Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The government's failure to take PTSD seriously has consequences

Iraq veteran Joshua Gerard was discharged from the Army last year, but the fighting never stopped within him, his family said Tuesday. That inner struggle -- fueled by post-traumatic stress disorder and bouts of heavy drinking -- came to a head Sunday night when sheriff's officials said Gerard, 29, pointed a shotgun at Sgt. Vidal Mejias.

The above is from Lyda Longa's "Shooting incident involved Iraq vet, PTSD" (Daytona Beach News-Journal) and is an update to Longa's article noted in yesterday's snapshot. Iraq War veteran Joshua Gerard is in "critical but stable condition" and his father Jim Gerard states that service members should be receiving "mandatory" treatment when they are discharged. As Long notes in another article, Joshua Gerard suffers from PTSD. He was shot by law enforcement Sunday following deputies responding to a 9-11 call placed by his wife. Gary Taylor (Orlando Sentinel) speaks to his the veteran's family as well:

Help may have been available for Joshua James Gerard, but he never got it, his family said Tuesday. That's because the counseling the soldiers need is not mandatory, they said. "It's not just Josh," said his sister, Rachael Sippel. "There's a ton of these scenarios all across the country." People like her brother need long-term counseling and group therapy, she said. "I'm not talking two weeks.

Sarah Gerad is his wife and Stephanie Coueignoux (Central Florida News 13 -- link has text and video) reports:

In a letter only given to News 13, Sarah Gerard wrote about her husband Josh. She described how his tour in Iraq changed him. "It was because he's not a mindless killer that the things he's been through, haunt him every day," she wrote.

Meanwhile John McChesney (NPR's All Things Considered -- link has audio and text) reports on the large influx into the VA system -- a non-surprise and something that should have been addressed some time ago. You can't continue two ongoing wars and not expect the number of veterans to increase.

The following community sites updated last night and this morning:

Salem-News has a number of new stories posted including:

Salem-News Under Attack for Israel Stories Tim King

Where Angels Fear to Tread - Team Report

About anti Semitism - Nahida Izzat

We'll note this from David Bacon and Betsy Edwards's "Hungry By The Numbers" (East Bay Express):

The federal government, in its infinite wisdom, has tried to define for us what being hungry means. They've come up with a yardstick, called "food insecurity." It means people who have less food than they want and need. It includes people who actually go hungry, but also those who've had to reduce the amount they eat, skip meals, or eat food they know isn't good for them, because they can't afford what it really takes to eat.
Late last fall the US Department of Agriculture shocked even those people who are used to thinking about the problems of hunger, when it released a report that counted the number of hungry families in this, the richest country in the world. It turns out we're not so rich after all, as anyone who's lost a job or a home in the Great Recession could easily tell you. Still, the numbers are like a sharp blow upside the head.
Some 16 percent of all families were food insecure - they didn't have the money to buy enough food at some point duirng 2008, up from 12 percent the year before. That amounted to 49 million people, including more than 16 million children. That's almost a quarter of all the children in the United States, and 4 million more than it was in 2007. This year we know the number is higher - we just don't know how much higher - yet.

David Bacon is an independent journalist who covers the labor and immigration beat -- one of a tiny number of actual labor reporters remaining in the US -- and his work is always impressive whether it's his writing or his photography. His photography is, in fact, art and he has an exhibit coming up.

Farm Workers
Photographs by David Bacon

Irene Carlson Gallery of Photography
University of La Verne
La Verne, California
through May 21, 2010
9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday

Gallery Statement:

While American Agriculture's dependence on migrant farm labor is evident, when placed in contrast with the dire circumstances these essential workers experience while helping make food available for the world market, it is hard to imagine a larger disparity between necessity and compensation.

For nearly two decades, David Bacon has documented the struggles experienced by immigrant workers and their families, detailing the challenges and conditions faced by these often overlooked members of society in a number of highly acclaimed books, articles and photo series, all providing the public a glimpse of a community that otherwise often goes unseen.

"Farm Workers" shows the hard working conditions faced by these communities. The images highlight the issue of immigration and show the consequences of economic dislocation in Mexico. The exhibit - a partnership between Bacon and California Rural Legal Assistance and its Indigenous Farm Worker Project - is supported by the Binational Front of Indigenous Organizations (FIOB), a network of Mexican indigenous communities in the U.S. and Mexico. The communities documented include Mixtecos, Triquis, Zapotecos, Chatinos, and Purepechas living in San Diego, Coachella, Arvin, Oxnard and Santa Paula, Santa Maria, Fresno and Selma, Salinas and Greenfield, Santa Rosa, Fairfield and Corning.

Bacon is sharing his work with an ongoing photo exhibition at the University of La Verne. The exhibit, "Farm Workers," is on display through May 21, 2010, at the University of La Verne's Irene Carlson Gallery of Photography. This event is also intended to bring attention to the university's photography major.

Admission to the gallery, located on the ground floor of Miller Hall on the university's main campus, is free.

Bacon is the author of several books, including "Illegal People: How Globalization Creates Migration and Criminalizes Immigrants," "Communities Without Borders: Images and Voices from the World of Migration," and "The Children of NAFTA: Labor Wars on the U.S./Mexico Border." His work has been exhibited in the U.S., Mexico, Germany and the United Kingdom.

The Carlson Gallery is open to the public from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday, or by special appointment. For information on the exhibit, the artist reception or the Carlson Gallery, contact Gary Colby at (909) 593-3511, ext. 4281.

from: "Photo exhibit focuses on laborers"
La Verne University Campus Times, April 30, 2010
Rachel Smith, Staff Writer

David Bacon's photography exhibit "Farm Workers" at the Irene Carlson Gallery exposed the difficult conditions faced by most immigrant farm workers. "The photos are a reality check," Bacon said. "Food doesn't automatically appear on the Safeway shelves."

The ULV students that filled the exhibit were affected by the extraordinary images. The ULV staff and students provided great behind the scenes support to help make sure the event was a success. Gary Colby, professor of photography, and Kevin Bowman, photography department manager, were the key staff members that brought the exhibit to life. Colby selected the artist, while Bowman focused on printing the images that Colby and Bacon picked for the exhibit.

They capture men and women working side-by-side doing the same very physically demanding jobs. "Some of these images break the stereotype of a farm worker," Bowman said. The images not only focus on male Mexican farm workers, but also touch on immigrants from India and women farm workers.

Bacon emotionally reached the students at ULV. He stirred inside them a desire to learn and become aware of the difficult life situations. "It makes me feel like there is a lot going on that I'm not aware of," said Grady Thomas, junior communications major. "I need to be more aware of what's happening." Thomas and fellow communications major Pui Lok Choi helped promote Bacon's exhibit as a school project.

As an adult, Bacon was a union leader and began to see the injustices that immigrants were facing in the labor world. His passion and desire to document the hardships eventually became full-time work for the union organizer turned artist. "We are all here to work," Bacon said. "That's what we have in common no matter the race or work you do."

For more articles and images, see

See also Illegal People -- How Globalization Creates Migration and Criminalizes Immigrants (Beacon Press, 2008)
Recipient: C.L.R. James Award, best book of 2007-2008

See also the photodocumentary on indigenous migration to the US
Communities Without Borders (Cornell University/ILR Press, 2006)

See also The Children of NAFTA, Labor Wars on the U.S./Mexico Border (University of California, 2004)

David Bacon's latest book is Illegal People -- How Globalization Creates Migration and Criminalizes Immigrants (Beacon Press) which won the CLR James Award. Bacon can be heard on KPFA's The Morning Show (over the airwaves in the Bay Area, streaming online) each Wednesday morning (begins airing at 7:00 am PST).

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thomas friedman is a great man

oh boy it never ends