Ban Tear Gas Now!

Stop using chemical weapons on citizens of any nation.

Archive for the tag “politics”

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  Although weapons manufacturers state tear gas is safe to use, the studies relied on as proof of its safety are outdated and were not conducted on a wide swath of the population (as ethically, chemical weapons cannot and should not be tested on pregnant women) – they were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.

Link to Terry Allen’s article, “Chemical Cops: Tear Gas And Pepper Spray Can Be Deadly”

This article addresses the dangers of tear gas and pepper spray after the 1999 Seattle WTO riots. Although 13 years have passed since Terry Allen wrote about the dangers of allowing corporations to define safety of these weapons, what has changed?

Justice

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?

Let’s ask.

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:

Phone:

Comments: 202-456-1111

Switchboard: 202-456-1414

TTY/TTD

Comments: 202-456-6213

Visitor’s Office: 202-456-2121

The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/submit-questions-and-comments

Don’t just ask the Manufacturers which profit off the deaths of others: protest them.

Combined Systems Inc. 

https://www.combinedsystems.com/

Defense Technology/Federal Laboratories/BAE

http://www.defense-technology.com/

NonLethal Technologies

http://www.nonlethaltechnologies.com/

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
Box 351230
Seattle, WA 98195
Phone: 206-543-5010
Email: pres@uw.edu

Justice and peace won’t spontaneously occur. Use your freedom to make a more better world. Act today.

Suzanne

Interesting Article about the US supplying tear gas abroad

I found this article by Dean Puckett (http://deaddeanfilms.org/) to be well written. It’s available here.

Fellow Activists/ Ways to Get Involved

The War Resisters League has recently started their own blog on those who have first hand experience with tear gas: http://facingteargas.tumblr.com/. Check it out, and share with your friends! To learn more about the War Resisters League, based in New York, visit: http://www.warresisters.org/.

Official Report from Physicians for Human Rights

I have not had as much time to work on this site since school resumed, but Physicians for Human Rights has produced a telling report from their fieldwork on the effects of tear gas. Click here for their official report on the dangers of weaponizing tear gas. It is my hope that American officials will take heed when formulating policies on local control tactics. The debate over the ethics of allowing American military contractors to continue production and supply of this weapon to foreign governments must begin in earnest. Please share this link widely, and encourage your friends to do the same. Victims of tear gas and other conventional weapons deserve justice. But don’t just share, act! Write letters. Make phone calls. Research if not this, then other injustices. Ultimately, let’s shut down the industry that profits off death without limits or fear of consequences.

Suzanne

Mission

Tear gas is the term used to label a group of chemical weapons meant to incapacitate (temporarily) a population for the goal of crowd control. There is no way to safely deploy a chemical weapon on a population, and there is no way to target it to hit only criminal elements, even when there is a hint of justification for an authority to use it. Children, the elderly, or those with medical conditions such as pregnancy or asthma are particularly prone to its effects. While it is unethical to test the effects of tear gas in laboratory subjects on human pregnancy, there have been increasing numbers of self-reports by women who attribute their miscarriages to exposure to tear gas. It is my goal to collect and provide these reports to you, along with other news and scholarly research so that this danger can be recognized for what it truly is. Use the information, don’t just read it. Write your local authorities, your government, the makers and distributors of this weapon, your friends: tell them why tear gas needs to be outlawed once and for all.

If you want to contribute articles, research, or artwork, write banteargasnow@hotmail.com.

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