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November 19, 2013
The CRPD, Self-Government, and an Abandoned Flight
The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, a United Nations treaty that would threaten American sovereignty and parental rights, will get a second hearing in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Thursday. But those who believe we need this treaty to force us to do a better job of protecting persons with disabilities need look no further than that U.S. Airways express flight.
Albert Rizzi, who is legally blind, boarded the flight last Wednesday at about 8:30 with his service dog, Doxy – short for “Doxology,” which means “blessing.” More than an hour later the flight, which is scheduled to take only 40 minutes, still had not left the tarmac. And that is when trouble started.
Doxy, who was supposed to be stowed under a seat for takeoff, had become restless after such a long time in the cramped space. Reports conflict on whether the dog was in the aisle or stretching out under Rizzi’s feet, but in either case passengers agree he was not being disruptive. Nevertheless, a flight attendant “became aggressive,” according to Rizzi, and ordered him to get Doxy back under the seat.
A few minutes later, she had the plane return to the gate where security escorted Rizzi and Doxy from the plane.
According to the airline, Rizzi “became disruptive and refused to comply with crew member instructions,” bringing expulsion on himself. But other passengers didn’t see it that way.
“[W]hen we, the passengers, realize (sic) what was going on, we were like, ‘Why is this happening? He’s not a problem,’” fellow passenger Frank Ohlhorst told CBSNews.
In fact, Ohlhorst and about 3 dozen other passengers followed Rizzi off the plane in protest, lending credibility to his account and not that of the airline.
“All the passengers got off the plane and I was so emotionally moved by that,” Rizzi said. “I was just humbled to believe that people, 35 people, got off the plane angry and upset and yelling at management saying, ‘She needs to be fired today.’”
All of the passengers travelled to Long Island by bus, leaving the airline to cancel the flight and open an investigation into Rizzi’s treatment.
Americans, when given the chance, are the most generous people on earth. We also don’t like for anyone to push us around – and that extends to those of us with disabilities, like Albert Rizzi.
Problems still exist, and somewhere along the line there was a problem on this flight.
But we as Americans still come together, rise to the occasion, and right those wrongs ourselves in American law – without U.N. babysitters. We do not need the world’s standards for the treatment of those with disabilities – especially so many standards incompatible with the U.S. Constitution.
We adopted the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), and other landmark rights legislation before the CRPD was ever written – laws that reflect the same passion to stand up for one another that these passengers displayed. Unlike the CRPD, these laws were passed by Americans for Americans and are compatible with our Constitution. They are also still recognized as “the gold standard” in disability rights.
The standards we set for ourselves always have been and continue to be higher than the U.N.’s standards. This abandoned flight only goes to prove that isn’t about to change.
Action ItemsCall your senators again and urge them to vote No on ratifying the CRPD. You can reach them through the Capitol Switchboard (202-224-3121) or find their direct numbers by clicking on your state at ParentalRights.org/States and scrolling down.
You can use any of the many talking points we have made available at ParentalRights.org/crpd, or just tell them the following:
I urge the Senator to vote “No” on ratifying the CRPD. We set the gold standard in disability law without the UN’s help, and we can continue to improve that standard without giving up our principles of self-government. Americans have repeatedly shown our generosity and respect for our fellow man, and I believe we can continue to do that without international babysitters. Ultimately, U.S. domestic policy should be decided in the halls of Congress, not at the U.N.
If you would prefer to send an email, an email service is available through Conservative Action Alerts that will let you send your message with a few clicks.
Thank you for taking the time once again to stand up for our American principles of self-government and respect for those with disabilities.
Director of Communications & Research
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