Being Liberal and a Progressive in a RED STATE is not an easy thing these days. I started this blog to vent my frustrations on our lives being taken over by right wing conservatives with their propaganda machines. I have also learned an important lesson in the last year, it is that reading is the only way to get real information, you cannot depend on the news you see on TV.


Friday, May 25, 2007

Can I Just Denounce My Citizenship?

Sometimes there are things that happen in America that just make you want to go live in a different country. Not really, but I just don't understand how a law abiding citizen who has given three wonderful law abiding children to this country can be treated so badly.

I am severely claustrophobic. I know my limitations and live a very normal life and am a very normal person otherwise. I stay away from those things which could cause me to have a panic attack. I don't ride elevators, I don't fly in planes, in crowds I stay in the peripheries
and by the doors. I always know where the exits are. I keep a flashlight with me in case the lights would go out in areas of no windows.

But the thing I cannot do is be held captive in a situation where I cannot get up and leave to go outside if I start feeling like I can't breathe. And the only way that would happen in the life I lead is to get jury duty. And in our town, jurors are required to stay in the basement of the courthouse untill called. I know I could never do that. So everytime I get jury duty which seems to be at least once a year I am required to get a doctor's excuse.

Well when I got my summons in April I called the doctor I had gotten my letter from the last three times and he refused. I was floored and didn't really know what to do. I made an appointment with another doctor and was refused again. I called a counselor and she said she couldn't do anything for me. I was told all the docs in town had been threatened by a certain judge here in St. Joe and quit giving excuses to anyone, even a person who really needed it.

My husband said not to worry I probably wouldn't have to go anyway as most of the time there are no jury trials. But with my luck there was and I had to go. He went with me to explain my situation to the people and the judge there. No one would listen, they just said I had to go to that basement or I could be put in jail. Well of course jail would be a claustrophobic person's worse nightmare, so I went down and and suffered a severe panic attack after about five minutes. My husband had to practically carry me back up the stairs and outside. Some of the people who witnessed it got me a wheelchair and wanted to call an ambulance. A court deputy that helped me said not to worry she would tell those downstairs what had happened. She came back and said I could go home but my duty would only be postponed. I thought well that's nice I get to come back and go through this all over again. If you have never had one, let me say panic attacks are no fun, and that is why I avoid them like the plague. So now I get to keep coming back again and again and doing the same thing until I either have a nervous breakdown or heart attack.

Well that ruined one day of my life, but decided to try another doctor in the meantime and made an appointment and I felt I had a little time to try again and if not here surely I could find someone in KC.

All that happened this Tuesday. Today I had a deputy come to my door and serve me a summons for not showing up for jury duty. I thought he had come to take me to jail which caused another panic attack and he called in an ambulance because I couldn't breathe. When I could finally get my wits about me and he told me it was for not showing up, I told him I did show up and they told me to go home. He couldn't believe they were summoning me to court if I had gone. He tried calling the court to resolve it over the phone but they wouldn't listen to him even though he and about 4 EMTs had witnessed the attack.

I believe this judge is out to get me now and use me for an example. It is hard to believe that after all the witnesses I had as to the attacks he would still want me to come before him to explain why I can't do jury duty. Really it seems that some people have no humanity.

I have also found out that in the state of Missouri there is a law in the consitution of MO in the Bill of Rights, section 22b that states: No citizen shall be disqualified from jury service because of sex, but the court shall excuse any woman who requests exemption therefrom before being sworn as a juror. This is still in the constitution, I checked it today but don't know if it was over ruled by the Supreme Court in the Case of Duran vs. Missouri. But why would it still be on the books? If a law is there is it still a law.

If it is really still a law then I believed it is the judge and the jury administration office who broke the law by not excusing me when I asked. I don't know, we are going to go see a lawyer after the holiday.

Oh well I guess I get to spend my nice holiday weekend worrying.


Blogger Clytemnestra said...


I'm really sorry you are going through this and am in much the same boat. I too have panic attacks in close spaces. I can ride in elevators, but two man tents and even campers are a problem -don't eve nget me started on Cat scans and MRIs.

But I have tried, and found that I can forstall the attack by closing my eyes putting my mind somewhere else: A mountain top, replaying a movie or good book in my head or focusing on a problem I need to deal with.

Sometimes it works just long enough to get me through it. I live in MA so I have no idea about MO laws. But a few weeks ago I did have jury duty, which was cancelled for which I did show up --- and then I got a summonds for not showing up..

I know it's maddening, just hang in there.

5/27/2007 9:50 PM

Anonymous melissa said...

i am so very sorry that this is happening to you! can you not show the doctor's letters you've received over the past three years? i cannot understand why this would happen at all as you have a very valid medical condition.

5/28/2007 1:19 PM

Blogger Gingersnapp said...

They don't keep the letters on file and I didn't think about copying them for future reference but I bet because they would have earlier dates they wouldn't have excepted those anyway. But thank you both for thinking about me.

It's funny, claustrophobic people are probably the most law abiding citizens ever because jail would be the worse thing for us. Back in 2004 when I worked on the Kerry Campaign the Democratic headquarters planned a protest when Dick Cheney came to our city. I wanted to go so bad and make a big sign with my slogan "Girlie Men Draft Dodgers Shouldn't Start Wars" But because I feared that something could get out of hand and they may arrest people I stayed away. Even though it was a legal protest, I just couldn't face the thought of confinement, I think that would kill me.

5/28/2007 7:57 PM

Blogger Jen said...

Even if you leave the country and renounce citizenship the IRS still says you are liable for U.S. taxes. Yep, you heard me. Thought you should know...


6/05/2007 5:45 PM

Blogger Hill said...

Oh, wow, that just sucks ass big time! You and your husband are absolutely correct in seeking legal advice. What is happening to you sounds like a personal vendetta on the part of the judge, and hopefully, a good lawyer will shut him down!

6/07/2007 4:53 AM

Blogger Vercingetorix said...

No offense, but how can someone with an irrational fear of closed spaces poke fun at and call attention to the little idiosyncrasies of President George Bush? Seems you are holding him to a higher standard than you hold yourself.

Also, your claim of claustrophobia might be bolstered if you were actively seeking treatment for it. If you were going to a specialist for treatment to resolve this - you'd have a paper trail to show the judge that he could believe.

Have you just given up and decided that there is no way you can defeat it? Or is it the "victim" status that so many of you blue folks crave what's really important here?

6/11/2007 1:54 PM

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