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Wildcat offends again

By Thor Halvorsen
Arizona Daily Wildcat
September 21, 1998
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To the editor,

In the Sept. 18 issue of the Arizona Daily Wildcat, a comic was shown which was insulting. The cartoon, called "Ecology 101" by Jeff Barfoot, poked fun at the blind community as well as the service-dog industry.

The cartoon started by saying, "Seeing Eye animals that don't quite work," then shows a picture of a blind man being led into water by a turtle, then a man hanging from a tree because of a cat. Finally it showed a man walking around a store with a fish in a tank on a rolling cart.

Excuse me? Where is the sensitivity of others? How can such intolerance be allowed at a Division I school, in a university paper?

I have spoken with several blind students, whom I would add, otherwise would not know about this comic, as they cannot see it, and they were all offended by it.

I would like to add that it takes a lot of time, money and effort to train service dogs as I am becoming an apprentice for becoming a trainer for "Service Dogs."

I really don't appreciate this kind of intolerance coupled with pure (disrespect) for the people on this campus that it affects.

One thing, it does not help in getting people to respect service dogs. It is bad enough that people already don't respect service dogs, people on skateboards and bikes almost clipping the dogs, running over the tips of the blind person's cane.

Worse yet, the people pushing around the blind, who actually behave like they expect the blind person to see them and move out of their way.

This cartoon is intolerable and unacceptable in my view and shows poorly on the editorial staff, the newspaper itself, and much to my regret, the University of Arizona. Shame!

As a member of the deaf community, I will say that this cartoon could just as easily be geared at the service dogs for the deaf. I would like to add that this tolerance for the disrespect of service dogs makes me sick.

Just the other day, one of my friends, soon to be a teacher, was with her service dog (the dog is in training) and a skateboarder, rolling down the ramp at the Student Union, struck her dog.

Now the dog's performance and training to become a service dog is affected by this new fear of skateboards.

There is already a shortage and great need for service dogs. It doesn't help that their effort is totally discredited in a newspaper.

I resent the message that this cartoon represents.

Thor Halvorsen

Arizona State Coordinator

Deaf Neighborhood Project, DeafWatch