Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Al Doesn't Live In His Van Anymore!

Al Doesn't Live In His Van Anymore; 
Al Doesn't Live Anymore!

      Al's Story showed up as part of another post here on Real World Politics called: 'The Bush Economy, Unemployment, and Suicide' [HERE]. In that post I was addressing the crossroads of three pieces of info;

1.This Chart on the Bush Deficit

[ I uploaded this chart for easy sharing on twitter [HERE] and sent it out on various versions of tweets. Lots of people RTd it and within two weeks it was viewed almost 5,000 times. ]

2, A video on the UnEmployed called: 'America's 99ers The Forgotten' [HERE] 3.And the first of the two letters on the 'Al Doesn't Live in his Van' story!

      I got the chart at the 2010 Netroots Nation from a presentation by AFL-CIO President Richard L.Trumka. The Chart originated from 'The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities' who were also at the Netroots Nation Convention. They are doing a great job on crunching the numbers on the economy demonstrating cause and effect of Bush Economics vs Obama response. You really should go visit their site and get yourself edjumacated [HERE]

      If you start studying the real effects of the deficit and how infinitesimal the percentage of that massive deficit is on behalf of doing anything for real Americans who are suffering in a real way. Millions of Americans are losing their jobs, losing their homes to foreclosure, losing their unemployment insurance, losing their health insurance and health care; and way to often they are losing their self respect, their dignity, and their hope!

      The story of Al not living in his van is the tragic story of what is happening all across our country. There is every conceivable version of Al's story out there with millions of Americans, with their own unique tales of hardship, suffering and despair.

      And while millions of Americans are hurting, the Grand Obstructionist Party is yelling about the deficits and why we can't afford to help them. Getting past the issue than none of these corporate pawns in Congress ever said a single peep when they were supporting Bush economic; passing them in country with not a word of objection from any of them.

      But now when its time to put the country back to work rebuilding the country, universal health care, extending unemployment, taking care of the 911 first responders, investing in green energy, mass transit, foreclosure crisis, homeless, veterans benefits, and any other relief for suffering Americans; suddenly we just can't afford to help. The majority of Americans are struggling through hardships right now but ask the rich to pay their fair share? Treason!

     I guess that's why Al's story effected me so much. Al doesn't live in his van anymore because Al's dead. Al's story didn't have to end like this. Al's story could have ended with Al working at a plant making windmill generators, or solar panels; Al could have been building hybrid cars, or mass transit: Al could be enrolled at a college or trade school learning skills for the future technical trades. There is lots of ways Al's story could have been different. It could have been, but it didn't! Al's dead!

      Here now is Al's story: 

'Al Doesn't Live in his Van Anymore' – Part One

[Believed to be written by BrucePaue from The Unemployed Friends Forum [HERE]

      Well whoever it is I hope they read this. I can't think properly right now. Around 2pm on Tues afternoon I received a visit from a member of our local fire company. They came to my house and told me to sit down. I knew I was about to receive bad news.

      With tears running down his eyes he informed me Alex has shot himself in the head in the woods someone found him laying along the side of his van. Alex attempted suicide by shooting himself in the head.

      Alex is in intensive care at the local hospital but to be honest it isn't looking good at all. His sister called me and she told me he has severe swelling of the brain. Doctors have drilled several holes in his skull to contain the swelling. He is currently on life support and his wife and son are going to be by his side tomorrow. T

      The reason I am posting this here is because I know Alex has posted here he showed me this forum because I too am unemployed. He called you guys his support group. Alex is a 99er so please please if you feel stressed or feel the urge to commit suicide talk to someone.

      Alex was not only my neighbor but he is my best friend. Alex has helped so many in this community and everyone in our small community knows Alex and his family. Alex worked at one job all his life and got laid off few years ago when his company went out of business.

      I feel so bad about this I should have known something was up. Monday night Alex walked over to my place and wanted to give me his laptop computer because he knew I sold my computer to feed my baby boy. Alex looked really wore out at the time mentally and was losing weight like crazy because he was walking to apply for jobs.

      Alex wouldnt accept a ride or accept a meal without putting up a fight. He used to say I am no charity case. Ok I am sorry for blabbering on just needed to talk to some people. However I am greatly upset about this but we need to keep up the fight for 99ers all over. Lets fight for Alex by calling emailing or faxing. I will be doing so for now on.

'Al Doesn't Live in his Van Anymore' – Part TWO

[I don't know if it was Bruce Paue or someone else who wrote this Part Two but on Thursday 5th August 2010, @ExtendUENow sent out this letter on a 'long tweet':]
      It is with Great Sadness that I have to let you know that unemployed 99er Al passed away from a self inflicted gunshot wound. This beautifully written piece was Posted by 1 of our members Msannonymous222 at the Unemployed-Friends Forum.
This is the story of Al, one of those statistics you all talk about, one of the constituents you read letters from on the Senate floor, on the House floor:

      "He did everything right: worked hard all his life, paid taxes, took care of his family, participated in his community. Then boom, one day he was laid off at age 58, and for more than two years after that could only find odd jobs here and there. Jobs he applied for had many people showing up to try to get the same 'one' job. 

      When he reached 99 weeks and lost his unemployment benefits, he lost his home, he put his disabled wife and son into a homeless shelter, he lived in his van, he suffered when the police confiscated his license plate due to nonpayment of the registration. 
      No longer able to drive the van to seek work, he walked miles and miles, and prospective employers told him that he would not be hired because he was too old. Managers at both McDonald's and Wendy's told him that the was too old to work for them. 
      The welfare office said he couldn't have food stamps without a mailing address. The homeless shelters that accept men told him they were full. He managed to hang onto his laptop and used it to email Congress and the White House to help the 99ers, but no one listened. 
      Then one day last week, he gave his laptop away to a fellow jobless man who had just sold his own computer to buy milk for his baby, walked a few miles back to where his van was parked, and shot himself in the head."—a poster on the Unemployed Friends forum

      Today we learned he is no longer with us. He was declared brain dead yesterday. His family courageously and most lovingly removed him from life support, and he died.

      Sen. Casey, your constituent is gone. Sen. Specter, your statistic is gone. And his representative? Someone from your district has passed.

      While all of you were aiming your slings and arrows at each other—you know, your good friends on the other side of the aisle—day after day, week after week, month after month, no one was noticing that many millions of Als were trying to live through one more day of heartbreak, terror, disgust, anger and a million other emotions—while attempting to find something to eat, someplace to sleep, and, yes, by golly, being chipper on that job hunt.

      Today I'm not addressing this to Democrats. Today, I'm not addressing this to Republicans. Today I'm not addressing this to an Independent. I'm not addressing it to your political beliefs, your deficit spending or not. I'm addressing this to each and every human being in Congress, and I'm putting you on notice that a man died—a 99er died—because no one moved fast enough to help him.

      Do you know how many 99ers are near bottom right now—who don't know if they can stand one more day, or even one more hour, trying to hold on until financial aid comes to them? They are white collar, blue collar, degreed and not, many years of experience, just out of school, with families, alone, with lives they've had to just give up, lives that don't exist anymore in any way resembling "the old days" when they were proud to be employed.

      We are grateful that a bill for the 99ers has been introduced. But I cannot physically fathom that you people are leaving and leaving millions of needy people behind. By your return from your recess, there will be more Als who just. give. up.

      Do you know what it's like to be penniless? I do. I've been.

      Do you know what it's like to watch your loved one die from a brain injury? I do. I've watched.

      His family members and close friend Bruce have been in agony since July 27 because you didn't do something to help this man in time.

      Do the honorable thing tomorrow. Don't recess. Stay. Fulfill your moral obligation. And if you didn't know you had a moral obligation as a member of Congress, then maybe you ought to consider another career, perhaps as an accountant, something which makes you accountable for money, but unaccountable for lives worth saving and lives worth living.

      Today we should all be mourning. This was a life lost. Al wasn't your constituent. He wasn't your statistic. He was a living, breathing, desperate human being. How many more lives will be lost before other living, breathing, desperate human beings are helped?"

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