Ban Tear Gas Now!

Stop using chemical weapons on citizens of any nation.

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Tear Gas is a Women’s Issue: Men, Stand Up for Women!

Barefoot and Political

Many who know me personally know that I have been fighting for justice for the loss of my first pregnancy to CS gas exposure (a.k.a. “tear gas”) since 2011. I started the website,, in order to compile my research for others who may be facing the same tragedy, lost and alone, fighting against forces with much more money, and therefore seemingly more power. At first, I received insults, laughing off the effects of tear gas. Then I received thanks from other activists who also understood the dangers of tear gas. I received requests for help. I received encouragement that I wasn’t alone in my battle against producers of tear gas and the government which allows its continued production and distribution.

Tear gas was banned for use in conventional warfare, yet it is still used to prevent domestic dissent (in violation of the First Amendment in US, and several aspects…

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Resist Istanbul: Or how I got teargassed again and started losing hope that this government will ever stop the violence

Stay strong!!
The only thing I wish to argue with is where the author states the effects of tear gas do not last long: this is highly dependent on the health of the individual hit. I, too, once thought tear gas was a temporary nuisance.

Popular Articles about Tear Gas forget the Majority of Citizens

In the days since the Turkish protests have begun, I have come across at least two (here’s one) misleading articles in the Slate online magazine regarding the relative safety of tear gas (while still being against its use).  Both Slate articles failed to recognize the difference in effects that tear gas has on healthy young males and the rest of the population, especially women, children, the elderly, and others with compromised immune systems. The commenters also failed to recognize this fact, instead jumping to the question of if a government can’t use tear gas for unruly protesters, what can it use?

To address the commenters – Let’s set aside the obvious and often repeated fact that a government’s definition of unruly protest and the public’s definition of peaceful assembly often happen to collide. First of all, violence against your people or the people of another country should not be the go to solution. It seems as though politicians have forgotten about true diplomacy, and the fact that consensus building is not a conflict resolution tool that should only be extended to leaders of other countries with large arsenals. The people deserve to be heard before policies are imposed from above: failure to recognize the values of the governed is the key cause for “unruly” protests.

Slate is not the only magazine guilty of this failure to recognize the potential harm to reproductive health, or the health of those outside the “norm”.  Although weapons manufacturers state tear gas is safe to use, the studies relied on as proof of its safety are outdated and were not conducted on a wide swath of the population (as ethically, chemical weapons cannot and should not be tested on pregnant women) – they were conducted over a short period of time on relatively healthy male Army recruits.  By downplaying the dangers of tear gas, those who are not soldiers with access to protective gear or healthy immune systems are put at higher risk. It’s time to tell the truth. For the sake of those suffering silently, the rest of us need to speak out. Chemical weapons are not the answer.

Remember the Victims, too…

Barefoot and Political

Remember the innocents caught in the crossfire, those without weapons or orders, and those who lost homes and loved ones.

What will you do today to work towards peace?

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Barefoot And Political

To provide a forum for more generalized political commentary and other work, I started a new website: . I’ve been contacted by readers of this site with some great questions and comments that will have a more appropriate venue there. In fact, feel free to submit stories or work to barefootandpolitical (at) hotmail (dot) com.

I’ll continue to post resources regarding tear gas and other chemical weapons primarily on

Thank you for your support!

— Suzanne

Colorado Police Use Tear Gas to Disperse Party

This news comes from the Huffington Post. Which is worse, some noisy party goers and bottles being thrown, or a potentially toxic gas being released in a crowd?

I’ll refrain from writing excessively about this, but feel free to share your opinions in the comment section, especially if you were witness to the scene. 

Interesting that those caught in the crossfire and those trying to help will be arrested along with the opposition. When a nation is split into two factions — the government and everyone else — the government has failed.

Dear Kitty. Some blog

This video is called Royal Torture: Bahrain princess charged with activist abuse.

From Texas on the Potomac blog in the USA:

Ex-Rep. Solomon Ortiz among U.S. pols to speak at government-sponsored conference in Bahrain

Thursday, March 28, 2013

A former Texas Democratic congressman has joined a controversial ultraconservative Republican on the speaking roster for a government-organized conference in a Middle Eastern country known for its record of human rights abuses.

Former Rep.  Solomon Ortiz of Corpus Christi is listed as one of the featured speakers and is set to give closing remarks at the Bahrain International Symposium that will take place March 31 – April 2. Ortiz joins former congressman Dan Burton of Indiana, a conspiracy theorist and bitter political enemy of former President Bill Clinton.

Burton is also a featured speaker at the event. No current members of Congress are on the list of speakers.

Burton made news last year…

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Activism is Common Sense

We need to be aware of how our actions or inactions affect not only those around us, but those on the other side of the globe. When we allow those in power to continue as they see fit, we collude with those in power to exploit ourselves, and those in even harsher conditions. We have been needlessly involved in wars based on faulty intelligence (a.k.a., lies) for over ten years now. We send money to foreign countries for security purposes, when those being secured are using this money to further victimize others.


It is easy to feel powerless. Essentially, you are. You need to take power. You need to actively fight for it. You need to militarize the pacifists. You don’t need bombs or guns: you need knowledge, social capital (i.e., friends), and the desire for change. You need to take your iPhone and use it for something more than playing Angry Birds. You need to make phone calls. Organize. You need to write emails. You need to stand up and call politicians out when they allow profits to win over people.


There will always be obstacles. There will always be something else you have to do. You don’t have to fight 24 hours a day. Even soldiers on the front have down time. But you do have to start. What can you accomplish in 15 minutes today?


Today you can call Combined Tactical Systems CEO Don Smith at 724-932-2177; my guess is you will get his voicemail, so have some reading material handy. Leave a message for him, be it a very simple statement regarding how his company’s chemical weapons are responsible a rise in miscarriages and the suppression of free speech, or a creative insult. {I left an admittedly teary voicemail for him yesterday: even so, still waiting for that return call about my case, Don.} Post the number on bathroom walls, subway stations, school desks, telephone poles… Let’s use some ingenuity.


This week I have followed up yet again with the University of Washington President’s office, also ccing correspondence to the UW Board of Regents and the UW Graduate Student Workers Union representative. I am also in communication with the US State Department’s Legal Advisors, based on the fact that injury of a US citizen by a chemical weapon produced by a US company must fall under their jurisdiction. I am still waiting to hear when my case will be heard by the WA State Board of Industrial Insurance Appeals.  


As always, if you have advice or relevant research for others wishing to help join the fight, feel free to comment or send an email to banteargasnow (at)



Fighting Giants

This is the start of my day. Every day, two years and counting. How do I get closure? Am I closer or farther? Why am I fighting Goliath when most days I don’t even know what I did with my slingshot?

There are a series of smaller fights that must take place every day, but I can’t stop until the bigger fight is won. Every day my thoughts are focused on how do I make others understand the importance of my mission to ban the production, distribution, and use of tear gas, and then from there, how do I use that shared understanding to effect change.

Right now, I am gathering rocks. Like this one. Or this one.

Every day I put more information in my arsenal.

While I’m gathering ammunition I may be missing sight of other opportunities to win the war, but this is all I can do until I find that damn slingshot.

Please join my cause. Help stand up for those who can’t. Write your local authorities about the ethics of using chemical weapons on citizens. Challenge politicians, bureaucrats, producers and distributors of “less lethal” technologies who profit from killing and denying citizens their basic rights. You can contact Combined Tactical Systems at 724-932-2177. Leave a voicemail for CEO Don Smith, who is conveniently out for the day.

Share this mission with others who are willing to fight. You can also show support by liking the Ban Tear Gas Now! Facebook page and following us on Twitter @BanTearGasNow.

10 year Anniversary of Rachel Corrie’s Death – Moment of Action

Rachel was a devoted activist who attended the same college as me. She was so committed to the cause of social justice that she traveled halfway around the world to protect others. Her parents have since taken up a daunting fight to make the government of Israel admit to what anyone who has followed her case already knows. (To learn about her story and get inspired, see the Rachel Corrie Foundation website.) 

I think a moment of action is more appropriate than a moment of silence to honor her.

Do something to change the world for the better. Feel free to post your ideas and actions in the comments below.

Don’t let her and countless others’ deaths have been in vain.


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