just to know how freedom feels


best panther

Originally uploaded by jayfherron

This is Colin. In some minds he might be considered a pet,he was raised in a human home but lives his life in a cage. His collar tells the story,the broken piece of rope tells us he would rather be free. He won’t ever be free. His home is a pen of chain link fence 16’x16′. There is a strange path a captive animal walks,back and forth against the wire that holds him in,an automatic turn at each corner of his pen of almost surreal swiftness,the entire scene is sad as he walks back to the opposite corner to repeat this over and over for every day of his life.

Colin is a majestic looking fellow,actually happy to have his head scratched,he puts it up against the wire to  show you he wants the touch. He may be majestic but has never known how freedom feels.

I know what it is like because PTSD is like Colin’s cage.

20 Responses to “just to know how freedom feels”

  1. Jerry Says:

    PTSD and all of the other disorders that go along with are a life of suffrage. The only thing we can do is to try to make the best of what we have in our lives, for most of us, it’s nothing but an existance and the V.A. probably feels we are deemed obsolete. We were willing to lay down our lives for our country when we joined the military but they want to take no responsibility for the damage that is done to us while on active duty. For future generations, we need to continue the fight for people who have or will suffer from MST. Peace

  2. Jerry Says:

    Jay, send me an e-mail when you’ve got some free time.

  3. shellia Says:

    ……Love this picture Jay, except for that collar…..beautiful waiting eyes.

  4. Steve Says:

    Jay
    On the one hand we are told “you lose your rights when you go into the service” on the other, there was a federal court ruling recently which says vets have the right to sue for due process. Well, some vets. When the Constitution was ratified it contained no bill of rights because some Americans didn’t believe in them. There are still many who don’t and would like our country to revert to a very primitive one like ancient Greece or feudal Europe, where people can be regarded as property.
    At the same time there are some who do value freedom and civil rights. One such in my view is Mickey Weinstein who has this website; http://www.militaryreligiousfreedom.org
    For those who can relate to the content (and there is a lot if you follow the links), enjoy.
    Steve

    • jayherron Says:

      Thanks Steve, On my walk this morning my mind went back to the 60’s and remembering how badly the black people were treated and on the news every day was the report about Viet Nam and they would show the days dead,and there would be black faces. At least this much is for sure,war has no equal rights in mind. I wish my injury cam legit like from Nam,I was thinking about that this morning too. Peace

  5. Jerry Says:

    Jay, you have a legitimate injury, PTSD and MST. Only 16% of assault cases are ever reported to authorities. We are all doing a brave thing by coming forward to speak about these issues.

  6. Joan Says:

    Jay,

    Jerry is right, our wounds are legitimate. We have to come to place within ourselves that says that our injuries are every bit as “service connected” as a combat injury. After all, stuggling with an attacker is “combat” – the “enemy” in our case just happens to be one of our own. The military and the government CAN fix this. Zero-tolerance policies – legal implications for not just the perpetrators but for “leadership” that looks the other way. Developing a climate of respect.

    Once upon a time in the military, black soldiers were not allowed to serve with white soldiers. Once upon a time in the military, drug use was rather common. Once upon a time in the military, women were not allowed to serve at all. Once upon a time in the military, you could wear a beard.

    All of these things have changed. It took time, but when I took the oath, race didn’t matter, women were abundant, you had to shave and drugs were not allowed.

    It didn’t take all that long, either. It simply took leaders with the courage to step up and enforce or change policy. Where are those leaders? Where are the people still in uniform with the guts to shine a light on this darkness?

    It reminds me a little bit of the personnel wounded in Vietnam in areas that they weren’t supposed to be in, like Cambodia or Laos. The governement wouldn’t even admit that they had soldiers there – so the “wounded” were not allowed to speak out. We are the “silent wounded” to use your phrase…our wounds are because of a lack of honor – but the dishonor is NOT ours to bear.

    No matter what – we served with honor. We never signed up for this…but this is what we got. We took it. We took it with courage and we bear it with silence. But we are and always will be legitimate, disabled veterans, and sooner or later, we will see change.

    Peace!

    Joan

    • jayherron Says:

      Wonderfully said Joan. I am speachless as how I could respond,although your statement about the former lives of soldiers being able to wear beards,or the segregation of soldiers,which has always disturbed me remembering during Viet Nam the days casualties were shown on television in their high school or boot camp photos and mixed would be the races. At home,even on the same news program,we saw the riots in Selma,which were incited by whites against blacks. As a kid none of this made any sense. Even today we have predjudice and most of that is because of ignorence. We here are a unique troop of soldiers who came forward,volunteered…and were horribly injured. I am proud of you Joan and Brigid for your part in telling our story-the silent wounded story-the more the facts are shared and the more who canshare them come forward,we will become a voice and will be able to drop the word ‘silent’ and then we will be recognized as ‘wounded’.

  7. Jerry Says:

    Thank you Joan, I would encourage all victims of MST to e-mail their Senators for assistance with their claims. I just brought MST into the mainstream public on Huffington Post by thanking Senator John McCain for writing a letter of support to the Dept. of Veterans Affairs on my behalf. We need to all start posting on these sights about or plight and suffrage. Also you can post at The Drudge Report and The Daily Beast. Good Luck and God Bless!!

  8. Joan Says:

    Jerry,

    Thank you for your courage! When you speak out in public on behalf of your own experiences you actually speak for all of us. Your voice is greatly appreciated. I definately agree with you! I have spoken to many of my Senators and Representatives, but I am afraid that I always do it under the most private ways possible.

    Due to the events surrounding my MST, I still live as quietly as possible. In fact, Joan is my alias, because I still live among some of my abusers. I am 30 percent SC for my MST/PTSD and what I live with on a daily basis. My best friend, who blogs with me on Enemy in the Wire is currently in the process of filing her claim. We can only fall apart one person at a time 🙂 One of us has to stay stable. She also lives among her abusers and uses the alias Brigid.

    I do, however, work for the VA as a low level scum sucking bottom feeder. I have no position of authority, but I do serve on a couple of committees about our unique needs as survivors. In fact, we are having a meeting today and I was asked to submit an article to the group. I specifically chose an article on male survivors…because we have to stop thinking that it is always about us women. Those who need to know, know that I am myself a survivor, and I have a wonderful opportunity to make an impact on the inside. (In fact, both my blog and Jay’s blog have been passed around the VA and I have heard that it has been passed around on a national level…not just locally.)

    I applaud you and Jay for having the guts to come forward with who you really are. That is the problem with our unique “wounds.” They perpetuate the shame, even when I have done nothing wrong.

    Thanks to the upfront and open work of courageous people like yourselves we are bringing this to the forefront.

    Blessings and Peace be with you!

    Joan

    • jayherron Says:

      I am always amazed at the progress of this blog as hearing how you share it with your fellow VA employees,it is also translated into several languages frequently. I am always curious how that comes to be. I have been tired of having to remain silent and when the VA got involved five years ago at times I wish I had never spoken up…but I see the importance of keeping my voice up now. peace

  9. Joan Says:

    Oops – one more thing. As much as most of us, if not all of us, have run into problems in the VA system…I can tell everyone this:

    There are people within the VA system that know full well what the pitfalls and problems are. These are people who are dedicating their lives to us, those who suffer from MST and the consequences. They are our champions! I am thinking of one woman in particular who gives everything she has. In fact, it is because of her that I have been given an opportunity to become an advocate locally and that I have received compensation. She was the one to see a co-worker in trouble and say, “It is time to seek help. What can I do to help you?”

    Of course, it is thanks to Jay that I have become a voice…even if I am an anonymous voice.

    I’m by no means defending the VA as a whole. I just want people to know that there are those of us out there in the system giving it everything we’ve got, no matter what it costs us.

    Peace,

    Joan

    • jayherron Says:

      I am so proud of your voice Joan! I also should say that most of my disagreement about the VA is with the system. There are champion folks that work at this VA here,and then there are those who need to move on and take thier personal hardships with them. Our problem here is the upper management is proud of their works and forget to look beneath the clouds to see reality.

      • Jerry Says:

        It’s certainly better than it was 20 years ago. I even had the guy from AmVets making fun of me and my psychologist telling me he was mis-filing my treatment records to make it harder for them to find. Here you are, the abused, and your labeled with all of these illnesses and made to feel like your the freak.

  10. Jerry Says:

    Thank you Joan. I’ve started dealing with these issues in 1994. There are thousands of men that were sexually assaulted, beaten and abused. Only about 16% of these cases are ever reported to authorities out of fear and futher abuse or even being threatened with death for telling. I don’t drink or use drugs and take my medications as prescribed. I think our story needs to be told in the main stream media and am willing to speak out about it. This would be with Jay’s blessing of course as I feel he is our leader and has been working on these issues for a long time. I’m a very private person,but, would be willing to talk about it to help others. Peace.

    • jayherron Says:

      Jerry…I am not a leader…I am just pissed at a system that hears we are abused,tells us to shut up about it,then tells us to go seek compensation for it,then tells us we may not deserve it,then makes us defend ourselves,but forgets to prosecute those who criminally attacked us,yet makes us go through trial after trial to fight for the compensation they initiated appealling for. Equally upset that this system has people in charge of the procedure that feel male on male rape is nothing more than homosexual behavior and that white men certainly could not be rapist. I am just pissed…and want others who are just as pissed to raise up and shout out about it! That is why I use my name…because I am someone,a person,who needs for the truth to be known fully!

      • Jerry Says:

        Thank you Jay for feeling that were all in this together. You initiated it, so, I bow to you out of respect. This is not a straight or gay issue. I believe my attacker was a heterosexual sadist, bully. It wasn’t an issue of attraction, it was violence. Hopefully we can educate the public, because the only way to find peace with it, is to continue to talk about it and stick up for our rights. This happened to me when I was 19 and basically kept me from having a normal happy life. I’m almost 49 now. How do you put a price tag on that?

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