By Judy Leurquin
Health Writers has been in the forefront of the antiwar movement since its founding back in the early 1970s.
Our September 24 2009 broadcast of Health Writers on the Air features interviews with GI counselor Ray Parrish, Madison anti-war activist Joy First and William Brown of The Bunker Project.
The show focuses on a local criminal case in which an Iraq veteran was involved in tragic circumstances that sent him to jail where he is awaiting a trial for murder. This story has hit close to home for so many people in this area, and it serves as a perfect example of why we MUST end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, bring the troops home NOW, pay reparations to the peoples and nations we’ve harmed, and DEMAND that returning troops and veterans of all wars receive needed medical care and ALL of the other benefits that they are entitled to. We MUST do this even if it means increasing taxes on the wealthiest people and on the wealthiest corporations.
Here’s what we can tell you about the criminal case.
According to newspaper accounts, around midnight on June 16, and after a disagreement among several people, gunshots blasted out from an apartment complex in Fitchburg. Two men were shot. Perry Lucas, age 28, an Iraq veteran with no criminal history, admits to firing the shots. Detarius Martin, age 23, was wounded fatally and was pronounced dead at University of Wisconsin Hospital. His brother, Chukarius Martin, age 27, and himself an Iraq veteran, sustained a non life threatening injury. Perry Lucas is being treated for post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The police were called by several people including Perry Lucas, himself. Lucas was later arrested and taken to Dane County Jail where he remains awaiting trial. He’s been charged with first degree intentional homicide and first degree reckless endangerment.
The Court will decide if it was murder or self defense.
What we know for sure is that this tragedy would never have occurred if our government had not declared war on Iraq and continued the occupation there.
For the surviving families, friends and communities, sorrow, grief and sadness will continue for a long time to come. Our hearts go out to the Martin family. As a mother, I can’t imagine losing a child to death for any reason. Over a matter of seconds a mother lost one son and another son was wounded. A girlfriend lost her significant other forever. The neighborhood was startled and frightened by the sounds of gunfire.
The Lucas family is suffering, too. I have never met Perry Lucas, but his parents are members of my church. I recall the many prayer requests for Perry while he was deployed to Iraq. We all rejoiced with Perry’s mom and dad, Ed and Lois, when they announced that their son had come home safe. More prayer requests followed after Perry was diagnosed with PTSD. This whole experience has been shocking and painful for my faith community as we try to offer emotional support and comfort to the Lucas family and assure them we are there for them. They are pacifists whose world has been turned upside down.