Reader’s Forum – Week of September 23, 2013

For your convenience, all Reader’s Forum submissions are separated by the ## symbol.

Phil wrote:

I’m writing in response to the reader’s forum articles about internet radio. I truly believe that terrestrial a.m. and f.m. radio is going downhill very fast. There’s no longer any creativity, no real entertainment, only a few formats et cetera. Even public radio isn’t doing what it was designed to do. I truly believe that internet radio will save radio. It has just about every kind of music that you can name. But there’s so much more than music. You can listen to sporting events on internet radio. You can get lots of news and talk. And you can hear many radio reading services on internet radio. And there’s plenty of radio theater, both old and new, on internet radio. Some newer model cars come equipped with internet radios. And of course many internet radio stations have apps that allow you to download the stations on your mobile devices. One thing I like about commercial internet radio is that they give you the option of ad free listening. And they have very few commercials during their breaks. Of course the drawback is that if you lose your internet connection you don’t have anything, but there are always advantages and disadvantages to everything. So to use and old 1970’s expressions: “internet radio is where it’s at!”

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Dennis wrote:

I was a paid broadcast person from 1968-2005, and I’ve done quite a few spots in my time using braille scripts. But if a person wants to sound genuine, they need to use braille and then memorize, and practice, practice, practice. The compensation depended on whether I was working in a small market like Salinas, California to the more metropolitan Los Angeles. The more experienced I became, the better my pay for doing ads got. I went from ten dollars to one thousand. You get the picture, right? I bet that blind person of Superbowl ad-dom received a hundred grand at most.

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David wrote:

I can’t say which Windows system I prefer. I do think ribbons are weird and hate using them. My techy friends thought Windows 98 was one of the best systems for blind users because of the DOS access it had. I do, however, get very tired of hustling to keep up with every bell and whistle Microsoft wants to change on software. The learning curves seem harder and harder; and with changes in software, I have actually lost some skills. I used to enjoy faxing in WordPerfect 5.1 but have never been able to figure it out once I went Windows. There seems to be too much change for change’s sake and especially for cosmetic appearance reasons. It’d be like changing the alphabet every so often because of graphical interface issues.

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David wrote:

Wow, that unnamed reader sure had plenty to say. I think it’s ok to ask for and even need help. But it’s not always going to be there and asking for too much help may destroy your ability to be hired. The trying to figure out how much help is enough to level the playing field and how much is definitely biased has always confused me. It makes being a person with a challenge that much harder. There is no one way to be blind and no two blind people ever agree on what is necessary and what is not. I have friends who become upset if people start assuming they need help and others who can’t get enough help.

Even working jobs, people seem to have different help. Some lawyers seem to hire their readers; others vociferously demand and get assistance that the firm pays for.

Stephen’s article about becoming an RA while attending university was intriguing. I wonder if he and his sighted friend patched things up. Hope so. Kinda reminds me of the arguments about affirmative action, just a bit.

His university sure must have been different from the one I attended. Mine would have let you go through the process, and then say you did not get the job. They would have felt a totally blind person would not be able to do the job well. I never felt like any of the RA’s really wanted to be there or help us anyway.

But then, I never felt like my university really wanted me there. And especially not in grad school. A big waste of my time and the Rehab agency’s money. I’d have been better off skipping the entire 5 years and two degrees. I never got to use them. Mentors were few and far between. Then my health glitched.

The article about living in two worlds was all too true. But I didn’t enjoy residential blind school as she seemed to. Our school had undergone a major reorganization. Academics were not valued as much as they once had been. Our administration got the brilliant idea of mainstreaming. You still went to the blind school but also went to a public school for part of the day. In effect, you had two sets of masters to jump through hoops for and please. I liked one of the three different public schools I attended. It was a lab school. I attended during my junior year. They decided at the beginning of my senior year, though I was a senior, so much for seniority, and I had to attend an inferior school because other blind students needed the mainstreaming experience and they were not busing us to different schools. I should have taken early admission to college and dumped the blind school.

But sadly, I could relate about the library books at home visiting my family. I am from a tiny country town. There was literally nothing for me to do. The kids my age had their own lives. I visited my elderly relatives often during the weekends I was not at school. I hope I did not bore them too much. I think blind people benefited from interacting with a similar peer group, but I think we also lost, too, because we did not have connections in our hometowns – connections sighted schoolmates can make to become established. It’s a complicated, multi-sided issue. Probably no right or wrong answers.

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Wesley wrote in response to Bob Branco – Should the Blind Own Guns?

First, I need to say that I do not support gun ownership at any level. When our society deems it necessary to solve disputes through violence, we are losing track of our own ability to intellectually think. Furthermore, I don’t support the argument that hunters need guns. Humans have hunted for thousands of years without guns, so we already know it can be done, and in fact we are farm raising animals to feed ourselves anyway.

Having said that, from a constitutional viewpoint, which is still up for argument by many citizens, the current interpretation is that all people can own guns. So, through this line of thinking, of course a blind person should be allowed to own a gun. In fact, the way I would perceive the current state of views on this matter, is anyone regardless of their ability, mental state, age, or criminal record, should be able to own a gun without any licensing what so ever. Isn’t that specifically what the constitution says: The right of the people to bear arms shall not be infringed. I won’t mention the matter of a well regulated militia, but I will say that the interpretation of the last part of the sentence by some means everyone. So, all of those mentally unstable people that have gone on killing sprees at our schools, churches, workplaces, etc; all should be allowed to own guns. In fact a young child should carry one with them to serve as protection from big bad adults. Or bring one on the road and shoot out the tires of the driver that takes your parking space. Are you sure that is what you want? Frankly, it sounds like we are opening Pandora’s Box when in fact we should be doing everything we can to remove guns from our society. Instead I believe we must focus on love and prosperity. It is time we work together to remove the fear that has been growing in our society and return to a nation where caring for one another is more important than violence.

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George wrote:

I grew up in the 50’s. At that time you could purchase guns in such magazines as Popular Mechanics and Popular Science. There were no background checks and you just checked a box saying you were 16 years of age. Also there was a Junior NRA which schooled young persons on the use of a firearm as well as hosting various programs to teach target accuracy. To my thinking owning a firearm is similar to setting off fireworks on the 4th
of July. Both activities can be a lot of fun, but both requirements mandate that the user be schooled in the safety aspects. In 2008 I had some friends that asked me to go deer hunting. I went down to the Academy sports store and purchased a license. The clerk didn’t ask me any questions other than those required for the license. My friends and I
traveled to Eden, Texas where we positioned ourselves in a deer stand and sat and waited. At about 8:30 AM one of my friends, who was watching through binoculars, alerted me to get my gun ready because a deer was approaching our stand. I positioned my rifle and waited until it could be confirmed that a buck was in view. When this was confirmed, another friend guided me saying, “raise the gun up a bit; now slightly to the right, now down just a hair, now a tad to the left…that’s it!” I pulled the trigger and on my first shot, on my first hunting trip, bagged an eight point buck. I was excited, but not as
much as my friends who were with me! Since that time I have heard of blind hunters in Michigan and S. Dakota who have been successful hunters. Guns, fireworks and hunting are not for everyone, but if you have an interest there… why not?

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Karen wrote:

I wish to make comments on the gun issue brought up by Bob Branco. I have lived in several terrible neighborhoods, and wondered what it would be like to own a gun and know how to use it, to have good instruction about this. Since I was not brought up in a family familiar with guns except my Dad from WWII, I had no idea what this would be like. I had the great misfortune to spend time with gun owners who were part of the “Patriot” movement some years ago, and they put guns into my hands and told me I would learn. I was weary, wondered what this would be like. I confess I am afraid I would shoot wrong and accidentally hurt somebody. When doing other activities like trying to throw a baseball I found out my aim isn’t so good! I often missed where I wanted to throw the ball, and I am a terrible bowler. I don’t know what it would be like to try to hit a target with a real gun. What are others’ thoughts on this subject? I also confess I wasn’t comfortable seeing all the guns this man from the Iraq war had in his house, or having guns handed to me by his wife. Although I do agree this is our constitutional right, I wonder about the wisdom of putting guns into folks’ hands who cannot see where they are shooting, and I also wonder what the restrictions on such a license would hold for the blind if any. Does anyone know if any restrictions were placed on the guns for the blind in Iowa? Thanks for putting this in the Forum if you do. This seems a controversial subject, but since I have had unusual experiences with this thought to make comments.

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Roy wrote:

In response to Terri Winaught’s article about internet radio, I believe internet radio is the future of radio itself. I believe in 25 to 50 years there will be no more terrestrial AM or FM radio. Radio and TV will be all online. No more radio towers and high-powered transmitters and things like that. And it will be accessible. Right now, the CCrane company has an internet radio receiver. To my knowledge, that receiver is not very accessible. Maybe there are others out there that are and maybe some readers know about them and can share that knowledge with us. But internet radio is definitely here to stay and terrestrial radio will become obsolete.

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Chris wrote:

In answer to David’s wondering about using braille in a recording session, Peter White, the BBC’s disability affair correspondent (mostly on radio) and our main anchor on the weekly radio programme for and about visual impairment has used braille scripts since the 1970s, you cannot hear anything at all. However, I know that the actor I mentioned, Ryan Kelly, said that he would not use a braille script in ‘The Archers’ as he was afraid page turning would be picked up. Before the easy use of computers, he was learning his scripts by heart from audio means.

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