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His Purple Heart Didn’t Mean Shit

 

How often have we heard of employees being injured on the job and their bosses trying to squirm out of paying for benefits? We’ve seen it with coal miners and NFL players,  but what if the job was defending our country, and the boss was the US military?

That’s what happened to Marine Corps veteran Josh Christmon, the subject of the Brave New Films’ newest video, “Bad Paper.” Josh earned a Purple Heart from his service in Iraq, where a close encounter with a roadside explosion nearly killed him. He suffered back problems and leg injuries, but maybe worse than all that were the nightmares, the depression, and the disconnection from his family — classic signs of PTSD.

Josh’s bad dreams followed him back home. Alcohol seemed as good a way to forget as anything, so one night, he went out for drinks. He was also offered a joint. Josh took two puffs. A week later, he failed a random drug test at work. Days after that, he was less than honorably discharged from the Marine Corps, losing all of his veterans benefits, including his medical care.

This kind of zero tolerance policy has invaded every corner of American society. We see it in our schools, where kids are arrested for behavior that used to send them to the principal’s office. We see it in our harsh response to our nation’s broken immigration system, labeling those that seek jobs and opportunities as hardened criminals. The worst of all zero tolerance policies — our nation’s long running War on Drugs — hasn’t made a dent in our drug addiction rates, but has sent our incarceration rates soaring past every other nation on Earth.

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VIDEO: His Purple Heart Didn’t Mean Shit

Bad Paper

How often have we heard of employees being injured on the job and their bosses trying to squirm out of paying for benefits? We’ve seen it with coal miners and NFL players,  but what if the job was defending our country, and the boss was the US military?

That’s what happened to Marine Corps veteran Josh Christmon, the subject of the Brave New Films’ newest video, “Bad Paper.” Josh earned a Purple Heart from his service in Iraq, where a close encounter with a roadside explosion nearly killed him. He suffered back problems and leg injuries, but maybe worse than all that were the nightmares, the depression, and the disconnection from his family — classic signs of PTSD.

Josh’s bad dreams followed him back home. Alcohol seemed as good a way to forget as anything, so one night, he went out for drinks. He was also offered a joint. Josh took two puffs. A week later, he failed a random drug test at work. Days after that, he was less than honorably discharged from the Marine Corps, losing all of his veterans benefits, including his medical care.

This kind of zero tolerance policy has invaded every corner of American society. We see it in our schools, where kids are arrested for behavior that used to send them to the principal’s office. We see it in our harsh response to our nation’s broken immigration system, labeling those that seek jobs and opportunities as hardened criminals. The worst of all zero tolerance policies — our nation’s long running War on Drugs — hasn’t made a dent in our drug addiction rates, but has sent our incarceration rates soaring past every other nation on Earth.

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