Monday, February 27, 2012

Veterans issues

An Iraq War veteran who was injured in the US while coming to the aid of someone in a car crash now needs prosthetics. Walter Griffin (Bangor Daily News) reports Jeremy Gilley was aiding a victim of a car accident when another vehicle struck his truck and the veteran was pinned between the wrecked vehicle and his trucks and lost both legas. Saturday a benefit was held for him and among the attendees were US House Rep Michael Michaud. The Morning Sentinel quotes remarks Michaud delivered and notes, "For more information or to donate, contact Jackie Martin at 505-1131 or Or you can write a check to the American Legion Post 43, which is handling donations for the family."

While Michaud and others were attempting to assist a veteran, the Sarasota Police were conducting themselves in a way that's raising questions. Lee Williams (Sarasota Herald Tribune -- link is text and video) reports disabled Iraq War veteran Chris Young was taking part in Occupy Sarasota on Saturday when police arrested him for writing on the sidewalk with chalk. Among the charges that they tossed on him were "obstructing pedestrian traffic and tampering with public property." Now was he "obstructing" because he was chalking or was he "obstructing" because he was disabled? News flash for Sarasota police, disabled Americans are a part of this country too and they have every right to be in public. If pedstrian traffic (be definition: "foot traffic") is put out, oh well, too damn bad, that's what living in this world and using public paths means -- they are open to use by all. The ACLU is looking into the arrest and the local chapter's Mike Barfield states, "The arrest of a disabled veteran for writing peaceful messages in chalk on the sidewalk is unjustified and over the top. Our constitutional right to liberty and freedom cannot defend itself. The ACLU of Florida will ensure that Mr. Young's constitutional rights as well as those of every citizen are protected." From the video, the obstruction I'm seeing is a police officer who thinks a disabled person is a knee rest. Clearly the man has no mobility in his legs and I'm not understanding why the police officer feels the need or right to park himself on top of the veteran?

Also in Florida, Anthony DeFeo (Florida Times-Union) reports Iraq War veteran Clint Van Winkle, author of Soft Spots, will be speaking tomorrow night at Florida State College at Jacksonville's South Campus, in the Wilson Center Theater, starting at 7:00 pm:

His book tells of how Van Winkle struggled with flashbacks and intrusive thoughts about the war, how it affected his life at home, and eventually, how he got help and came to terms with having post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD. The Department of Veterans Affairs estimates that PTSD affects one in five Iraq War veterans.
And on a more personal level for Van Winkle, it shows how hard it can be for a veteran to seek help, especially in a society where mental illness, and PTSD in particular, is heavily stigmatized.
"At first I didn’t think anything was wrong, I knew I was drinking a lot. I had a lot of extra time on my hands," he said. "I thought about the war constantly and I knew something was going on."

Philip Jones (WFMY) reports that at North Carolina's Greensboro College, Iraq War veteran Natash Schoonover has a senior exhibit at the Cowan Humanities Building entitled "A Living Tradition." It runs through today.

Back to injured veterans, Michael Hill (AP) reports on a Wounded Warrior Project's "boot camp" for healthy cooking which brought together "16 wounded veterans" from the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars at the Culinary Institute of America where they were able to learn kitchen tips and to spend some some time (four days) with other veterans. The AP notes, "While they want to teach veterans how to cook healthier -- a particular concern for those with limited mobility -- Wounded Warrior spokesman Pete Cataldo said they also want to give participants a chance to bond with each other." Tony Perry (Los Angeles Times) reports on the Colorado Springs music camp which helps many veterans with PTSD by assisting them in putting their experiences into songs. Perry notes, "A CD of music camp songs is being produced to be sold on iTunes." Singer-songwriters Darden Smith, Jay Clementi, Radney Foster and Georgia Middleman assisted the veterans in telling their stories.

Veterans of the current wars and WWII, the Korean War, the Vietnam War and the Gulf War joined US House Rep Ron Paul onstage Saturday when he spoke at Central Michigan University to a crowd of over 14,50, Central Michigan Life reports. Paul declared, "Americans by a large majority have come around ad said the wars we're fighting in the Middle East make no sense whatsoever. In the last 10 years, these wars have caused us to build up $4 trillion in debt, and quite frankly, I don't feel safer because of it." Ron Paul is one of four people seeking the GOP presidential nomination.

And finally, Mark Brunswick (Minneapolis Star-Tribune) reports on the practice -- the illegal practice -- of refusing to to give veterans the jobs they held before they were called to duty. Brunswick notes, "It's a common belief that veterans returning from deployments can come home confident they'll be given their old civilian jobs back, protected by federal law and, often, a sense of patriotism from employers grateful for their service. But after 10 years of war, members of the Guard and Reserve are returning home to find their old jobs have been given to someone else, or they are coming back to fewer hours and benefits."

Bonnie reminds that Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "Barack Palin" went up last night. On this week's Law and Disorder Radio -- may begin airing this morning on WBAI -- I think they're still fundraising at WBAI and I'm told it is, you've got two hours on WBAI 10 to noon EST with Law and Disorder hosts talking about various issues -- live -- and fundraising for WBAI -- and airs around the country throughout the week, attorneys and hosts Heidi Boghosian, Michael S. Smith and Michael Ratner (Center for Constitutional Rights) discuss Camp Delta, the 75th anniversary of the National Lawyers Guild, provide an update on the Immokalee Workers, speak with prfoessor Paul Sullivan about the NDI and IRI and with human rights activist Sally Sami.

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