"these are my hands...these are my faults...these are my plans...these are my nasty little thoughts...i wrote them down for you to contemplate..."

Saturday, May 28, 2011

My Editorial in the May Issue of the Massasoit Student Voice

A Slap in the Face
There were a few things that I considered writing about in my column this month; rising gas prices, unemployment rates, education reform, and finally decoding the inspirational words of Dr. Seuss. But, while reading articles on huffingtonpost.com one afternoon, something caught my eye.  It was the type of article you read, and then have to re-read because you think you may have missed something the first time. Apparently, a new stipulation has been added to the James Zadroga 9/11 Health And Compensation Law, and it’s not a good one. The 9/11 health law covers the medical expenses for the thousands of first responders to the World Trade Center that fateful day. A second part of the law covers the medical expenses for survivors, which includes office workers, bystanders, and residents. Well, come July, when these heroes and victims go to see their doctor, they will be informed that in order to continue receiving medical treatment their names will be run through the FBI’s terrorism watch list. Actually, all their personal information will be run through the FBI terrorism watch list, places of birth, addresses, government ID numbers, etc. I know some people might think this is not a big deal, but it really is. Stop and think for a minute. On that morning, almost 11 years ago, these brave men and women didn’t think twice about running into the twin towers. Afterwards, when the towers fell, the only thought of the people digging through the rubble was to find survivors. Amongst the tragedy unfolding around them, not one of them gave any thought to their health and their safety. They were concerned about others, and that is what makes these people heroes. Health issues began to arise among the first responders not too long after. Some reported are post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety, sinusitis, asthma, and respiratory/lung problems, just to name a few. Various types of cancer have also been linked to the toxins inhaled at Ground Zero. The 9/11 health law provides medical care for these brave first responders and to the survivors, BUT, first they just have to check if you are a terrorist. I don’t think I could look an ill police officer or firefighter in the eye and say, “Thanks for everything you did that day. Your courage is inspiring. Now, I’m just going to have to run all your information through the FBI database, just to make sure you aren’t a terrorist. I’ll have my secretary call you to set up another appointment when you are in the clear. Have a good day!” It’s insulting, embarrassing, and unnecessary. By allowing this ridiculous amendment to be added to the 9/11 health law; our government is implying that here in the United States, we trust no one. In my opinion, this new requirement is a slap in the face to the more than 30,000 first responders and survivors suffering from emotional and physical health ailments. Here are the messages our government SHOULD be conveying; thank you for your unselfishness. Thank you for sifting through piles of debris to search for survivors. It is a miracle you survived, you are a strong person. Everything you did that day is appreciated. Now that you are sick let us do everything to help you, no questions asked…

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