This past weekend, Attorney General Chris Koster worked with police from numerous St. Louis County Police departments to issue citations to able-bodied people who parked in handicapped-accessible parking spaces.
On Saturday, 74 people in law-abiding communities such as Chesterfield, Creve Coeur, Des Peres, Hazelwood and Webster Groves were popped for being too lazy/selfish/ignorant to leave those parking spaces for the people who need them. Most of the citations were issued in shopping centers, according to the AG's press release on the operation.
Perhaps you believe it's no big deal to park in one of those spots. You've circled the lot once or twice, and that double-wide spot sits empty and enticing; you'll only be in the store for fifteen, maybe twenty minutes tops. What's the big deal?
For starters, it hurts you. Missouri law is pretty clear on this one; parking in an accessible parking space without having an authorized license plate or hangtag displayed can earn you a fine as high as $300. You can also be fined for using someone else's license plate or hangtag if that person is not actually in the vehicle with you. And you people who slip into the striped aisle next to an accessible spot thinking you're so very clever in skirting the law can also be fined up to $300, although you dipshits should probably pay double.
But stealing those parking spaces hurts the people who need 'em. If you think those parking spots are a privilege or perk for disabled people, you're out of your goddamn mind. Read former RFT
Music Editor Annie Zaleski's heartfelt feature on the power of the Americans with Disabilities Act
and you'll see that these spaces are a necessity. Taking them when you don't need 'em is a dick move.
Or as AG Koster said, "This is a matter of respect -- respecting the law, and respecting the person who has the lawful right to use that special parking."