Saturday, August 26, 2006

Shame On You, Officer Iskra

(To be read with a loud inner voice)

A police officer punished a man for showing support to a person with a medical condition. That's right, Officer Kurt Iskra of Largo, Florida, gave a ticket to a man for doing nothing other than listening to Bill O'Reilly on the radio in his car. Oh, and speeding, but that was a separate ticket. (Click link to News Hounds where you can see the chilling video).

The officer claims the radio was turned up too loud and that Bill O'Reilly could be heard 25 feet away. That is simply not true. Well, it's probably true that Bill O'Reilly could be heard from 25 feet away, but not because the radio was too loud. It's because Bill O'Reilly has a recognized psycho-medical condition which you may have read about in Glad Magazine.

It's called Voice Immodulation Disorder, or VI. I know, because my name is Jacob Silj, State Department Attache for the U.S. Ambassador to China, and I have VI. All my life I have suffered prejudice and exclusion because of my condition. But never has anyone else been punished because they were simply standing there listening to me talk.

But that's what happened in Largo, and it is a darn shame. No one would ever think of punishing people for building wheelchair ramps or putting braille signs near doorways because everyone agrees that helping to enable people to live more normal lives is desireable. And yet laws are actually passed which threaten the livelihood and independence of people like Bill O'Reilly by reducing those who can listen to him.

I had hoped my appearance on Weekend Update a few years ago would have increased awareness of VI and sensitize the public to the plight of those like Bill O'Reilly who have it. But bigots like Officer Iskra and the city of Largo are determined to marginalize us by punishing those who support us.

So I say again, Shame on you, Officer Iskra.

Thanks to Julie O. for allowing me to guest blog.

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