02-19-2017  10:49 am      •     

Tyrone Waters, a Gulf War veteran who has battled paranoid schizophrenia – often publicly – since 1995, this week released his first spoken word CD about the events leading up to his shooting by Portland Police during a mental breakdown outside his home in 2001. Recorded in the style of a phone call from the state hospital, the CD is available at Music Millennium and Reflections Coffee and Books. It's titled, "You Would Be Paranoid Too If This Happened to You."
Waters and his mother, retired state Sen. Avel Gordley, were honored with community service awards by the American Jail Association at its Annual Training and Jail Expo, Sunday, May 23, at the Oregon Convention Center. He is currently working as a life coach.

The Skanner News: What is it that prompted you to do this project?

Tyrone Waters: It's something that I wanted to do for quite some time, since being incarcerated I made up my mind that it was a project that I was going to take on and do. And it took me some time to do because of my injuries from being shot by the police in my writing hand. But I was able to get it done. I didn't do it in manuscript form because it was just too difficult to do with my injuries so I opted for a second choice which was to do it on an audio CD, which is how I was able to get it finished and completed this year.

TSN: What is your goal with this project? Are you looking at the other issues that we have bubbling over with law enforcement in this kind of situation?

TW: I'm wanting it to be an educational tool not only for people with mental illness but also for law enforcement, also for the employees that work at the state hospital and the jails so that they can start changing their attitude about how they conduct business and how they treat the mentally ill when they're locked up. So it's got several facets; it talks about schizophrenia and the symptoms of schizophrenia and the different medications that are available out there to treat the disease so that people can live successful lives on medications that work for them. So it's also designed to help remove the stigma associated with mental illness because a lot of people don't understand what it is all about. And really it's a chemical imbalance in the brain and it can be treated with medication and people can live lifelong, just like they can with any other disease like hypertension or diabetes or other common ailments.

TSN: You are a really important person in the community and you come from a family that's really important. I wonder if you have any real specific suggestions you would make right now to city leaders who are struggling with this issue.

TW: Yes. First of all I want to say that when I got out of the hospital in 2006 (soon after the death in Portland Police custody of paranoid schizophrenic James Chasse Jr., which was settled out of court last month). I talked directly to Rosie Sizer at the Chief's Forum and let her know they needed to immediately implement training for officers to deal with the mentally ill in my situation. And that did not happen. Obviously. And so what I'm trying to say is that this type of activity has got to stop and by the grace of God I am still alive and here today. We have to call these officers, these individuals that are controlling our streets and responding to incidents, as well as the employees in the jails and at the state hospital and psychiatric facilities, we have to hold them to a higher standard.
My mom and I were at the American Jail Association Convention Sunday, and spoke out about the shootings that have happened in this town, and sharing my story as well, and my mom also coming forward and saying that she suffers from depression. We asked everyone there to raise their hand if they knew or were related to someone who had a mental illness – there were over 200 people there and every one in the room raised their hand.

TSN: This is such an interesting thing because as we've watched all the police shootings this year, a lot of us here at The Skanner NEWS office, we've thought, you know the police must have a really high rate of stress-related mental health problems that they never talk about – just like soldiers.

TW: They do. They have mental health problems and they're not open about it, it's like a silent taboo in their community, it goes untalked about unless you are someone that's not on the force or in law enforcement that's just out in the community, then it's talked about, then the finger pointing and the blaming goes on. But if you're in law enforcement then it's a hush-hush type of thing. And I think the reason why it's not talked about is because if we actually knew how many officers suffered from some form of mental health problem, what would that say to the community? They would be fearful that they could just lose their job, or that it could ruin their career.

TSN: Like in the military.

TW: Right.

Recently Published by The Skanner News

  • Default
  • Title
  • Date
  • Random
  • WASHINGTON (AP) — One month after the inauguration, the stretch of Pennsylvania Avenue in front of Donald Trump's White House still is a hard-hat zone. Skeletal remains of the inaugural reviewing stands poke skyward. Random piles of plywood and cables are heaped on the ground inside crooked lines of metal fencing. The disarray outside the president's front door, though not his fault, serves as a metaphor for the tumult still unfolding inside. Four weeks in, the man who says he inherited "a mess" at home and abroad is presiding over a White House that is widely described as itself being a mess. At a stunning pace, Trump has riled world leaders and frustrated allies. He was dealt a bruising legal blow on one of his signature policies. He lost his national security adviser and his pick for labor secretary to scandal. He's seen forces within his government push back against his policies and leak confidential information. All of this has played out amid a steady drip of revelations about an FBI investigation into his campaign's contacts with Russian intelligence officials. Trump says his administration is running like a "fine-tuned machine." He points to the rising stock market and the devotion of his still-loyal supporters as evidence that all is well, although his job approval rating is much lower than that for prior presidents in their first weeks in office. Stung by the unrelenting criticism coming his way, Trump dismisses much of it as "fake news" delivered by "the enemy of the people" — aka the press. Daily denunciations of the media are just one of the new White House fixtures Americans are adjusting to. Most days start (and end) with presidential tweets riffing off of whatever's on TV talk shows or teasing coming events or hurling insults at the media. At some point in the day, count on Trump to cast back to the marvels of his upset of Democrat Hillary Clinton in the November election and quite possibly overstate his margins of support. Expect more denunciations of the "dishonest" press and its "fake news." From there, things can veer in unexpected directions as Trump offers up policy pronouncements or offhand remarks that leave even White House aides struggling to interpret them. The long-standing U.S. policy of seeking a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict? Trump this past week offered this cryptic pronouncement: "I'm looking at two-state and one-state, and I like the one that both parties like. I can live with either one." His U.N. ambassador, Nikki Haley, the next day insisted, "We absolutely support a two-state solution." Trump's days are busy. Outside groups troop in for "listening sessions." Foreign leaders call or come to visit. (Or, in the case of Mexico's president, cancel out in pique over Trump's talk about the planned border wall.) After the president signed two dozen executive actions, the White House was awaiting a rush order of more of the gold-plated Cross pens that Trump prefers to the chrome-plated ones used by his predecessor. Trump hands them out as souvenirs at the signing ceremonies that he points to as evidence of his ambitious pace. "This last month has represented an unprecedented degree of action on behalf of the great citizens of our country," Trump said at a Thursday news conference. "Again, I say it. There has never been a presidency that's done so much in such a short period of time." That's all music to the ears of his followers, who sent him to Washington to upend the established order and play the role of disrupter. "I can't believe there's actually a politician doing what he says he would do," says an approving Scott Hiltgen, a 66-year-old office furniture sales broker from River Falls, Wisconsin. "That never happens." Disrupt Trump has. But there may be more sound and fury than substance to many of his early actions. Trump did select Judge Neil Gorsuch to replace the late Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court, a nomination that has drawn strong reviews from conservatives. But the president is regrouping on immigration after federal judges blocked his order to suspend the United States' refugee program and ban visitors from seven Muslim-majority countries, which had caused chaos for travelers around the globe. Some other orders on issues such as the U.S.-Mexico border wall and former President Barack Obama's health care law are of limited effect. Trump says his early actions show he means to deliver on the promises he made during the campaign. "A lot of people say, 'Oh, oh, Trump was only kidding with the wall,'" the president told a group of police chiefs recently. "I wasn't kidding. I don't kid." But the Republican-led Congress is still waiting to see specifics on how Trump wants to proceed legislatively on top initiatives such as replacing the health care law, enacting tax cuts and revising trade deals. The messy rollout of the travel ban and tumult over the ouster of national security adviser Michael Flynn for misrepresenting his contacts with Russia are part of a broader state of disarray as different figures in Trump's White House jockey for power and leaks reveal internal discord in the machinations of the presidency. "I thought by now you'd at least hear the outlines of domestic legislation like tax cuts," says Princeton historian Julian Zelizer. "But a lot of that has slowed. Trump shouldn't mistake the fact that some of his supporters like his style with the fact that a lot of Republicans just want the policies he promised them. He has to deliver that." Put Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., in the camp of those more interested in substance than style. "I'm not a great fan of daily tweets," McConnell said Friday, referring to the "extra discussion" that Trump likes to engage in. But McConnell was quick to add: "What I am a fan of is what he's been actually doing." He credits Trump with assembling a conservative Cabinet and taking steps to reduce government regulation, and promised: "We like his positions and we're going to pursue them as vigorously as we can." The challenge may be to tease out exactly what Trump wants in the way of a health care plan, tax changes and trade policy. At his long and defiant news conference on Thursday, Trump tried to dispel the impression of a White House in crisis, squarely blaming the press for keeping him from moving forward more decisively on his agenda. Pointing to his chief of staff, Reince Priebus, Trump said, "You take a look at Reince, he's working so hard just putting out fires that are fake fires. I mean, they're fake. They're not true. And isn't that a shame because he'd rather be working on health care, he'd rather be working on tax reform." For all the frustrations of his early days as president, Trump still seems tickled by the trappings of his office. When New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie visited the White House last week to discuss the national opioid epidemic over lunch, the governor said Trump informed him: "Chris, you and I are going to have the meatloaf.'" Trump added: "I'm telling you, the meatloaf is fabulous." ___Follow Nancy Benac on Twitter at http://twitter.com/nbenac
    Read More
  • FDR executive order sent 120,000 Japanese immigrants and citizens into camps
    Read More
  • Pruitt's nomination was strongly opposed by environmental groups and hundreds of former EPA employees
    Read More
load morehold SHIFT key to load allload all