Just when I think I have regained control over my blog (that pesky Darren hacking in the last couple of weeks was okay. I just wish he would have let me know), I receive this email saying if I don’t put a guest post, something bad might happen to my front lawn. I wrote back saying nothing worse could happen since my landlord doesn’t take care of it in the first place.
Anyway, after reading the following piece, I thought it worked quite well for a good follow up to the last few weeks of the theme of martial arts mysteries. So, I welcome guest blogger and author Robert Bennett, who in exchange for my allowing his post has agreed to shovel my walk when it snows more than two inches the previous night. (Wait, that’s what I want my landlord to do.) Uh, take it away, Robert.
It's Saturday night and you're at the cash machine taking care of that last, crucial detail before picking up your girlfriend for a night out-dinner, theater, the works. Suddenly, from out of the darkness, the mugger zones in and you're pulled from your wheelchair. In a few minutes he’s gone, but so is your wallet. Instead of going on a date you end up spending the evening in the emergency room.
This scenario is speculation, but the statistics are scary. Three out of four blind people are assaulted sometime during their lifetime. Women with disabilities are twice as likely to be victims of sexual assault as so-called able-bodied women. And, people with developmental disabilities are at a four to ten times higher risk than able-bodied persons.
It used to be said that people with disabilities could not take care of themselves. Of course that is an old, foolish and paternalistic idea. More recently the idea has been changed to something like ‘people with disabilities can not protect themselves.” This too is wrong thinking. Everyone deserves the right to protect themselves, and to learn how to do so. But, you might ask, as many people do, why would someone who is already at a physical disadvantage take a risk of further injury by learning some sort of fighting skill? The answer is simple…why not. Most people with disabilities are no more likely to sustain injury than their able-bodied counterparts. Martial arts experts teach the skills to fight off an attacker, but perhaps more importantly, they also teach self-confidence, focus and the awareness not only of the environment, but of one's abilities.
For me, as a wheelchair-using paraplegic, the study of martial arts has allowed me to keep in good physical condition and given me the confidence to move around my environment without worrying about limitations or the possibility of assault.
Several years ago, when I decided to put together a book about martial arts for people with disabilities, I contacted teachers and students from all over the world. People with a wide range of disabilities who have learned a wide range of martial arts disciplines. Each of the people contacted had a different disability and a different reason for studying the martial arts. Finally the stories about some amazing martial artists came together in a book entitled Enabling the Dragon (available as an ebook on my website, EnablingWords.com)
More recently, in my Blind Traveler mystery novels, the second of which is now available in Ebook format from Echelon Press, my protagonist is a blind man who has learned to use the ancient art of Judo to fend off would-be assailants. Through years of study he has not only improved his fighting technique, he has also regained the self-confidence he lost after the accident that blinded him, and found a community of like-minded individuals with whom he can have a relationship.
BLIND TRAVELER’S BLUES
The year is 2021. Natural forces have changed our world. As the Earth's magnetic poles have shifted, pressure on the planet’s mantle layer is building. The bottom line . . . earthquakes now wreak havoc in areas they have never occurred before.
In Mexico, members of an archaeological team investigate the remains of an ancient village uncovered by a quake; racing to prove their theories about the civilization that once lived there. But, disaster strikes when the accidental destruction of an artifact unleashes a worldwide agricultural plague.
Halfway across the continent, Douglas Abledan, a blind computer technologist, embarks on a long anticipated vacation. On the plane to Chicago, he meets world-renowned agricultural pathologist Cara Cordelia. Little do either of them know she has been targeted for murder.
In this stand-alone sequel to his critically acclaimed "Blind Traveler Down a Dark River," author Robert P. Bennett continues to bring us suspense and intrigue while exploring a world of the not too distant future. While society struggles with the impact of natural changes, the advancement of new technology enables a blind man to investigate a murder.