Yesterday was the two year anniversary of when I learned how quickly the joy of becoming a mother could turn into terror, as I was exposed to tear gas while chaperoning a field trip for the University of Washington in Athens, Greece. It was the start of panicked phone calls home to the States, trying to get straight answers from former colleagues with medical expertise and US doctors at Harborview, Seattle, and the US Poison Control. It was the start of two years of regrets. What if I had been more protective of the living being inside my body instead of feeling the need to remain calm and carry out my responsibility to my employer (an employer who felt no such reciprocal responsibility to me), to make sure that legally adult students were safe enough to attend an AEK soccer game. This was such an “important” event that men fought each other in parking lots. Police sprayed tear gas. And my baby died because I unknowingly walked into the middle of a battlefield as part of my job.
Anything can happen in a free world, but it’s a shame that we let this be an excuse for violence to continue. Why can the unpredictable nature of reality never work in favor of peace? What if peace just suddenly happened because it was more logical than inflicting pain? What if ethics just suddenly became a part of bureaucrats’ vocabulary? What if politicians stopped accepting payouts from weapons manufacturers and lobbyists, and stopped authorizing weapons that do more harm to the public than good? What if authorities stopped poisoning entire civilian populations with weapons banned for use in warfare, and what if there were no longer profit to be made off the suffering of others? What if the administration of the University of Washington Seattle just all of a sudden decided to pay the medical costs of the woman who was injured while trying to be a good employee?
Ask the President of the United States why the US still produces and distributes tear gas, when other countries have long recognized the dangers of this indiscriminate weapon:
Visitor’s Office: 202-456-2121
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500
Don’t just ask the Manufacturers which profit off the deaths of others: protest them.
Combined Systems Inc.
Defense Technology/Federal Laboratories/BAE
And if you have time after that, ask the UW administration why they forced an employee who lost her child while working for them to navigate an endless mine field of red tape for two years rather than pay for her medical expenses:
University of Washington President Michael Young
301 Gerberding Hall
Seattle, WA 98195
Justice and peace won’t spontaneously occur. Use your freedom to make a more better world. Act today.