But at least part of David Rathban's feelings of grieving came from society's insistence on the primacy of sight. It doesn't have to be that way. We have 5 senses. Why privilege the visual to such an extent? How have we contrived to create a world in which a blind person doesn't feel able to live?
I'd like to imagine a world in which touch and taste are no longer seen as second-best, back-up senses. What if children were taught to read braille at school along with print? What if the feel of clothes mattered as much as their appearance? What if we cared as much about how food tasted as we do about how it looks? What if the sound of a person's voice attracted as much attention as their appearance? Somehow our society has become a place which refuses to look beyond the visual. I wonder if PC David Rathband's death will shock us into reappraising our oculocentrism. I doubt it. But at the very least, I hope it doesn't send the far more damaging message that sight loss is destructive and ultimately life-destroying.
(March 25th: I have just come across this very funny and well-written blog post which brilliantly captures the general feeling that blindness is a hurdle to be overcome.)