What I really want to do is use my limited forum to write an open letter to England's Prince Harry, but it wouldn't do any good ashe'd never read it and even if he did it's all but certain that he wouldn't care about what I have to say.
See here's the thing...as I write this Prince Harry is in Orlando, Florida hosting the Invictus Games, which is an organization he founded with what I'm sure was and is the best of intentions. What they do is provide a forum arguably comparable to the Olympics but limited to allowing disabled veterans from various nations to compete against each other in sporting competitions. I'm told by the media that Invictus means "unconquered"and it's an honorable thing to support those disabled veterans, although those eligible to compete do not necessarily have to be disabled during combat, but only be physically disabled, and a veteran.
As Prince Harry said to the media, the Invictus Games is intended to provide "a platform for those who served". And as much as I admire those who do try to help disabled veterans, I found it contemptable that those who claim to be reaching out to support disabled veterans deliberately turn a blind eye to the thousands of disabled veterans that are not politically and socially acceptable.
For all the bravado of Prince Harry's event held in Orlando, Florida there was absolutely no mention whatever of those honorably discharged disabled veterans incarcerated in state and federal prisons - and you won't hear anyone speaking out in support of those disabled veterans.
Is it alright to pick and choose which disabled veterans are worthy of recognition? If you're going to turn a blind eye to any disabled veteran for no reason but that individual is not socially acceptable, then you clearly do not respect any veterans. This is especially true given the indisputable fact that many of the disabled veterans imprisoned in America - and there are thousands - are there for conviction of a crime that would not have happened if not for the physical or mental trauma they suffered while serving their country.
Florida likes the project this image of supporting veterans. But what nobody talked about is that the State of Florida also has one of the highest rates of incarceration in the world, and has a long history of keeping thousands upon thousands of those prisoners in long-term solitary confinement under physically and mentally oppressive conditions.
More importantly, Florida has a well-documented history of deliberately denying prisoners basic medical care, including the thousands of disabled veterans held in Florida prisons. In recent years even both the state and federal law enforcement applied have conducted investigations into the systematic denial of basic medical care - but as is only two common, they actually did nothing.
My own care illustrates what is widespread throughout the Florida prison system. When I was 18 years old and married, I voluntarily enlisted in the Army in the hopes of building a life for my new family. But while on duty I suffered an accident that left me hospitalized, then honerably discharged. When I left the Army I was thrown back out into the real world, and permanently physically disabled, with no medical care and unable to work.Back then in the post-Vietnam America, disabled veterans were extended the same measure of respect typically reserved for mangy dogs and considered outcasts or lepers.
As with so many other disabled veterans, I was left to fend for myself. And I was married, with a child on the way. As indisputable court records reflect, without meaningful access to medical care, I turned to alcohol and illegal drugs to manage my chronic pain I experienced. It wasn't long before the marriage ended, I lost custody of my children, and I ended up in prison.
But I wasn't a career criminal. What sent me to prison for 2 years was my first and only criminal conviction - a "bounced check", because I had insufficient funds in my own bank account to cover the check I wrote, I was convicted of a felony and sent to prison for 2 years.
Fast forward to where I am today...for 32 years now I've been on Florida's death row now, held continuously in solitary confinement. Florida has the highest date of wrongful convictions in capital cases in the country and undoubtedly will not hesitate to execute innocent men and women, as is evidenced by my own case - neither the Florida courts or Governor Rick Scott will allow that readily available evidence substantiating my innocence to be heard. (see http://www.save-innocents.com/save-michael-lambrix.html and www.southerninjustice.net )
Like myself, if you're a disabled veteran in the Florida prison system, you will not receive any meaningful medical care. Even if you suffer from extreme physical pain due to your military induced physical disability, the Florida prison system will not provide the care necessary to mitigate that pain.
And this is why it's bothers me when I see people like Prince Harry showboating his hand-picked disabled veterans in Florida, of all places. Do you think even one person involved in these Invictus games took even a moment to ask how disabled veterans in the Florida prison system are treated? Of course they didn't, that wouldn't fit into their image.
For the past 3 months now, since I was given a stay of execution, I have been denied even basic medication necessary to manage my extreme physical pain. I have done everything possible to try to get help, but nobody will listen. In fact, although there are countless organization all but competing against each other to perpetuate this politically popular image of taking care of disabled veterans, you will not even find one state or national organization willing to help incarcerated disabled veterans.