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Jerry Bell, Jr. – “Unthinkable” 11/16/2013

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Jerry Bell, Jr. is an accomplished Portland, Oregon actor.  He’s worked on features (The Kill Hole:  2012,  South of Heaven:  2014, Highander:  Dark Beginning:  2013;  shorts (Ambrosia: 2011, The Day They Ran Out of Bullets: 2012, Jive Genie: 2012; and tv’s (Grimm:  2012-2013, Leverage:  2012).  He’s a Georgia native and moved to Portland to follow his acting passion.  He served in the United States Army which perfectly helped him with the character, Dallas, in “Unthinkable.  Dallas is proud of his country.  As a CIA Federal Agent he  has a passionate belief in protecting America.  Anyone who violates the code of honor and betrays the United States better watch out!!  He often leads his partner into precarious situations.  At family dinners there was a flag always within his vision.  He grew up being the best type of soldier, learning how to use weapons for war and how to get himself through the darkness of seeing his comrades die in battle.   He managed to get through it and move on!

Mr. Bell, states how great the director, Eric Stacey, is.  He allowed him to grow and develop as a character.  He set the stage for him to figure out the best way to portray Dallas.  With a small crew, Eric kept the production rolling.  Efficient and getting the work done on time is rare, but Eric did it.  And amazing food was prepared by Eric’s wife!!  Never underestimate how keeping cast and crew well fed leads to a happy team!  So, check out Jerry Bell, Jr’s IMDB page for more information!

PURPLE MIND – Interview for Talent Spotlight Magazine 10/29/2012

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Just sent this interview for Talent Spotlight Magazine off to Jessica Gilbert.  She says it will be published in late November, but thought I’d post it here for anyone looking to get a head start on the rest of the world beating a track to our door…  LOL

Jessica: Eric, it’s wonderful to have you in TSM, and thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to do an interview for the magazine.

 

Eric:  Thanks for your interest in learning more about what we’re up to.

 

Jessica: What inspired you to get into filmmaking?

Eric:  My dad worked in the movies and he was always off somewhere on location or at the studio, so movies and filmmaking and my dad were always part of the same cloth.  When I was a kid, he put a Kodak roll film camera in my hand and I started taking pictures.  This was when I was around seven years old, so I was hooked from a really early age back when the only place people made movies was where we lived – Hollywood.  Also, I guess I fell for the romance of the movies.  What I saw from my perspective was a guy – my dad – who was always going off to interesting places, and hanging out with interesting people and who everybody else seemed to admire.  It was hard not to want to have that kind of life, except that there was a period where I wanted to be a race car driver.

Jessica: Tell us a little bit about your filmmaking background.

 

Eric:  One Saturday afternoon when I was five or six, my dad took me to see the original “King Kong,” with Fay Wray.  As the film was unfolding, Dad started telling me how a team of special effects people made King Kong move and that the “monkey” was really only six inches tall.  He ruined the picture for me by destroying the illusion of King Kong’s menace, but gave birth to the filmmaker in me.  As a kid, I got acting jobs in films at Warner Brothers like “East of Eden” with James DeanI’m often tempted not to tell people about my experience growing up in Hollywood, because they think I had some special privilege, but that’s anything but the case.  I’m still “getting started” making films today when most of my friends are retired and taking cruises or playing golf.  Today anyone with a Canon DSLR can make movies tell great stories, but back then you needed sound stages and cameras that weighed over a hundred pounds and twenty trucks of equipment to make a movie.  My dad really gave me my start in the business.  He got me jobs as an bit player, as a caterer’s assistant, and eventually as a production assistant on films in Europe before he died over forty years ago.

 

Jessica: Can you recall the first film you ever made?

 

Eric:  The first film I ever made was a documentary on drag racing.  That was before anyone knew what drag racing was.  Two of my friends and I went up to Bakersfield Top Fuel Drags for a weekend and came back with a few hours of 16mm film.  I sold a clip of a dragster crashing in flames, but the rest was a bust.  We lost all our money.  It was an important lesson.  My second film was much better.  It was called “The Ceremony.”  A friend wrote it and I shot and directed – a story about a ten year old kid who falls victim to the peer pressure of a neighborhood gang which forces him to kill a neighbor’s dog as part of the initiation into their club.  I’d been working on the original “Planet of the Apes” as one of the “humans” at the time.  That’s where the budget came from.  “The Ceremony” started getting me jobs.  First as a Line Producer at the American Film Institute and then at the UCLA Media Center where I made films for The National Institute of Mental Health and the National Endowment for the Humanities among others.

 

Jessica: Tell us about your film Purple Mind. What made you want to create this type of film? How did you come up with the name?

 

Eric:  Well, ever since the sixties I’ve been interested in social issues.  By the time VietNam became such a controversy, I’d been in and out of the Navy, but I saw a lot of young guys go off to that war who never came back or came back shattered and broken.  During the late sixties and early seventies, I’d been concentrating on establishing myself somewhere in the film industry – not protesting or standing up for my beliefs in some way – so I‘ve always looked back at those days with a sense of regret that I hadn’t been more active in speaking out against that illegal and ill-fated war that took 50,000 American lives.  So, just after moving from LA to Portland, Oregon in 2005, I’d started making some small documentaries and as the war in Iraq was turning into another VietNam, I began rewriting a story about domestic violence which I’d written years earlier, changing the main character from a redneck wife-beater to a combat soldier returning from Iraq only to deal with a case of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder which threatened to destroy both the soldier and his family.  At the time, the script was titled “Sandbox,” and as I started showing it to a few actors, I got really good responses.  Then, when Emily Bridges read it and said she wanted to do it, that was the moment that turned Sandbox from a writing project into an independent feature project.  A really low budget indie feature project that attracted actors from New York and LA as well as Portland.  I was really committed to doing the film, but in spite of there being no money for the actors or crew, the project managed to attract a small but really great group of enthusiastic filmmakers who believed in the project enough to spend a few months essentially working for free.  We shot the majority of the film on The Imperial Cattle Ranch in Maupin, Oregon, a 30,000 acre cattle and sheep ranch with 40 mile horizons and endless quiet, where if a guy were to go crazy on his family, there would be no one within twenty miles to hear the screams.  So, in a way, the first hour of the film is a bit like Stanley Kubrick’s “The Shining,” but then it takes a turn – but I don’t want to spoil it for any of your readers, so that’s all I‘ll say.  As far as the title, “Purple Mind,” that came about one night in Maupin as we were all sitting around the bunk house – yes, really, the Ranch’s bunk house – and we – the cast and crew – were tossing around titles for the film.  I think it was Ian Rickett – a USC film student at the time – suggested that PTSD was kind of like a soldier earning a Purple Heart for being wounded in war, only in our character’s case it was a Purple Mind, for coming home with mental wounds instead of physical wounds of war.

 

Jessica: What other films are in the works?

 

Eric:  I have a pet project called “Affidavit,” which I’ve been developing off-and-on for over twelve years.  It’s a behind the scenes story about a Special Forces soldier who had the misfortune to be in the wrong place at the wrong time during Iran-Contra.  I don’t want to say any more than that, but if we get it made it should create quite a stir.

 

Jessica: Who are some filmmakers you admire and look up to?

 

Eric:  Well, I’m old-school, so I would have to say that list would include names like Stanley Kubrick, Oliver Stone, and Terrance Malick, because they‘re all pioneering filmmakers who have in some way stood up to the pressures of Hollywood to tell courageous stories which have endured.  I would also add John Cassavetes and Dennis Hopper to that list for being among the first real “independents” who led the way for the waves of independent filmmakers of the last forty years.  On the other hand, how could any list like this not include Orson Welles, the genius who made one of the great films of all time, “Citizen Kane,” a film too clearly critical of a man powerful enough to black-list him from making films for the rest of his life.

 

Jessica: If you had the power to do something in the world today, what would it be and why?

 

Eric: Well, it seems to me that when human beings stick to their own kind they are a peaceful and harmonious and loving bunch.  But as soon as you broaden that to include folks who are somehow different, whether it be their color, their language, their religion, their sexual orientation or their wealth, suddenly far too many tend to see those folks as the “other.”  I know this sounds a bit like playing God, but if I had the power to do something in the world today, it would be to help people see that there really is no “other” – there are only people who all share universal hopes and dreams of belonging.  I’ve tried to do that in some way with every film I’ve made, and I’ll keep trying till my last breath.

 

Jessica: What is one of your favorite quotes (or lines) that inspires you?

 

Eric:  It’s got to be Howard Beale’s speech from Paddy Chayefsky‘s brilliant screenplay for Sidney Lumet’s Oscar winning film, “Network”  –  Beale:  “I don’t have to tell you things are bad. Everybody knows things are bad. It’s a depression. Everybody’s out of work or scared of losing their job. The dollar buys a nickel’s worth, banks are going bust, shopkeepers keep a gun under the counter. Punks are running wild in the street and there’s nobody anywhere who seems to know what to do, and there’s no end to it. We know the air is unfit to breathe and our food is unfit to eat, and we sit watching our TVs while some local newscaster tells us that today we had fifteen homicides and sixty-three violent crimes, as if that’s the way it’s supposed to be! We know things are bad – worse than bad, They’re crazy! It’s like everything everywhere is going crazy, so we don’t go out anymore. We sit in the house, and slowly the world we are living in is getting smaller, and all we say is, ‘Please, at least leave us alone in our living rooms. Let me have my toaster and my TV and my steel-belted radials and I won’t say anything. Just leave us alone!’ Well, I’m not gonna leave you alone! I want you to get MAD! I don’t want you to protest. I don’t want you to riot – I don’t want you to write to your congressman because I wouldn’t know what to tell you to write. I don’t know what to do about the depression and the inflation and the Russians and the crime in the street. All I know is that first you’ve got to get mad! You’ve got to say, “I’m a human being, goddammit! My life has value!” So, I want you to get up now. I want all of you to get up out of your chairs. I want you to get up right now, and go to the window, open it, and stick your head out and yell: “I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!” … Things have got to change. But first, you’ve gotta get mad!… You’ve got to say, ‘I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!’ Then we’ll figure out what to do about the depression and the inflation and the oil crisis. But first get up out of your chairs, open the window, stick your head out, and yell, and say it: I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!

Or this one, also from “Network” – Beale: “Television is not the truth. Television is a goddamned amusement park. Television is a circus, a carnival, a traveling troupe of acrobats, storytellers, dancers, singers, jugglers, sideshow freaks, lion tamers, and football players. We’re in the boredom-killing business.”


Jessica: Anything else you’d like to share? And where can our readers find out more about you and your work?

 

Eric:  My dad was from the school that taught, “When in Rome, do as the Roman’s do.”  But as I’ve lived my life, I’ve found that people who pretend usually wind up unhappy or in trouble.  So, for me, it’s “What you see is what you get.”  Most of my films of the past fifteen years are available on Amazon, and they’re all up on our website at www.landfallprods.com.  There’s more about “Purple Mind” at www.purplemindmovie.com including my blog.  And, of course, there is a Purple Mind fan page on Facebook.  I hope to meet some of your readers and fans there.

 

Jessica: Thanks so much again for doing an interview for TSM and wish you the best of luck with all your film projects in the future.

 

Eric:  Thanks Jessica.  It’s been my pleasure.

 

End of interview

MOVIES ON A MISSION – CRAZY BIKE RIDE TO THE WHITE HOUSE 10/11/2012

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Crazy bike ride to the White House?  What’s this all about?

I guess it does sound a little crazy.  It sounded that way to me too when Pam Senzee first called and told me she planned to ride her bike (yes, with pedals) from the San Juan Islands in Washington State all the way across the country to Washington, DC to deliver a petition to the White House.

That is crazy.  Who does stuff like that?  Pam is a member of Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth, a group of over 1,700 Architects & Engineers who question the official story of how the World Trade Center buildings came down on 9/11.

Oh, no.  More conspiracy theories?  No.  The folks at A&E for 9/11 Truth have conducted serious scientific and forensic studies which produced incontrovertible evidence that the World Trade Center buildings did not come down as a result of fire – the Official Story from the National Institute for Science and Technology.

Don’t most people just turn away from the kind of conspiracy nut jobs you’re talking about?  Yes, and that’s the point of Pam’s ride.  It’s all about outreach.  Pam has made it nearly all the way across the country, giving away hundreds of DVDs from Architects & Engineers founder, Richard Gage, which explain in detail why the group is calling for a new, independent investigation into HOW the World Trade Center buildings really came down.

But I thought the terrorists were all Taliban and Jihadists.  Well, that’s what most people think, but if what the A&E folks are saying about HOW the WTC buildings came down is true, then there are a lot of questions that remain unanswered.

Remember, we’re talking about 3,000 people who were murdered on 9/11.  We’re also talking about two wars, 7,000 US dead and perhaps a million Iraqi dead, not to mention all the casualties plus trillions of tax dollars and assaults on the US Constitution which all came about based on the official story of 9/11.

Well, maybe that’s reason enough to help this nutty gal – what’s her name? – Pam Senzee get the word out.  Glad you think so.  Now, take a look at this little YouTube video I threw together about Pam’s cross country ride to the White House and see what you think.

PURPLE MIND – REALITY TV GOES TO WAR 08/14/2012

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Well, tonight it happens, at last.  The major media, NBC specifically, brings us the latest in PR from the Pentagon in the form of its new “reality” show, Stars Earn Stripes.  (8/7 c)

If ever there were a perfect example of the military industrial complex desire to warp the minds of young people into celebrating war, this is it….  You see, gradually, the military has decided that smaller and faster makes more sense for today’s “war on terror,” with small, highly trained strike teams from Special Forces and/or Navy Seals ready to penetrate borders and take out bad guys or rescue VIPs without the necessity of taking over a country via a massive invasion. Good thinking Pentagon brass.  Very efficient.  Saves money and lives.

However, “Stars Win Stripes” is a shameless attempt to turn marginal celebrities into world class warriors of Rambo stature.  Under the direction of Gen. Wesley Clark and Bertram van Munster, best known as the producer of The Amazing Race in association with Jerry Bruckheimer (producer of Top Gun 1 & 2, Black Hawk Down, Pearl Harbor, etc.), the show pretends to put TV “celebs” in harms way to let America fully appreciate what it takes to kill at close range.  NPR says the show is “stultifyingly boring as television and badly designed as a reality-competition show.”  With celebrities like Nick Lachey, Eva Torres and Todd Palin, can anyone seriously wonder what this show is really about?  –  Todd Palin?

If you’ve ever wondered how much of what Washington has to tell us about the military and war is the truth, Stars Win Stripes might get a passing grade for impressing us with the strength, skills and determination of Special Forces and Navy Seal types, but it does nothing to deepen America’s understanding of why we go to war or carry out covert missions in the first place.  And this is one of the great underlying problems of our current state of affairs in Washington.  The military-industrial complex in collusion with the mainstream media carefully avoid any discussion of what’s important for us (voters) to understand about things like “National Security” and the “War on Terror.”

Chris Hedges has quite a lot to say on the subject in his recent book, Empire of Illusion.  “The defense industries, like all corporations, rely on deceptive ad campaigns and lobbyists to perpetuate their lock on taxpayer money.  The late Senator J. William Fulbright described the reach of the military-industrial establishment in his 1970 book The Pentagon Propaganda Machine.  Fulbright explained how the Pentagon influenced public opinion through direct contacts with the public, Defense Department films, close ties with Hollywood producers, and use of the commercial media to gain support for weapons systems.  The majority of the military analysts on television are former military officials, many employed as consultants to defense industries, a fact they rarely disclose to the public.  Barry R. McCaffrey, a retired four-star army general and military analyst for NBC News, was, The New York Times reported, at the same time an employee of Defense Solutions, Inc., a consulting firm.  He profited, the article noted, from the sale of the weapons systems and expansion of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan he championed over the airwaves.”

So, while Stars Earn Stripes may find an audience with young folks interested in blowing shit up, I would like to point out the fact that though we may have the strongest and best equipped military in history, that is no excuse for treating the rest of the world like it has an obligation to become like usor else.

As David Swanson, author of War is A Lie, recently wrote about our little independent film, Purple Mind, “Here’s a movie of the sort Hollywood should be required to make every time it makes a glorification of war.”  But if you want to see our movie any time soon, you’ll have to do it on-line.  It may take NBC some time before they call.

PURPLE MIND – MOVIE REVIEW 08/03/2012

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Today’s Review:

“There have been tons of movies about men who come home from war warped in some way. Most of them are horror movies, and none of them have to do with reality. Well, Eric Stacey has taken this specific genre and given it both a base in reality and a bit of hope!

“Roy has come home from the war on terror, but he’s not the same man who left and his family isn’t quite sure why. Roy is having nightmares; he’s distant and seems to be angry all the time. The family moves to a ranch to try to get away from everything and give Roy a chance to clear his head, but the isolation only makes things worse for Roy, until it seems that he’s in danger of losing everything, his family, his home and even his life. Until the local Sheriff steps in, recognizing Roy’s problem, and sends a friend to help Roy out and lead him down a path that will get him home.

“Purple Mind is one of the best dramas I’ve seen this year. It’s realistic, it’s scary and in the end, it reminds us that not everyone can come home from something as terrible as a war and go right back to life as we all know it. Stacey has given us a glimpse into what veterans with post traumatic stress disorder go through, and that helps all of us…both the vets to not feel so isolated and us to know what’s going on.”  — Brian Morton, RogueCinema.com

http://www.roguecinema.com/article3310.html

PURPLE MIND – TV SERIES? 08/01/2012

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I’ve been seeing promos for a new TV series featuring contestants (celebrities) who go on combat missions with Special Forces or Navy Seal teams.  Wow.  Along those lines, I think PTSD may also be on the way to claiming its very own specific film genre.  In the press and on the web, PTSD is getting nearly as much attention as romance, science fiction & action-adventure.  While the audience for PTSD themed films is nowhere near as large as those for the better established film genres, my sense is that we will be dealing with the consequences of Iraq and Afghanistan for a long time to come (many seasons, eh corporate sponsors?).

Certainly, there is plenty of drama and conflict attached to PTSD.  Joseph Bobrow’s recent article in Huffington Post told us “the most frequent reason soldiers gave for attempting suicide was… intense emotional pain.”  He then asks, “Did we need to spend $50,000,000 to find that out?”  The apparent stupidity of psychological researchers could drive a normal person over the edge.

The question Army researchers seem focused on is that because people who try to commit suicide do so in an effort not to harm themselves so much as stop the pain, that this supports developing new therapies which focus on “quelling” emotional pain rather than on dealing with “underlying issues” such as depression or post-traumatic stress.  Don’t VA shrinks already prescribe killer amounts of pain killing drugs just to mask the symptoms?

But there may be hope.  Bobrow reminds us that since time immemorial people have been using a combination of small peer support groups, expressive arts, vigorous recreation and secular ritual to transform unbearable trauma.

Good deal.  Our film, “Purple Mind,” focuses on Roy Matthews, a veteran suffering the unbearable trauma of having taken part in the Battle of Falujah where he not only lost his best friend, but also ripped apart families, killed women and children and imprisoned countless innocent Iraqi males.  Certainly, Roy Matthews’ experience of war represents a disturbing story of the trauma of war, but it is only one story.  There are as many variations as there are soldiers and veterans suffering PTSD, many who never saw a dead person, and more still who never left their homes.  Roy’s story is just one of many hundreds of thousands, twenty percent or more which will go untreated and unresolved… at least until it becomes an accepted practice within the military to see soldiers as whole people with mental and spiritual lives in addition to meeting the physical requirements of the battlefield.

But how long and how complicated is such an outcome to take?  Arizona provides a clue.  Last week we learned that if it turns out medical marijuana might help war veterans deal with their depression of PTSD, Arizona will treat veteran potheads  as hippie-no-good-nicks looking for a phony baloney excuse to get high.

“The decision to deny requests by veterans, care providers and others for medical marijuana use for PTSD, migraine headaches, anxiety and depression follows a recommendation by medical officials in the Department of Health Services.”  Bravo medical officials for keeping our veterans safe from pot!

Meanwhile, in the United Kingdom, yet another new study found that among soldiers, those who had engaged the enemy in combat were found to be twice as likely as others to admit hitting someone upon their return and one third of victims of the post-combat violence were said to be close relatives of the soldiers themselves.

“The association between performing a combat role and being exposed to combat, and subsequent violence on return from deployment, is about two fold,” Dr. MacManus told the BBC.

The conflicts between government interests and the individual interests of soldiers and veterans was highlighted in a press release from The American Federation of Government Employees today.  “Dr. Michelle Washington, a post-traumatic stress disorder specialist at the Wilmington, VA Medical Center, has seen her performance rating lowered, job duties altered and job titled changed stemming from her Senate testimony about mental health care access wait times, says AFGE.”   Washington and others have faced adverse actions from the VA in a “coordinated pattern of retaliation” for bringing to light mismanagement at the VA.

“For eight months, Dr. Washington has been under attack for speaking the truth about the unmet needs of veterans facing severe mental health problems,” said AFGE National Secretary-Treasurer J. David Cox. “It is time for the agency’s highest level appointee over our veterans’ health care system to take prompt action to fix this situation and make Dr. Washington whole in terms of her job duties, job title and performance ratings.”

Cox called the VA’s treatment of Dr. Washington, “highly illegal, extremely disrespectful of the Congressional hearing process and threatening to the VA’s ability to identify deficiencies in services it provides to veterans.”

Mini-series anybody?  No?  Not enough drama?  Well, here’s more…

Former Connecticut Supreme Court Judge Barry Shaller’s recent book, “Veterans On Trial: The Coming Battles Over PTSD” suggests that, “Since courts in America stand uniquely on the front lines of dealing with the unsolved problems of society, courts will bear the brunt of postwar mental health problems.”

The key-art of our film “Purple Mind” tells the story in a nutshell.

“THE ARMY TRAINED US TO GO TO WAR.  
BUT NOBODY TRAINED US TO COME HOME.”

Judge Shaller seems to agree.  “We should really look to our veterans with all their training and education, their experience to be leaders and model citizens. They are, after all, law abiding people who go through an experience that changes them in some ways, and causes them problems. I don’t think it’s enough that they just recover. I think that that’s setting the bar too low. … What the military should institute is a training program for soldiers’ re-entry into society, comparable in duration to basic military training.”

Very enlightened, Your Honor.  Wanna hit?

 

 

 

PURPLE MIND – SHARING THE TRUTH 07/30/2012

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“The War On Terror” is based on the terrorist attacks of 9/11.  After eleven years, millions of deaths and trillions of dollars spent on this war, isn’t it time that we share the truth with everyone possible?  We’re within 100 days of the November elections.  Keep in mind, one of Mitt Romney’s key endorsers is mega-war profiteer, George H.W. Bush,

Watch this important video!

SOMETHING HAS TO BE DONE!

PURPLE MIND – MOVIES ON A MISSION 07/27/2012

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CIA-asset Susan Lindauer was the first non-Arab American detained under the Patriot Act.  Her crime was her August, 2001 effort to alert Congress and the White House to the imminent threat of terrorist airborne attacks targeting the World Trade Center.

The truth must be told.  Please share.

PURPLE MIND – SEEKING THE TRUTH 07/26/2012

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If you’re someone seeking the truth about what’s going on in Washington or in our excursions into the Middle-East, it’s nearly a sure thing you won’t find it in the mainstream (corporate) media.  Our little indie feature film, “Purple Mind,” reflects what hundreds of Winter Soldiers had to say about their experiences in Iraq, but unfortunately a majority of Americans still prefer to believe the fictions of 9/11 and Sadam’s weapons of mass destruction.

This past weekend, I met ex CIA-Asset Susan Lindauer, who was the first non-Arab American prosecuted and silenced under the Patriot Act from talking about her direct knowledge of terrorist World Trade Center attacks well in advance of 9/11.  Susan’s story is terrifying, but now available from Amazon.com – “Extreme Prejudice” – a fascinating study in how the Patriot Act nearly destroyed Susan, eviscerated the US Constitution, and continues to threaten us all today.

One of the “secret charges” brought against Susan was an accusation that she received a book from Iraqi colleague about the US Military’s use of depleted uranium and the resulting birth defects suffered by Iraqis and cancers by American soldiers.  John Ashcroft’s US prosecutors said Susan’s possession of this “classified information” constituted a risk to demoralizing US troops and they attempted to imprison her without trial for up to ten years, an effort which, thankfully, Susan was able to overcome.

So, today I would like to share what one Winter Soldier had to say about what really demoralizes the troops.  Here it is…

PURPLE MIND – TEN TIPS 07/20/2012

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With the constant stream of articles in publications big and small across the U.S. about soldiers dealing with PTSD, I’m hopeful that more people will wake up to the fact that PTSD is something that affects not just returning soldiers, but all of those around them as well.  How does that work, you ask?  Consider two recent stories.

A recent article in the LA Times described Ruth Moore, once a “vivacious” 18-year-old serving in the Navy who was raped by a superior outside a club in Europe.  The result of the rape was that Ruth attempted suicide and was discharged, diagnosed by the Navy with borderline personality disorder, an ailment she says she did not have.

Moore applied for disability benefits through the Department of Veterans Affairs but was denied multiple times — despite submitting witness testimony that she had been raped. Finally, after decades, Moore won 70% compensation for the post-traumatic stress disorder, known as PTSD, and depression that had made her unemployable.  The process took Moore 23 years to resolve and she counts herself as one of the “fortunate ones.”

Another recent article in the LA Times describes the real life nightmare of Staff Sgt. Joshua Eisenhauer, who woke early one morning to shouts and footsteps in the darkness, then a banging on his door.  As Eisenhauer rose from the mattress on the floor of his apartment in Fayetteville, N.C., he reached under the bedding for his Glock 19 pistol and fired into the darkness.

What Eisenhauer didn’t know was that the noises weren’t insurgents storming his position in Afghanistan, but firefighters responding to a minor fire on Jan. 13. Eisenhauer, a veteran of two Afghanistan combat tours diagnosed with severepost-traumatic stress disorder, suddenly became the target of an ensuing gun battle with police.  Eisenhauer was shot in the face, chest and thigh, finally passing out from blood loss. When he was first able to speak in a hospital two days later, according to his lawyer, he asked a nurse: “Who’s got the roof?”

Now Eisenhauer is inmate No. 1304704 in Raleigh’s Central Prison. He faces 17 counts of attempted murder of firefighters and police officers, nine counts of assault with a deadly weapon, and other charges. No firefighters or police were hit.

Just two examples of ex-military dealing with PTSD in a country filled with communities and families living with 500,000 veterans also dealing with PTSD.  As Sgt. Eisenhauer’s case demonstrates, it is becoming increasingly important that we all become aware of the potential of everyday situations with the potential to trigger flashbacks in someone wrestling with symptoms.

We originally made our independent feature film,  “Purple Mind,” to encourage veterans dealing with PTSD to seek help, but it has also become clear that our film might also benefit others as well.  We are all closer than we might think to a possible encounter with someone experiencing a flashback.

With the VA able only to treat a fraction of those suffering from PTSD, the Wounded Warriors Project has published a list of ten tips to help those dealing with PTSD and to help others understand that PTSD can be treated and is a normal human reaction to abnormally stressful situations.

TEN TIPS FOR HELPING SOMEONE WITH PTSD

1. Let the veteran determine what they are comfortable talking about and don’t push.

2. Deep breathing exercises or getting to a quiet place can help them cope when stress seems overwhelming.

3. Writing about experiences can help the veteran clarify what is bothering them and help them think of solutions.

4. Alcohol and drugs may seem to help in the short run, but make things worse in the long run.

5. Crowds, trash on the side of the road, fireworks and certain smells can be difficult for veterans coping with PTSD.

6. Be a good listener and don’t say things like, “I know how you felt,” or, “That’s just like when I…” Even if you also served in a combat zone. Everyone’s feelings are unique.

7. http://www.restorewarriors.org is a website where warriors and their families can find tools on how to work through combat stress and PTSD issues. Learn about more mental health support resources that ease symptoms of combat stress.

8. Remind warriors they are not alone and many others have personal stories they can share about their readjustment. Talking to other warriors can help them cope.

9. Allow and encourage warriors and their family members to express their feelings and thoughts to those who care about them.

10. Let them know that acknowledging they may have PTSD says they’re strong, not weak.