Ban Tear Gas Now!

Stop using chemical weapons on citizens of any nation.

Archive for the tag “research”

Call for Collaboration

 

During my senior year in college, many years ago, my professor accused me of always trying to reinvent the wheel. It was in my nature to be as independent as possible, and being in an arts focused program at the time, I felt the need to make sure I didn’t steal inspiration from other artists. It was more about a code of ethics than stubbornness. Although I can be found guilty of this quality, too. You need to be stubborn if you are going to accomplish your goals. So I let the criticism slide off my back.

 

But now, as I push forward in my research, I have realized that collaboration is a necessary aspect of what I am trying to accomplish. First of all, in order to avoid repeating history, learning from others is just common sense. That’s why one purpose of my site has been to promote the work of others who have also written about this subject from a knowledgeable standpoint (and not the one promoted by the corporations who profit from weapons sales).  Secondly, the efforts of many will (most often) trump the efforts of one: if it’s just lonely little me on a soapbox, there’s only so far this message can go.

 

So I am asking for help as I ramp up my efforts to stop the further victimization of citizens through the use of tear gas and other chemical weapons. I want to partner with other organizations that may not have the exact same purpose as me, but also are working towards making a more socially just world. I would love to work with artists, lawyers, researchers, scholars, and other activists as I pursue this goal. (Many thanks to Jeff Nguyen for his contributions of resources; I will be posting them soon!!)

 

If you know of or work for an organization that would be willing to sponsor my efforts this summer as I conduct interviews and create activist toolkits/ materials, please contact me at banteargasnow (at) hotmail (dot) com.

 

Thank you for your support of this cause, and for the efforts you take each and every day to make this a better world.

 

— Suzanne

 

 

Update on my fight

This week I embark on a new leg of my fight. Two years ago I lost my first pregnancy after being exposed to tear gas on a work assignment. Apparently, my employer (the University of Washington) didn’t feel it necessary to cover the medical expenses that resulted from this, despite my completing my duties at the expense of my health and my child’s life. In the past, I had never asked for more than the documented medical expenses, for which I had to submit multiple copies to multiple agents and tell my story repeatedly, when all I wanted to do was grieve in private. I am now preparing to take my case to the Washington State Board of Industrial Insurance Appeals. Again, I have a lot in my life I would rather be doing, like working on my thesis, or spending time with my family. Instead, I am researching tort law, insurance policies, and as always, the effects of the misleadingly named chemical weapon “tear gas.”

In preparing my case, I must also challenge the false information out there. The logic of many sources on the subject is that because there is limited information on the dangers of a chemical agent, that must mean it’s safe. The reality is that because it’s unethical to test chemical weapons on pregnant women, you won’t see lab studies on the subject. You’ll see news reports on the rising rates of miscarriages in areas hit by tear gas, but those reports are always secondary to the “real story”; the real stories reduce people killed and injured to nothing more than numbers, and treat governments and corporations as the only ones with anything to lose.

The real story is that this world is fucked, and it won’t change until we do something about it. Even if that something is telling the same story over and over until others take up the call, and force change.

I have told the story of what has happened to me to so many bureaucrats that the dates of what happened to me are forever burned into my head. For example, yesterday was the two year anniversary of the second ultrasound done to confirm my baby no longer had a heartbeat. Tomorrow is the two year anniversary of the day the miscarriage began in earnest. February 21 is the two year anniversary of the D&C for which I had to pay the hospital expenses out of pocket. And February 26 is the day I got on a plane heading home, alone (because my fiance and I couldn’t afford tickets on the same flight), seated behind a couple with their new baby, crying almost the entire way (me and the baby).

I am going to keep repeating these dates and my story, not only for fair recompense, but so that weapons manufacturers can no longer claim safety based on the lack of information. In what world does that logic make sense? Here’s some information: I lost my baby because I was exposed to a chemical weapon. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure that out. It just takes a very stubborn researcher with an aptitude for fighting red tape to prove it to the powers that be.

If you want to join my fight, send an email to banteargas (at) hotmail.com, or leave a comment below with resources for others.

Suzanne

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