Ban Tear Gas Now!

Stop using chemical weapons on citizens of any nation.

Archive for the tag “safety”

Resource regarding Tear Gas and Turkey

Here’s a link to a great article by UK scholar Dr. Anna Feigenbaum: “What Turkey Reminds Us About Tear Gas“. Many thanks to Jeff Nguyen for sending this and other resources my way!

Tear Gas Exposure

Tear gas exposure is harmful, and others may be impacted by it more than you. Pregnant women, children, elderly, and those with immune deficiency disorders or other medical conditions (such as asthma) are especially prone to tear gas’ effects. If you are able to do so, assist others in seeking medical help. Even if you don’t immediately feel the effects, seek medical assistance quickly. Rinse your eyes and skin with cold water, and discard clothing that has been exposed as soon as possible. In some cases, water can actually reactivate the tear gas, which is why it is important to seek medical attention.

If you are pregnant, remain calm, but immediately leave the area. Tell others so that they can assist you. Get to the nearest emergency room and explain what has happened. Demand an ultrasound and a plan for follow-up care. Do not let a doctor brush off your exposure due to a lack of experience on his or her part. US Poison Control may state that at as long as you were in an open area, you probably are ok: this is not necessarily true.

If you are a police officer, please remember that innocent people may be harmed irreparably if you choose to use tear gas.

If you are a government official or concerned citizen, please join our efforts to ban CS gas and other chemical weapons.

Please share widely. If you would like to translate this into a foreign language so that this message can be more widely spread, email banteargasnow [at] hotmail [dot] com .

Suzanne

Close to Home

Yet another family member, who lives in the immediate vicinity of Redstone Arsenal, Alabama, has been diagnosed with cancer, despite being a non-smoker. That brings the total to my grandfather, two aunts, an uncle, and now my dear cousin, all of whom have had to deal with some form of this disease: three different kinds in the last five years.

I was planning to head down to Alabama after graduation to research the area before this sad news, but this weekend I started researching the base (via Internet) a little earlier than anticipated. Apparently, Redstone Arsenal is an EPA Superfund site, due to chemical weapons production (beginning in World War II) and training exercises (conducted from 1972-1986, officially). The soil is still contaminated. 

As our nation continues to produce these weapons for use far from sight of the typical US civilian, would the fact that our local communities are also exposed change policies regarding chemical weapons? Or would production just be shifted to even poorer communities elsewhere? I would love to hear from others who live in the areas surrounding this and other weapons manufacturers. Do you think these facilities’ practices have affected your health? What difficulties have you faced as a result?

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

Please Share!

Please Share!

Battlewounds

Today is a bittersweet anniversary for me. Exactly two years ago, to the hour, I saw my first baby’s heartbeat on an ultrasound before being injured by tear gas a week later on assignment for the University of Washington and spending the following weeks trying to save my child in vain.

Once we knew it was too late, I was told not to cry, but women need to acknowledge these losses openly. Until we do, others will feel compelled to suffer silently. Politicians will continue to make adequate reproductive health insurance impossible at a time when women need it most — surgical procedures after miscarriage are not automatically covered, so I am still fighting the Washington State L&I for reimbursement. And authorities will continue to blatantly disregard public health by indiscriminately deploying chemical weapons banned from use in warfare, but somehow still legal to use on innocent civilians.

Join me in the fight to protect others from needless suffering. In honor of the women in Bahrain, Greece, US, and other countries who have lost their children and face the threat of future losses, take a stand. In honor of those who have died or witnessed others’ deaths from “inappropriate” use of tear gas (when in reality there is no appropriate use), speak up.

Some things in life cannot be undone, but we can prevent them from happening again.

Write your politicians: Ban the production and distribution of tear gas now. Protest. Let others know about the dangers of this weapon, even if you don’t think you will be exposed.

Suzanne

Complacency and Violence

We can’t just look at today’s actions as a call to action, nor what transpired two days ago in Portland, or the “smaller” daily killings across the country. Innocent victims — strangers to the killers in these cases — murdered without cause. These are not numbers – they are loved ones.

We have become complacent.

We are a country more obsessed with the right to weapons than we are with the right for others to live.

Nuclear, chemical, small arms – there are no safe weapons. There is no real way of preventing “dangerous” people from getting weapons that are readily available to “safe” people.

There is more of a fuss put up for the right to bear arms than the actual causes that would keep our communities safe: diplomacy amongst nations, cooperation in addition to competition, and social safety nets such as guaranteed access to food, shelter, and health care (including mental health).

Our actions affect the global population just as much as our own. The tragedies of war, our perpetuation of poverty through exploitation … our actions become examples of what others can get away with. It seems lately we’re writing the “How-to” books of causing suffering.

The US legacy should not be ensuring the powerlessness of those who just want to live. I recognize the irony, but fellow pacifists, we need to fight.

We need to tell the government we want change.

We need to hole ourselves up in law libraries and coffee shops and write about the nation we want.

We need to stand on lawns in front of the White House, Governors’ Mansions, Police Headquarters, and demand change.  We need to be loud. We need to scream and stomp.

This site’s mission is to educate others about the dangers of an indiscriminate weapon. As we’ve seen time and again, guns are just as indiscriminate in whom they are used to kill.

No more children, no more men, and no more women need to die from violence.

Be heard: http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact

–Suzanne

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

Excerpt from 1969 UN Report: “Permanent Injury From Tear Gases”

The following excerpt in bold is from “UN Report Outlines Dangers in Tear Gas, Defoliant Use” (12-22-1969, Medical tribune Report) and can be found in full here.

Permanent Injury From Tear Gases

The two most commonly used tear gases, CN (chloroacetophenone) and the more powerful CS (o-chlorobenzalmalo-nonitrile), the report warned, can inflict permanent injury. If gases could be delivered at precisely the right dosage, worked out in the laboratory, they would severely but only temporarily irritate the conjunctiva of the eyes and the inner surfaces of the upper respiratory tract, the WHO experts agreed, but they added the warning: “If enough of a sensory irritant is inhaled, it may produce the same sort of damage as that caused by a lethal lung irritant, such as phosgene.”

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