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Just get out and walk

I read with interest an article in the Providence Journal last week about a police sting used to catch those who abuse handicapped parking.

The concept behind this crackdown was to ensure the person behind the rearview placard was actually the individual it was assigned to.

Nobel concept, I thought.

I've seen similar stings here in New York, but more to catch those who park in spaces reserved for individuals with physical disabilities than people who abuse the right to hang a handicapped placard in their vehicle altogether.

Interestingly, in this case many were doing just that. Some people had "borrowed" the placard from an elderly relative. Others were stolen. One was assigned to a man who had died years before.

How lazy have we become as a society, I thought, that someone would resort to stealing a handicapped placard from the vehicle of a dead man to grant a parking spot a few hundred feet closer to Macy's?

Even worse, one reserved for a person forced to live at a physical disadvantage?

This same philosophy has created a generation of people who will drive around for 15 minutes to gain a parking spot three minutes closer to their favorite store.

I dare say we could solve our global energy crises while rescuing our eroding ozone layer with one simple dying concept: Put one foot in front of the other.

I'll often see a mom struggling through a packed parking lot carrying bags of groceries while steering half a dozen children through the minefield of cars in reverse.

Meanwhile, cars filled with 20-somethings will whiz by and gobble up the storeside parking, happy as clams to have outmaneuvered a senior citizen to the spot.

Here's a thought: How about leaving the closest parking spaces to those who cannot walk to their destination.

Do so and you may just have a few more years to enjoy being able to do so.

John Gereau is managing editor of Denton Publications. His column appears regularly.

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