Ban Tear Gas Now!

Stop using chemical weapons on citizens of any nation.

Archive for the tag “social justice”

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?

Chemical Weapons Deployed in Syria

According to a NBC news report, chemical weapons were deployed against Syrian citizens yesterday, killing 25 (so far):

 

“There was ‘a state of panic and fear among the civilians and dozens of cases of suffocating and poisoning,’ [Rebel spokesman Fahd al Masry] said.

Masry said the attack would not have happened if foreign governments had taken stronger action.

‘They wouldn’t have used it if not for the silence of the international community on the crimes and massacres committed in Syria for the past two years,’ he said.”

 

I can only state the obvious. This is a tragic abuse of power, that in order to retain authority at any costs, so many can be killed – indiscriminately at that. And it will continue to happen over and over again, in Syria and other locations across the globe, if the vulnerable are left to fend for themselves.

I’d be interested to know what others think should happen in this case. What are concrete measures that can be taken to stop this from happening again, and to give some sense of justice to those who have lost loved ones in this attack. I’d especially want to hear from those familiar with the region. Post your thoughts in the comments below.

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

No More Tears

“CS Gas, in 1988, was suspended by the Federal Laboratories Inc in the United States for sale. Ironically, however, the vast majority of CS canisters fired in the first days of the conflict in Egypt were manufactured by Combined Tactical Systems of Jamestown, Pennsylvania in the United States.”

Please read this article, please share, and please tell the US government you will no longer be silent!

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

Science

Science

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

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.

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

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