The Occupy movement suffered a tragedy in Burlington, Vermont yesterday when a war veteran participating with the protestors and camping with them in City Hall Park died of a self-inflicted gun shot wound to his head. Protestors are at odds with police over cordoning off the park and limiting access to it as it is now a scene of investigation. Burlington Mayor Bob Kiss intervened and calmed the situation between the police and the gathered protestors. The occupation of City Hall Park began on October 28th, 2011 and has proceeded without incident until yesterday. During a meeting between Burlington City Hall and the protestors, a protestor was held by police upon trying to reenter the park during the meeting, causing the protestors at the meeting to leave en masse to show solidarity with the detained occupier Hayley Mason. The events of the day were sparked by the 2:07 PM suicide of a 35-year old veteran from Chittenden County whose name has not been released. He was taken to Fletcher Allen Health Center in Burlington and was pronounced dead at 5 PM. While the Burlington City Hall Park occupiers mourn the loss of their fellow protestor, it is important to draw attention to the plight of veterans in general. This Veteran’s Day we would do best to remind ourselves of the trauma these men and women endure in the cause of military service. Whatever your political persuasion, or your feelings on the matters of state, there are many former military servicemen and women who are mentally troubled, homeless, destitute and in need of our consideration as fellow travelers on this road. If you would like to help support programs for disabled and distressed veterans, please donate to Operation Homefront or the Wounded Warrior Project.

 

[Burlington Free Press]