Handicap Nazi is a term used to refer to a disabled person who abuses the ADA laws by suing establishments in violation of it for personal gain.
The definition is problematic to me but I wanted to phrase it in a way those who use it would in order to begin with an equal representation on their behalf. Whether you can actually describe requiring people to uphold the ADA laws as abuse is up for you to decide as we go on; I’m sure you can guess my opinion.
One more quick digression before we dig in, if I may…Handicap may not be the best adjective to use given how offensive some people find it and Nazi is maybe a little too insensitive given the following:
1. Nazi Germany sterilized 300,000 to 400,000 people under their Sterilization Law (1934) who targeted the “abnormal” (a.k.a., us) as apposed to the “asocials” (non-aryan races) citizens
2. The Marriage Law (1935) required all people to provide proof that they could not produce children with disabling heredity diseases
3. 1939 Hitler made it legal to give disabled people “mercy deaths” by their physicians as the government saw fit
4. Systematic killings of disabled people in government, church, and nursing homes were done under the secret operation called “Operation T4” in reference to Tiergartenstrasse 4. Patients targeted were identified by a red cross on their papers (hilarious irony)
5. In 1940 the preferred method of killing these patients became gas chambers. 70,273 victims were recorded between 1940 and 1941, 5,000 of these disabled people were also Jewish
6. In 1941 Operation T-4 ended the killings went public with the slogan “useless eaters” to justify the murders
7. It is estimated that between 200,000 and 250,000 people were murdered under Operation T-4
Fun facts!: Many of the gas chambers used in the infamous Nazi camps were originally built for the T-4 victims and physicians trained through this operation went on to work at the camps and run the chambers.
(Source: U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum)
Also, most disabled people are unable to pidgin step and this “Handicap Nazi” term is just rubbing it in our faces…
Back to present day…
All my life I have been told by able-bodied people how oppressive ADA laws are, while at the same time I experience issues of accessibility every time I leave the house. When the lack of accessability is obvious and yet I stay silent (which is always) I am approached by strangers who tell me how great I am not to be “one of THOSE” cripples.
The only time I did take any action was when my hair dresser moved into a place that was impossible to get a wheelchair into. My hair dresser implored the owner to add a ramp, as he was already doing remodels and construction, but he refused. She kept at him but I knew it was fruitless and began cutting my hair at home. This went on for a few months and then my hair dresser told me another one of her clients had been in an accident and was now in a wheelchair. The client, not having to notice accessibility issues or knowing her limits, went to get her hair done to find she could no longer enter the building. She was newly crippled and hadn’t yet lost her pride or self-respect so she asked to be pulled up the stairs but they were too high and steep and she fell.
Still, the owner did nothing.
It was at that point I called the city to report him and someone went out to check the place out. I was informed he was in violation of a few things that he would receive notice about and although he was also in violation of ADA laws they wouldn’t be doing anything about it. I was welcome to sue him myself if I wanted.
He was already financially strapped and given the laws they were going after him about I knew he would loose the property anyway, and he was already treating my hair dresser badly for the trouble he was in so I let it rest.
This is a real situation involving a normal cripple in Northern California, please keep this in mind as I talk about the Rise of the Handicap Nazis~!
A fire storm has formed in Northern California (it is slowly gaining attention nation wide) over the suits filed by the attorney Jason Singleton who works solely on ADA violation cases. His operation works as such:
1. A wheelchair bound disabled person (he works with a handful of regulars) goes out in the Sacramento area, targeting small businesses, looking for violations and once found a complaint is sent to the owner
2. If the complaint is not seen to the owner gets sued. If it is seen to the disabled person returns to find any fault so a lawsuit may still be filed
3. Jason Singleton offers deal to settle out of court, usually for thousands of dollars, but still less than the property owner would spend in fighting the lawsuit in court
It’s a devious and ingenious system and has made Jason Singleton and his clients very rich. He has been granted money off of ridiculous violations such as a handicap parking sign having one bolt holding it up instead of two. He is able to do this because of loop holes in the ADA laws and takes advantage of the parts that are now outdated and problematic.
Jason Singleton is my hero.
For years the disabled community as tried to get the ADA laws updated to remove the useless crap and to add things that would actually make things accessible and equal but the majority has squashed any efforts in fear of what meeting the new ADA laws might cost.
Jason Singleton comes along and suddenly the majority wants the ADA laws updated. Funny, that.
From my personal experience above and ones of many others we see the government wont uphold the ADA laws. They want us to take care of it ourselves by suing.
Jason Singleton would be happy to represent us.
The argument I always get is, “but he’s getting rich off this! If he weren’t, he wouldn’t be doing it!” Do you think I honestly believe he cares about disabled people? He is welcome to the money, he earned it and if it means we can finally get people to care about accessibility he deserves it.
This issue hit the big time when Singleton targeted a popular restaurant called the Squeeze Inn, so called due to it’s small and narrow size. It’s gimmick is that it is so narrow that it is hard for too many people to get into at once. The building itself is old and needed repairs, ones that exceeded the amount needed to put it in violation of ADA laws if construction didn’t include an accessible entry. Singleton jumped on this but given the popularity of the restaurant it was the first time one of his suits became news worthy and thus the phrase Handicap Nazi was born.
Singleton has been demonized and each of his suits picked apart on news and commentary programs in which all those involved in the discussion were able-bodied and in support of the Squeeze Inn. Without debate Singleton was condemned and without hesitation the disabled people working with him were dubbed Handicap Nazis. The phrase is now used to describe any disabled person who files a suit for violations of the ADA laws.
The Squeeze Inn also garnered support for it’s appearance on the Food Network’s Diners, Drive-ins and Dives. People are saying “It was on TV! We can’t change it!” and to those people I reply, “I saw Ted Bundy on TV once.”
The animosity toward disabled people has risen in the area and we are facing more accusations of being freeloaders of the tax payer’s dollars. Some might say we’re “useless eaters.”