Q: What bias, oppression, etc. do you feel towards others and/or do others feel towards you as a result of your accident and do you feel this has changed on an individual, community or policy level since your accident?

I try, very hard not feel any serious preconceived emotions toward anything. If what you’re asking is do I feel anger towards “God,” my answer is simply no. I’d rather use my energy productively. And believing in a God is, in my opinion everything but a valuable use of time.

And before you assume my lack of belief stems from what happened to me, I assure you it has not. In fact being through everything I’ve been through has only strengthened my resolve. Trust me.

I digress, you see I’ve learned some very hard lessons about how real oppression and discrimination are and the toll it takes on a living individual. If I can avoid making others feel what I’ve felt, then I will.

That’s precisely why I am and intend on being a vegan for the rest of my days. I know, all too well what it is to be trapped.

Granted my experience is dissimilar from that of a typical role of a persecuted, or enslaved being, in as much as my body was not cooperating with my will. I had “locked-in syndrome,” which, in my particular case meant my brain couldn’t reliably communicate with the rest of my body, on account of a severely injured brain stem.

So I suspect, no, I’d swear the heavy sense of helplessness is all too similar. And there is no rational argument against whether animals can feel. So it’s a matter of deductive logic. I can’t and will never again support consuming and commodifying another living being. Think what you must, but it’s not “right.”

But with all that said, sadly I expect discrimination, in, at least some form will always exist. As I’ve seen in myself, we, as a species are generally quite “closed” to change. We’re unsure how to handle difference. We’re intimidated by it. Even threatened by it. Believe me…

I’m much more concerned with how various things affect me on an individual basis. Why? Face it, my interests as a disabled, vegan, atheist, punk (if I’m going to slap general “labels” on myself) aren’t and won’t soon be represented in my community and/or government. And as for that changing? I know it won’t anytime soon. How’s that for discrimination? Not quite what you were after, I suspect, eh?