Last week much of the country learned what a Gyrocoptor was. Don Hughes a USPS employee flew one over and through restricted airspace in Washington DC to deliver a message. Pretty much everyone around the country was talking about what he did, and how he managed to do it.
What many people in mainstream media aren't talking about is why he did it.
An investigator asked him if he would talk.
They talked for hours, Hughes said, and she finally asked the question he'd been waiting for.
Why did you do it?
Hughes is, let's say, a talker. And his pet political issue, the reason for his flight, was to bring attention to campaign finance reform. He wanted to deliver 535 letters, one for each member of Congress, that demanded they rid elections of big money. He started in on how removing contributions caps has corrupted the political process and pretty soon he noticed that the guy taking notes had stopped taking notes.
"If they recorded that, I want a copy," Hughes said. "That's got to be a great, classic recording…. They let me talk about the politics!"
The man wants to start a conversation about Money in politics. Instead, we have people finger pointing and asking how could something like this happen? Where is the security? This could have been a terrorist! Well, a thought— a little less money in politics might go a long way to placate people.
About a week earlier it was a beautiful Sunday in DC. The Annual Cherry blossom festival was in full swing and crowds were packing the Tidal basin, the National mall and the grounds of the United states capitol building.
That afternoon, a man shot himself in the head on the very same lawn that Doug hughes chose to protest about money in politics. This time it was with deadly results. A man had committed suicide. Reports that day
said that he had a backpack and a rolling suitcase and was holding some kind of protest sign.
Capitol Police Chief Kim Dine said the man had a backpack and a rolling suitcase, triggering an hours-long lockdown, and a sign that said something about “social justice.”
Robert Bishop of Annapolis, Maryland said he was biking near the steps of the Capitol when the suicide happened.
Bishop didn’t witness the suicide but said there were about 60 people in the area, and that some of them did, including a girl and her mother who immediately began crying afterward.
Bishop said another witness told him and a police officer that the man who killed himself held up a protest sign about taxation just before pulling the trigger.
The sign he was holding was later revealed to have said, Tax the 1%.
No one reported who the person was for 24-48 hours, and when his name was released current events had moved as they do in this nation sensationalistic news. He had a name. His name was Leo Thornton. He was 22 and from a Chicago area suburb. He is survived by his parents and family and friends
He wanted people to pay attention. He died in a political protest to bring attention to the wealth inequity in our nation. Once his name was released, our local/national paper, The Washington Post ran a local story with this headline: Rhythms of Washington return after Illinois man’s suicide outside Capitol
Explanations remained elusive Sunday for what may have helped drive the man, identified in police documents as Leo P. Thornton, 22, to commit suicide — and to do so in one of the nation’s iconic places.
A man who answered the phone at the address police listed for Thornton in Lincolnwood, Ill., declined to comment. An incident report from D.C. police recounted that shortly after 1 p.m. Saturday, “witnesses reported that a lone male subject pulled out a gun, then shot himself in the head.”
Thornton had a brown carry-on bag full of clothes and a sign that Capitol Police Chief Kim Dine said touched on “social justice.” A witness said people who saw the sign told him it read “Tax the one percent.” (snip)
“We often look to external cues, which are absolutely important. But we have done that at the expense of identifying the more internal mental health changes that are taking place that are actually amenable to treatment,” Moutier said. “The fact is that millions of Americans believe different political positions, or lose their job, or get bullied, and don’t actually entertain the idea of suicide. There must be some underlying mental health and cognitive risk factors at play.”
What those might be remained unknown Sunday.
Is WaPo suggesting that this man was mentally ill so the message he was trying to spread isn't serious? A man died trying to bring attention the economic inequality. A family lost a son.
Does Congress listen? Well they did last week. The House GOP voted on and passed a bill addressing the 1%.
The U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday ignored a White House veto threat and passed legislation to repeal the estate tax that hits inherited assets worth $5.4 million or more.
By a mostly partisan 240-179 vote, the Republican-backed bill will be sent to the Senate, where Democrats are expected to use procedural hurdles to try to block it. Even if it passes the Senate, it would likely fail to achieve a two-thirds majority needed to override a veto. (snip)
Few Americans pay the 40 percent tax on assets above the $5.4 million exclusion amount. About 5,400 estates, equal to 0.2 percent of taxpayers, will owe such taxes in 2015, according to the JCT.
The bill would increase the deficit by $269 billion over 10 years - to help less than one half of one percent of the country.
Don Hughes is under house arrest for trying to bring attention to campaign finance reform. He is trying to get money out of politics and Leo Thornton is a dead 22 year old who might have had a future ahead of him. Instead he died trying to tell us that people who can should pay more in taxes so we can help those who cannot pay more.
We have a name. Don't let these actions be in vain. Don't let these people become a forgotten blip in history with the title 'Suffered from Mental illness'
What kind of a society have we become? A man decides to commit suicide as an act of political courage, and is dismissed by both the police and media as unworthy of further examination?
When a man in Tunisia set himself on fire in protest of the draconian taxation and intimidating police enforcement of the state (not unlike in Ferguson and most American racially and financially motivated policing toward black Americans) it led to the Arab Spring.
Peace and Love,