City Bureaucrats Determined To Keep Visors Clear

There’s a reason that rules and laws exist. We get that. Sure, sometimes we chafe under the authority of bosses or government or society, but without rules and laws, our perfect little society would devolve into some bizarre violent scene out of Waterworld, with roving gangs of urine-drinking Kevin Costners wreaking havoc on the post-apocalyptic landscape. There is no in between.

Albino kid football player


But sometimes, man…sometimes rules are just stupid. Like, really stupid. Like, “it’s-illegal-to-hunt-camels-in-Arizona” stupid (no, that’s not actually the law). See that kid right there? That’s 12-year-old Graham Bartunek, and all he wants to do is play football.  But unfortunately, the stupid rules of the Oconomowoc (WI) Department of Parks and Recreation are getting in the way. Sometimes, rules were made to be broken.

Young Graham is different from the other kids. See, Graham is albino. Anyone who’s ever seen the movie Powder can see that this might pose a problem for the lad. He’s different, he’s unique, and he just wants to play football. But because he is supersensitive to sunlight, he needs to wear a tinted visor during games in order to avoid hurting his eyes. That wasn’t a problem when Graham lived in Kansas City, but now that his family has relocated to Wisconsin? Yeah, according to WTMJ, that’s where the stupid rules come into play:

City officials said the tinted face shield violates federal safety standards, because players’ eyes have to be showing, but the family doesn’t understand why an exception can’t be made because of Graham’s disability.

“The face shields are allowed in football. The NFL allows them. We have a doctor’s note to justify the need. It’s about vision. It’s about sun exposure,” Paul said. For now, Graham wears sunglasses to play, but he says they frequently fall off, and the sunglasses only protect his eyes, not the skin that is greatly sensitive to the sun.

Now, forgive us if our civics class information is a bit rusty, but we were under the assumption that federal regulations apply to the whole country. So if said federal regulations allowed him to wear a tinted visor in Kansas City, then those same federal regulations should allow him to wear a tinted visor in Oconomowoc. Furthermore, the Americans With Disability Act says - as far as we remember, which probably isn’t all that much - that the city must make a reasonable accommodation for the kid.

But as anyone who’s ever had to deal with municipal government lackeys knows, things are never that easy. Some poor linear-minded functionary in a cubicle somewhere in city hall says that The Rules can never be broken, bended, amended, or differently interpreted, and so we find ourselves at an impasse.

The city needs to be careful, though. As anyone who watched teen movies in the mid-1990s knows, the last thing the city wants to do is anger an albino kid. You just never know what kind of powers he might have, or how he might get his revenge…