Nothing in this blog can be believed. If you think that anything in this blog is true or factual, you'll need to verify it from another source. Do you understand? No? Then read it again, and repeat this process, until you understand that you cannot sue me for anything you read here. Also, having been sucked into taking part in the mass-murder of more than 3 million Vietnamese people on behalf of U.S. Big Business "interests", I'm as mad as a cut snake (and broke) so it might be a bit silly to try to sue me anyway...

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Mick Heffernan, rest in peace....

I never knew Mick Heffernan.

I'd never even heard of him until tonight, when I was watching the ABC 7.30 Report.

But Mick Heffernan and I shared some history. We both served in Vietnam. We were both psychologically scarred by the experience. We both applied to the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) for recognition of our psychological damage. We both found this to be a bureaucratic battle par excellence.

In 1997, I won my battle with DVA. But I nearly didn't. There were several times during that insane battle with the bureaucratic blockers employed by that department when I seriously considered suicide. But due to a lot of support from other veterans who had been through "the mill", I hung in there and eventually the bastards ran out of bullshit and conceded.

Tragically, in July this year, Mick Heffernan, unable to cope any longer with the insane situation of a government department (whose stated purpose it is to support veterans) doing its utmost to deny him recognition for his war-caused psychological trauma, entered one of their offices, and there he took his own life.

My heart goes out to his family and friends. It must have ripped them to pieces.

Now, it would be nice if the story ended there. But it hasn't.

Except for the 7.30 Report's story several weeks after the event, (transcript in the link provided above), the media has ignored this story. Google: zilch. Yahoo: zilch. Ergo, I conclude, print media: zilch.

It would require a serious media blackout to achieve this kind of media "non-event". It seems that a dog getting run over by a drunk gets more media attention than a veteran who commits suicide on the premises of the Department of Veterans Affairs to highlight his plight. So, readers, you tell me, are we looking at yet another example of the Howard Government's expertise at "Total Information Management" ???

Correction: there has been adequate media coverage of Mick's demise. It was my crappy search which was the problem. If you use the string Michael Heffernan veteran melbourne in Google, you get plenty of results.

And whilst we're about it, let's not forget a few details about Mr Billson, the Minister for Veterans Affairs.


Blogger Krista said...

i just happened across your page and that is very curious that there was no coverage of something like that. i find it funny how our knowledge is censored so much these days. we can only know what is permitted... living in this kind of "need to know basis" age is disgusting sometimes.

September 06, 2006 1:30 AM  
Blogger Gerry said...

Hi Krista. Yeah, I think we're living in A Brave New World.

And I don't like it one little bit!!!

September 06, 2006 1:44 AM  
Blogger Ron said...

I am utterly amazed too, Gerry, that this did not receive any visible press coverage. It's made even more stark by the immense and over the top coverage given yesterday to an idiot whose claim to fame is that he tortured animals in his private zoo and in the wild.

DVA's, and the goverment's (proved by the minister for DVA always being the most junior one), continuing disregard for ex-serviceman and their families is a disgrace.

My father (WWII) and grandfather (WWI & WWII) both often mentioned that politicians never lived up to the pre-enlistment promises made.

September 06, 2006 7:17 AM  
Blogger BigBob said...

One of the things that media does have some guidelines over is suicide.

They are loathe to report on them, for fear of being accused of causing copycat suicides (which actually happens).

As this is a particularly potent suicide which would impact heavily on a group that I would think already struggle with high suicide rates, perhaps (and this is a big perhaps) they all decided it was in the too sensitive area.

Of course, the 7:30 Report blows my potential theory out of the water.

Maybe as Ron has pointed out, there were only enough Journalist around to cover one death this week?

September 06, 2006 9:04 AM  
Blogger Unsane said...

Well, highlighting his plight is not condusive to maintaining the status quo -- besides, could cause many others to freak out, thus costing the govern-mint money.

September 06, 2006 6:16 PM  
Blogger Gerry said...

Well someone's got to make a bit of noise about what's going on otherwise the bastards win again. They like to shove things under the carpet, they do... The bastards!

September 06, 2006 10:12 PM  
Blogger BigBob said...

I agree, if they were holding back for the reasons I gave, they shouldn't have as it only plays into the real bastards hands.

Of course, with the Supreme Courmt siding with the government on FOI, we may never get to see anything anyway.

September 06, 2006 10:48 PM  
Blogger GreenSmile said...

Sobering bit of news that. I wonder if its the same every where: you get a long line of well wishers when you board the troop ship but when you get off, your lucky if a cab will stop for you.

You know I post from time to time on the hollowness of US support for vets, especially Viet Nam but just wait till we "declare victory" and slink out of Iraq...those poor dogfaces aren't going to get anything from the Veteran's Administration without lawyers an serious campaigning: a nation that believes a lie to go to war doesn't want the truth rubbed in their faces for another 50 years when the vets come home.

And on that cheery note, how are ya, Gerry?

September 08, 2006 10:32 AM  
Blogger Kurt Reply said...

Ditto what GreenSmile said.

September 08, 2006 3:18 PM  
Blogger Brownie said...

If I was a 'Hereafter' kinda person,
I would say
May His Dear Soul Rest In Peace.
I do admire his choice of location - stick it to the bastards.
I wish I knew the names of every employee at DVA who gave him a hard time.
I missed The 7:30 Report that night, but commend them.
Is it this type of reporting that makes everybody say the ABC are Lefties?

September 09, 2006 5:21 PM  
Blogger Gerry said...

Well, the guvmint has just released a report which claims that suicide rates and pPTSD rates among veterans is no higher than elsewhere in the community. It's lot of frogshit, of course, but it forms the platform fromw which they will deny veterans any special considerations. The bastards!

How am I? Really want to know? Sunday night I had what possibly was either a heart attack or clots in the lungs. The pain was quite stifling. Spent two days in hospital having tests done. Nothing conclusive was found, so they're talking about doing an angiogram. I have to see a heart specialist tomorrow.

Yesterday I was so depressed and beset with the desire to exit this "wonderful" society of ours, I considered admitting myself the the St John Of God hospital in Richmond. It's a place where they treat veterans (and others) with depression and PTSD. For reason which I will not go into here, I deferred that option.

Today the anti-depressants seem to be working again...

September 10, 2006 11:45 AM  
Blogger Davo said...

Hang in there Gezz, some of us civilians still need you.

September 10, 2006 1:42 PM  
Blogger Kurt Reply said...

Yes, indeed. Davo's spot on.
Well, I have some funny things for you all in case anyone wants to go look. Maybe this will cheer us all in a silly way. Comedians have it right: when things are so bad you can't do anything, there's nothing like a good laugh.
Let's start with this. Gerry, here's a 2-minute movie that will take quite a bit of time to load on dialup, but I hope you will go ahead and do it anyway. It's called "Bush Pilot", a German film that's had us all howling here in Anti-Bush Land.
My best to you, Gerry.

September 11, 2006 1:38 AM  
Blogger JahTeh said...

Well for a start, it's nice to know the bear actually has a heart but if you think you're going off to join the rest of the 'Straya Icons' in the great nothing, think again.

Your loyal fans will claw you back from the brink like we always do.

September 11, 2006 6:16 PM  
Blogger GreenSmile said...

Ah, Jahteh! You have spirit to lend.

September 12, 2006 3:16 AM  
Blogger Kurt Reply said...

I'm thinking about you Gerry. Hope you are doing well.
Best wishes,

September 14, 2006 1:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Gerry,
I Understand your story too well as my own father is currently in the 'mill' for his third attempt at a pension. Good'ol DVA! Never helped anyone. And now it has cost a life. Fat chance any veterans death or cry for help will ever be heard,thanks to the bureaucratic blowflies of this world. If you are interested, my own 'viet vets child' story is on my blogg....
Regards, Zoe
P.s My thoughts are with you.

September 14, 2006 6:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Come to think of it....the reason this sorta thing happens is because the government doesnt want to part with a cent of their hard earned war money!

September 15, 2006 12:42 AM  
Blogger Kurt Reply said...

Zoe, it's the corporations (which make the bombs and sell them to the government) that don't want to part with any of their profits. They have a vested interest in war after war after war.

September 15, 2006 1:18 AM  
Blogger Gerry said...

Thanks for all the kind words, guys.

Well, after all the tests, the experts agree that I didn't have a heart attack and that there's nothing much wrong with my heart or my arteries. Just a false alarm, possibly caused by gastric reflux.

Kurt, I'll check out the "Bush Pilot" thing.

Zoe, welcome. I commiserate with your father (and you and your mother). It's a long battle. They try ever harder to deny PTSD sufferers a fair cop. Mick Heffernan is not the first vet who topped himself because the battle with the DVA was the straw that broke the camel's back. There were quite a few before him. I was almost one of them. Mick (I think) was the first to go into their offices to do it.

Is your father getting good legal support in his fight with the DVA? If not, let me know (email link in the sidebar) and I'll see what I can do by way of contacts which might be useful.

And yes, Zoe, the spouses and children of veterans with PTSD often need a lot of counselling and support as well. As I said in a comment on your blog, the Vietnam Veterans Counselling Service (VVCS) (phone 1800 011 046) have programs for spouses or children of veterans. Counselling is also available. There's even relationship counselling which the veteran and his/her spouse/partner can do. It's helped me and my partner immensely.

The VVCS is funded by the DVA but is run completely independently (so far) which is why it works so well. If the DVA ever get control of it, I'm sure they'd throttle it quick-smart.

Kurt, all of the wars and interventions the US engaged in in the last 100 years have been to protect and expand its markets. The whole anti-communist, anti-socialist thing was/is about market expansion. Big business can't make much of a buck in countries where all wealth is shared by the community and enterprises are owned by the people (or the state). So we have to go kill them, set up "democracy" and manipulate, dominate, and subjugate them with "free trade". This is called "development" and it's "good" for them.

People who commit state-sanctioned mass-murder and terrorism in the name of "democracy" and "free trade" are called "freedom fighters". People who violently oppose this are called "terrorists". Can you see how we're going to have a "war on terror" for a very long time? It won't be over till the very last violent opponent to globalisation (the corportate colonisation of the entire planet) has been subdued or killed.

But the corporate warmongers have no answer to Peaceful Peaple Power. That's the way to f*ck those mongrels. Sadly, people are too angry and brutalised to employ peaceful methods of resistance. They think blowing up people or infrastructure is the way to go, little realising that that's exactly what the warmongers want so they can justify their agendas of megakill.

Here endeth my rant...

September 16, 2006 2:09 PM  
Blogger Davo said...

umm, and the "good" citizens of the US of A (and Australia) still think that the September 11 event was an "unprovoked attack"? .. erk.

September 16, 2006 4:44 PM  
Blogger Gerry said...

Totally unprovoked, Dave, as long as you turn a blind eye to US foreign policy...

September 16, 2006 6:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for your lovely comment on my blog,Gerry. Apparently my dad thinks he may know you. His name is Tom Winner,he thinks he met you at Saint John Of God!(Xavier ward) If so, in spite of being cliche,"its a small world"!!!

Davo, I can't fathom why so many people think that,is it because the properganda machine is so successful or do we live amoung a bunch of unquestioning so and so's??????

September 17, 2006 9:42 AM  
Blogger Kurt Reply said...

Gerry, I am glad to hear you are okay.
I can't say anything very knowledgeable about your latest topic here but I will tell you that a few more people here in the US are beginning to see what a lying schemer Bush is. Last week a cableTV commentator/blogger, Keith Olbermann, delivered a powerfull commentary that I watched on YouTube. You can read the transcript here if you wish. He and his speech are were all the talk on some blogs. We need more "reporters" like him again, questioning the govt. Well, Gerry, it's not a solution but at least it's a start.
Yeah, I know --don't hold my breath.

September 17, 2006 1:08 PM  
Blogger Gerry said...

Zoe, no worries. But your father can't have met me at St John of God because so far I've not been there. A whole bunch of people reckon I should go there, and Saturday week-ago I nearly did. His name doesn't ring a bell with me. :-(

Kurt, I read Keith Oberman's 9/11 thing and it was a powerful comment. Bush has trashed absolutely what was already a very shaky global reputation the US had. I don't think it will ever be able to redeem itself. Certainly not while it still thinks it has a God given role as Global Sheriff, or whilst it does its darndest to nobble the UN. These things are unforgivable acts of arrogance and hubris!!! America needs to undergo a long period of psychotherapy before it's ever allowed out again!!! And to think it sits on the worlds largest arsenal!!!

World peace? Disarm America!

September 17, 2006 7:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi again Gerry,
From what I've gathered, St John Of God has helped my father a great deal, although he tells me that it is "very intense" and he goes home tired and emotional. I suppose that might have something to do with actually expressing and sharing his feelings about such a difficult personal trauma,as he has never done that with any family member. However, he does seem happier that he has a support network of people who share his experience and struggles.
Good on you for having that network through your site, when you are 'down' feel free to chat with me anytime!
I feel so sad for the ex-servicemen and their family members who think there is only one way out and go through with it,(as my own sister did)infact that feeling has crossed my mind a couple of times too. It must be part of all our experience at some time or another.
Regards Zoe xx

September 18, 2006 10:42 AM  
Blogger Gerry said...

Zoe, thanks for the offer to chat with you when I'm down. But, predictably, whenever I'm down, the last thing I want is to chat with anyone. Like, there are heaps of people I could turn to, but the nature of my being down (for me) is that I clam up rather than want to chat. But thanks for the kind thought.

This blog is a place where I sometimes let stuff out but even here I don't say too much or it would be the same old "negative" shit almost every day, on top of all the other negative shit I write anyway...

Besides, my shit tends to bring other people down, so I usually just deal with it (or not) privately.

But you're right about the blog. I've made some great cyberfriends through it (and lost some pseudo "friends" who were really just over-sensitive, judgemental arseholes.) A bit rich, given that I'm an over-sensitive, judgemental arsehole myself, eh? ;-)

Ah well, c'est la vie...

September 19, 2006 9:32 AM  

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