|Photo by Marcelo Bernardo
Today is the anniversary of my own private occupy. It was originally called Occupy BlipFm, but I changed the name to Occupy Hades a few years ago.
I first created this occupy because I worried about the students who were rising up at the time. Specifically, my concern was for the health and welfare of the students who were staging sit-ins and protests on campuses around the country. Because of my experiences at Bridgewater State College, I knew what it was like to have my civil rights violated and be falsely imprisoned with no advocate and no support from the campus community. More importantly, I knew of the pitfalls that students on campus might face should their administrators turn against them.
And so I decided to occupy an online radio station. I didn't know how to create one of my own at the time so I created an occupy at the music streaming website, Blip.fm.
Just like anything else worth doing, in the beginning it was a lot of work. After a while, I began to have fun with my new endeavor. I connected with some very interesting people and learned a lot about the world by reading other people's stories. However I had little control over the content that I wanted to program and share. So I begin to wander around different sites connected with Blip.fm. Eventually I chose to stuck with Twitter and Facebook.
From the time I arrived at Twitter, in what I call occupy mode, I saw it was a much different situation than simply being on a website for the sake of meeting people or seeking a job. I immediately liked the OWS movement because people were always reaching out to each other and freely sharing information. The compelling stories I read and heard led me to believe that what was taking place wasn't merely a passing fad.
Furthermore, before Occupy Wall Street I was basically just a shut-in trying to rejoin the game of life via the web. However, OWS gave the web a brand new meaning because I found a purpose. I realized that there were a lot of people in this country, just like me, who didn't have a voice before Occupy Wall Street. Some were disabled veterans who found advocates via the Occupy Wall Street movement. I too am a disabled veteran.
As I've told others many times before, a campus doctor's fraud rendered me disabled. Before the hoax, concocted by a campus psychologist, I was a stroke survivor trying to avoid disability. When I had my stroke I was still in college and so desperate to stay in school that I basically willed myself back to health with a lot of help from my primary care physician at the time. In fact, I avoided disability for a long time because I was able to keep moving forward while and stay in school though I was sick.
However, on April 15th 2004, all of that changed. While I was in college and fighting to stay off of disability, I was just fine. Yet once I was forcibly hospitalized at the behest of a dishonest doctor, that very day I became a disabled man. I'm still not sure exactly how I became disabled. I reported to class that day and I had no problems but, by the end of the day, my dreams of graduating from college were destroyed.
It is taken many years since that fateful day to unravel the hoax that was created for me. I was enraged when I first saw the doctor's notes, and the stereotypes she used to justify her actions. After I calmed down those notes took on a much greater meaning. I slowly realized to my horror that any veteran could be hospitalized simply by showing up to campus and reporting to class. That's all I did the day I was handcuffed and taken away by campus police.
So it's not enough to say that I demand justice. Yes, I may be disabled for the rest of my life. No, I may never have an opportunity to engage in gainful employment. However, what I can do is warn veterans about the possible pitfalls that await them. This project isn't about gloom and doom. This is just an account of my efforts to be a productive member of society, and of my ongoing efforts to finally get my degree.
Another reason this project so important to me and has been so important since my lawsuit against Bridgewater State College, is that I wasn't the only student to be forcibly hospitalized on that campus. I don't know if the other students were veterans. I don't even know their names or who they were. But through the process of discovery I found out to my horror that there was a total of five students who were forcibly hospitalized. Three were men of color, and two were white women.
God forbid that any of them where were veterans of our military. If they were, then I want my voice to be the one to tell of the pain that forced hospitalization and false imprisonment can inflict. More importantly, someone must explain how a doctor can create patients out of thin air using stereotypes about service members and the bold-faced lies.
The series Set Up To Fail isn't only about my experience as a veteran on a college campus. It also includes stories of, what I believe is, the discrimination I endured at the hands of people who are paid to help people get back on their feet after they become disabled.
If nothing else, this project will allow me to eventually put down the ghosts of a nightmare long past, so I don't have live out my existence as a spectator of life. Finally, I hope to help somebody, besides myself, overcome the unfair, unjust and evil acts of low minded individuals of power and influence who neglect their duties and serve no one but themselves.