Tuesday, December 13, 2005
I was recently pulled over for failure to wear my seatbelt in Hood River.
I am unemployed and on food stamps and attended court with Judge Clark, where I was seeking other forms of payment for this mistake. Due to my financial situation he graciously granted me the opportunity to inform the citizens of Hood River of the importance of wearing seat belts all the time.
Seat belts were designed to save lives. Accidents can happen without warning. At the time of an accident, properly fastened safety belts distribute the forces of rapid deceleration over larger and stronger parts of the person’s body. The safety belt stretches slightly to slow your body down and to increase its stopping distance. A car collusion can cause the car to buckle and bend as it hits and comes to an abrupt stop.
This occurs in approximately one-tenth of a second. Another type of accident that frequently occurs is the human collision, which happens as the car’s occupants hit some part of the vehicle. At the moment of impact, unbelted occupants still travel at the vehicle’s original speed. Just after the vehicle comes to a complete stop, these unbelted occupants will slam into anything in the interior strong enough to stop them.
Even after the occupant’s body comes to a complete stop, the internal organs are still moving forward. These organs hit other organs or the skeletal system and often cause serious or fatal injuries.
The difference between the belted and unbelted person’s stopping distance is significant. It’s often the difference between life and death. The maximum $104 fine is a small consequence. Life gives no warnings, take the precaution, buckle up!
I ask for your support of the Honor our Fallen Prisoners of War Act, introduced in the House by Rep. Filner as HR 2369 and a companion bill to be introduced in the Senate by Sen. Boxer this 12th of December.
I, like the majority of veterans and the public, wrongly believe that those unfortunate members of our Armed Forces who are captured and WHO DIE while a Prisoner of War are awarded the Purple Heart Medal. Not so. These brave souls who suffered long and died a horrible death were not awarded the Purple Heart. There were many causes but the main causes of death were prolonged exposure, beriberi, freezing, diarrhea, pneumonia and starvation.
Since Dec. 7 1941, approximately 17,000 service members have died while in the custody of the enemy and their deaths have never been appropriately recognized.
HR 2369, Honor Our Fallen Prisoners Of War Act, and its to-be-introduced companion bill in the Senate, would change current regulations governing the award of the Purple Heart Medal to include all who die while in the custody of the enemy as a prisoner of war.
The next of kin of these people recognize the Purple Heart Medal as final closure. No other medal says it like a Purple Heart.
Because the implementation of the Fallen Prisoners of War Act does not require significant funding, I suggest that it be included in the 2006 National Defense Authorization Act which is now pending resolution in Joint Committee.
I again urge your support ... it is the right thing to do.