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**Happy Update***
For those of you who have signed my petition trying to get victims of mass shootings or terrorism coverage under Congress' health plan, I am writing to let you know that a Congressional staffer is wiling to research this and implement it if it's feasible. He told me the best thing I can do is to try to get more signatures for my MoveOn petition. So, if you want to help, please sign.

For those of you who have signed, please try to help me get this idea discussed more broadly. I can't tell you how grateful I am for your help and the support of Action, who are also willing to spread the word about this and try to get people who need help this insurance coverage we owe them. Please contact your Congressional staffers, the more support we have, the greater chance we have. If you want more detail, the person willing to help is from my Rep's office, Mike Quigley (IL-5).

Many of you have expressed opposition. In response, I will borrow from the military which says we don't leave anyone on the battlefield. But, we've decided it's OK to unwittingly draft civilians into our violent war against ourselves. I say we strive to care for these fallen civilian combatants. We owe them a higher duty of care because we continue to allow dangerous people easy access to guns.

Or, if you don't like that comparison, I think one of the things that makes us exceptional is our willingness to step up and are for those affected by extreme natural phenomena. So, we have FEMA (however flawed) to help victims of natural disasters rebuild their lives. We shift that risk to the nation. I am pro-FEMA and want them rebuilt. I want better Sandy recovery. I want help for CO flood victims. I want us to respond to help our citizens in these times of crisis. This is a great thing that American government does and can do well. Private dollars cannot accomplish what our combined Federal wealth can achieve, no matter what your Libertarian friends tell you. This is a real common good and I think it needs to be expanded for health coverage for our man made national crises.

We need a response team for these national traumas, especially as we become numb to them and charitable contributions dry up. We all bear the risk of being gunned down now at school, at work, at a movie theater, at a mall, or as a spectator or participant in a sporting event. This is not a normal type of risk,  so we need to provide special assistance to those victims.

If you sign, you really can help improve someone's life. Please, help me do so. Please sign.


To those of your who saw the link to my petition in my diary or in the comments and who took the time to sign. Thank You so much, I achieved the goal of MoveOn for 50 signatures  and it only took 2 days! I appreciate the support. For anyone interested in signing, here is a link, [

I am still trying to move this idea forward in order to get mass shooting and terrorism victims health care coverage under Congress' plan as special dependents. I wanted to update you all of the types of things I have been doing. See details below for what I working on. Please let me know if you have any ideas on how to get additional signatures.
Any help or advice is greatly appreciated. Detailed list of what I've done so far after the squiggles.

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A while back, I published a diary with my idea on how to help victims of mass shootings and terrorist attacks.  While I was unsuccessful, I am trying again after seeing a story in ThinkProgress about brothers who lost limbs in the Boston bombings.[ Some of the commenters on my last diary suggested that any Massachusetts resident would be fine because between Romneycare and charitable contributions the victims should have all their expenses covered. Well, if the ThinkProgress story is accurate, while many victims are doing fine, these brothers are facing a difficult choice:

Paul and J.P. Norden, two brothers who lost legs when the second bomb went off, are both still struggling to recover. And they haven’t cashed their $1.2 million checks from the One Fund charity — a fund set up specifically to aid bombing victims — because they’re currently dependent on Massachusetts’ public health insurance program for the poor. Although the charity donations are tax free, once they claim them, they may not qualify for that type of state assistance anymore.
That wouldn’t be an issue if they could access health care through an employer, or if the funds were enough to cover all of their expected medical costs. But the Norden brothers’ recovery process has been slow, and they’re not sure when they will be able to work again. They also worry that the high cost of prosthetics will quickly eat up the $1.2 million sum, leaving them with nothing.
My idea remains unchanged and it's relatively simple. I would like Congress to negotiate with the Congressional health plan provider to insert a new type of claimable dependent, namely a special citizen dependent, into the plan to allow these victims access to health coverage in the same way a Congressional family member could gain coverage. This way these brothers, and other survivors in similar circumstances, could have access to quality care and maximize their charitable donation dollars.

Some commenters on my previous diary said they'd prefer the country get universal health care, I do not disagree. I'd be more than happy for my proposed measure to become wholly unnecessary, but we do not live in a country of universal care and we have victims of horrific violence that need a real solution right now. If you agree, please click on the link below and sign my new petition. Thank you.

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While I have not been the victim of gun violence, I have been physically assaulted by a mugger and have had someone deliberately set the apartment building where I used to live on fire two times. Because of these experiences, I have been commenting on articles and Facebook about violence and I have come to believe one effective way to reduce violence is to also challenge the idea of guns as a method of self-defense.

In both of my brushes with violence, I was attacked ambush style by a stranger from out of the blue. In the first instance, I was grabbed from behind and thrown to the ground. I experienced shock and my brain could not absorb what was happening to me. After a while, I recovered my senses and was able to fight back. I've never owned a gun, so I did not have one on me. But, it wouldn't have made any difference. I would not have had time to retrieve a weapon. Fighting back and screaming loudly were enough to make the man retreat.

After he ran off,  I understood that he was after my purse, which he didn't get. I made a police report and found out later the police believe he attacked another woman later that night and did get her purse. So, I think about what would have happened if he'd gotten my purse. Would that have been enough for him? Would that have kept someone else from being attacked? If I had a gun in my purse, would he have used it against her or another person? My point is not to answer these questions, it's to try to explain that crimes have a randomness to them and the situation you might confront can be lessened or aggravated by factors you don't know about and that you do not control.

My second encounter with violence was someone's decision to set garbage on fire in my apartment building. The first time, the fire was started in the basement, about 7 at night. The building was successfully evacuated. However, to exit the building, all the residents had to get through our front entryway, which was about 10-12 feet long and was enclosed by two doors. Most days it was very easy to navigate. But, when you have to face it when it's filled with black smoke that makes it hard to see and breathe, it's terrifying. The perpetrator returned a few months later and set another fire, this time in the elevator and much later at night. This fire killed my neighbor. Once again, a gun would be absolutely useless. A gun would not have saved my neighbor's life.

I have Facebook friends who post about incidents in which people with a gun have successfully driven off alleged intruders. My point in writing about this is not to say you shouldn't defend or protect yourself. Rather, it's an effort to use my experiences as a means to explain that the single most important weapon all of us have in fighting off any attacker is a clear head. The truth is, sometimes it might be best to stand your ground, but sometimes it's best to flee or play dead. The best defense is your ability to assess the situation you are facing as it confronts you. Life doesn't let you preselect the type of violent encounter you might face. Because of this, the idea of gun ownership for self-defense in many cases is nothing more than superstition or a belief that guns have magical protective properties to keep you from harm.

Guns are not magical objects, they are lethal objects. We must make sure people are clear about the difference. It will make us all safer.


In the wake of Boston, I remembered an idea I'd had after the Aurora shootings. Because so many of these victims may have very limited coverage (and perhaps none at all), I created a petition on the White House site asking that the Federal government ask its insurance carriers to allow Senators and Representives to claim victims as either dependents or staffers so these victims can get really good health care coverage. Many of these people will need substantial help for the rest of their lives. I think it's only right that victims get the same care as our DC politicians.

Here's the link, please sign. Thanks.

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