key witness in Amber Guyger murder trial and neighbor of Botham Jean, shot to death in Dallas

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

Joshua Brown, key witness in Amber Guyger murder trial and neighbor of Botham Jean, shot to death in Dallas

(CNN)A man who was a key witness in the murder trial of former Dallas police officer Amber Guyger was fatally shot Friday in the parking lot of his apartment complex, according to attorney Lee Merritt.

Joshua Brown was a neighbor of shooting victim Botham Jean, who was sitting in his apartment in September 2018 when Guyger walked inside and shot him to death. Brown says he lived directly across the hall from Jean.
Joshua Brown on the witness stand.

Merritt, attorney for Jean’s family, told CNN he spoke to Brown’s mother who confirmed the death.
Dallas police responded to a call for a shooting at the Atera Apartments complex around 10:30 p.m. Friday, police told CNN.
Officers were flagged down by witnesses who directed them to Brown, who was lying on the ground of the apartment parking lot with multiple gunshot wounds. He was transported to Parkland Memorial Hospital, where he died from his injuries, according to a statement from Dallas Police.
Witnesses told police they heard several gunshots and saw a silver four-dour sedan speed out of the parking lot, police said.
Brown had no identification on him, so police couldn’t identify him until the medical examiner made a positive ID and notified the next of kin.
There is no suspect information at this time, police said.

‘He said it could have been him’

Brown said during his testimony he was originally from Jacksonville, Florida and moved to Texas in 2008.
He attended college in southern Florida where studied interdisciplinary sciences. He tried to play football after college, but got into roofing. He says he was a roofing contractor for a few years. At the time of his testimony, Brown said he was managing four Airbnb’s in Los Angeles, Atlanta and Dallas.
Merritt said Brown lived in constant fear of gun violence and that’s why he was emotional on the witness stand during the trial.
“He said it could have been him,” Merritt said.
Merritt wrote in a Facebook post that Brown’s murder “underscores the reality of the black experience in America.”
“Brown lived in constant fear that he could be the next victim of gun violence, either state sanctioned or otherwise,” he wrote.

Joshua Brown’s testimony

Brown testified that he met Jean the day he was killed. He said he was down the hall from his apartment when he heard the voices of two people who sounded like they were meeting by “surprise.” The gunshots followed “right after,” he said.
Soon after, from his apartment balcony, Brown said he saw Guyger come out to the hallway from Jean’s apartment on the phone. She was “crying, explaining what happened, what she thought happened, saying she came in to the wrong apartment,” he said.
Through his peep hole, Brown said he also saw the former officer “going back, back and forth on the phone.”
“And then, I think she went back inside, then came back out,” said Brown, who lived across the hallway from Jean.
During testimony, Brown broke down and wiped away tears with his T-shirt. Jean’s family members could be heard crying softly.
Guyger, 31, was found guilty of murder Wednesday and given a 10-year sentence. She will first be eligible for parole in five years.
The ex-officer said she mistakenly walked into the wrong apartment in her complex and opened fire because she thought Jean was an intruder.

Ex-cop who killed neighbor in his own home found guilty of murder

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

Ex-cop who killed neighbor in his own home found guilty of murder

3 min ago

Court will resume at 2 p.m. ET

The court will likely hear from witnesses this afternoon before Amber Guyger’s sentencing. Court will resume at 2 p.m. ET.

Earlier today: Guyger, the former Dallas cop who fatally shot Botham Jean in his own apartment last year, was found guilty of murder.

With the murder conviction, Guyger, 31, now faces up to life in prison.

36 min ago

The jury deliberated for less than a day

A Dallas jury moments ago found former police officer Amber Guyger guilty of murder for fatally shooting her unarmed neighbor, Botham Jean.

The jury deliberated less than 24 hours. The verdict followed a trial that has captured national attention and sparked outrage.

The jury had two questions for the court this morning before they reached the verdict, according to attorneys for the Jean family:

  • Jurors asked for a definition of manslaughter.
  • They also asked for additional information on the so-called castle doctrine — the legal notion that your home is your castle, and you have the right to use lethal force to defend your home and not retreat.
56 min ago

Attorney for the Jean family: “Botham did not deserve to die. His family deserved justice”

Attorney S. Lee Merritt, who represents Botham Jean’s family, reacted on Twitter following the guilty verdict.

“On behalf of the family of Botham Shem Jean, thank you Dallas County for delivering the proper murder conviction of Amber Guyger,” Merritt said.

Former Dallas police officer Amber Guyger entered Jean’s apartment, which she said she mistook for hers, and fatally shot him as he watched TV on the couch. Guyger was found guilty of murder earlier today.

S. Lee Merritt, Esq.@MeritLaw

On behalf of the family of Botham Shem Jean, thank you Dallas County for delivering the proper murder conviction of Amber Guyger. Botham did not deserve to die. His family deserved justice.

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1 hr 9 min ago

Amber Guyger faces life in prison

Ex-Dallas police officer Amber Guyger was just found guilty of murder for the killing of Botham Jean, her unarmed, 26-year-old black neighbor.

The murder conviction carries a sentence of up to life in prison.

1 hr 18 min ago

Here’s how Botham Jean’s family reacted when the guilty verdict was announced

Botham Jean’s mother threw both arms up in the air upon hearing the guilty verdict. Another woman started to shout in praise, but the bailiff quickly chastised her.

Multiple members of Jean’s family broke out sobbing and hugged members of the prosecution team.

Meanwhile, Amber Guyger’s mother broke down crying.

After the judge started dismissed the room and the doors opened, people in the hallway began clapping and cheering loudly. Other members of the public were crying on benches in hallway.

There were shouts of “Guilty! Guilty!” and “black lives matter” from those in the hallway.

1 hr 29 min ago

Amber Guyger found guilty of murder

A jury has found former Dallas police officer Amber Guyger guilty of murder after less than 24 hours of deliberation.

Guyger was indicted last year after fatally shooting her unarmed neighbor, Botham Jean, in his apartment, which she said she mistook as hers.

Jurors were given the option of finding Guyger guilty of the lesser offense of manslaughter. With the murder conviction, Guyger, 31, now faces up to life in prison.

The verdict follows a case that has captured national attention and sparked outrage.

Guyger, who is white, testified she parked on the wrong floor of the Dallas apartment complex where she lived on September 6, 2018. She then walked to the apartment directly above hers – which belonged to Jean, who was black—and fired when she encountered Jean.

1 hr 30 min ago

The jury began deliberating Monday

The jury began deliberating in the murder trial of former police officer Amber Guyger on Monday.

The jury was instructed to decide whether Guyger is guilty of first-degree murder. If found not guilty, the jury should then consider a lesser charge of manslaughter.

The defense also rested its case Monday in Guyger’s trial for killing Botham Jean in his Dallas apartment in 2018.

1 hr 30 min ago

What you need to know about the trial of Amber Guyger

A verdict is expected soon in the trial of Amber Guyger, a former Dallas police officer who is charged with killing an unarmed 26-year-old man in his own apartment.

Jurors began deliberating on Monday after closing arguments wrapped.

Here’s what we know about the trial:

  • The charge: Guyger is accused of entering the apartment of 26-year-old Botham Jean last year and fatally shooting him as he watched TV on the couch, Jason Hermus, a Dallas County prosecutor, told jurors.
  • Guyger testified at her trial: She broke down on the witness stand Friday, saying she believed she had entered her own home and thought the man she encountered was going to kill her. Guyger, who testified in her own defense, said: “I hate that I have to live with this every single day of my life.”
  • She texted her partner after the shooting: While she was on the phone with a 911 dispatcher, Guyger sent two text messages to her partner on the force — whom prosecutors said she was intimate with — one at 10:02 p.m. saying, “I need you … hurry,” and another a minute later saying, “I f***ed up,” according to the testimony. Prosecutors argued that she did not render adequate aid nor did she use the first aid supplies in her work bag. Guyger said she performed first aid on Jean, an affidavit said.
  • Body camera footage was played: Video showed police trying to save Jean’s life as he lay bleeding from a gunshot wound on the floor. The video was played without the jury in a discussion of evidentiary matters. But it sent Jean’s parents, Allison and Bertrum, as well as other family and friends walking out of the courtroom.

7 Best Botanical Gardens in the U.S.

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRIP TRIVIA)

 

7 Best Botanical Gardens in the U.S.

What do you do if you want to enjoy the beauty of blooming flowers, trees and plants, but you don’t have much of a green thumb? Do you struggle to plant your own garden with varying levels of success? Or do you opt to just visit a gorgeous botanical garden and leave the planting and horticulture to the experts? If you’re team B, who wants nothing to do with potting soil and toiling away in the yard, then you need to add these seven botanical gardens to your must-see list.

New York Botanical Gardens (The Bronx, NY)

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To be fair, there are two botanical gardens in New York City, the other being the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. But the city’s official garden is in the borough that’s home to hip-hop and the Yankees — the Bronx. The New York Botanical Gardens (NYBG) spreads over 250 acres with indoor and outdoor exhibits. It is also an official historic landmark. Depending on the time of year that you visit, you can catch some beautiful seasonal exhibits. Over the winter holidays, the NYBG puts on its annual model train show. In the spring months, you can visit the Peggy Rockefeller Rose Garden where over 650 varieties are in bloom. An added bonus, the New York Botanical Gardens are literally across the street from the Bronx Zoo, which makes for a wonderful day trip on the 2 train.

Desert Botanical Garden (Phoenix, AZ)

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Does anything bloom in the desert? The answer is yes, and you can find out exactly what kind of plants thrive in the beautiful Desert Botanical Garden located in Phoenix, Arizona. The garden is nestled in the Papago Buttes within the Sonoran Desert. You can check out more than 50,000 plants spread across the garden’s 140 acres. This particular botanical garden focuses on plant life that you would find in desert conditions. Be sure to check their calendar for seasonal events as the Desert Botanical Garden also serves as a live event space for concerts and performing arts.

Missouri Botanical Gardens (St. Louis, MO)

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If you prefer places with historical significance, then the Missouri Botanical Gardens is the perfect spot. This particular botanical garden opened its doors in 1859 and is the oldest continuous operating garden in the United States. The garden is set on 79 acres and features a variety of interesting exhibits. Enjoy a stroll through one of the nation’s largest Japanese gardens, on 14-acres. You can also visit their year-round domed Climatron greenhouse without columns that houses a lush tropical rainforest. Fun fact, the Missouri Botanical Gardens is the second largest botanical garden in North America, second only to the Bronx’s New York Botanical Gardens.

United States Botanic Garden (Washington, D.C.)

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While the Missouri Botanical Gardens is considered the oldest operating U.S. botanical garden, the United States Botanic Garden is also quite old. Established in 1820, this garden was actually designated as part of the National Mall. Although the United States Botanic Garden isn’t one of the largest in the nation, it’s a great way to take a break when you’re exhausted from the museums and monuments. The garden is home to 60,000 various plant species, including several that are endangered.

Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden (Dallas, TX)

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Where can you see 17 specialty gardens in one place? If you guessed Texas, you’re right! This garden sits on 66 acres and features a variety of gardens and walking paths. The Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden is home to some very fun and festive-themed seasonal exhibits. For example, during the fall, they create a Pumpkin Village that incorporates over 90,000 pumpkins and 150,000 fall blooms.

Longwood Gardens (Kennett Square, PA)

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If you happen to take a trip to Philadelphia, then it’s worth making a slight detour to visit Longwood Gardens. This massive botanical garden is located a short hour outside of Philadelphia and boasts an impressive list of indoor and outdoor gardens as well as gorgeous lily pad ponds. The Longwood Gardens were created by the magnate Pierre Du Pont as a sort of homage to the gardens of Versaille. In the winter you can stick to the four and a half acres of indoor gardens. But in the summer, be sure not to miss their weekly illuminated fountain and fireworks displays that take place every weekend.

International Rose Test Garden (Portland, OR)

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If you like only one particular kind of flower and that flower happens to be a rose, then Portland’s International Rose Test Garden should be on the top of your list. Did you know that Portland is actually nicknamed the City of Roses? And once you stroll through this beautiful garden, it will all make sense. The International Rose Test Garden began as a sanctuary for European roses to grow in safety during World War I. Today, the garden still serves as a research facility where breeders send their seeds. The rose garden is home to more than 650 species of roses and can sometimes offer as many as 10,000 bushes in bloom during the prime season.

So, the next time you have an urge to enjoy the beauty of mother nature, you don’t have to run to your local home improvement store. Ditch the gardening gloves and terra cotta planters and hit the road. There are plenty of beautiful gardens across the nation where you can enjoy nature and leave green thumbs to the pros.

5 Fastest Growing U.S. Cities

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRAVEL TRIVIA)

 

Fastest Growing U.S. Cities

For jobs, lifestyle choices, weather, cost of living, retirement — you name it — we’re moving a lot. Using census data, trends surveys rely on myriad criteria and methodology to determine the fastest growing areas, often breaking down information based on small, medium and large cities. Not to mention use of precise definitions for metropolitan statistical areas, metropolitan divisions and so on. Confused yet? Not to worry. The overall trends are driven by a few easy to understand factors.

People are still moving to take jobs in coastal tech hubs. Then there are inland cities growing due to “tech dislocation,” places with rapid tech sector growth due to the exodus of workforces from more expensive cities. Another huge factor is retirement (think Florida and Arizona). Note that the cities on this list are all large, and made the top five based on pure volume of growth. Meanwhile, many small and medium cities had a higher percentage of growth. Based solely on overall growth numbers released in May by the United States Census Bureau, the five fastest growing cities in the country are highlighted below.

Los Angeles, California

Los Angeles, California

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Perhaps the poster child for urban sprawl, Los Angeles grew by 18,643 people since the last annual count, for a total 2017 population of 3,999,759. That’s just over 50 people per day. With a mild year-round climate of near-perpetual sun, weather has to be one of the biggest enticements for new residents. The Southern California mega-city has long been a draw for free spirits, artists and aspiring actors, along with being a domestic melting pot with large Hispanic and Asian populations. Hollywood, the center of the television and film industry in the U.S., accounts for much of the city’s industry, along with the music biz.

Fort Worth, Texas

Fort Worth, Texas

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With its recent growth, Fort Worth has overtaken Indianapolis, Indiana, to become the 15th largest city in the country. For a city that started as a trading post for cowboys at the end of the Chisholm Trail, Fort Worth has come a long way. The city in North Central Texas grew by 18,644 for a total population of 874,168. Cowboy heritage is retained here, where the Fort Worth Stockyards are still home to some of the nation’s largest rodeo events, and the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame honors early pioneers. It’s not all about country culture, however, as this metropolitan city is home to international art institutes like the Kimbell Art  Museum. Considering a move or visit to Fort Worth? A great resource is the city’s website, fortworthtexas.gov.

Dallas, Texas

Dallas, Texas

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Long the commercial and cultural hub of north Texas, Dallas is a modern metropolis sprouted from western roots. After all, the city’s NFL franchise is called the Cowboys. The culture and charm of Dallas — which grew by 18,935 to an overall population of 1,341,075 — are highlighted by the Lake and Garden district in East Dallas (parks, lakes, an arboretum and gardens), Deep Ellum (a former warehouse district turned nightlife hotspot), the Arts District (largest urban arts district in the nation, in the core of downtown) and Highland Park (high-end shopping and dining in North Dallas). Potential Dallas transplants and visitors will find great information at the visitdallas.com.

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Phoenix, Arizona

Phoenix, Arizona

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The capital of Arizona, Phoenix grew by 24,036 residents to reach a population of 1,626,078. Retirement and the resort lifestyle are keys to the area’s growth, with aging baby boomers flocking for year-round sun and warmth. Ritzy resort spas and world-class golf courses, among them a Jack Nicklaus design, are attractive to a crowd with plenty of expendable income and leisure time. Beyond the country club gates, Phoenix offers everyone cultural pursuits, with a vibrant nightlife fueled by glitzy nightclubs and dive bars alike, along with a cosmopolitan culinary scene. Spring training baseball and abundant outdoor recreation are additional draws, while the city’s Desert Botanical Garden showcases the abundance of life that flourishes amidst harsh growing conditions, with displays of hearty cacti and native plant species.

San Antonio, Texas

San Antonio, Texas

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Whether or not they “remember the Alamo,” folks are flocking to San Antonio, which grew by 24,208 to reach a population of 1,511,946. The major city in south-central Texas is steeped in colonial history, including the Alamo, the 18th-century Spanish mission preserved as a museum to commemorate the infamous 1836 battle for Texan independence from Mexico. Tracing the contours of the San Antonio River for miles through the heart of the city, San Antonio’s River Walk is its most prominent modern landmark, an alluring pedestrian promenade of shops, restaurants and bars. Future residents and vacationers can grab a great perspective on the city atop the 750-foot tall Tower of the Americas, which overlooks the entire city from its location in HemisFair Park.

A Transgender Woman Who Was Attacked in Dallas Last Month Has Been Found Dead

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE NEW YORK TIMES)

 

A Transgender Woman Who Was Attacked in Dallas Last Month Has Been Found Dead

Muhlaysia Booker spoke at a rally in Dallas last month after she was attacked in a parking lot. On Saturday, she was found dead. Credit Ryan Michalesko/The Dallas Morning News

Last month’s attack took place on April 12, shortly after Ms. Booker was involved in an automobile accident in the parking lot of an apartment complex.

video of the episode showed a man the authorities identified as Mr. Thomas repeatedly punching a woman on the ground as she struggled. Other men in the crowd kicked her before a group of women helped her get away. The police said that people in the crowd shouted anti-gay slurs during the beating, and that Ms. Booker was hospitalized with a concussion and a fractured wrist.

Attacks on transgender people have been rising, according to advocacy groups. At least 26 transgender people were killed in the United States last year, most of them black transgender women, according to the Human Rights Campaign, an advocacy group. The group has listed three transgender people who were killed in 2019 — not including Ms. Booker — and all were black women who were fatally shot.

Those numbers may understate the problem because local officials are not required to report such killings to any central database, and because the police sometimes release incorrect names or genders, making it difficult to know that a homicide victim was transgender.

At a news conference after she was attacked last month, Ms. Booker stood on a podium and faced a group of supporters, several of whom carried signs in support of transgender people.

“This has been a rough week for myself, the transgender community and also the city of Dallas,” Ms. Booker said.

“This time, I can stand before you,” she added. “Whereas in other scenarios, we are at a memorial.”

Real World Poem: Life Through A Windshield

Life through a Windshield

 

In 81’ the story began, first with my brother and then with a friend

Seeing life through a windshield like a gypsy on eighteen wheels

But when you do this for a living it’s life you omit

White line fever they call it in movies and in song

White lines on the concrete is to what you belong

 

 

The back rows of the truck stops and the cab of a truck is your home

From Bean-town to Shaky to Big D then Windy once again you roam

Dispatch can get you a load to anywhere except the state you belong

Driving your shiny KW or Freight Shaker is not just a job now you see

Through the windshield is your life on this unending concrete sea

 

 

Back braces, Aspirin, Doan’s Pills and of course Preparation H

Always part of your luggage because that hot freight just can’t wait

Truck driving is a hobby for the homeless no roots do you need

Life through a windshield is now a life you can’t ever really leave

My Own Personal VA Horror Story Of Fraud, Incompetence, Apathy And Lies (1 of 2)

THIS IS PART ONE OF A TWO PART ARTICLE. BECAUSE OF IT’S LENGTH I WILL FINISH THE SHORTER OF THE TWO PARTS TOMORROW AND POST IT THEN. PLEASE, I BEG YOU, IF YOU GIVE A DAMN ABOUT AMERICAS SERVICE CONNECTED DISABLED VETERANS PLEASE READ THIS INFORMATION. I PROMISE YOU, THIS IS A 100% TRUE ARTICLE!

 

Along with that title I should include massive malpractice and attempted murder. I know that what I just said is a bit harsh as is the title yet when something you speak is the truth it is not slander or harsh, it’s just the truth. I know that this may well be my longest article ever but if you wish to hear some truth about how bad I have been treated by the VA system, please lend me your ear. I do not think for one moment that I have been singled out for their persecution, I am just one of millions that they are guilty of trying to kill off whether that be through the above listed actions, or even possibly intent. I know that is a tough statement but after talking with at least 200 different disabled Veterans and their wives from all over the country and hearing their own horror stories it makes one wonder a little bit if the VA is trying to kill off as many of the older Vets as possible to help save the system money so that they can afford all the new disabled younger folks coming into the system everyday.

 

My story would have to begin when I went into the Army on 7-18-1983. I was sent to Boot Camp at Ft. Dix NJ. While on a training mission there on the post on 8-11-83 I was struck by lightning. Right from the start the company C/O started trying to cover things up and trying to blame others for the event. To me that is really stupid being this isn’t the Boy Scouts. They did know that a huge weather system was coming up the east coast because they had been telling us about it all day, yet still I don’t believe anyone is ‘responsible’, I was just in the wrong place at the wrong time, 6 PM. When I was totally cleared on medical I was discharged on 2-3-84 from Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland where I had been transferred for the purpose of learning a trade called Small Arms Repair. Ft. Dix just pushed the problem off to another group for them to deal with plus I learned that almost all of my medical records vanished. Within the first five years after I was discharged (because I couldn’t do the work) all record of me ever being in the Army somehow disappeared three different times. The only thing that saved me was the fact that I had several paper documents proving otherwise. I lived in the Dallas Ft. Worth Texas area so I started going to the Dallas VA Hospital starting in September of 84 and moved away from there on 7-1-97. Just recently (about six months ago) I was informed by the VA  here in Lexington Ky that the VA has no record of me visiting the Dallas VA until September of 1995. How convenient for them to lose all those records, just like the records from the Ft. Dix hospital have almost all disappeared. One of the interesting little facts that I haven’t told any of them yet is that in their new computer system (about 3 yrs old) they call “My Healthevet” they have record of several of my lab reports dating from January of 1991, from Dallas.

 

As I said earlier I was discharged in February of 84, by about July of 84 I was starting to have pain in the left side of my chest and real bad pain in my left shoulder. By September of 84 the shoulder pain had gotten so intense that I could not put my left hand up on the lawn mower handle to hold the lever to make the mower function. I did not have any medical insurance at my job so I went to the Dallas VA at least seven times starting with September of 84 up through the spring of 97 when I moved to Ocala Florida and started going to the VA in Gainesville Florida. All of these times that I went to the hospitals for help it was all I could do to walk in from the parking lot because of having so much pain in my chest, shoulder and neck where I was sweating very badly and very short of breath. Each time I had to stop two or three times because of these reasons. When I would finally get seen I used to have the ‘problem’ where my blood pressure tended to always stay at about 110/70. The medical people would see that and say “well we know it’s not your heart” because by blood pressure was so good. Even though I had all the signs of having a heart attack I could never get them to “waste their time” to ever get an EKG. I always got told there was nothing wrong except maybe heartburn and they would dismiss me.

 

Being struck by lightning is not something I believe I had ever thought much about, until it happened. It is not something that I recommend for anyone to go through, to say the least, it hurts. I did not really know anything about the effects of being struck by it but if you will read this article you will learn things from my experience. Lightning to me is still a surprising thing in that it produces such energy that can kill a whole herd of cattle in a field or split a huge oak in half or set a house on fire, or hit a person in the head and they might still live. I have learned that lightning does not kill most of the people it hits but it does tend to mess most folks up for life. I also learned that most people (like with me) do not have exit wounds.

 

When this event happened I had just laid down on my mat to eat my supper. When I lay down I tend to lay on one side or the other, when I do this I also tend to put (in this case) my left foot/ankle upon the right one. The impact hit me right on my ankle bones then ran up the bone system which the Doctors at the hospital told me was rather normal for it to have done being I was laying down that way. I felt the electricity moving up my legs into my low back and it left red jagged burn marks along its path which is also normal for it to do. I quit feeling that sensation once it reached my low spine where it turned my coccyx (bottom of your spine) and flipped it around backwards. I learned later that this happened because the electricity hit it knocking it out-of-the-way and the electricity ran up my spine. While on the examining table in the emergency room I could not feel my legs except for the intense pain in both of my ankles. There was an area on both ankles about the size of a silver dollar where it felt like there was a vice being cranked down on the ankle bones. There was one Doctor who I remember was a Major whom the ER called in because he had had experience with lightning strike victims. There was also another Doctor there who was working with him whom had no such experience. The second Doctor touched my knees and made comment that my knees were hot, which I did not know because I could not feel them. So, I put my hands on my knees and found out that he was correct, they were quite hot. This Doctor also by accident touched the bottom of my right foot with all the fingers on one of his hands, when he did this my whole right leg flew up and my knee almost hit me in the face and then went straight back down. This happened even though I could not feel either of my feet, this was one of my early warning signs about nerve damage. Another big sign of the nerve damage was when the now three Doctors helped me up onto the side of the table so that I could step down onto the floor, they wanted to see if my legs would be able to hold me up. The result was that as soon as my feet hit the floor an intense pain as if it were a bullet went up through the bottoms of my feet, through my whole body and out the top of my head in no more than one second. I actually yelled out in pain as I hit the floor within that one second. Actually the yelp was after the pain had already gone through me as I now laid crumpled on the floor. I remember hearing the term C-6 for the first time at that moment. I didn’t know what this lady Doctor meant by that so she explained that the sensation was because there was nerve damage to the C-6 vertebrae which is in people’s neck. Ever since the lightning strike I have never been able to take the pain of doing something stupid like hopping out of the back of a trailer or off of a loading dock with out it hurting me a lot with the same result as at the hospital.

 

When I was transferred to Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland I spent most of my time there as a Colonel’s Orderly while I was doing rehab at clinics and occasionally going to their Post hospital to see this one idiotic lady Captain Doctor who she seemed to think that because she out ranked me that she could give me the order about the lightning of “it never happened”, as I said, idiotic. While I was at Aberdeen they tried to send me through a school called Small Arms Repair which is really no more than being a parts changer on small arms, rifles, shotguns, pistols and the like. When I took the entrance exams to get into the Army my scores were all up in the mid ninety’s which I was informed by the school CO was higher than any of the instructors, yet I could not pick it up, I could not remember things from one day to the next. The people in charge tended to think that I was failing on purpose but I wasn’t, I just couldn’t remember the material. I did fail out of that school and once my medical clearance came through I was handed my Honorable Discharge papers the next day. Up until August of 2015, I could never figure out why I now had such a hard time learning new things to where I now have to write about anything new onto note pads to where I can go over and over it until I can pick it up. That summer I was on-line just flipping through different web sites and I came across one that was from Neurology Today Magazine and I noticed a headline about a study on lightning strike survivors and spine damage. In this article I learned that a lightning strike generates apx one million volts of electricity. They said that when a large electrical shock goes up the spine that among the things it does is to zap a nerve that is at the tip-top of everyone’s spine. When this happens to a person the result is that the nerve sends something like a little beam to the left front part of the brain where short-term memory is located, and zaps it, thus screwing up a persons short-term memory abilities. I have come across several VA Doctors throughout the years who are adamant that among other things, that there is no such thing as back injuries and that there is no such thing as nerve damage. It has become my belief that many Doctors enter the military and or the VA for employment because they cannot be sued for malpractice so they also do not need to pay for that coverage. I still come across some VA Doctors to this day that believe that if a person’s blood pressure is okay that the person’s heart is okay, total ignorance!

 

If a person wants to find out about problems people who have been hit with lightning tend to have concerning their long-term health they would find that my problems are not any different from what would be considered as normal. The first two things on the list are heart problems and spinal nerve problems. I am no one special in this regard yet I receive 40% Service Connected disability rating from the VA because of traumatic arthritic conditions to my knees at 20% and the other 20% because of hearing loss in both ears. Nothing for the ankles which was the point on impact, nor any of the other joints, nothing for nerve damage, nothing for the heart being destroyed. I did have one test done that I had been asking for years to be done called a Nerve Conductivity Test, when they did it they “on my legs” they said that they found no problems and this “test” results are what is in my records. The “test” was conducted by one guy (I say ‘guy’ because I have learned that many people who do these test aren’t actually Doctors and often aren’t even VA employees), this guy had me take off my pants, shoes and socks and to sit upon a table. He told me to turn my head to the right and not to look toward him as he did ‘the test’. When he told me he was done I was allowed to look back at him, what he had done was to take a stick pin like you use to put a calendar onto a wall and stuck each of my legs about 20 times all over both legs. What I saw was all of these little blood drops/spots and him holding that pin. I would bet almost anything that this is not a real Nerve Conductivity Test, it was just a guy acting like an a-hole. Also now concerning lack of morals, ethics or professionalism when it comes to heart issues. When I have spoken with civilian Doctors including heart Doctors and about my problems they have all said things along the lines of “well of course” lightning did this to your heart and spine. A few used the term “well duh”. I remember this term because three different times when I met Doctors at the VA who were new to me and they asked me about my problems I was having I told them about the lightning and they said “well duh” of course the lightning caused it. But, now the kicker, and my wife was present two of these times, then I told those Doctors that the lightning happened when I was on active duty and they at once changed their opinions and said that well ‘that’ the ‘lightning’ couldn’t have had anything to do with it. We all know that poop flows down hill so that the employees catch all the hell from above if they don’t tow the company mark but when even Doctors who take a ‘solemn oath’ to do no hurt act like this, their lack of morals and ethics are well on display.

 

Three previous times I have applied to the VA for an increase on my disability rating trying to get it on my heart, spine, and on my other joints like my hips and shoulders. All three times a guy would come into a room to do this ‘inspection” and as I an all of America has found out in this past two years of so, these people whom portray themselves as ‘Doctors’ weren’t. These people who have been doing these ‘inspections’ aren’t even VA employees, or Doctors, or even have medical training. These people are outside contractors hired by the VA to do these fraud evaluations. All three of these times when the person came into the room they had orders to only and I do mean only, to look at my knees, not the issues that the appointment was supposed to cover. When you tried to get them to look at some of the other issues every time they would get mad and made it plain that the only thing they were allowed to look at was my knees. One gentleman even went as far as to threaten me that if I didn’t quit complaining that they could just take my rating down to zero and make it where I couldn’t go to the VA anymore. You know what is even worse than this fraud, it’s when you find out that someone in the VA system then puts in your records that during the physical that nothing besides the knees were found to be wrong. The BS continues in this scam against the Service Connected Disabled Vets, now that they put this BS in your records all of the evidence that you had given to them to support your claims can no longer ever be looked at again.

 

There is the issue of the Disability checks that the Service Connected Vets get, as I said I am rated at 40%. For the purpose of saving the VA money where in times past any ratings check would go to the spouse of the Vet once they had died as long as the surviving spouse didn’t remarry. Then it was changed to where the rating had to be at least 30%. Now it is at 60%, so the check we get each month once I die, they cut my wife off unless I get it increased. Yet reality is that they may well in the future raise the requirement rating again after I’m dead. The last day I was able to physically work at all was June 21st, 2013. I applied for social security disability and got my first check in five months and seven days, first try. These other three times I tried to get my rating increased I got turned down after about a year or so but because I was still able to do some work I did not contest them but this last time (4th) I filed in mid February of 2013 because I knew that I was not going to be able to continue working much longer. I had also seen a VA Neurosurgeon at the hospital in Johnson City Tn in October of 2012 who actually in writing agreed with the results of an MRI on my neck that I should be given an increase in ratings because it was obvious that the lightning had messed up my spine. This was turned in with a bunch of other documents that the people on the ratings board in Nashville Tn totally ignored and turned me down flat on all claims. I got this turn down notice in mid March of 2014. At that time because I was no longer able to do any work of any kind I went ahead and filed an appeal which I was told would take about two years at which time I would go in front of a Board of three Judges whom were not getting their checks from the VA like the others had been. In very late June of this year I got a phone call from a man who said he was with this fore mentioned Board who told me that on April 26th of this year that my case was basically put onto someones desk there and that I should be given a date ‘soon’ to where I could go in front of this three Judge panel, I still haven’t heard anything since. February of 2013, it is now April of 2018, that is over 5 years. In March of 1999 in Ocala Florida at a civilian hospital I had a four-way by-pass operation, seven days later one of those arteries closed and I had yet another heart attack (I have had many) these civilian Doctors told me that if I really behaved myself and didn’t pull, push or lift anything that if I was lucky I might live another three or four years. Every day is borrowed time, only through God’s grace and some very good civilian Doctors in Georgia am I still breathing. How many Service Connected Disabled Veterans die each day on this waiting list trying to get an honest rating so that their wife and children won’t have to lose their homes or have the ability to stay off of food stamps? To me their actions (VA) are a moral sin that I have my doubts that God will forgive them for! How much blood are on these people hands?

 

Welcome to 2018! Here’s a week-long deep freeze to help you celebrate

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN WEATHER)

 

(CNN)Welcome to 2018! Here’s a week-long deep freeze to help you celebrate.

The brutal chill that froze much of the country on New Year’s Day will get even more miserable later this week.
“The cold is here to stay and the worst is yet to come,” CNN meteorologist Taylor Ward said.
More than 100 million people from Canada to Mexico are under wind chill warnings and advisories on Tuesday, according to CNN meteorologist Monica Garrett.
On New Year’s Day, 90% of the US failed to warm up to 32 degrees, CNN meteorologist Ivan Cabrera said.
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You know it’s bad when even Dallas can’t get above freezing.
Hard freeze warnings remain in effect through Wednesday in typically balmy states, from Texas to northern Florida, the National Weather Service said.
And for the rest of the week, “much below normal temperatures and dangerous cold wind chills” will afflict much of the central and eastern US.
The wind chills plummeted to -28 in Fargo, North Dakota, and -6 in Tennessee on Tuesday.
If you live anywhere north or northeast of Oklahoma, you’d feel warmer walking into a freezer than walking outside.
Here’s what else different parts of the country can expect:

The Southeast: Snow on the beach

The Southeast will stay 10 to 15 degrees below average temperatures through the weekend, Ward said.
In coastal South Carolina, “it could be snowing on the beach in the next couple of days,” Cabrera said Tuesday.

The Midwest: School closures

The Plains and Midwest will warm slightly — but that’s totally relative. Temperatures in Minneapolis will rise from below zero to 12 degrees on Tuesday, Ward said.
Indianapolis Public Schools and Cincinnati Public Schools canceled classes for Tuesday,
But by the end of the week, temperatures will be near zero again in the Great Lakes region, Garrett said.

The Northeast: The deep plunge

Get ready, New York City. Your temperatures will keep plunging through the week, with “high” temperatures of 14 and 10 on Friday and Saturday. Your low temperatures on both days will be 2 degrees.
Boston is expected to freeze below 0 degrees on Saturday, Ward said.

Life Through A Windsheild

Life through a Windshield

 

In 81’ the story began, first with my brother and then with a friend

Seeing life through a windshield like a gypsy on eighteen wheels

But when you do this for a living it’s life you omit

White line fever they call it in song

White lines on the concrete is to what you belong

The back rows of truck stops and the cab of a truck is your home

From Beantown to Shaky to big D then Windy you roam

Dispatch can get you a load to anywhere except the state you belong

Driving your shiny KW is not just a job now you see

Through the windshield is your life on this unending concrete sea

Aspirin, Doan’s Pills and Preparation H

Always part of your luggage because that hot load just can’t wait

Truck driving is a hobby for the homeless no roots do you need

Life through a windshield is now the life you can’t leave

My Own Personal VA Horror Story Of Their Fraud, Incompetence, Apathy And Lies

THIS IS PART ONE OF A TWO PART ARTICLE. BECAUSE OF IT’S LENGTH I WILL FINISH THE SHORTER OF THE TWO PARTS TOMORROW AND POST IT THEN. PLEASE, I BEG YOU, IF YOU GIVE A DAMN ABOUT AMERICAS SERVICE CONNECTED DISABLED VETERANS PLEASE READ THIS INFORMATION. I PROMISE YOU, THIS IS A 100% TRUE ARTICLE!

 

Along with that title I should include massive malpractice and attempted murder. I know that what I just said is a bit harsh as is the title yet when something you speak is the truth it is not slander or harsh, it’s just the truth. I know that this may well be my longest article ever but if you wish to hear some truth about how bad I have been treated by the VA system, please lend me your ear. I do not think for one moment that I have been singled out for their persecution, I am just one of millions that they are guilty of trying to kill off whether that be through the above listed actions, or even possibly intent. I know that is a tough statement but after talking with at least 200 different disabled Veterans and their wives from all over the country and hearing their own horror stories it makes one wonder a little bit if the VA is trying to kill off as many of the older Vets as possible to help save the system money so that they can afford all the new disabled younger folks coming into the system everyday.

 

My story would have to begin when I went into the Army on 7-18-1983. I was sent to Boot Camp at Ft. Dix NJ. While on a training mission there on the post on 8-11-83 I was struck by lightning. Right from the start the company C/O started trying to cover things up and trying to blame others for the event. To me that is really stupid being this isn’t the Boy Scouts. They did know that a huge weather system was coming up the east coast because they had been telling us about it all day, yet still I don’t believe anyone is ‘responsible’, I was just in the wrong place at the wrong time, 6 PM. When I was totally cleared on medical I was discharged on 2-3-84 from Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland where I had been transferred for the purpose of learning a trade called Small Arms Repair. Ft. Dix just pushed the problem off to another group for them to deal with plus I learned that almost all of my medical records vanished. Within the first five years after I was discharged (because I couldn’t do the work) all record of me ever being in the Army somehow disappeared three different times. The only thing that saved me was the fact that I had several paper documents proving otherwise. I lived in the Dallas Ft. Worth Texas area so I started going to the Dallas VA Hospital starting in September of 84 and moved away from there on 7-1-97. Just recently (about six months ago) I was informed by the VA  here in Lexington Ky that the VA has no record of me visiting the Dallas VA until September of 1995. How convenient for them to lose all those records, just like the records from the Ft. Dix hospital have almost all disappeared. One of the interesting little facts that I haven’t told any of them yet is that in their new computer system (about 3 yrs old) they call “My Healthevet” they have record of several of my lab reports dating from January of 1991, from Dallas.

 

As I said earlier I was discharged in February of 84, by about July of 84 I was starting to have pain in the left side of my chest and real bad pain in my left shoulder. By September of 84 the shoulder pain had gotten so intense that I could not put my left hand up on the lawn mower handle to hold the lever to make the mower function. I did not have any medical insurance at my job so I went to the Dallas VA at least seven times starting with September of 84 up through the spring of 97 when I moved to Ocala Florida and started going to the VA in Gainsville Florida. All of these times that I went to the hospitals for help it was all I could do to walk in from the parking lot because of having so much pain in my chest, shoulder and neck where I was sweating very badly and very short of breath. Each time I had to stop two or three times because of these reasons. When I would finally get seen I used to have the ‘problem’ where my blood pressure tended to always stay at about 110/70. The medical people would see that and say “well we know it’s not your heart” because by blood pressure was so good. Even though I had all the signs of having a heart attack I could never get them to “waste their time” to ever get an EKG. I always got told there was nothing wrong except maybe heartburn and they would dismiss me.

 

Being struck by lightning is not something I believe I had ever thought much about, until it happened. It is not something that I recommend for anyone to go through, to say the least, it hurts. I did not really know anything about the effects of being struck by it but if you will read this article you will learn things from my experience. Lightning to me is still a surprising thing in that it produces such energy that can kill a whole herd of cattle in a field or split a huge oak in half or set a house on fire, or hit a person in the head and they might still live. I have learned that lightning does not kill most of the people it hits but it does tend to mess most folks up for life. I also learned that most people (like with me) do not have exit wounds.

 

When this event happened I had just laid down on my mat to eat my supper. When I lay down I tend to lay on one side or the other, when I do this I also tend to put (in this case) my left foot/ankle upon the right one. The impact hit me right on my ankle bones then ran up the bone system which the Doctors at the hospital told me was rather normal for it to have done being I was laying down that way. I felt the electricity moving up my legs into my low back and it left red jagged burn marks along its path which is also normal for it to do. I quit feeling that sensation once it reached my low spine where it turned my coccyx (bottom of your spine) and flipped it around backwards. I learned later that this happened because the electricity hit it knocking it out-of-the-way and the electricity ran up my spine. While on the examining table in the emergency room I could not feel my legs except for the intense pain in both of my ankles. There was an area on both ankles about the size of a silver dollar where it felt like there was a vice being cranked down on the ankle bones. There was one Doctor who I remember was a Major whom the ER called in because he had had experience with lightning strike victims. There was also another Doctor there who was working with him whom had no such experience. The second Doctor touched my knees and made comment that my knees were hot, which I did not know because I could not feel them. So, I put my hands on my knees and found out that he was correct, they were quite hot. This Doctor also by accident touched the bottom of my right foot with all the fingers on one of his hands, when he did this my whole right leg flew up and my knee almost hit me in the face and then went straight back down. This happened even though I could not feel either of my feet, this was one of my early warning signs about nerve damage. Another big sign of the nerve damage was when the now three Doctors helped me up onto the side of the table so that I could step down onto the floor, they wanted to see if my legs would be able to hold me up. The result was that as soon as my feet hit the floor an intense pain as if it were a bullet went up through the bottoms of my feet, through my whole body and out the top of my head in no more than one second. I actually yelled out in pain as I hit the floor within that one second. Actually the yelp was after the pain had already gone through me as I now laid crumpled on the floor. I remember hearing the term C-6 for the first time at that moment. I didn’t know what this lady Doctor meant by that so she explained that the sensation was because there was nerve damage to the C-6 vertebrae which is in people’s neck. Ever since the lightning strike I have never been able to take the pain of doing something stupid like hopping out of the back of a trailer or off of a loading dock with out it hurting me a lot with the same result as at the hospital.

 

When I was transferred to Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland I spent most of my time there as a Colonel’s Orderly while I was doing rehab at clinics and occasionally going to their Post hospital to see this one idiotic lady Captain Doctor who she seemed to think that because she out ranked me that she could give me the order about the lightning of “it never happened”, as I said, idiotic. While I was at Aberdeen they tried to send me through a school called Small Arms Repair which is really no more than being a parts changer on small arms, rifles, shotguns, pistols and the like. When I took the entrance exams to get into the Army my scores were all up in the mid ninety’s which I was informed by the school CO was higher than any of the instructors, yet I could not pick it up, I could not remember things from one day to the next. The people in charge tended to think that I was failing on purpose but I wasn’t, I just couldn’t remember the material. I did fail out of that school and once my medical clearance came through I was handed my Honorable Discharge papers the next day. Up until last summer, about August of 2015, I could never figure out why I now had such a hard time learning new things to where I now have to write about anything new onto note pads to where I can go over and over it until I can pick it up. Last summer I was on-line just flipping through different web sites and I came across one that was from Neurology Today Magazine and I noticed a headline about a study on lightning strike survivors and spine damage. In this article I learned that a lightning strike generates apx one million volts of electricity. They said that when a large electrical shock goes up the spine that among the things it does is to zap a nerve that is at the tip-top of everyone’s spine. When this happens to a person the result is that the nerve sends something like a little beam to the left front part of the brain where short-term memory is located, and zaps it, thus screwing up a persons short-term memory abilities. I have come across several VA Doctors throughout the years who are adamant that among other things, that there is no such thing as back injuries and that there is no such thing as nerve damage. It has become my belief that many Doctors enter the military and or the VA for employment because they cannot be sued for malpractice so they also do not need to pay for that coverage. I still come across some VA Doctors to this day that believe that if a person’s blood pressure is okay that the person’s heart is okay, total ignorance!

 

If a person wants to find out about problems people who have been hit with lightning tend to have concerning their long term health they would find that my problems are not any different from what would be considered as normal. The first two things on the list are heart problems and spinal nerve problems. I am no one special in this regard yet I receive 40% Service Connected disability rating from the VA because of traumatic arthritic conditions to my knees at 20% and the other 20% because of hearing loss in both ears. Nothing for the ankles which was the point on impact, nor any of the other joints, nothing for nerve damage, nothing for the heart being destroyed. I did have one test done that I had been asking for years to be done called a Nerve Conductivity Test, when they did it they “on my legs” they said that they found no problems and this “test” results are what is in my records. The “test” was conducted by one guy (I say ‘guy’ because I have learned that many people who do these test aren’t actually Doctors and often aren’t even VA employees), this guy had me take off my pants, shoes and socks and to sit upon a table. He told me to turn my head to the right and not to look toward him as he did ‘the test’. When he told me he was done I was allowed to look back at him, what he had done was to take a stick pin like you use to put a calendar onto a wall and stuck each of my legs about 20 times all over both legs. What I saw was all of these little blood drops/spots and him holding that pin. I would bet almost anything that this is not a real Nerve Conductivity Test, it was just a guy acting like an a-hole. Also now concerning lack of morals, ethics or professionalism when it comes to heart issues. When I have spoken with civilian Doctors including heart Doctors and about my problems they have all said things along the lines of “well of course” lightning did this to your heart and spine. A few used the term “well duh”. I remember this term because three different times when I met Doctors at the VA who were new to me and they asked me about my problems I was having I told them about the lightning and they said “well duh” of course the lightning caused it. But, now the kicker, and my wife was present two of these times, then I told those Doctors that the lightning happened when I was on active duty and they at once changed their opinions and said that well ‘that’ the ‘lightning’ couldn’t have had anything to do with it. We all know that poop flows down hill so that the employees catch all the hell from above if they don’t tow the company mark but when even Doctors who take a ‘solemn oath’ to do no hurt act like this, their lack of morals and ethics are well on display.

 

Three previous times I have applied to the VA for an increase on my disability rating trying to get it on my heart, spine, and on my other joints like my hips and shoulders. All three times a guy would come into a room to do this ‘inspection” and as I an all of America has found out in this past two years of so, these people whom portray themselves as ‘Doctors’ weren’t. These people who have been doing these ‘inspections’ aren’t even VA employees, or Doctors, or even have medical training. These people are outside contractors hired by the VA to do these fraud evaluations. All three of these times when the person came into the room they had orders to only and I do mean only, to look at my knees, not the issues that the appointment was supposed to cover. When you tried to get them to look at some of the other issues every time they would get mad and made it plain that the only thing they were allowed to look at was my knees. One gentleman even went as far as to threaten me that if I didn’t quit complaining that they could just take my rating down to zero and make it where I couldn’t go to the VA anymore. You know what is even worse than this fraud, it’s when you find out that someone in the VA system then puts in your records that during the physical that nothing besides the knees were found to be wrong. The BS continues in this scam against the Service Connected Disabled Vets, now that they put this BS in your records all of the evidence that you had given to them to support your claims can no longer ever be looked at again.

 

There is the issue of the Disability checks that the Service Connected Vets get, as I said I am rated at 40%. For the purpose of saving the VA money where in times past any ratings check would go to the spouse of the Vet once they had died as long as the surviving spouse didn’t remarry. Then it was changed to where the rating had to be at least 30%. Now it is at 60%, so the check we get each month once I die, they cut my wife off unless I get it increased. Yet reality is that they may well in the future raise the requirement rating again after I’m dead. The last day I was able to physically work at all was June 21st, 2013. I applied for social security disability and got my first check in five months and seven days, first try. These other three times I tried to get my rating increased I got turned down after about a year or so but because I was still able to do some work I did not contest them but this last time (4th) I filed in mid February of 2013 because I knew that I was not going to be able to continue working much longer. I had also seen a VA Neurosurgeon at the hospital in Johnson City Tn in October of 2012 who actually in writing agreed with the results of an MRI on my neck that I should be given an increase in ratings because it was obvious that the lightning had messed up my spine. This was turned in with a bunch of other documents that the people on the ratings board in Nashville Tn totally ignored and turned me down flat on all claims. I got this turn down notice in mid March of 2014. At that time because I was no longer able to do any work of any kind I went ahead and filed an appeal which I was told would take about two years at which time I would go in front of a Board of three Judges whom were not getting their checks from the VA like the others had been. In very late June of this year I got a phone call from a man who said he was with this fore mentioned Board who told me that on April 26th of this year that my case was basically put onto someones desk there and that I should be given a date ‘soon’ to where I could go in front of this three Judge panel, I still haven’t heard anything since. February of 2013, it is now August of 2016, that is three and a half years and still waiting. In March of 1999 in Ocala Florida at a civilian hospital I had a four-way by-pass operation, seven days later one of those arteries closed and I had yet another heart attack (I have had many) these civilian Doctors told me that if I really behaved myself and didn’t pull, push or lift anything that if I was lucky I might live another three or four years. Every day is borrowed time, only through God’s grace and some very good civilian Doctors in Georgia am I still breathing. How many Service Connected Disabled Veterans die each day on this waiting list trying to get an honest rating so that their wife and children won’t have to lose their homes or have the ability to stay off of food stamps? To me their actions (VA) are a moral sin that I have my doubts that God will forgive them for! How much blood are on these people hands?