By Mike Ferner

This afternoon, drinking a cup of coffee while sitting in the Jesse Brown V.A. Medical Center on Chicago's south side, a Veterans Administration cop walked up to me and said, "OK, you've had your 15 minutes, it's time to go."

"Huh?", I asked intelligently, not quite sure what he was talking about.

"You can't be in here protesting," officer Adkins said, pointing to my Veterans For Peace shirt.

"Well, I'm not protesting, I'm having a cup of coffee," I returned, thinking that logic would convince Adkins to go back to his earlier duties of guarding against serious terrorists.

Flipping his badge open, he said, "No, not with that shirt. You're protesting and you have to go."

Beginning to get his drift, I said firmly, "Not before I finish my coffee."

He insisted that I leave, but still not quite believing my ears, I tried one more approach to reason. "Hey, listen. I'm a veteran. This is a V.A. facility. I'm sitting here not talking to anybody, having a cup of coffee. I'm not protesting and you can't kick me out."

"You'll either go or we'll arrest you," Adkins threatened.

"Well, you'll just have to arrest me," I said, wondering what strange land I was now living in.

You know the rest. Handcuffed, led away to the facility's security office past people with surprised looks on their faces, read my rights, searched, and written up.

The officer who did the formalities, Eric Ousley, was professional in his duties. When I asked him if he was a vet, it turned out he had been a hospital corpsman in the Navy. We exchanged a couple sea stories. He uncuffed me early. And he allowed as to how he would only charge me with disorderly conduct, letting me go on charges of criminal trespass and weapons possession -- a pocket knife -- which he said would have to be destroyed (something I rather doubt since it was a nifty Swiss Army knife with not only a bottle opener, but a tweezers AND a toothpick).

After informing me I could either pay the $275 fine on the citation or appear in court, Ousley escorted me off the premises, warning me if I returned with "that shirt" on, I'd be arrested and booked into jail.

I'm sure I could go back to officers Adkins' and Ousleys' fiefdom with a shirt that said, "Nuke all the hajis," or "Show us your tits," or any number of truly obscene things and no one would care. Just so it's not "that shirt" again.

And just for the record? I'm not paying the fine. I'll see Adkins and Ousley and Dubya's Director of the Dept. of Veterans Affairs, if he wants to show up, in United States District Court on the appointed date. And if there's a Chicago area attorney who'd like to take the case, I'd really like to sue them -- from Dubya on down. I have to believe that this whole country has not yet gone insane, just the government. This kind of behavior can't be tolerated. It must be challenged.


Mike Ferner served as a Navy corpsman during Vietnam and is obviously a member of Veterans For Peace.


Earlier I sent a recounting of my arrest at a V.A. facility in Chicago titled, "Has This Country Gone Completely Insane," I neglected to include that I was at the Jesse Brown V.A. Medical Center because I'm participating in the Voices for Creative Nonviolence's 30-day, 320-mile "Walk for Justice," from Springfield to North Chicago, Illinois, to reclaim funding for the common good and away from war.

Today was my first day on the walk (it only has 5 more days to go) and we stopped at the Jesse Brown VA center and stood on the sidewalk outside with signs against the Iraq war. The sign I held said, "Demand quality healthcare for all veterans."

At one point I took a break to use the bathroom and get a cup of coffee. The rest, as they say, is in the story.

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They must grow pukes like Adkins in a vat. There's some fundamental mechanism missing from his brain if he actually thinks he's doing his duty.


Take the insane bastards all the way----sue them.

The same crap is happening here in the UK. A women was arrested at the Cenotaph War Memorial in London for reading out the names of our war dead in Iraq. 14 armed officers turned up to arrest her and she was charged under anti-terror legislation.
If you can't read out the names of dead soldiers at a war memorial, where can you?

London, England.

The world is getting completely insane except some latin contries. Whole
world is waiting for common Americans ,at least one million of them, to wake the fuck up and go to the street. That's the thing powers that be are very very afraid of. Positive change starts only from America. Not from any other nations. Others only follow you. America.

has the potential to be the best country on the planet, and instead fails horribly at almost every chance it gets. The lame duck known as Bush has completely destroyed whatever credibility the last Democratic administration built for the country. Personaly I feel bad for Americans, especially the ones that try and travel abroad. As a hint, throw on the bright red and white Canada flag the world is alot less safe for you now, thank bush for the next attack

The story about Americans putting Canadian maple leaves on their luggage is an urban legend, started by a journalist who now admits he made it up.

I'm an American. I despise George Bush and the moronic GOP. But this is my country and if someone is idiotic enough to hate me because of it, that's their bigotry to deal with.

Sadly this is what can happen when governments around the World trample on common sense, due to fear. I didn't that the US was frightened of anybody, it seems that perhaps they are.
Don't get me wrong, we must uphold Law & Order or we would live in chaos, but common sense is in danger of flying out the window, as this case clearly shows.
Officer Atkins made a mistake I believe, however he may have been operating on a different agenda. I guess the Court case will reveal this in due course.

It takes a certain frame-of-mind for a population to turn to Fascism. Because, you see, as Nazi Germany showed us, when the little guy plays along, you get widespread abuse.
And the little WASP guy, religious zealot, government-abiding, terrorist-fearing, average miseducated USAmerican is such a fucking jerk, isn't he?
Blame this on your superiority complex. You thought you were so good, that you manufactured a system of manipulation of the truth during the cold war. Everything was black and white (rather, red and blue). Social justice was "socialism" and "communism". You sent people to El Salvador to butcher pregnant peasants "in the name of Freedom."
And ther you have it.
Face it USA. You suck.

Do us all a favor. Put a bottle up your rear end and have another America hating terrorist kick you in the butt.

You're right - but still what will it take for the precious few of us who see it to do anything?

If these so-called 'cops'/characters behave like this in Chicago and it raises this much ire (it certainly would irrevocably irk me to the point where I would go for Ousley's job and not rest until he was unemployed and back in the 'wannabe gestapo for hire' unemployment line)...

Imagine what it must be like to undergo a sweep in the middle of the night in Baghdad. It's no wonder the population wants the US out. I would. Every time a family undergoes the indignity and powerlessness of having young men taken away in the middle of the night, 50 more Iraqi people want another US soldier dead.

I ask because I am trying to volunteer at the one here in Portland, and I am curious what would happen if I walked in there with my "GI's Dyin' for Bush Lyin' and Spyin'?!?!" sign, even at my side.

Thanks for sharing the heads-up!!


When I was going to USA on a job interview, I was held and forbidden to enter. Before I was thrown in the cell on the back I've heard some interesting things.
One of the armed guards was questioning a woman that was in a similar situation as I was, trying to enter USA and being held because she was suspicious. Unlike like I, she didn't confess in a short time. She spent two or three hours being humiliated in many different ways.
After not being able to prove anything wrong, the guard let her in.
The other guard said: "Why did you let her in ? You knew she was guilty", the other replied "Yes, but I wasn't able to find any proves". "That doesn't matter, you know she was guilty and it is your duty to not let her in".
They starting to shout each other, very scared: two armed guys shouting each other.
It seems the guard that handler her case, at scary as he seemed, still had some sense. The other one is the one who handled my case.
Read the whole story on if you want.

and lied about it. Now you're complaining you got a free flight back home?

Stay there.


coughing up blood from a lung infection, I got the same shit. for uttering words against Colin Powell's 'lies' just before the war. That got me not only not treated, it got me thrown out. How's that for service to a veteran??? incredible. sad. unfortunately very real.

Since when is a Swiss Army knife "a concealed weapon"? Maybe you were on your way to a picnic, fergawdsake.
And now ATTIRE can be defined as "protesting", not simply BEHAVIOR??

I still have my arm-bands from 1970; I think I'll have to get them out.

Sue. Defend your First Amendment rights.

Defend my First Amendment rights.

Thank you.

Grow up and if you don"t like it here or the rules move out or start voting. Until then Get a Life.

PS: Pay the fine for being stupid!

Not even worth the words.

America has got a bad case of madness. And it hardly gets reported in the MSM. Everything from the Bush administration questioning the media's right to be independent, the Homeland Security's machismo in fighting the terrorism of law abiding Americans. Hopefully more Americans will open their eyes before it's too late.

I organized a small VFP public awareness thing on Memorial Day to make us visible to thousands in freeway traffic. (photos @ )

The following day, with my signs still in my truck, I visited the local mall, parking on the edge of the lot near the largest adjacent street. Stuck a couple of signs in the back window of my pickup facing traffic. One was BRING THEM HOME, and the other was a homemade 2465 KIA FOR A LIE with the VFP website also listed on it. After an hour or so in the mall bookstore I returned to find a meaningless mall cop parking ticket threatening to have me towed "for violation of mall policy against soliciting."

Well you can imagine how that had an Army veteran of Nixon as commander in chief such as myself quaking in my boots. I inscribed the back of the ticket "FUCK YOU OFFICER BONINE! Please tow me in violation of state towing laws and I will cheerfully sue the mall. I don't think things have gotten to the point where mall cop weenies have become the arbiter of The First Amendment yet? Looking forward to kicking your ass in Federal Court on a First Amendment civil rights violation suit." I then circled the mall about 3/4 of the way before I found where the mall cop weenie Suzuki was parked, and left it under his windshield wiper blade. There was a follow up note to the mall mgmt office suggesting that additional training for their mall cop weenies was in order. The local paper published my letter to the editor listing Constitutional violations of the Bush regime and questioning whether such unprosecuted abuses are responsible for mall cop weenies thinking they can arbitrate The First Amendment.

Holy crap... That's the VA where my grandmother works... :P I wonder if I should mosey on in there with a similar shirt. Would they arrest me? Would it matter that I'm just some woman coming to visit her grandmother during her lunch break?


You know, it saddens me that even t-shirts offend people. What the heck? Since when has clothing been offensive. And I must say, it's not like your shirt said anything vulgar on it...

But what can you do? I guess the security guard wanted to feel important by harassing you... Heh.


There I was, bathing in my righteous anger at the treatment of Mr. Ferner, when out of the blue Mr. Ferner mentioned that he was actually protesting when he was approached at the V.A.
Granted, Mr. Ferner's freedom to wear a t-shirt should never be in doubt. Mr. Ferner, however, needs to understand that planting an intentional lie in the first paragraph of his article in order to underscore his victimhood denies the rest of what he says any credibility. How do I know what other 'omissions' and 'neglect' this article suffers from? I don't. It's that simple. Tell the whole truth, or just shut the hell up.

whatever happened to the land of the free ?

In the "land of the free", liberal became a four-letter-word.

I didnt bother reading all the comments so I apologize if what I am about to say is redundant.

Thos secrutiy gaurds/cops were retarded. They arrested you on imoral grounds and you should get off free completely, after the formal court session of course. I cant believe he persisted like that. Almost like a story I heard about a guy almost getting arrested and charged with counterfiting money, because he tried to pay for a soda with a $2 and the guy behind the counter ahd never seen a $2 before... The country is full of idiots. Its what way around the planet not just here. So Im all with you on that part.

Now... sueing.... -_- sure it was a hassle. Sure it prolly made you mad. But as long as you dont come out oweing anyone money, whats the point in sueing? for the time? Money isnt gonna get that back, and it will just be more missed time trying to sue them. And please tell me your joking about wanting to sue the president... thats justretarded and not even funny as a joke... oh well. Had my full support until that comment. Dont get me wrtong, Im not a blind support of the pres. I honestly think hes kinda teetering 50/50 on good bad at the moment. But really, the idea of that, is just stupid... so Ill leave it at that.

Officer Adkins was doing what he was told to do I think. And this won't be the last time someone gets arrested for disagreeing with your gouverment. You're fucked America!! Just watch this film on Google Video and wake up!! Don't allow your gouverments to turn your once so beautiful country into a fascist police state.

Or google: martial law google video

Grtz From Holland (little country next to Germany (Europe))

Luuk A.

I'm a Navy Veteran myself and also against the war in Iraq. I also happen to be a former Department of Defense police officer.

Like another one of the readers, I was quite upset to think that a fellow veteran could be forced to leave the VA Hospital for wearing a T-shirt with a logo of Veterans for Peace. That DID Sound crazy! I was all set to call my congressman and demand and end to that sort of insanity and UNFAIR treatment of a fellow veteran. But that was when I thought Mike Ferner was at the Hospital for treatment.

To my mind, as an anti-war Veteran and a former DOD Officer, the additional fact that moments before Ferner went to the Coffee Shop to take a break, He was in fact outside PROTESTING does change things quite a bit.

If a protester came into one of the facilities that I was guarding and sat down, I would quite likely consider that person to be still protesting. That would be even more likely, if he was wearing a shirt that spoke to the protest in some way. So on further reflection, I don't feel the Officer was that far out of line.

But I am curious what would happen to a T-shirt wearing Veteran at the hospital as a patient would face the same treatment. I certainly hope not!

i spent my twentieth birthday on hill 881 S.,
i was in alpha co. 1st bn 26th Marines, that was 04aug67 in the khe sanh valley of rsvn.

that was an unconsionable act.

2168274/0369 USMC Clarke,H.E.,SGT.

unlike the chicken hawks who run this country Mike , you earned the right to speak.
No matter if I agree with you or not.
I have a son wounded in this war, a son in the first gulf war, a wife who was a Navy Corpsmen and myself a multiple wounded Vietnam Veterans. I earned the right to say this war stinks.
You can oppose this war and still support the troops. Trouble is Bush and Chenney and there chickenhawks make us warrior looks like un-patriots.
Doc Mike Hill


In nearly every definition of the word, "Insane": yes.

"doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results."

"extreme folly or unreasonableness"

"the state of being irrational; lacking powers of understanding"

"Belief in a reality that is demonstratably false"

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