Thursday, January 13, 2011, 01:29 PM - Heros & HeroinesTo see true grit, you don't have to go to the movies. Just take a look at 61-year-old Patricia Maisch, one of the heroes from Saturday's shooting in Tucson, Arizona. The Tucson gunman had already fired a full clip of 31 bullets from a Glock 9mm handgun into a crowd of people who had gathered in a Tucson shopping mall parking lot to meet Congresswoman Gabby Giffords. Patricia Maisch was one of the individuals there to speak to Giffords. This is how Patricia described her story to CBS News:
“I heard a shot and I just knew that it was gunshot,” Maisch said. “There was one shot and then a series of shots.
“So I had to make a split-second decision whether I was going to run, or I was going to drop to the ground,” she continued. “And I thought if I ran, I might become a target. So I dropped to the ground.
“He shot the woman that was next to me, and I was just waiting for the next bullet,” Maisch said.
Then Maisch saw the gunman was on the ground near her. “Two gentlemen had knocked him to the ground, and somebody yelled ‘Get the gun,’” Maisch said. “So I knelt up – he was on his right side – I knelt up and reached over him. I couldn’t reach the gun, but as he was doing that he also pulled another magazine out of his left pocket, which he dropped on the pavement, and I was able to get it before he did.
“At the same time, another gentleman had picked up the gun. So he was secured.”
She said she could not get a good look at the gunman’s face. “He had a stocking cap on, and the way he was pushed on the ground, I could only see a little bit of the left side of his face, ‘cause he had the stocking cap almost up to his eyes, both at the side, and above his eyebrows,” she said.
“And I was on his legs when – after I got the clip, he was struggling, and kicking his legs, so I knelt on his legs. And then I noticed that the one gentleman, Bill, who had knocked him down had a head wound, so I asked somebody else to come and take my place and ran into Safeway and got some towels, and made a compress for Bill’s head.”
“I think it’s pure adrenaline,” Maisch said.
Bravo Patricia! You are amazing! We're glad that you were there that day. More people might have been killed without you. Thank you!
Click below to watch Patricia's interview on Countdown:
from Harold Scull, his partner of 20 years, has obtained a settlement of his elder abuse lawsuit against defendant County of Sonoma, for six hundred and fifty thousand dollars ($650,000). The case, which was filed in Sonoma County Superior Court more than a year ago, was scheduled to go to jury trial this month. The timing of the settlement, right up against the trial date, indicates that the County only settled due to the pressure of the looming trial date.
The National Center for Lesbian Rights, which brought the lawsuit on Clay's behalf (together with The Law Office of Anne N. Dennis, and Stephen O'Neill and Margaret Flynn of Tarkington, O'Neill, Barrack & Chong) issued a press release that struck a cautionary note:
"What Clay and Harold lost can never be replaced, but this settlement brings a measure of justice to their story," said Amy Todd-Gher, Senior Staff Attorney for the National Center for Lesbian Rights,.... This victory sends an unmistakable message that all elders must be treated with respect and dignity, regardless of their sexual orientation, and that those who mistreat elders must be held accountable. Even as we celebrate this victory, however, we are deeply troubled that the County of Sonoma continues to refuse to take responsibility for their egregious misconduct and violations of the law in this case. We urge every citizen of Sonoma County to demand more oversight of the Public Guardian’s office. They need to be watched."
They need to be watched indeed. If you read the County of Sonoma's website, it says that the reason it settled the lawsuit was "to avoid costs associated with a lengthy trial." They added, "The County must manage taxpayer money prudently." Did they forget about justice and doing the right thing? The only errors that the County acknowledges relate to Clay Greene and Harold Stull's property:
"The County acknowledges that some administrative errors occurred in the handling and disposition of the plaintiffs’ property, which led to improvements in Public Guardian policies with respect to procedures for property disposition and case management. The County remains confident in its position that there was no discrimination in this case....."
They apologize for violating property rights but can't bring themselves to acknowledge they violated Clay's civil rights, as an elder, to be free from elder abuse, and as a gay man, to be free from discrimination. Sonoma County could have brought this episode to a more satisfactory resolution by admitting its mistake and promising it won't happen again. Instead, this case concludes with Sonoma County, which used to known just for fine wine, taking its place in the history of civil rights violators, alongside places such as Little Rock, Arkansas and Birmingham, Alabama.
By the terms of the settlement, only $25,000 of it relates to "property damage." By paying Clay Greene a very large settlement, that is as close as they come to admitting the magnitude of their mistakes. A large settlement for a huge injustice.
To read the press release by the National Center for Lesbian Rights, click here.
To read the press release by Sonoma County, click here.
Saturday, May 8, 2010, 04:29 PM - Lawsuits, Elder Abuse Laws, Heros & Heroines, If You're Not Outraged . . .If there was a contest for "Worst Place For (Gay)Elderly to Live," Sonoma County, California would have to be on the short list, based on what they did to two elderly gay gentlemen, Clay Greene and Harold Scull, pictured here in happier times. Clay Greene was living in his home in Sonoma County, with his partner of 20 years, Harold Scull. Harold, then 88 years old, fell and was hospitalized. What happened then is every elder person’s – and gay person’s – worse nightmare. The County sprung into action, removing Clay from his home, and sending Clay and Harold, against their will, to separate nursing homes.
Although Clay and Harold had wills, powers of attorney, and medical directives, all naming each other as their responsible persons, the County even obtained court orders preventing Clay and Harold from seeing each other. The County sold their belongings at auction, and as reported by Scott James of the New York Times, removed the men’s cats from their home, right in front of Clay Green. Clay is still haunted by the scene. “When Clay M. Greene remembered the events of June 2008, he clenched his teeth, his hands tightened into fists and his body shook. They grabbed them by their necks and tossed them in a car,’ he said last week, recalling the fate of his beloved cats, Sassy and Tiger. He never saw them again.” Harold died in the nursing home, a few months later. With the assistance of a court-appointed attorney, Anne Dennis, of Santa Rosa, Clay was finally released from the nursing home
According to Kay Kendall of the Bilerico Project, all Clay has left from his life together with Harold is a photograph. The rest was destroyed by the County.
Clay Greene has decided to strike back against this despicable and egregious conduct, and is suing Sonoma County for violation of his civil rights – as an elder and as a gay man – in a lawsuit that will go to trial in July. Clay is from a generation that was forced to live their lives behind closed doors, so he does not use the term “gay” to describe himself, or the term “same sex partner” to describe his relationship with Harold. By standing up for himself, though, he will vindicate the rights of senior citizens in general and gay senior citizens in particular who live in fear that the same thing could happen to themselves.
To read the New York Times article about Clay Greene, click here. To read Kay Kendall’s article in Bilerico, click here.
You can learn more about the lawsuit, by visiting a Facebook page set up by Clay's supporters: www.facebook.com/JusticeForClay?v=app_2347471856
Sunday, April 18, 2010, 03:56 PM - Heros & HeroinesIf you don't like cute animal stories, . . . read this anyway. You'll love this one.
A dog, Bella, and an elephant, Tarra, living on an elephant sanctuary, became best friends. They don’t let their differences (in this case their species) get in the way of their friendship. These animals have something to teach us about accepting each other’s differences and finding joy in unlikely situations.
Click below to see the original story, broadcast on CBS News by reporter Steve Hartmann.
Tuesday, January 12, 2010, 11:18 AM - Heros & HeroinesDirector Stephen Walker, pictured here, has made a film for Indepedent Lens about a chorus in Northampton, Massachusetts.
Although the chorus members are in their 80s, the music they perform is anything but geriatric, unless the Clash's "London Calling" now qualifies as old folks music.(I think not). Although you're probably still skeptical, as I admit I am, you can tell just by looking at the film's poster, below, that it is something special.
Will Joe Strummer be rolling over in his grave when they perform "Should I Stay Or Should I Go?" Tune in tonight and find out. Here in the Bay Area, the program plays on KQED, Channel 9, at 9 p.m. PST. Click here to go to the Young@Heart website to watch a preview and check the time of your local listing.