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March 7, 2014


"You mean there's a catch?"

"Sure there's a catch", Doc Daneeka replied. "Catch-22. Anyone who wants to get out of combat duty isn't really crazy."

There was only one catch and that was Catch-22, which specified that a concern for one's own safety in the face of dangers that were real and immediate was the process of a rational mind. Orr was crazy and could be grounded. All he had to do was ask; and as soon as he did, he would no longer be crazy and would have to fly more missions. Orr would be crazy to fly more missions and sane if he didn't, but if he was sane, he had to fly them. If he flew them, he was crazy and didn't have to; but if he didn't want to, he was sane and had to. Yossarian was moved very deeply by the absolute simplicity of this clause of Catch-22 and let out a respectful whistle.

Joseph Heller

I hope you have read Janice Hudson`s excellent article in Halifax Magazine. It's a fair presentation of the accessibility, or more precisely the lack thereof, in Halifax. There are two quotes in the article that deserve special attention:

  • Retrofitting Halifax’s older buildings can be complicated. “If you have a historic building with a series of steps, you could always build a ramp but not if it abuts the sidewalk,” Paul MacKinnon, executive director of the Downtown Business Commission says. “Seven feet of sidewalk clearance is required so two wheelchairs can pass each other.”
Think about it.  You can't get into Jennifer's on Spring Garden to buy a Mother's Day gift because they don't have a ramp.  They don't have a ramp because of a rule requiring enough room for wheelchairs to pass on the sidewalk.  So Jennifer's doesn't have wheelchair access because of a rule to protect people in wheelchairs.  Perfect!

  • Buildings that have always been inaccessible usually stay that way. “It’s accepted that there are particular challenges for buildings in urban settings, so there are special provisions that provide alternative compliance methods,” says Jim Donovan, HRM’s manager of municipal compliance, the department that issues building permits.

By "alternative compliance methods", Donovan doesn't mean "There's another way to get into the building".  He means "They can comply with the building code by not complying with the building code."  Although this is classic Catch-22, it also falls into "It can't be done" and it's many variations:

  • “I don’t know how to do it.”
  • "I don't want to do it."
  • “it can’t be done the way we've always tried in the past.” 
  • “it can’t be done according to the only way I can think of doing it.”
Mayor Savage's Healthy Communities Priority Outcomes initiative implausibly says: 
  • “HRM is a leader in building an inclusive and accessible community for everyone, including persons with disabilities and seniors”
There must be a catch......................

Gus Reed

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