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Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Dear Mrs. Nathan's Mom

Dear Mrs. Nathan's Mom,

I have to start by thanking you for posting a comment on my blog. I've been a little out of practice with this thing, and haven't posted in it since March. Your comment reminded me this blog existed, and I'll be updating it more regularly in the future.

I notice in your comment that you don't offer any arguments for the safety of giving a blind kid a gun; you actually create a pretty decent argument for your son to never, ever be handed a loaded firearm. First, let's clear up a few things.

1) Your son does not have super-sensitive hearing: This is a myth. Your son pays more attention to his hearing no doubt, since his vision isn't up to par, but his ears operate exactly like yours and everyone else's.

And what's your real argument there? That your son can hear where a deer is accurately enough to tag its kill zone from 100 yards away? He might enjoy reading the Braille version of Daredevil comics, but those human echolocation powers are still fictional, ma'am. Although, I have to admit I would read a comic called "Daredevil: The Man Without Fear (of Innocent Bystanders)."

(By the way, your son scoring well on his hunter safety written test doesn't really have anything to do with his vision, does it? I've taken that course as well.)

2) Legally blind is still blind: For the purposes of this conversation, anyway. The American definition of legally blind is at least 20/200 vision in the best eye with the best correction. That literally means the deer I can pick out at 200 feet would have to be six strides from your son before it was that visible. In case you've never been hunting, deer don't get that close.

Your son isn't allowed to drive a car. He can't read his rifle's safety manual. Why should he operate a firearm? How can he possibly safely do so? And I'm guessing his gangbanging career is just shot, so to speak.

3) Your blind son is not a sharpshooter: I used to live near Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, which houses one of the two sniper schools used by the Marine Corps. Let's say the military ignored its rule about not accepting the legally blind (something to do with them not being able to safely operate firearms, grenades, artillery, Humvees, maps, etc.) and let him go toe-to-toe with actual sharpshooters. His legally nonexistent oculars are going to serve him better than the 20/20+ military-trained eyes of actual snipers?

At what point did you slip into the delusion that your son is a superhero? I'll tell you what, the day your son fights off a group of burglars or saves an infant from the burning building that not even firefighters can get to--firefighters with properly operating eyeballs mind you--then I will personally buy him a rifle. No bullets, though. I figure by the time he navigates his way to the store I can get myself safely out of range, out of state, or do whatever I need to do to get away from a walking definition of the phrase "firing blind."

Mrs. Nathan's Mom, if you're going to go around Googling your son's name and reading random blogs then you've got to expect to find some that disagree with you. You've also got to expect some of those people to be assholes about it. (If you didn't expect that, then I'd like to formally welcome you to the Internet. Wikipedia is useful, and Yahoo Mail is the best.) I considered post-scripting the above with a list of things that I was better at than your son (e.g. dodgeball, darts, reading, checking the expiration date on milk, etc.) but they all seemed pretty obvious. Obvious to everyone but you, of course.

And finally, just so you know, finding things I don't like and then writing about them is actually my chosen career, so this attitude has already and will continue to take me far. I don't really foresee myself taking a hard fall. Mostly because I can see where all my furniture is.

Cheers,
Luke

11 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Luke,
Thank-you for your response, even if it is arrogant and very mis-informed.
Let me start by telling you that I never go looking for articles relative to family or anyone else for that matter. Your blog was found by someone else who told me about it. My time is better spent with more important things.....I am not a stay at home mom....I am college educated and have a career in nursing. I have children in college who like you, think they they know everything and are very opinionated.
I do not think my son is a super hero in the traditional sense of the word. I do think he is a remarkable young man with many "powers" that are far better than any super-hero has ever had.
There have been numerous well published studies done regarding the brain that show that parts of the brain do actually take over for damaged parts. This is evidenced in medical journals written by world renowned physicians, specialists, etc. Perhaps your reading skills should take you away from the comic books and the narrow confines of a college campus for awile and bring you into the real world.
My son taking hunter safety is very relevant. He couldn't have obtained a legal license without it and it stresses the importance of knowing your target, etc. Since you say you have taken the class I won't bore you with the details. I will tell you that my son takes care of his own guns. He can fully dismantle, clean, load and unload them better than some I have seen.
I do know the military qualifications for a sharpshooter. My oldest son was a sharpshooter in the army. My husband was a sharpshooter in the army. Guess what? Neither one of them has 20/20 vision. My son had one of the highest military scores for sharpshooters and he has some limited vision. His was not just a written test. While I won't give you any personal details, I will tell you he served during and after
9/11. We come from a long line of military so perhaps you better re-think your argument that you lived near Camp Lejuene...living near a place and actually being a part of a place are 2 entirely differnet worlds.
Your argument that legally blind is still blind is so full of erroneus info. that one has trouble knowing where to begin. There are many legally blind people that legally drive. They go to the DMV and obtain a certificate of Examination by a vision specialist and then they are seen by a vision specialist who determines what restrictions and adaptations the individual needs to safely drive. Guess what? These people have better driving records than most people because they are very cognizant of their surroundings and of their abilities/limitations.
Don't believe me? Go to any DMV and you'll see. Call any insurer of motor vehicles and you will see.
The military restrictions regarding the legally blind have nothing to do with the ability of the legally blind to safely operate firearms, etc. It has to do with the provision of adaptive equipment for these people so that they would have the same advantages as every other military person. Again, living near a place and living in the reality of a place would serve you well.
You mentioned a list of things that you feel you are better at than my son. It is very presumptive of you and lends itself to your narrow world view. Can you hike through the Smoky mtns blindfolded by yourself and survive ? My son hikes these mtns by himself regularly....he carries a hand-held radio just like every other hiker or hunter does for emergency purposes....he's never had to use it thankfully.He can and has skinned and cleaned his own kills...so well that some are mounted in our home. He attends both high-school and college by himself and is well on his way to becoming a certified computer tech......can you work on computers blindfolded and take pieces and parts you can't see and turn them into a working fully functional computer? My son can.I don't see how dodgeball and darts are going to prepare anyone for a real productive life, Luke. Like you my son reads perfectly well...maybe not in the standard format you are accustomed to but just as well. This brings up another point that I feel I must address. It is in regards to the senses...have you ever tried to read Braille ? I bet your fingers aren't able to because they haven't developed the sensitivity to do it. It is something that has to be learned in the brain if you aren't born blind. Nathan's brain has taught his fingers to be able to pick up and differentiate the symbols of Braille.....just as his hearing has improved because of the same principal of the brain re-learning things to replace missing things.It is a phenomena that scientists know happens but they are still uncertain as to how it happens....do some real research.
Fially, the reason you are setting yourself up for a hard fall is found in your own words. Yes, you can see where all of the furniture is so you don't look for anything else. Put on a blindfold and try to navigate through your own home. If you do it correctly you will stumble more than once and may even get some bruises along the way. Once you have done this, put on your blindfold and go out into the real world. I bet you won't make it very far.
When you encounter things you don't like and decide to write about them, I suggest you do a little research first. May I suggest you start in this case by doing some research on adaptive equipment for the visually impaired and specifically on the wonders of high powered scopes that many visually impaired people use while hunting safely and independently.
Just as an afterthought, I would trust my life and the lives of my entire family to Nathan. He has proven himself numerous times to be able to adapt quickly in unusual situations and isn't limited in his vision of what is possible. Can your family say the same about you?
Again, I wish you well....you will need all the help you can get.
Nathan's mom

5/29/2008 09:26:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How utterly cliche! A budding writer spouting off about things he knows nothing about. You must be from somewhere else. No self-respecting Tar-heeler would dare come between a mother and her cub...
Here's an idea! Why not further your narrow-minded stances by going after some crippled children too. Perhaps infer in a facetious manner how all disabled people should be chained up in barbaric institutions. Maybe get up on a soapbox about the Special Olympics. Remind everyone how you are able to eat without drooling. It wouldn't hurt to piss off the families of people who are mentally retarded... besides, it would be humorous to your readers, and we could all use some comic relief, even at the expense of those who are disabled.
Seriously Luke, recent history should remind you, that when you even remotely infer anything politically incorrect, it will invariably come back and bite you.

5/29/2008 12:49:00 PM  
Blogger Luke McIntyre said...

Dear Mrs. Nathan's Mom,

I doubted you were really the person you claimed to be, but I thought it would be fun to respond to the comment regardless (plus I respond to most comments on here). Now I'm certain you're not, because a mother with a blind son, a nurse no less, wouldn't be pressing the myths you are.

Of course, I meant the second post as seriously as I meant the first; you, on the other hand, are taking it very seriously. But, ever the opponent of those spouting falsehoods (and because of the slight possibility that a mother randomly found a blog I wrote two years ago and is now arguing with an asshole on the Internet rather than spend her time on those "important things"), I'll oblige and respond to the points worth responding to. (For the record, it's summer and I do actually have time for this.)

Your son does not have super-sensitive hearing. I'm sure he can use the auditory information more efficiently because he pays more attention to it, but is plainly a myth that a blind person's hearing is somehow improved. Your "well published studies" don't exist, or you misunderstood them.

Unlike you, I'll reference my sources. Take the 2001 study by Zwiers, Opstal1, and Cruysberg published in The Journal of Neuroscience, "A Spatial Hearing Deficit in Early-Blind Humans." It proves not only that the blind have no hearing advantage when dealing with more than one noise source (read: a situation resembling anything close to reality), that auditory hypercompensation (the condition you're sort of talking about) "does not extend to the frontal target domain, where the potential benefit of vision is maximal." In other words, the blind can't see or hear what is directly in front of them. One would assume this is the direction in which a gun would be fired.

There's also the 1994 study by Morrongiello et al., "Tactual object exploration and recognition in blind and sighted children," that proved there's no difference in tactile identification between blind children and blindfolded children.

And I should have been more specific about your son driving. He is a member of a group (in which I include some members of the elderly and those who have committed sufficient driving offences, among others) that are but should not be capable of getting a license (in more than 30 states for the legally blind, but some states are still sensible about it).

In Kentucky, for example, the legally blind can drive with the assistance of a bioptic device. They launched the program in 2004, and in that year the accident rate of those using the bioptic devices was 13%. The accident rate for sighted drivers was 5% that year. More than twice as likely to be in an accident doesn't sound safe to me.

You keep recommending that I blindfold myself and try to do certain things. Either your son is blind and unfortunately has been forced to learn different ways to compensate, or he isn't and he can go about his day like everyone else. You seem to constantly assert one and prove the other.

Let's not misconstrue what I'm saying. I have years of writing on file, so go back and find where I've opposed any sort of person with a disability. It's a silly idea. No disability is that person's fault, and they should have every chance or be given every bit of assistance to compensate for that disability.

But a blind kid shooting a gun? You've got to be fucking kidding me.

5/29/2008 03:52:00 PM  
Anonymous ryan said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

5/29/2008 03:53:00 PM  
Anonymous ryan said...

round 3 to luke haha

and when she was talking about sharpshooter, you were talking about sniping correct??

aren't there 2 vastly different requirements for these?

all marines are sharpshooters, all sharpshooters are NOT snipers

5/29/2008 04:10:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"But a blind kid shooting a gun? You've got to be fucking kidding me."

No one's kidding you. What era are you living in?
Read up on it with all this time on your hands this summer. Maybe if you can educate yourself on this topic a little more, you'll come across sounding informed and educated. Hopefully then you'll develop a real sense of empathy for people who are different from you.

http://www.nrahq.org/compete/disabled.asp

http://www.disability-sport-wales.org/11132.html (pay attention to this sentence in this one: "The Equaliser complete with laser signals have now been patented, to convert light into sound to enable visually impaired participants take part."

http://www.paralympic.org/paralympian/20023/2002307.htm

http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0BTT/is_179_30/ai_n15862436

http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/102215/hunting_for_the_blind_how_a_texas_lawmaker.html

http://www.enterstageright.com/archive/articles/0201blindgun.htm

http://www.michigan.gov/dnr/0,1607,7-153-10366_41825-31956--,00.html

You are completely out of your element on this one kid. Regarding your sources that supposedly report no significant increase in hearing ability with blind individuals, for every one of those you can find - there are numerous studies that state otherwise:
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/07/040723093712.htm

http://www.sciencenews.org/pages/pdfs/data/1998/154-12/15412-03.pdf

http://www.scienceblog.com/community/older/2004/6/20045282.shtml

http://www.care2.com/news/member/504543400/513418


Tom
(Nathan's dad)

p.s. In case you are skeptical as to whether or not I am actually his father, I am providing a link to the original article/picture:
http://bordom.net/tag/hunters

And a link to an uploaded pic:
http://i31.tinypic.com/inahrr.jpg

5/29/2008 04:42:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Luke,
Once again I wish you well. I am both Nathan's mom and a nurse. As such, I serve as an advocate for many different groups of people. You are sadly misinformed about a lot of things in life and as I said before you will need all of the help you can get. Someday when you are more mature and perhaps look back on some of the clouded judgement you have had, you will realize how erroneous you are.
Good luck in your future endeavors. I hope life is good to you and will spare you any adversity because you are certainly blind as how to cope with reality.
Teresa Vogler

5/30/2008 08:56:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a supporter of sarcasm, arrogance, and any sort of well-constructed argument, I'm compelled to side with Luke on this one. But as a "moral" individual, giving a blind kid, or any person for that matter, a firearm is utterly ridiculous. Especially at 15 years of age.
Parents, it's good that you stand by your kid, no matter how irrational the situation is.
Keep it up Luke. You keep writing, and I'll keep laughing.
-anonymous

6/11/2008 01:45:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

dear worst parents ever,
Holy shit why would you give a blind person a gun. Im all for equal opportunity but, everyone has their limitations blind or not. I have an uncle with down syndrome want to give him a gun too? I don’t care what age this is, until they can make blind people see what they’re shooting at they shouldn’t have guns. That isn’t cruel that’s just a good idea. Why is it that people think age brings so much wisdom? Just because Luke is younger than you doesn’t mean he isn’t as smart or that he doesn’t know as much about the world around him. I too am a college educated woman with a degree and all that jazz and I’ve also been taught how to be a skeptic which you clearly have not. Just because there are published medical studies about something doesn’t mean it is automatically a proven fact. If you knew anything about science you would know you have to check sources and see how they operationally defined things they studied and you have to look at statistics and z-scores etc. As a nurse I doubt you have that kind of training. I sense you base most of your info on personal anecdotes anyway which any scientist will tell you is a huge mistake. And just for the record you are wrong just because a person is blind doesn’t mean they have better hearing. I don’t have perfect vision by any means I wear glasses does that mean I have slightly better hearing??? NO. I don’t. I actually don’t have that great of hearing, but who knows maybe I have a better sense of taste or smell or maybe I just have a bigger brain. I have a deaf cat does that mean she has better vision? No, it doesn’t. See what I did I just proved you wrong with personal anecdotes and that’s not science. Luke-3 dumb people- 0

7/24/2008 11:14:00 AM  
Anonymous Tim said...

Luke,
I commented a couple times on your blog while we lived in the same dorm, and thought I'd just check by and see if your blog was still up and active. Not really, apparently, but this article caught my interest, because I happen to be legally blind.
You see, I have retinitis pigmentosa, a degenerative eye disease. At this point, I have been officially labeled as legally blind. I cannot drive anymore, I am almost entirely night-blind, and it seems like I am always running into things these days.
However, I am "legally blind" because of my tunnel vision, not because of how far my vision is from 20/20 (not far from it, actually, with my contacts on). I've been advised to learn braille, "to be ready, just in case," and to take cane training. These things may come at some point in the future, but right now I can read a book with no problem, play a piece at the piano just as well as I could when I was majoring in music at our alma mater, and I can see quite well through the scope of a rifle. Cause the fact is, dude, a rifle scope is a tunnel, and both I and Nathan Vogler (as far as I can tell from the article about him) have tunnel vision.
I don't know if this "Nathan's mom" person is real, but s/he is definitely correct in that you could stand to be a little more informed before you make general proclamations about how dumb you think certain people are.

4/22/2010 06:16:00 PM  
Blogger Luke McIntyre said...

Hey Tim,

Good to hear from you, but sorry to hear about your eye condition. I can't imagine how difficult that might be, and I really do hope you maintain some level of vision.

My blog is active in the sense that I plan on beginning updating it again soon, and I plan on beginning updating it soon in the sense that I've been saying that for a few months now, so take that for what you will.

That said, if you think anyone who has an eye injury/deficiency to the degree that they can't legally drive a car should be allowed to do something MUCH more dangerous (fire a freaking hunting rifle, when there are other people around no less) then I'm not really what to say to you. No, for starters, I suppose.

In any case, I don't particularly want to reread the comments we're referring to, but I do recall the supposed Nathan's parents claiming that their son had his other senses heightened because of his lack of vision, and if someone does believe that then they are in fact a dumb, dumb person.

Thanks for reading, and tune back in soon-ish for more. Probably.

Cheers,
Luke

4/22/2010 08:01:00 PM  

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