In Harn’s Way: MADD Sued For Discrimination in Removing Drunk Driving Victim Considers to be “Too Disturbing” for Public Events

Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) is facing a discrimination action by a victim of drunk drivers, who claims that she was removed from public events due to her appearance. A drunk driver left Rose Harn with one working eye, brain damaged, and a shriveled, disfigured body as well as the need for a rag to catch her drool. She alleges that she was told that she was too disturbing to look at for a booth at a state fair in Idaho.

Harn was left brain-damaged and paralyzed by a 16-year-old driver in 1986. The accident severed her brain stem, resulting in an 18 month coma. She has three children. While she can only move her head and blink, her husband Mike Harn, 64, takes her to fairs so that people can see the impact of drunk driving.

The Harns actually went to the Western Idaho Fair on Aug. 19 at MADD’s request. Less than an hour later, a fair employee asked them to leave because Rose Harn was “too graphic.” Her husband was accused of putting her on display. According to the complaint, Miren Aburusa, executive director of MADD Idaho, dropped Harn as a volunteer at the fair on the next day. She insists that she was trying to protect Rose from negative comments and commotion. She also e-mailed county officials an apology “for the problems and inconvenience our booth has caused you.”

For the full story, click here and here.

4 thoughts on “In Harn’s Way: MADD Sued For Discrimination in Removing Drunk Driving Victim Considers to be “Too Disturbing” for Public Events”

  1. Backbone anyone? There have to be at least a hundred better ways that both MADD and the fair’s organizers could have responded to this situation. In principal, it is disghusting that MADD didn’t back up the Harns, given what they’re supposed to be standing for. But the fair’s leadership — who are supposed to be community leaders themselves — should also have known better. If they were feeling pressure from the complaints of certain fair visitors, they should have considered the ethics and aimed for doing the right thing. What a way to lose the confidence of the community. And what a waste, that instead of preparing a constructive response for the complainers and using the moment for a teaching opportunity, they took the path of least resistance and caved like rats. I wonder how many complaints the fair was receiving from visitors every day, on any subject, and how many of those complaints actually pertained to the Harns. In turn, I wonder how much of the “pressure” the fair’s leaders were feeling from fair visitors, and how much of it they were feeling from their own selfish, shallow, prejudices. Whoever among the fair’s leadership decided the Harns needed to go needs to go themselves — they should resign today.

  2. JT:

    Sorry, but I am no MADD supporter. It seems to be just riddled with insurance adjusters working not for better compensation for victims but for more Draconian criminal laws to punish the poor guy who stops after work for a couple of beers. Note their opposition to punitive damages. Like the NRA, it’s the business world wolves donning the sheep skin of the benevolent public service group for their own profit motives. And what a fish in the barrel to attack– who likes drunk drivers? (Please note my repeated animal references here, I do like the SPCA)

  3. Mrs. Harn is doing a very good thing with her life. She is to be admired and respected. The chapter should have supported her work completely, not caved to ignorant opinion and stupidity.

    This chapter and the fair employee win my vote for the antichrist!

  4. copied to IDMADD
    and the AP
    I write as a citizen of this country that looks to cause related organizations to be true to their foundations, their cause, their mission. Alcoholism and the destruction it can cause, or early experimentation without control, leads to death, difigurement, disability, or the dissolution of families. It was absolutely demoralizing for me to see that your organization preferred to seek the comfort of “not making a statement” or “not wanting to appear inflamatory” or “not comfortable for our attendees to see” over letting people have the opportunity to see and most importantly understand the horrendous course of events that put Mrs. Harn in her current situation. I feel for her family and hope that they can find peace with you.

    This is clearly a situation where an organization has become more lobbyist and political than one that truly looks to effect the necessary changes to educate young people and adults about the dangers of alcohol abuse and driving under the influence.

    I can assure you that I will forever see you now as a self-interested and lobby organization vs. one that seeks to truly effect change in creating responsibility with alcohol consumption. You have crossed the line to the dark side. And I am so truly sorry.

    Looking for safe roads
    Napa, CA

    Clearly the national chapter does not wish to receive this email otherwise they would post an email address onto their website

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