|AIR DATE 2011.08.25|
|Location:||West Hollywood - Santa Monica Blvd.|
|Synopsis: Ability registration is protested. People have opinions.|
|CAUSE AND EFFECT|
Four o'clock, and another hot summer day in West Hollywood: not quite so bad as it was a few hours ago - and not up to the scorching dryness of Lancaster, say, an hour or two further north - but people who aren't driving somewhere are mostly staying indoors, whether homes, offices, or shopping centers.
Lined up outside the doors of the Ability testing clinic, two deep and ten across, a group of people are alternately hoisting picket signs and handing out pamphlets to the people walking in or out of the building, or even just passing by. "You don't have to do this, you know," says a twentysomething wearing a Plumtree shirt one size too small for him. "Did you know there's no proper oversight of what the government can do with this information?"
Yep, it's surely not a testing clinic without at least one A-Positive outside protesting the registration, right?! Well Seth just so happens to be one of them. Typical social activist professor looking for a chance to point out inequality! Seth is handing out pamphlets saying, "It's fine if you want to get tested, but please reconsider registering. The goverment has enough control over society without handing it the required tools for discrimination!"
Ethan has chosen to beat the heat with a milkshake from the appropriately named Millions of Milkshakes. Now, with milkshake in a disposable takeout cup in one hand and a book called Biochemistry under his other arm, he starts to make his way past the crowd towards his car. Passing by Seth though he slows, nods and says, "I know what you mean. I ended up losing a scholarship because I registered."
Outwardly, Simon looks vaguely annoyed, eyeing a car parked nearby - but stuck on the other side of the larger clump of the picketers. He's more or less sympathetic to their cause, but at the same time, it's hot out and he's got places to go. Couldn't they have waited a few more months?
Two others are caught squarely in the middle of the crowd, and being a lot less nice about it. "Look, you can spout your paranoid delusions all you want," says the taller balding man, "free speech and all, but right now you're in my way. And my son here's negative anyway, so I don't see what he's supposed to be worried about." The son, for his part, just ducks his head down and shifts his weight from one foot to the other.
Seth nods his head in agreement as he hands Ethan a pamphlet. "See! That just isn't right. The fact that American society has demoralized themselves to expecting that they can treat people like that is horrible. What's next? Rounding every A-Positive up for scientific testing?! Or even worse than that, what if they finally decide to get rid of us all together?!" It's when the tall bald guys speaks up that Seth has an issue. "Excuse me for attempting to save the lives of thousands of innocence while you're trying to go throughout your day as fast a possible and ignoring the larger issues!" He looks fairly irritated as he narrows his eyes at the rude man.
Ethan takes the pamphlet and tucks it into his textbook, before nodding to Seth. He takes a sip of his milkshake as he glances to the two caught in the middle, and says, "Oh, come on, let them pass. It's the ones going in that need to get the message."
The father is not at all impressed with this tirade. "Oh, please. You're seriously comparing yourselves to the Holocaust?" He seems to assume that Seth has a personal stake in the matter. "Registration is voluntary, and Terry hasn't got the balls to make that otherwise. The day that changes— Thank you," he adds, nodding to Ethan. The crowd parts a little, and he continues on his way, the son meekly following along.
"Yeah… yeah I am." Seth says slowly crossing his arms now seeming more uncomfortable by the minute. "Yes, it's voluntary now… but what about that damned license bill floating around in the governement?!" He then looks at Ethan nodding before clearing a path for the man. "Just know that even people that aren't A-Postive can make a difference in these matters…"
Ethan nods to the man as he leads his son away, apparently deciding to stay put for the time being. He glances to Seth and says, "It's not always voluntary. Testing is mandatory to get into med school… at least Keck. That's why I registered. I can so see it being everywhere soon."
Finally, Simon steps forward, glancing after the latest departures. "Never mind med school," he offers, "how about when a patient doesn't want you working on them because you're A-P? That'll probably drag on for generations… Hell, there are still glass ceilings for women in some places, and that supposedly got laid to rest a hundred years ago."
"Wow, that bloody well suck." Seth says with his faintly Irish accent. "The mere fact that these kinds of things effect our everyday lives is why we need to protest and raise awareness. It's not right for someone to be judged on a natrually born trait they have. It's the way people use it, not the mere fact of having it." Seth looks over at another nearby protestor pumping a fist in the air, "Fight for the right to have privacy!"
It's when the doctor arrives that Seth looks shocked and awed. "Really?! See I knew the inequality was rampant in this country when I arrived. Though seriously, societies need to learn from their past mistakes. Treating miniorities that haven't directly effected the majority population negatively is unethical." He nods once seeming to emphasis what he says before looking toward the clinic. "If only there were more people like you two in this world."
Ethan blinks as Simon mentions the possibility of a patient doing such a thing. "Hadn't even thought of that. Does that happen a lot?" He looks back to Seth and says, "There are, many more, most people just don't think they can change anything so stay quiet, not making a fuss."
"Not that I've seen," replies Simon, "but it draws attention when it does happen." He eyes Seth rallying the troops, looking… less enthusiastic. "I wouldn't call it rampant, just more common than most people realize. The tricky part is, you raise alarms loud and early, and it sounds like you're just crying wolf. The more real cases you point to, the better."
Seth nods slowly at Ethan's commentary and says, "Yes, I guess you're right. Though clearly we can make a difference. Even if that difference is showing the world we're not willing to use our powers for illegal actions or to exploit the Non-A-P." He then has his attention redrawn back to Simon again. "Well it is proven that typically you do need a number of cases before a society will listen. Though it's unfortunate that we have to let some suffer now for the sake of others later."
Ethan nods again to Simon, the youngert man thinking a moment. "Well, someone should just start compiling the cases then. I'd volunteer, but not sure I'd have time, what with med school and the jobs I'll have to do to pay for it." Then he looks back to Seth and shrugs a bit, "Depends on the definition of illegal, doesn't it? What if they make it illegal to use any abilities? I mean, some of the so-called illegal stuff that people were putting on Youtube seems pretty harmless to me. Though yeah, some of it was plain crazy."
Simon narrows his eyes, taking a step away. "Let some suffer? It's going to happen anyway, people slipping through the cracks… I was suggesting that you make the most of it, not—" A shake of his head, then he starts walking off as well, shaking his head. "I'd listen to him if I were you," he adds, nodding to Ethan as he fishes out his car keys. "Kid's got the right idea."
"You are quite right, which brings me to my next point. I might be asking UCLA to fund a grant project to survey the A-Positive for just those reasons. I just need a good grant proposal!" Seth says with enthusiasm. Surely there must at least be a small pool of money floating around for just this kind of study. "Though it's true what you say. If they outlaw usage of all powers, I'd like to point out it'd do the same thing as Prohabition of Alcohol. Not everyone will use it, but there sure will be more criminals that do. … I mean even the NRA has the same premise. Outlaw guns and ownership of guns is just going to increase the number of criminals with guns." He then sighs before looking around, "Alright, alright. I guess I'll rethink this for now… I do need to get home before too long."
Ethan nods to both of the others as they start to move to head off, and says, "Cool meeting you. But yeah, if you do start compiling it, or get grant money and are paying for it, I'll sign up to talk about my scholarship. I'm Ethan, by the way," he adds.