Apparently, there is growing (and well-deserved) outrage over a man who appears to have been a fake sign language interpreter at Nelson Mandela’s public memorial.
The reports state the man is also receiving treatment for schizophrenia. If he’s mentally ill…well, okay, that doesn’t excuse what he did, but it begs the question…
Why the frak was this guy allowed to be standing on a stage with world leaders? I understand the event was arranged in a hurry, but are you telling me the Secret Service didn’t say, “Hey, we need a list of people on the stage so we can vet them, ktksbai.”
That it’s an outrage to the deaf community at large is a given. He’s apparently had complaints about his performance in the past. Even someone like myself, who’s only had a little training in ASL, could tell he wasn’t completely legit. I spent a couple of years living next door to a couple with two teenagers who were deaf, and not only did I take a class, I learned a little from them. I even went to a deaf dinner where everyone, hearing and deaf alike, were expected to use ASL and not speak. I’ve since forgotten most of what I learned, but this much I know:
I never saw anyone, kids or adults, who signed like that guy. Ever.
What’s scarier to me is that what if this guy had a more malevolent agenda and in the middle of any of the tributes had pulled some sort of weapon? He could have easily injured or killed any of the world leaders he shared the stage with.
I know the Secret Service cannot protect our president against all threats. It’s a big, bad, scary world. But I do expect them to do a little background work. I realize our government wasn’t in charge of the ceremony. I get that. But it is their job to at least find out who is going to be in close proximity to the president (and, in this case, other world leaders) for one isolated time period, and maybe run more than a Google search on the people.