The problem: Could you please address the misuse of handicap parking spaces? When I need to shop, I drive around and around to find a handicap spot. I see able-bodied people park there and bound out of their cars. Many are using placards of deceased people or those no longer driving. Shame on them.


Low road: Hello, Kathy Bates! Remember when her character in the 1991 film “Fried Green Tomatoes” slams into the red VW Bug in the grocery store parking lot after two young, self-absorbed women steal her spot from right under her nose and smugly walk away? It’s great!


High road: But don’t try that. You’d just end up with whiplash and a court date. You’re right that some offenders use handicap passes from deceased family members. Others boldly take spots and hope no one notices. No doubt the dismal weather we endure in Minnesota makes it even more tempting to park as close as possible. But that doesn’t make it right, kind — or legal. Sneaky parkers should know that many communities are cracking down on such abuse, including Los Angeles, which recently issued 42 misdemeanor citations at one shopping center in a single day. Those offenders must appear in court and face fines of up to $1,000. It’s a pity that it comes to this. Those with good health should count their blessings — and their steps. You and others with this understandable frustration can upload a parking violation notice through the Minnesota State Council on Disability, (“You are parked in a space reserved for individuals with disabilities…”) and place it on their windshield. But remember that most disabilities are nonvisible. The council notes that certain heart, joint and lung conditions, for example, qualify for placards. But this should not be your problem to fix. If the problem continues, tell your store manager that you’re a loyal shopper and that you’d hate for this obstacle to drive you to a competitor. That could be enough incentive for him or her to call the police.

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