July 18, 2011

Pride, a picnic

photo from Wikipedia

Every once in a while I wander out to a sidewalk in Buffalo and hold up some signs about the drones - "Ground the Drones" or "Stop the Assassinations". I get to chat with people who pull over in their cars or stop as they walk along the sidewalk. I am still surprised that so many ask what a drone is. Most people are friendly and interested, but I used to think everyone knew about them.

If my sign said “Ground the MQ-9 Reapers or the MQ-1 Predators, I would expect less familiarity, but “Drones”. How come everybody doesn’t know about them. The people in other countries know about them. Pakistan, Afghanistan, Libya and Yemen to name a few. Obama uses them to assassinate innocent people in these countries all the time.

I shared a booth yesterday at the Pride Picnic in Rochester with an ex-corpsman (3-tours) who deserted before his enlistment was up for principled reasons. He now works with Rochester IVAW (Iraq Veterans Against the War). He is one of those people easy to talk with, built solid on principles and yet manages to avoid the crippling rigidity of sectarianism. Although the world is full of wonderful people like him I was lucky to spend a few hours with him. The other person at our table was a woman from MFSO (Military Families Speak Out). Another wonderful person. She glowed with relief when she talked about her son completing his four years in the near future. Later, when I dropped the literature off at her house, I had the added pleasure of viewing and shooting some pictures of her fun, colorful hubcaps posted around her yard.

At the picnic, I put up a banner about Bradley Manning. Handed out some stickers. Talked to people

Nobody knew who Bradley Manning was. I wished I had a stack of dvd’s of “Collateral Murder”. I will definitely have them the next time I do a table. That’s the video they arrested him for. Locked him up in May, 2010. He spent some time at Quantico being tortured by Marines. Now he is locked up at Leavenworth. Still no trial.

photo from The New Yorker

The video was automatically filmed and recorded by a military camera on an Apache helicopter. Like those cameras they have on police cars. If in fact Bradley leaked it to Wikileaks as they suggest, he should be recognized as a hero for exposing war crimes. Instead there are members of Congress who want him executed.

Watch the video and decide for yourself.


While you are at the site, watch the interview with Ethan McCord. He was the marine who came upon the site of the massacre and rescued the little boy and girl who were severely wounded in the van. They are both ok now thanks to him. He was chewed out on the scene for paying attention to the kids.

You don’t see Obama pinning any medals on Ethan.

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