Mike ErvinI’ve taken part in so many cripple political protests that I’ve run out of appendages on which to tabulate them (which means it’s more than 21). I’d say that at least 70% of the time, the first reaction of the police and/or other security personnel who are dispatched to deal with us is to play a game I call Grab-A-Vert.

It’s an amazing phenomenon to observe, and it plays out pretty much the same way every time. The police arrive. They see a pack of raucous cripples chanting. They look flummoxed. They huddle and come up with an action plan. They break the huddle and move in on us. They grab everyone who is standing, or not sitting in a wheelchair, and haul them away.

They grab everyone they perceive to be a vert. Sometimes they grab deaf people. They might even grab a blind person who doesn’t have a white cane or guide dog nearby to clearly identify them as blind. One time when we protested in the lobby of a hotel wher