Ban Tear Gas Now!

Stop using chemical weapons on citizens of any nation.

Archive for the tag “women’s rights”

Inequality, Complicity, and Rights

Today I wish to address the larger issue of social inequality. Until the government provides protection for citizens without money from those with money,  the barrier to the elimination of chemical weapons and justice for those victimized by chemical weapons will remain.

There are many politicians and corporate executives that make a living by ensuring others’ deaths, destruction of property and livelihoods, and submission, which is arguably death in itself. Ironically, these are often the same politicians who like to draw support based on their “family values”. I question the values of anyone who wastes taxpayers’ money on challenging women’s right to reproductive care only then to turn around and fund weapons which kill and maim innocent families across the globe.

The US legal system is theoretically meant to establish rule of law in order to assure citizens’ rights are protected. Every day, however, I become more and more disillusioned about how this protection of the citizen without access to large sums of money can actually occur. We in many ways have not progressed past the original philosophy of rights as belonging to the property owners; rights are not shared equally. The property owners still include the poorer citizens amongst their chattel, and those running the government allow this exploitation to continue as they, too, benefit from this arrangement.

Until there is equal access to the courts for victims and their families, regardless of income level or nationality, the fight for justice will remain a pipe dream for many around the world. In reality, those who have been affected by chemical weapons are not in a position to challenge their exposure in court. We need to recognize that if we allow victims who can’t fight for themselves to continue to be victimized by weapons our tax dollars pay for, we are complicit in their suffering. If we allow our government to continue to conceal evidence of its wrongdoing against innocent citizens, we are complicit. If corporations operating within our borders help other governments victimize their citizens, then we are complicit.

Step up and help right the wrongs of our government and American corporations. Seek accountability from the corporations who profit off of the production of chemical weapons. Contact your local politicians and tell them why you want to see reform of our current laws which allow the production and use of chemical weapons in any context. Share information regarding the dangers of chemical weapons with your loved ones and get them involved in the fight for justice for all.

Fighting Giants

This is the start of my day. Every day, two years and counting. How do I get closure? Am I closer or farther? Why am I fighting Goliath when most days I don’t even know what I did with my slingshot?

There are a series of smaller fights that must take place every day, but I can’t stop until the bigger fight is won. Every day my thoughts are focused on how do I make others understand the importance of my mission to ban the production, distribution, and use of tear gas, and then from there, how do I use that shared understanding to effect change.

Right now, I am gathering rocks. Like this one. Or this one.

Every day I put more information in my arsenal.

While I’m gathering ammunition I may be missing sight of other opportunities to win the war, but this is all I can do until I find that damn slingshot.

Please join my cause. Help stand up for those who can’t. Write your local authorities about the ethics of using chemical weapons on citizens. Challenge politicians, bureaucrats, producers and distributors of “less lethal” technologies who profit from killing and denying citizens their basic rights. You can contact Combined Tactical Systems at 724-932-2177. Leave a voicemail for CEO Don Smith, who is conveniently out for the day.

Share this mission with others who are willing to fight. You can also show support by liking the Ban Tear Gas Now! Facebook page and following us on Twitter @BanTearGasNow.

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

OP-ed on US Manufactured Tear Gas in Bahrain

Please go to the following link for Human Rights TV’s take on US involvement in Bahrain: http://news.humanrightstv.com/news/2012/op-ed-us-manufactured-tear-gas-causes-miscarriage.

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

Responses

Since posting my story of why I got involved in the fight against governments using chemical weapons on citizens, I have received some surprisingly negative comments. One person questioned why I as a pregnant woman would travel across the world (when we all know that pregnant women should be barricaded in their houses where it’s safe at all times). Not that it’s relevant, but the answer is I didn’t know. That’s the beauty of false negative tests. The other point was that “miscarriages just happen.” Yet in the US, there are currently politicians seeking to make women prove that they didn’t cause their miscarriages while failing to punish corporations that knowingly produce chemicals or other hazards harmful to pregnant women’s health. Another responder seemed to think knowing a scientist makes him a genius. (I have family that works in Los Alamos, too, but I still do my own research.) Here’s an excerpt from Texas Tech University Health Science Center’s website regarding research on the subject I am doing my best to shine a light on: “there are no adequate and well-controlled studies done in humans. Thus, we have no way of knowing for sure what the hidden effects of CS tear gas during pregnancy may be. Caution is advised until further information is obtained. There has been report of increased risk of miscarriage and stillbirths due to direct exposure of CS gas during pregnancy in the war-torn Middle East; it is uncertain if these risks were caused directly by CS gas exposure or by other confounding variables in that particular area of turmoil.” Part of this project is to consolidate the lesser known information on tear gas into one website.

If you think I’m a crackpot for trying to protect others, so be it. But I think it’s more insane that we are okay with the military industrial complex threatening innocent civilians instead of protecting them. I think if you read up on crowd control techniques, you’d find this gem:

“‘Our problem is that an indiscriminate technology — a so-called less-lethal device like tear gas — will affect not only the up to 5 percent of the crowd who are the violent offenders, but will also affect the bystanders, the vast majority of people who had nothing to do with the conflict in the first place,’ said Mr. Rosenfeld, who chairs the Densus Group consulting firm of Plano, Texas. Many cities in the United Kingdom, Northern Ireland and continental Europe no longer use tear gas in protests, he said. Their police now employ an alternative philosophy that says ‘you make people responsible for their actions. So the trick is to identify those with violent intent, go and arrest and prosecute and convict those individuals, and facilitate protests by everyone else.'”

So if you’re too lazy, cynical, or apathetic to try to fix the system, don’t bother reading what I write. Won’t bother me a bit. And if you know there’s a problem and you’re not even trying to be part of the solution, then that’s on your conscience, not mine.

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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