you change completely I think.
Beth NFB NABS mailing list
**24. I think Kevin was just doing what he was asked, trying to do the right thing. If he was to not help the terrorist the man would have a lessened chance of making something of himself. Maybe the man went on to blow something else up, but that was not Kevin's responsibility. I was raised to help others when I can so I think Kevin did the right thing. My culture teaches me to treat all people with respect. The kind of person they choose to become with the knowledge and tools I might be able to provide them is between that person and Creator.
**25. I want to add that my best friend is a Muslim. He lives in the Middle East now, but he lived here for over a decade, and he thinks I am a strong willed individual who amazes him (in a good way). Never has he tried to dissuade me from doing anything because I'm blind and use a wheelchair. He is very supportive of my efforts to become the person I want to be. What you have said is just a generalization, not all Muslims are like that.
Jennifer Aberdeen NFBtalk mailing lis
**26. I am one of the silent readers of the Thought Provoker. I am the parent of a totally blind 11 year old boy so I have confined myself to simply reading and trying to learn from them. I must say that I really enjoy most of them and they force me to think and re-examine my views sometimes.
The latest Thought Provoker prompted me to write because it points out so clearly why there will be a continuing conflict between the Muslim world and ours. The overriding philosophy of the United States seems to be to Live and let live whereas it seems that the Muslim philosophy is to believe as they believe or be eliminated. There are obviously factions of both camps that differ in these views, but as a general rule I think they apply. In this case Kevin felt a stronger bond or commonality with the recently blinded prisoner and felt that he could help a fellow blind person through a difficult time. The assumption is that Abdul will return to his terrorist activities after learning to deal with his blindness, but perhaps he decided to return to his own country and to try and change things for fellow VI people. I don’t think that Kevin did anything wrong but I’m not sure that I could have acted as he did.
**27. That was a good reading very good Mr. Newman, does show how blindness is seen in other areas of the world. Gives a little in sight to other worlds.
**28. On the surface, this is a story about one ordinary man helping a newly blind person from the middle east. The thing that was not usual was that the middle easterner was a terrorist, who because of a shooting became blind. Kevin did what any one would have done began Teaching Abdul Braille and how to walk with a cane. You and I thought until the last sentences, that the trauma of losing his sight would have rearranged Abdull's thinking. I was thinking he will go out in to the world, dismiss his ideas of destroying the culture who has reached out to help him. His life will be a constructive one and he will go out into the work force raise a family and be pretty normal. But when he left, saying "Thank you for teaching me now I must go out and do what I must do" I thought the engrained cultural of the mid east radical thinking by a few does not change even with blindness The teacher did not at all suspect that this would have happened. Like all the other staff at the prison he thought as I did that he would change his views the hate for Americans would leave and be replaced by love. He did not commit treason, but did what any one in his position would do help another fellow blind human being. friend ship and peace
Karen Crowder NFBtalk mailing list
**29. This was sent from a friend in America to me.
Just because someone is blind, that does not exclude them from the terrorist network. Blindness does not unfortunately always go hand-in-hand with goodliness. I'm not suggesting that all of us who are blind are necessarily good or bad, but we are indeed human, driven by desires of good or evil, depending on our motivation. For all of my life so far, I have been blind. This is a fortunate state. Sometimes, when someone is newly blinded or sight-impaired, in a desperate attempt to cope with reality, blame is sort. While blaming does not change the situation, and will only end up being a short-term answer to a long-term problem, in this case, the blind terrorist may possibly have been out to get someone who he is apportioning blame to for his lack of sight. The gentleman who helped him, is only doing what any decent person would do, on the surprising understanding that not all folk whether sighted or not are morally decent people with values of an upright nature.Hopefully in this case, the blind Moran who pulled the wool over the eyes of those who were out to help him adjust, will fall over his own Cain, or injure himself on his own destructive device.
Mark Best U.K.
**30. I think this TP may be saying far more about the attitudes and justice system of a nation than it is about blindness. I have two comments: First: I find it intriguing that the good guys have western names like Kevin and Dr. nderson, whereas the bad guy has an eastern name, i.e. Abdul. Also, while we don't know the religious beliefs of the good guys, the Koran, and, therefore, Islam, is definitely identified as the religion of the bad guy. Now please understand that I'm no defender of either terrorism or Islam. My personal positions are that I despise terrorism and that I believe Islam to be false. These being said, however, I find this kind of ethnic and religious discrimination to be most distasteful. I think the issue being raised by the TP is an excellent one, but why should that give the TP a right to become a subliminal vehicle for such self-righteous propaganda?
Second: If Kevin is guilty of aiding and abetting the blind terrorist, presumably because his good teaching skills enabled the blind guy to escape and to potentially perpetrate more acts of terrorism, then those American teachers at those American flight training schools should also be found guilty for having done an excellent job of teaching the terrorist pilots who successfully navigated their aviation bombs on September 11 of 2001.
**31. You have several cultures to deal with and many religious to deal with also. Teaching a person in prison is another factor. First you would say that is prison system responsible to teach this prison how to deal with his blindness. By time he got to prison through many years for person to get sentence to prison is long time anymore. Then you got emotion that you teach someone how to deal with life and now he escape from prison. But how? Would you not feel that teaching that prison that you probably could become friend and have someone to talk and deal with daily. I do not think they would give a prison a cane to handle because they would consider that weapon. There is also possible of blind prison being attack by other prisons. There are so many questions regarding this one.
**32. I am blind and received your "Thought Provoker" from a friend. I should mention that I have an MA degree from SUNY Geneseo New York in Modern American, Modern European and Medieval European history. My MA degree was awarded to me in 1975. I am a 1966 graduate of the New York State School for the Blind, Batavia, New York. I don't insist that my degree makes me correct about anything, but it does, I trust, indicate my background. I have never taught, mostly because I didn't compete sufficiently for history positions in the late 70s, throughout the 80s and 90s when history positions were quite difficult to attain.
I write a weekly column which I distribute (free of charge) to fellow internet users. I write about history, current events and the human condition. As to your puzzle: Article III Section III of the constitution reads as follows: 3. Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort. I interpret that as meaning that unless congress declares war against a country, one can not commit treason. Since we aren't officially at war with any country therefore, treason is impossible. Second, Kevin, if I recall the name correctly, was invited to provide assistance by his superiors in the prison. He did not seek out this opportunity. Also, I'd be surprised if any prison where a terrorist might be held, would have street crossings with lights so that a totally blind person could be trained properly or sufficiently to master the necessary orientation needed for travel. It's an interesting puzzle, but it needs more work.
Edwin Cooney, Alameda Ca.
**33. New THOUGHT PROVOKER 124 - Blindness or Treason OH how *VERY!* COOL! White cane filled with plastic explosive, Abdul the blind terrorist proceeds to board a plane ... Great, just what I need; *MORE* hassle when I go to the airport. *laugh* Still, I query where this one came from. Is blindness training somehow being paralleled with terrorist training? Again, I am in awe of the originality of the concept, if so, and don't necessarily disagree; I haven't the experience with blindness training, and Kevin is obviously following an establish curriculum. And how *DOES* he do that quarter trick? As a caveat, I thought the Kevin performing as trained seal for the amazed eye people was, while being healthier than any other dynamic I've yet experienced, still a bit much. But it's a good trick, so maybe that makes it all right.
**34. This one has me seeing red, not because of the terrorist's blindness, but because so often doctors, social workers, and therapists blindly persist in thinking that teaching the poor prisoner a skill will wean him away from his former criminal tendencies and, in great gratitude, totally rehabilitate him into a law-abiding, productive citizen. What mystifies me is that these so-called social workers don't learn from their mistakes but keep on releasing rapists, murderers, and terrorists back into society as no longer posing a danger to others because they learned not to slop their food all over. And when they rape, bomb, or kill again, the therapists are deeply upset because, "We taught him daily living skills; we can't understand why he chose to kill again."In the case of the story, who gets the blame? The teacher who was roped into teaching the terrorist the survival mechanisms he needed to get along. Certainly not the doctor who insisted that Abdul merely needed to learn to feed and dress himself, and walk with a cane in order to see the error of his ways.
Carolyn Clearwater, FL, RPlist
**35. Hi Carolyn, things aren't quite as bad as you're thinking. This scenario in the Thought Provoker wasn't realistic. Accused terrorists are not being charged with criminal offenses and held in regular jails or sent to regular prisons. They are not mixed with other kinds of prisoners and offered rehabilitation assistance in hopes of changing their politics or psychopathologies or both. you don't hear about most of them, with the rare exception of that one man from Chicago, José Padilla, who was originally accused of trying to explode a "dirty bomb" and later charged with other things when that didn't turn out to be a reasonable basis for prosecution. His detention involved being held in a U.S. naval brig in solitary confinement for a few years, and he was treated very sternly by his jailers. Very sternly. Most of the other accused terrorists, whether American citizens or foreign nationals apprehended here, you don't hear about. They are kept in situations like the above at best, and also very often held in what the CIA calls "black sites," meaning secret prisons in cooperating countries in Eastern European and the Middle East, where they can be interrogated using the most clever and impolite methods their interrogators have learned from Nazi and Soviet interrogation specialist over the years. None of them ever is accused of a crime under U.S. law or given access to legal counsel, let alone kindly and generously treated to rehab of all sorts. So the story was simply unrealistic. Also, in the actual reality of U.S. criminal law and detention, the efforts to rehabilitate conflicted felons in our state and federal prisons has been largely abandoned beginning in the 1980s, and now warehousing and punishment are basically all that prisons and jails do, although some groups fight to leaven those policies with some renewed programs for rehabilitation. In any case, I repeat that accused terrorists are not given kindly treatment and helped to recover from wounds suffered during the commission of criminal acts. They are not even included among the regular criminal population in U.S. jails and prisons. So don't worry.
As for rapists, murderers and other such felons, that's another set of issues, but they're not being treated so gently either. I don't listen to talk radio, so I don't know what some people are hearing, but I can't be responsible for that. And I don't want to get into a political argument with anyone. But again, accused terrorist aren't even held under regular criminal codes in regular criminal detention facilities. It was just a story designed to set off controversy, although it's not base on reality so it's hard to take seriously, I'm afraid. Hope that helps.
Joel Deutsch RPlist
**36. Several points: Timeline is a bit too fast. The terrorist may also have quite a few other injuries other than just blindness. With two guards with him constantly, escape from a federal correctional institution is near impossible-even if he can see- no one escapes from federal prison. Perhaps a suicide not an escapee. Not disloyal, not treason, not improper: The right thing to do and the moral thing to do. If we found a place for all the impoverished Arab boys training to kill us, their threats would disappear. Kevin sounds like a bright guy and a great instructor but a federal prison is not a place with holes in security even for the seeing. They will find the terrorist body in a wall 25 years from now when they are tearing down an old building-caught in a vent leading to : the septic system which is fully self-contained in most prisons. Perhaps he wandered in the execution room and sat down for a nap. A guard arrived for the next electrocution and Kevin's student met Allah who is probably in not likely to be in Paradise.
Dr. Scott Wendell Bray
**37. In this TP the issues are indeed different than the ones with which blind people are usually faced. I believe that Kevin had no way of knowing what was in the heart and mind of Abdul. Kevin was asked to help a fellow blind person as he obviously had done before in the prison. I don't think he had any way of knowing that he was helping this man to go back to his work as a terrorist. I realize that according to the law ignorance is no excuse, but Kevin's ability and desire to teach blind people in other situations in the prison needs to be taken into account. What Abdul did with his newly learned skills would be his own choice, whether we like it or not. Kevin had no intention of committing a crime. It might have been different if Abdul, himself had approached Kevin and said he wanted to learn blindness skills in order to escape and go back to his fellow terrorists but Abdul didn't do that. I'm glad I don't have to be a judge in a case like that but I think that if I were, I'd make a decision to acquit Kevin. I might tell Kevin and the program director to be more careful where they put their trust next time but I don't think Kevin or the director were involved in treason.
Chris Coulter ACB-L listserv
**38. I'd like to ad my $.02 to this but I don't have the original so I'll respond here. First, the terrorist in this example had way to many rights and way to much contact. The security would be far greater, that assumes the prisoner would have been kept in the united states at all. Certainly, a terrorist would not be allowed to wander about the yard at will but would be in solitary and under armed supervision at other times (the one hour a day we'd have to give them outside time). So you wouldn't find our terrorist friend, blind or otherwise in a minimum security country club facility. That aside, let's assume that the situation is exactly as presented.First, Kevin had no business helping that prisoner. Terrorists are enemies of our way of life, our freedom and are not to be babied or "educated" on the tax payer dime. The terrorist's fate should be the death penalty and as such education would be wasted on him. If not death then total confinement 24/7 in a 6 by 9 cell with nothing but food and medical care so he's tortured in absolute boredom with no human contact. The terrorist has no concern for doing anything but killing the maximum Americans possible. It would be absolute ignorance to assume that any skills taught to this slime ball would be used for any other reason but to inflict maximum damage. Next, what happened to citizenship. Foreign combatants aren't protected by the constitution and don't have the same rights afforded to them that American prisoners would. My only exception to any of this would be if the terrorist was an American citizen. Unfortunately, citizenship applies to everyone equally sometimes (fortunately depending on your view point) and the constitution protects all citizens equally (or it should). So a citizen would need blindness skills for the best defense, but a foreign terrorist should fry and not much more on the public tab. I know though, that's not the blind way, the blind way would be to take the losses, thank the terrorist for noticing them and "educate them that it's bad to make buildings go boom" and chalk it up to acceptable disrespect.
Scott Granados ACB-L listserv
**39. Hello, everyone, I can't resist replying to this but I don't want to make it a long and involved debate. I agree that this was a rather unrealistic story, meant for discussion rather than attention to the true details of how terrorist are, and should be treated in our prison system. I also think that in this scenario the blindness program director might have been thinking of how to promote his own program without regard to whether the prisoner was a terrorist or not. Furthermore, I realize, Scott that you don't have the original message in front of you so let me make it clear that the blindness skills were supposedly being taught because Abdul, the blind terrorist, was dirty and disheveled and not able to take care of himself. He was newly blinded and assumed that there would be someone to bathe dress and maybe feed him, as was supposedly done for the blind according to Islamic beliefs. He was supposed to be learning how to do these things so that he wouldn't be imposing on guards or other prisoners by having them take care of his daily grooming, hygiene and getting to meals. I think we were just going with this story as an exercise, as usually happens with Robert Leslie Newman's thought provokers; they're not supposed to be absolutely realistic but, Scott, you made good points and I agree with you that terrorists are enemies of our country.
Thanks, Chris Coulter ACB-L listserv
**40. Scott, Man, you can really be scary when you get on a roll. I'm trying to relate this whole string to the subject of blindness. And believe it or not it does relate. Attitudes. That's the connection. Think of how ingrained you believe the attitudes of these wanna be terrorists are, and then think of how set in concrete your attitudes toward them are, and then let's talk about how we are going to change the attitudes toward the blind. If emotion trumps reason we are lost.
Carl Jarvis ACB-L listserv
**41. I guess I'm just not patriotic enough, but in my world, the sentence for this guy being a terrorist is the prison sentence. What need do we have beyond this to refuse him basic human decency? If we think all terrorists should be boiled in oil, then pass a law that it be done, but until then, let the court or judge or whoever set the sentence. Let that sentence then be carried out by those duly designated to carry out sentences. Beyond this, everyone else should just do their jobs. Wardens should enforce order. Cooks should cook. Medics should provide medical care. Blind skills teachers should provide blind skills training, and all of these people should do their jobs equally for all prisoners, regardless of their crimes and regardless of their sentences--unless, of course, their sentences carry specific guidelines such as "no medical care allowed," or "no blind skills training allowed." Oh, and what's wrong with treating people with kindness--even if they are our sworn enemies? I'm not talking about setting them free or giving them a new car here. I'm talking about not going out of your way to deny them basic human kindness. After all, what do we gain from heaping insult on top of injury, even if we believe it's in return for prior injustices? Can't we look at the failed "tit for tat" foreign policies of the Israelis and Palestinians to see how ineffective such an approach is? Also, how can all of you who call yourselves Christians go around saying that all enemies of the United States should be eliminated. Is this something you picked up from scripture somewhere? I'm no religious scholar, but I don't think I ever found that passage. In fact, I found the opposite passages. "Love your enemies and bless those who curse you." That doesn't say "roll over and be kicked," but I think it is a prescription against the sort of "eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth" rhetoric that feels so good to say and which is getting us all absolutely nowhere. By the way, I'm not accusing Scott of thumping the Bible as he has argued for the "boil in oil" side of the equation, but I sure have heard a lot of similar stuff spewed in the name of protecting our Christian heritage, and I just find it impossible to picture people who espouse the teachings of Christ also espousing the "America right or wrong" rhetoric that is embodied in the "kill our enemies" position taken by so many today.
Ron Brooks Phoenix, AZ ACB-L listserv
**42. I noticed in reading some of the responses that most of the respondents seemed to assume that Abdul had escaped the prison to become a terrorist again. Yes, it is indicated in the narrative that he may have escaped, however, it is possible that he was released or transferred to another prison and not all employees were informed of the release or transfer. Miscommunication or lack of communication could have happened somewhere. Just because they are prison employees does not make them perfect. If he was released or transferred, the note Abdul left may or may not lead to anything bad. We can only hope that he reformed his life from being a terrorist to being a good citizen or Samaritan.
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