Homeless veterans are more likely to die on the streets than non-veterans
Since 2013, Veterans Project & The Family Assistance Campaign has provided free food assistance to more than 20,000 Veterans and their family members, distributing 445,000 lbs. of food. Feed Our Vets mission is to help Veterans in the United States, their spouses and children, whose circumstances have left them on the battlefield of hunger, and to involve the public in fighting Veteran hunger, through: (1) Community food pantries that provide regular, free food to Veterans and their families, (2) Distribution of related goods and services, (3) Public education and outreach.

Since 2013, Veterans Project & The Family Assistance Campaign ,FREEDOM OR ANARCHY,Campaign of Conscience.has provided free food assistance to more than 20,000 Veterans and their family members, distributing 445,000 lbs. of food. Feed Our Vets mission is to help Veterans in the United States, their spouses and children, whose circumstances have left them on the battlefield of hunger, and to involve the public in fighting Veteran hunger, through: (1) Community food pantries that provide regular, free food to Veterans and their families, (2) Distribution of related goods and services, (3) Public education and outreach. Come On Folks: Get Behind Veterans Project & The Family Assistance Campaign & FREEDOM OR ANARCHY,Campaign of Conscience. Remember, Veterans Project & The Family Assistance Campaign. is independent because it is wholly funded by YOU Veterans Project & The Family Assistance Campaign is one of the webs only truly independent sources of news and opinion. Without YOUR help it can not continue to exist. Please help - Act now! Please provide whatever you can- $1, $5, $10, $20, $50, $100- To Use your debit/credit card or check pay here on facebook https://www.facebook.com/donate/317402278748455/ to Founder Joseph F Barber : WE believe that to meet the challenges of our times, human beings will have to develop a greater sense of universal responsibility. Each of us must learn to work not just for one self, one's own family or one's nation, but for the benefit of all humankind. Universal responsibility is the key to human survival. It is the best foundation for world peace Low income readers: DON'T send money, just encourage others to subscribe. Thanks for your support For personal contact with me the founder please call 24/7 @ 442-251-6553 or tyo speak with the foun der Call 760-643-6134 To all who have assisted in the past. Thank you. Your help is greatly appreciated. Peace and Joy.Founder Joseph F Barber. Peace and Joy.Founder Joseph F Barber

Power is of two kinds. One is obtained by the fear of punishment
and the other by acts of love. Power based on love
is a thousand times more effective and permanent
then the one derived from fear of punishment.
- Mohandas (Mahatma) Gandhi

to meet the challenges of our times

to meet the challenges of our times
You have a right to live. You have a right to be. You have these rights regardless of money, health, social status, or class. You have these rights, man, woman, or child. These rights can never be taken away from you, they can only be infringed. When someone violates your rights, remember, it is not your fault.,I believe that to meet the challenges of our times, human beings will have to develop a greater sense of universal responsibility. Each of us must learn to work not just for one self, one's own family or one's nation, but for the benefit of all humankind. Universal responsibility is the key to human survival. It is the best foundation for world peace


Sunday, May 13, 2018

Think outside the box, live outside the cage


Monday, February 26, 2018


Then and Now


OK, so why is the country falling apart? Specifically, why are kids blowing each other away? America has become a source of wonder the world over with its Columbines and hundreds and hundreds of dead in Chicago and Baltimore and its burning cities and riots. Other advanced countries don’t do these things.

America didn’t either until recently.   Why now? Something has changed, or some things. What?  People under forty have never seen the country when it was sane. Let me point out things that have changed, at risk of sounding like a boilerplate cadger: “By cracky, wen I was a boy, we could amuse ourselves for hours with just a piece of string and a couple of sticks.” Let’s compare today with the Fifties and Sixties. I mean this as sociology, not nostalgisizing.

I think that a combination of social changes have led to tremendous stress on today’s kids that my generation did not suffer. To wit:

In my rural Virginia school, there was no racial tension. We were all white: teachers, students, parents.

The black kids went to their own school, Ralph Bunche. We had virtually no contact with each other. There was no hostility, just no contact. The academic gap didn’t exist in the absence of contact. Integration would prove cruel when it came. and the black kid s sank to the bottom. The causes can be argued, but the fact cannot.

There was no black crime to speak of or, as far as I knew any black crime. Certainly blacks did not shoot each other, or anybody. Neither did we. The reasons I suspect were similar.

Divorce was extremely rare, so we all had parents. Whether it is better that unhappy couples stay together or that they divorce can be argued, but they then did stay together. It made a large difference in outcomes if one accepts the statistics. The welfare programs of the Great Society had not yet destroyed the black family, which I speculate accounted in part for low crime.

Drugs did not exist. These appeared only with the Sixties. A few of us had heard of marijuana. I read a clandestine copy of The Naked Lunch. That was it. We drank a lot of beer.

In the entire school I remember only one, moderately fat kid. Why? Because, I  will guess, we were very physically active. The school had PE classes, football and basketball teams, and so on. In summer kids aboard Dahlgren spent their days at the base swimming pool or swimming in Machodoc “Creek”{{it was perhaps three-quarters of a mile wide–bicycling, canoeing- playing tennis. The country kids chopped cord wood, lifted hay. There was ice skating for hours in winter. Gloria, my best girl, got up at four a.m. to help her father pull crab pots on the Potomac, Though feminine, she probably could have thrown a Volkswagen over a four-store building. Again, I offer this not as nostalgia but as biological fact with effects.

Physical fitness  has. I suspect  psychological consequences. For example, ADHD did not exist. Boys are competitive, physical animals full of wild energy and need–need–to work it off. Boredom and enforced inactivity are awful for them.  Two or three hours daily of fast-break pick-up basketball did this. If you force boys to sit rigidly in school, with no recess or only physically limited play, they will be miserable. If you then force them to take Ritalin, an approximate amphetamine, they will be miserable with modified brain chemistry. I don’t think this is a good idea.

Sex and, I think, its psychological consequences were different then. We were aware of sex. I am not sure we were aware of anything else. But the culture was such that, first, young girls, middle school, say, were sexually (very) off limits. When barely pubescent girls are taken advantage of by boys of seventeen or of thirty-five, the emotional effects are devastating. By contrast, boys hoped desperately to be taken advantage of.

The de facto social theory was that girls should remain virgins until married. I  think few really believed this, and certainly many girls did not. However the necessity of pretending, plus the fear of pregnancy in those pre-pill days, allowed girls to say “no.” if they chose. The Pill, backed up by abortion, would make girls into commodities. If Sally said no, Mary wouldn’t, and boys, churning jhrmone wads, would go with Mary. Thus girls lost control of the sexual economy and the respect that went with it. More stress.

Anorexia and bulimia did not exist. We didn’t know the words. Both look to me like a reaction to stress.

Uncertainty is a formidable source of stress. We had little uncertainty as to our futures in the sense that the young do  today. We assumed, correctly, that jobs would be available for us. For kids who were not going on in school, there were jobs at Dahlgren, the local naval base,  as secretaries or guards or maintenance personnel, federal jobs with benefits. More remotely, Detroit was paying what seemed to us astronomical wages. Those of us in the college track, which meant those whose parents were grads and those who had high SATs, knew we could work in whatever field we had chosen. Starbucks and living in our parents’ basements never crossed our minds.

Social mobility existed, and girls had not yet been taught they were victims. Of my graduating class of sixty, two girls became physicists and my buddy Franklin, of non-college family an electronics engineer. Sherry a year  behind me, a nuclear biologist. All, I think, of non-college families. There must have been others.

Extremely important, I think, was that the school was apolitical. We didn’t know that it was. School was where you learned algebra and geography, or at least learned at them. The teachers, both men and women, assumed this. The white kids were not endlessly told that they were reprehensible and the cause of the world’s problems.  The boys were not told that masculinity was toxic. Hysteria over imaginary rape was well in the future. Little boys were not dragged from school by the police for drawing a soldier with a rifle. The idea of having police in a school would seem insane when it first appeared.

More speculatively: My wife Violeta recently commented that the young today seem about ten years younger than their age. There may be something go this. At least in the media and academic worlds, people in their mid-thirties  remind me of the young of the Sixties, displaying what appear to be the same hormonal rebellion and sanctimony. It has also seeped into high school. There is the same anger, the same search for grievance,  the same adolescent posturing.

I think feminism plays a large part in the collapse of society in general and specifically in pushing boys over the edge. In my school years boys were allowed to be boys. Neither sex was denigrated. Doing so would have occurred to nobody. Then came a prejudice against boys, powerful today

All of this affected society in its entirety, but especially white boys. They are constantly told that being white is shameful, that any masculine interest is pathological, that they are rapists in waiting. They are subjected to torturous boredom and inactivity, and drugged when they respond poorly. They go to schools that do not like them and that stack the deck against them. Many are fatherless. All have access to psychoactive drugs.

Add it up.

Fred Reed

Pro Deo et Constitutione –
Libertas aut Mors Semper Vigilans Fortis
Paratus et Fidelis

Joseph F Barber

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Homeless Veterans More Likely To Die On Streets Than Other Homeless People, Study Says

Homeless Veterans More Likely To Die On Streets Than Other Homeless People, Study Says

Morning all you beautiful people we have been running and working to assist so many these days iot has been awhile since I was in country or on active  duty  yet in this time I have seen many of our country men and women who are down or have fallen down and may be all they are seeking is what our government has failed in their promise to pour fellow citizens    they have been marginalized and set aside ands nothings or no good I have watch some 26 over the last few years take their own lives some I had grown very found of our urban survival packs give some comfort and lets them know that there are people left in this world that still care ,

one thing I have come to see very clearly is       Sometimes people just misunderstand, sometimes they cannot understand or choose not to see things from a different point of view. When they judge you, in reality they are judging themselves, and that can be a sad moment when you realize as much as you love someone, as deep as the caring goes, there will never be a true understanding. Some people are just very different from each other, and cannot seem to meet halfway. It is in those times the hard choices come, do I stifle myself, my voice, my being? All for the approval of someone who may never approve, no matter what? Or do I keep being me, expressing my view of the Universe, even if that other person chooses to walk away forever? Sadly, too many say no, and give in, give up and conform, in the process they die a little more inside each day. I choose a different path, a harder, rockier, steeper path it may be, but the view, oh the fabulous wonder of just being able to BE, no matter what. I choose this, I choose an immortal life. And I wish you well on your journey too. Maybe our paths will cross again someday, things will be different, maybe. But I refuse to give up who, all that makes me, just to please you. I hope you will understand, but understand that you probably will not.

The reason it hurts so much to separate is because our souls are connected. Maybe they always have been and will be. Maybe we've lived a thousand lives before this one and in each of them we've found each other. And maybe each time, we've been forced apart for the same reasons. That means that this goodbye is both a goodbye for the past ten thousand years and a prelude to what will come.”

Avoiding something doesn't always mean that you hate it. It could also mean that you want it, but you just know it isn't right. Sometimes the best way to avoid a situation or a relationship from growing is to just ignore it. Though sometimes we may have a connection to a person or thing, it isn't always right for us to go after it. Only you will know when situations are best to avoid in your life, and situations as such are sometimes very difficult to ignore because of your attraction to it. Utilizing self-control will always be a part of life that everyone will have to learn for him or herself. Just remember that avoiding something doesn't always mean that you could hate it, but it can also mean you want it, but know that it isn't right for you to have. Do what's right, do unto others as you would do to yourself, and you will live your life as free as you possibly can.

Homeless Veterans More Likely To Die On Streets Than Other Homeless People, Study Says

Homeless veterans are more likely to die on the streets than non-veterans, a new study revealed.
Those who return from serving, to leading the homeless life are 11 percentage points more likely to develop life-threatening diseases than non-veteran homeless people, the 100,000 Homes Campaign concluded in a study published Tuesday.The movement, which works to place homeless Americans, surveyed 23,000 homeless people across the country. It found that homeless veterans are typically older than non-veterans and tend to remain homeless for longer periods of time.

"Men and women who risked their lives defending America may be far more likely to die on its streets," the authors concluded.

The authors noted that 21.3 percent of homeless veterans reported an age over 60, compared with 9.4 percent of the non-veteran homeless population. Though this factor doesn't fully account for the disparity in the length of time that veterans remain homeless, or their susceptibility to sickness, older veterans claim that their age often impedes their ability to get their lives back on track.

T.J. Manning, who served in Vietnam, has been living in a Texas homeless shelter for a year and says that President Obama's plan to help employ veterans doesn't cater to servicemen from Manning’s era.

Though Obama's bill aims to help find jobs for the country's 900,000 unemployed veterans, Manning told woai.com that such initiatives are often geared to help those returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.

"When you say a bill for veterans you are intending to seem very inclusive," Manning told the news outlet.
As Obama works to incentivize companies to employ veterans, he's also in the midst of executing his and the VA's plan to end homelessness by 2014. Back in 2009, Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki announced the $3.2 billion collaboration to end veteran homelessness. The initiative is both preventative and ameliorative, it aims to keep veterans from ever losing their homes and to find residences for those who are living on the streets.
"Those who have served this nation as veterans should never find themselves on the streets, living without care and without hope,” Shinseki said.

Please provide whatever you can- $1, $5, $10, $20, $50, $100- To Use your debit/credit card or check click here:

From Your Hand to the Homeless Veterans and citizens and children

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No matter what the VA may do or say there is only 2 percent of any funding for Female veterans I will do all I can to support our women in this cause

Many will tell you That ,The lord only helps those who help themselves !!! and will not help those who may have issues beyond anyone's control and yet many of those who may be asking for help have work their whole lives and yet life has a funny sense of humor, I heard and then what of the others those that have lost their way and can not seem to find their way back to life or what they once had ,again life has a funny sense of humor yet cruel, for me to hear another say such things as the lord only helps those who do not help themselves ,“There is some kind of a sweet innocence in being human- in not having to be just happy or just sad- in the nature of being able to be both broken and whole, at the same time.” ,and If I am correct we were created by god and we are human !! , I do not think people truly understand the meaning of the words they read or do they have an understanding or and awakening to the true meaning of love and god!!! , I think the best way to put this is simply this , for god so loved the world he gave his only son , tell me my friend what would you not do for your son !!! and that is exactly what god expects of us and each and for each other and our world. Know this brother we are all in this together no matter race color or creed or the issues we may have or the idealism that hold us from awakening to the truth and one another ,“But if I'm it, the last of my kind, the last page of human history, like hell I'm going to let the story end this way. I may be the last one, but I am the one still standing. I am the one turning to face the faceless hunter in the woods on an abandoned highway. I am the one not running but facing. Because if I am the last one, then I am humanity. And if this is humanity's last war, then I am the battlefield.” Joseph F Barber

To protect my Independence I will accept no Governmental funds

From Your Hand to the Homeless

I am my brothers keeper.Homeless “survival kits.” We Create and distribute kits
Help ease their burden. Just $25 helps provide homeless survival packs
4veterans & none veterans.@
or if it is best for you and your family please Mail your Donation to
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Thank me for my Service

Pro Deo et Constitutione – Libertas aut Mors
Semper Vigilans Fortis Paratus et Fidelis
Joseph F Barber

Saturday, February 10, 2018

The power of love

 If  you’re lucky, you will have experienced different kinds of love in your lifetime. Love for your family, love for your significant other, love for your offspring, love for your pets, and love for the self. Each type of love is unique and different from the others.People may not always tell you how they feel about you, but they will always show you. Pay attention.

The only way love can last a lifetime is if it’s unconditional. The truth is this: love is not determined by the one being loved, but rather by the one choosing to love. 

If you judge people, you have no time to love them We come to love not by finding a perfect person, but by learning to see an imperfect person perfectly 
Love is like a friendship caught on fire. In the beginning a flame, very pretty, often hot and fierce, but still only light and flickering. As love grows older, our hearts mature and our love becomes as coals, deep-burning and unquenchable.
Don’t wait for a perfect person to love. Love a person and make him or her perfect with your power of love.

There is never a time or place for true love. It happens accidentally, in a heartbeat, in a single flashing, throbbing moment.   The only way love can last a lifetime is if it’s unconditional. The truth is this: love is not 

determined by the one being loved, but rather by the one choosing to love.    

Joseph F Barber  


Monday, February 5, 2018

The Increasing Likelihood Of Nuclear War Should Straighten Out All Our Priorities

The Increasing Likelihood Of Nuclear War Should Straighten Out All Our Priorities
By Caitlin Johnstone

 A Russian pilot has been killed by US-armed terrorists in Syria. The Ron Paul Institute's Daniel McAdams writes the following about this new development:
"The scenario where a US-backed, US-supplied jihadist group in Syria uses US weapons to shoot down a Russian plane and then murders the pilot on the ground should be seen as a near-nightmare escalation, drawing the US and Russia terrifyingly closer to direct conflict."
McAdams is not fearmongering; he is stating a plainly obvious fact. The Trump administration has just announced that it is restructuring its nuclear weapons policy to take a more aggressive stance toward Russia than that which was held by the previous administration. This is coming after this administration's decision to arm Ukraine against Russia, a move Obama refused to take for fear of escalating tensions with Moscow, as well as its decision to continue to occupy Syria in order to effect regime change, along with numerous other escalations. The Council on Foreign Relations, which is without exaggeration as close to the voice of the US establishment as you can possibly get, is now openly admitting that the “United States is currently in a second Cold War with Russia."
In a recent interview with The Real News, leading US-Russian relations expert Stephen Cohen repeated his ongoing warning that "this new Cold War is much more dangerous, much more likely to end in Hot War, than was the 40-year of Cold War, which we barely survived." In a previous interview with the same outlet, Cohen elaborated more extensively:
"We are in new cold war that is much more dangerous than the last cold war for various reasons. One is that the new cold war today, as we talk, includes three fronts. U.S.-Russian fronts, they're fought with hot war. That's Syria. That's the reckless NATO military build-up on Russia's western boarders, which has resulted in a situation today that ordinarily artillery, not missiles, ordinary artillery, can hit Russia's second city of Saint Petersburg. Just think about that and the instability. And the third front is Ukraine."
Cohen explains how the political pressures placed on Trump by the ongoing fact-free allegation that he is a Kremlin puppet makes it far more difficult for him to negotiate on these multiple fronts agilely, thus making it much more likely that Trump will choose to advance when he should retreat, hold his ground when he should back down, and generally be locked into patterns of aggression and forward movement rather than the back-and-forth finesse required for safe cold war negotiations with a nuclear superpower.
We came within a hair's breadth of nuclear annihilation on more than one occasion during the last cold war, and the further things escalate in this new one the more likely we are to tempt fate again. The only reason we survived the extremely tense stand-offs in the last cold war ultimately boiled down to pure dumb luck in some cases, and there's no legitimate reason to believe we'll get lucky again.
To be clear, I am not saying that the US or Russia actually want nuclear war. Two men with guns pointed at one another in a conventional standoff generally don't want either weapon to discharge, either. What I am saying is that we learned in situations snatched from the brink of disaster by men like Stanislov Petrov and Vasili Arkhipov that there are too many small, unpredictable moving parts involved in a nuclear standoff for cold war escalations to unfold safely and predictably, and the more tense things get the more likely it becomes that a nuclear warhead gets discharged in the chaos and confusion. Once a single warhead goes off, Mutually Assured Destruction comes into play. Add into that the hot war dynamics and political pressures described by Stephen Cohen and we're looking at some very uncomfortable odds as a species.

In my view most of the political disagreements I have with people ultimately boil down to this. I see us as facing an immediate existential crisis as a species that needs to be dealt with right now, and people say I should be more worried about this or that conservative figure saying rude things on Twitter. We are facing the very real possibility of near-term human extinction; I don't know how to care about the petty sectarian squabbles in America's various political factions. It really is time for us to all get over ourselves and grow up.
This unprecedented crisis should be drawing us together, yet we're more politically divided than ever. It is evolve or die time, and we're all still arguing over airplane peanuts while the plane is in a full nose dive.
Thought experiment:
Imagine if you wake up one morning and turn on the TV to an emergency broadcast alert that a nuclear weapon has been discharged by either the US or Russia in the chaos and confusion of this convoluted new cold war, and saying that you need to seek shelter immediately.
What thoughts will go through your head as the realization dawns that this is really happening? Do you imagine that you will be spending much time thinking about how Trump said "shit hole countries"? Will you spend your last moments on earth mentally shaking your fist at Antifa and "libtards"? Or will you instead perhaps wish that you and your brothers and sisters around the world had more aggressively opposed these new cold war games your leaders have been playing?
It is entirely possible that you will one day in the near future find yourself in this very situation and answering the questions I just asked you for yourself.
Let's skip that part of our story together, please. The reason they need to work so hard to manufacture consent for these escalations is because they require that consent. If we all loudly raise our voices and say "No. Enough. This ends now," they will necessarily have to obey. The Russiagate psyop exists because the western power establishment is trying to cripple the Russia-China tandem in order to ensure US hegemony, and if they tried to thrust us all into a new cold war without our permission they'd shatter the illusion of freedom and democracy they depend on to rule you. If we all rise as one voice and withdraw that permission, they will be forced to obey.
Can we do this, please? Can we make ensuring our survival into the future a priority right now and put bickering over identity politics and the president's tweets on the back burner until then? We'll have a whole future ahead of us to sort that stuff out if we survive the urgent crisis we are facing right now

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This article was originally published by "Medium" -

Monday, January 1, 2018

Insisting on the Rights of Everyone

Insisting on the Rights of Everyone Everywhere

Insisting on the Rights of Everyone (excerpt) | HowardZinn.orgBy Howard Zinn, excerpted from The Zinn Reader
I was one of the speakers at historic Faneuil Hall in Boston (though named after an early slave trader, it was the scene of many meetings of anti-slavery groups before the Civil War) in 1991, when the Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts organized a celebration of the Bicentennial of the Bill of Rights. I wanted to use the opportunity to make clear that whatever freedoms we have in the United States—of speech, of the press, of assembly, and more—do not come simply from the existence on paper of the first Ten Amendments to the Constitution, but from the struggles of citizens to bring those Amendments alive in reality.
A few years back, a man high up in the CIA named Ray Cline was asked if the CIA, by its surveillance of protest organizations in the United States, was violating the free speech provision of the First Amendment. He smiled and said: “It’s only an Amendment.”
And when it was disclosed that the FBI was violating citizens’ rights repeatedly, a high official of the FBI was asked if anybody in the FBI questioned the legality of what they were doing. He replied: “No, we never gave it a thought.”
We clearly cannot expect the Bill of Rights to be defended by government officials. So it will have to be defended by the people.
If it were left to the institutions of government, the Bill of Rights would be left for dead. But someone breathed life into the Bill of Rights. Ordinary people did it, by doing extraordinary things. The editors and speakers who, in spite of the Sedition Act of 1798, continued to criticize the government. The Black and white abolitionists who defied the Fugitive Slave Law, defied the Supreme Court’s Dred Scott decision, who insisted that Black people were human beings, not property, and who broke into courtrooms and police stations to rescue them, to prevent their return to slavery.
Anti-slavery collage | HowardZinn.org
L-R: Black abolitionists played crucial roles in assisting people escaping and to abolish slavery; the Oberlin-Wellington Rescuers stopped Kentucky “slave-catchers” from kidnapping John Price; and Christmas fairs raised money for anti-slavery activities.
Women, who were arrested again and again as they spoke out for their right to control their own bodies, or the right to vote. Members of the Industrial Workers of the World, anarchists, radicals, who filled the jails in California and Idaho and Montana until they were finally allowed to speak to working people. Socialists and pacifists and anarchists like Helen Keller and Rose Pastor Stokes, and Kate O’Hare and Emma Goldman, who defied the government and denounced war in 1917 and 1918. The artists and writers and labor organizers and Communists—Dalton Trumbo and Pete Seeger, and W.E.B. Du Bois and Paul Robeson, who challenged the congressional committees of the 1950s, challenged the FBI, at the risk of their freedom and their careers.
Women protest collage | HowardZinn.org
L-R: The Silent Sentinels demonstrating for the right to vote; Hattie Canty, labor organizer; Asian immigrants demanding better work conditions; and marchers at the Moral Monday March & Interfaith Social Justice Rally.
In the 1960s, the students of Kent State and Jackson State and hundreds of other campuses, the draft resisters and deserters, the priests and nuns and lay people, all the marchers and demonstrators and trespassers who demanded that the killing in Vietnam stop, the GIs in the Mekong Delta who refused to go out on patrol, the B-52 pilots who refused to fly in the Christmas bombing of 1972, the Vietnam veterans who gathered in Washington and threw their Purple Hearts and other medals over a fence in protest against the war.
And after the war, in the ’70s and ’80s, those courageous few who carried on, the Berrigans and all like them who continued to demonstrate against the war machine, the Seabrook fence climbers, the signers of the Pledge of Resistance against U.S. military action in Central America, the gays and lesbians who marched in the streets for the first time, challenging the country to recognize their humanity, the disabled people who spoke up, after a long silence, demanding their rights. The Indians, supposed to be annihilated and gone from the scene, emerging ghostlike, to occupy a tiny portion of the land that was taken from them, Wounded Knee, South Dakota. Saying: we’re not gone, we’re here, and we want you to listen to us.
60s-70s protest collage | HowardZinn.org
L-R: Mugshots of the Camden 28, religious protesters who destroyed draft records; Fort Hood Three, soldiers who protested Vietnam; first Annual Reminder march for gay and lesbian rights in 1965; and defenders at Wounded Knee.
These are the people, men, women, children, of all colors and national origins, who gave life to the Bill of Rights.
In the real world, the fate of human beings is decided every day not by the courts, but out of court, in the streets, in the workplace, by whoever has the wealth and power. The redistribution of that wealth and power is necessary if the Bill of Rights, if any rights, are to have meaning.
The novelist Aldous Huxley once said: “Liberties are not given; they are taken.” We are not given our liberties by the Bill of Rights, certainly not by the government which either violates or ignores those rights. We take our rights, as thinking, acting citizens.
And so we should celebrate today, not the words of the Bill of Rights, certainly not the political leaders who utter those words and violate them every day. We should celebrate, honor, all those people who risked their jobs, their freedom, sometimes their lives, to affirm the rights we all have, rights not limited to some document, but rights our common sense tells us we should all have as human beings. Who should, for example, we celebrate?
I think of Lillian Gobitis, from Lynn, Massachusetts, a 7th grade student who, back in 1935, because of her religious convictions, refused to salute the American flag even when she was suspended from school.
Mary Beth Tinker and Paul Tinker | HowardZinn.org
Mary Beth Tinker and Paul Tinker wore black armbands to school to protest the Vietnam War.
And Mary Beth Tinker, a 13-year-old girl in Des Moines, Iowa, who in 1965 went to school wearing a black armband in protest against the killing of people in Vietnam, and defied the school authorities even when they suspended her.
An unnamed Black boy, nine-years-old, arrested in Albany, Georgia, in 1961 for marching in a parade against racial segregation after the police said this was unlawful. He stood in line to be booked by the police chief, who was startled to see this little boy and asked him: “What’s your name?” And he replied: “Freedom, freedom.”
Gordon Hirabayashi and Esther Schmoe | HowardZinn.org
Gordon Hirabayashi with his future wife, Esther Schmoe. Image: Seattle Times.

I think of Gordon Hirabayashi, born in Seattle of Japanese parents, who, at the start of the war between Japan and the United States, refused to obey the curfew directed against all of Japanese ancestry, and refused to be evacuated to a detention camp, and insisted on his freedom, despite an executive order by the president and a decision of the Supreme Court.
Patty and Alex Rodriguez | HowardZinn.org
Patty and Alex Rodriguez hold a framed photo of their father, Demetrio Rodriguez. Image: Mark Sobhani/Houston Public Radio.
Demetrio Rodriguez of San Antonio, who in 1968 spoke up and said his child, living in a poor county, had a right to a good education equal to that of a child living in a rich county.
All those alternative newspapers and alternative radio stations and struggling organizations that have tried to give meaning to free speech by giving information that the mass media will not give, revealing information that the government wants kept secret.
Randy Kehler and Betsy Corner | HowardZinn.org
Randy Kehler and Betsy Corner, refused to pay federal taxes as a protest against war and military spending.
All those whistleblowers, who risked their jobs, risked prison, defying their employers, whether the government or corporations, to tell the truth about nuclear weapons, or chemical poisoning. Randy Kehler and Betsy Corner, who have refused to pay taxes to support the war machine, and all their neighbors who, when the government decided to seize and auction their house, refused to bid, and so they are still defending their right.
The 550 people who occupied the JFK Federal Building in Boston in protest when President Reagan declared a blockade of Nicaragua. I was in that group—I don’t mind getting arrested when I have company—and the official charge against us used the language of the old trespass law: “failure to quit the premises.” On the letter I got dropping the case (because there were too many of us to deal with), they shortened that charge to “failure to quit.”

I think that sums up what it is that has kept the Bill of Rights alive. Not the president or Congress, or the Supreme Court, or the wealthy media. But all those people who have refused to quit, who have insisted on their rights and the rights of others, the rights of all human beings everywhere, whether Americans or Haitians or Chinese or Russians or Iraqis or Israelis or Palestinians, to equality, to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. That is the spirit of the Bill of Rights, and beyond that, the spirit of the Declaration of Independence, yes, the spirit of ’76: refusal to quit.

Dont onto call the cops

Don’t Call the Cops If You’re Autistic, Deaf, Mentally Ill, Disabled or Old

By John W. Whitehead

“Anyone who cares for someone with a developmental disability, as well as for disabled people themselves [lives] every day in fear that their behavior will be misconstrued as suspicious, intoxicated or hostile by law enforcement.”—Steve Silberman, The New York Times
Life in the American police state is an endless series of don’ts delivered at the end of a loaded gun: don’t talk back to police officers, don’t even think about defending yourself against a SWAT team raid (of which there are 80,000 every year), don’t run when a cop is nearby lest you be mistaken for a fleeing criminal, don’t carry a cane lest it be mistaken for a gun, don’t expect privacy in public, don’t let your kids walk to the playground alone, don’t engage in nonviolent protest near where a government official might pass, don’t try to grow vegetables in your front yard, don’t play music for tips in a metro station, don’t feed whales, and on and on.
Here’s another don’t to the add the growing list of things that could get you or a loved one tasered, shot or killed, especially if you are autistic, hearing impaired, mentally ill, elderly, suffer from dementia, disabled or have any other condition that might hinder your ability to understand, communicate or immediately comply with an order: don’t call the cops.
Sometimes it’s dangerous enough calling the cops when you’re not contending with a disability.
For instance, Justine Damond called 911 to report a disturbance and ended up dead after police dispatched to investigate instead shot the 40-year-old yoga instructor. Likewise, Carl Williams called 911 to report a robbery and ended up being shot by police, who mistook him for a robber in his own home.
Unfortunately, the risks just skyrocket when a disability is involved.
Nancy Schrock called 911 for help after her husband, Tom, who suffered with mental health issues, started stalking around the backyard, upending chairs and screaming about demons. Several times before, police had transported Tom to the hospital, where he was medicated and sent home after 72 hours. This time, Tom was tasered twice. He collapsed, lost consciousness and died.
The Schrocks are not alone in this experience.
That’s according to a study by the Ruderman Family Foundation,  which reports that “disabled individuals make up the majority of those killed in use-of-force cases that attract widespread attention. This is true both for cases deemed illegal or against policy and for those in which officers are ultimately fully exonerated… Many more disabled civilians experience non-lethal violence and abuse at the hands of law enforcement officers.”
Trained to shoot first and ask questions later, police pose a risk to anyone with special needs whose disabilities may not be immediately apparent or require more finesse than the typical freeze-or-I’ll-shoot tactics employed by America’s police forces.
For example, in South Carolina, police tasered an 86-year-old grandfather reportedly in the early stages of dementia, while he was jogging backwards away from them. Now this happened after Albert Chatfield led police on a car chase, running red lights and turning randomly. However, at the point that police chose to shock the old man with electric charges, he was out of the car, on his feet, and outnumbered by police officers much younger than him.
In Georgia, campus police shot and killed a 21-year-old student who was suffering a mental health crisis. Scout Schultz was shot through the heart by campus police when he approached four of them late one night while holding a pocketknife, shouting “Shoot me!” Although police may have feared for their lives, the blade was still in its closed position.
In Oklahoma, police shot and killed a 35-year-old deaf man seen holding a two-foot metal pipe on his front porch (he used the pipe to fend off stray dogs while walking). Despite the fact that witnesses warned police that Magdiel Sanchez couldn’t hear—and thus comply—with their shouted orders to drop the pipe and get on the ground, police shot the man when he was about 15 feet away from them.
In Maryland, police (moonlighting as security guards) used extreme force to eject a 26-year-old man with Downs Syndrome and a low IQ from a movie theater after the man insisted on sitting through a second screening of a film. Autopsy results indicate that Ethan Saylor died of complications arising from asphyxiation, likely caused by a chokehold.
In Florida, police armed with assault rifles fired three shots at a 27-year-old nonverbal, autistic man who was sitting on the ground, playing with a toy truck. Police missed the autistic man and instead shot his behavioral therapist, Charles Kinsey, who had been trying to get him back to his group home. The therapist, bleeding from a gunshot wound, was then handcuffed and left lying face down on the ground for 20 minutes.
In Texas, police handcuffed, tasered and then used a baton to subdue a 7-year-old student who has severe ADHD and a mood disorder. With school counselors otherwise occupied, school officials called police and the child’s mother to assist after Yosio Lopez started banging his head on a wall. The police arrived first.
In New Mexico, police tasered, then opened fire on a 38-year-old homeless man who suffered from schizophrenia, all in an attempt to get James Boyd to leave a makeshift campsite. Boyd’s death provoked a wave of protests over heavy-handed law enforcement tactics.
In Ohio, police forcefully subdued a 37-year-old bipolar woman wearing only a nightgown in near-freezing temperatures who was neither armed, violent, intoxicated, nor suspected of criminal activity. After being slammed onto the sidewalk, handcuffed and left unconscious on the street, Tanisha Anderson died as a result of being restrained in a prone position.
And in North Carolina, a state trooper shot and killed a 29-year-old deaf motorist after he failed to pull over during a traffic stop. Daniel K. Harris was shot after exiting his car, allegedly because the trooper feared he might be reaching for a weapon.
These cases, and the hundreds—if not thousands—more that go undocumented every year speak to a crisis in policing when it comes to law enforcement’s failure to adequately assess, de-escalate and manage encounters with special needs or disabled individuals.
While the research is relatively scant, what has been happening is telling.
Among 124 police killings analyzed by The Washington Post in which mental illness appeared to be a factor, “They were overwhelmingly men, more than half of them white. Nine in 10 were armed with some kind of weapon, and most died close to home.”
But there were also important distinctions, reports the Post.
This group was more likely to wield a weapon less lethal than a firearm. Six had toy guns; 3 in 10 carried a blade, such as a knife or a machete — weapons that rarely prove deadly to police officers. According to data maintained by the FBI and other organizations, only three officers have been killed with an edged weapon in the past decade. Nearly a dozen of the mentally distraught people killed were military veterans, many of them suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of their service, according to police or family members. Another was a former California Highway Patrol officer who had been forced into retirement after enduring a severe beating during a traffic stop that left him suffering from depression and PTSD. And in 45 cases, police were called to help someone get medical treatment, or after the person had tried and failed to get treatment on his own.
The U.S. Supreme Court, as might be expected, has thus far continued to immunize police against charges of wrongdoing when it comes to use of force against those with a mental illness.
In a 2015 ruling, the Court declared that police could not be sued for forcing their way into a mentally ill woman’s room at a group home and shooting her five times when she advanced on them them with a knife. The justices did not address whether police must take special precautions when arresting mentally ill individuals. (The Americans with Disabilities Actrequires “reasonable accommodations” for people with mental illnesses, which in this case might have been less confrontational tactics.)
Where does this leave us?
For starters, we need better police training across the board, but especially when it comes to de-escalation tactics and crisis intervention.
A study by the National Institute of Mental Health found that CIT (Crisis Intervention Team)-trained officers made fewer arrests, used less force, and connected more people with mental-health services than their non-trained peers.
As The Washington Post points out:
“Although new recruits typically spend nearly 60 hours learning to handle a gun, according to a recent survey by the Police Executive Research Forum, they receive only eight hours of training to de-escalate tense situations and eight hours learning strategies for handling the mentally ill. Otherwise, police are taught to employ tactics that tend to be counterproductive in such encounters, experts said. For example, most officers are trained to seize control when dealing with an armed suspect, often through stern, shouted commands. But yelling and pointing guns is ‘like pouring gasoline on a fire when you do that with the mentally ill,’ said Ron Honberg, policy director with the National Alliance on Mental Illness.”
Second, police need to learn how to slow confrontations down, instead of ramping up the tension (and the noise).
After Ethan Saylor’s death in Maryland, police recruits are now required to take a four-hour course in which they learn “de-escalation tactics” for dealing with disabled individuals: speak calmly, give space, be patient.
One officer in charge of the Los Angeles Police Department’s “mental response teams” suggests that instead of rushing to take someone into custody, police should try to slow things down and persuade the person to come with them.
Third, with all the questionable funds flowing to police departments these days, why not use some of those funds to establish what one disability-rights activist describes as “a 911-type number dedicated to handling mental-health emergencies, with community crisis-response teams at the ready rather than police officers.”
In the end, while we need to make encounters with police officers safer for people with disabilities, what we really need is to make encounters with police safer for citizens across the board, no matter how they’re packaged.
As I point out in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, the problem is not that police officers are inherently bad—in fact, there are many good, caring officers in law enforcement—but when cops are trained to be military warriors instead of peace officers, we’re all viewed as potential threats.