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Anna Brown Petition Creator Jonathan Dedering Speaks Out

The Wisconsin resident said learning of the woman's death in Richmond Heights made him want to tell her story. He also wants to press Congress to provide Americans with greater access to health care.

After learning about , Jonathan Dedering of Madison, WI, decided to launch a petition for increased health care access.

In an email interview this week, Dedering talked about his reaction to the case, his own experiences with the health care system and his other political activism.

(Like Clayton-Richmond Heights Patch on Facebook.)

He said he is working through a glitch that took 12,000 names off of the more than 25,000 signatures he has collected on Change.org.

A Change.org representative acknowledged the problem in an email to him and said the website is working to identify a solution.

How did you first learn about the death of Anna Brown? How did you react?

I had been researching the case of Bo Morrison over the weekend when I first came across the story of Anna Brown.

Bo Morrison was killed after hiding from the police during a raid on an underage drinking party. He had run next door to hide on a three-season porch, but the neighbor found him and shot him to death. 

Because of the recently passed Castle Doctrine his killer is protected from both criminal and civil liability, even though his killing was likely an execution. His killer had actually been the one who called police and sent them to the shut down the party.  Bo Morrison is the first death that can be directly linked to (Wisconsin Gov.) Scott Walker's agenda and his laws written by ALEC.

Anna Brown's story astounded me, and when I searched the web I could hardly find anything about her except for just a few random articles. I could tell that her story was one that needed to be told, her treatment could not be forgotten. 

So I wrote an article on my blog youthrevolutionarycouncil.org to share with my friends and then went to bed. When I woke up the next day I noticed that the comment section below the article was overflowing with discussion. It occurred to me that the video of her mistreatment represents what many people have come to expect from the health care system: rejection. 

As an asthma suffer, I've experienced my own rejection when suffering from asthma attacks. People will assume you can just suck it up and wait for it to go away, they'll refuse to take you to the emergency room and they'll treat you like you're just whining. 

I was actually arrested once while attempting to access my asthma inhaler. It was Halloween in Madison, which is a huge party, so the police make a huge show of force to keep everyone in line. They had blocked off the end of each block to clear the people, but I was starting to have an asthma attack and my inhaler was locked in the office of the store I was managing at the time, which was well behind the police line. 

So I went up to an officer and asked when the road would be clear so I could get to my inhaler and he responded, "get the (expletive) away!" Confused by his response, I hesitated and turned away, but only seconds later he tackled me from behind and arrested me. 

I spent the next ten hours in a jail cell.  The deputies repeatedly refused me access to the jail nurse, but I persisted and they finally gave me access to two puffs on an asthma inhaler after about four hours. The nurse had accused me of being on drugs, which I was not, I was just extremely irate and suffering from an enormous amount of chest muscle pains from struggling to breath.      

Why did you start the health-care petition after learning about the Anna Brown case? What are you hoping to accomplish?

I started the petition because Anna Brown's case is just too horrifying to turn my back to. Her family deserves justice, and so does everyone else who's ever been mistreated and rejected by the profit-driven health care industry. Not a single person has ever chosen to need health care, but we are all forced to seek it. 

It's time to offer everyone coverage to everyone and take down the barriers to it's affordability. If it were not for the rich mooching off of these people's misery, we would see a substantial reduction in the cost of care. But simply reducing barriers to the affordability of care is not enough, we need a constitutional amendment that guarantees access to health care as a basic human right. 

We all need to look deep within ourselves and decide that this is what a moral America would do.

Why does a case from Missouri interest someone from Wisconsin?

Anna Brown's treatment was no different than what all poor people in America can expect.  While a 71-year-old Dick Cheney can get a heart transplant for free, friends of mine struggle to pay for basic medications for things like epilepsy. State borders mean very little to me, we all live on the same planet and we all suffer the same plight. An injustice to one is an injustice to all. 

The whole system needs to change, in Anna Brown's case the conduct of the hospital staff and the responding police weren't anything out of the ordinary, that's what they do everyday. The only difference between this case and any of the others was that Anna Brown's case was all captured on video.

In what ways have you been politically active in the past? Is health-care your primary focus, or are there other areas of interest to you? One of our readers pointed out that you've left several comments online regarding the Occupy Wall Street movement.

I'm only 25 but I've been involved in many campaigns for over a decade including campaigns against the Iraq War, environmental issues, and I've been a vocal advocate for health care reform. I have been involved in a number of Occupy Wall Street demonstrations and help establish a permanent Occupy Madison camp in downtown Madison. 

In this corner of the world the main campaign on everyone's mind is the . I participated in the occupation of the Wisconsin State Capitol last spring. Currently I am a member of the Autonomous Solidarity Organization (ASO).  At the moment we are organizing the 2nd Annual People's Bratfest in downtown Madison.  

How many signatures have you collected so far? What is your goal, and what will you do next assuming that goal is reached?

So far I have collected 25,000 signatures. My goal is to collect at least 1,000,000. Once the goal is reached, I will begin emailing the people who have signed and ask that they contact their congressperson and demand that they stand up for the right to health care access. 

Based on the outcome of this year's election, I may ask my congresspeople to propose an amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Ultimately, my actions will likely be based upon the climate in Congress following this election season. It's highly unlikely that a constitutional amendment could be ratified by the current congress.  

Are there other comments you'd like to make?

I would like everyone to know that we should not allow the current political climate to divide America. We all must stand up and commit to what we believe and disregard the naysayers. We need to take our opinions directly to our politicians and stop letting other speak for us, the PACs sure aren't speaking up for us. 

It's time to take back America from the American Legislative Exchange Council and their puppet politicians.

John Mehoff March 31, 2012 at 09:44 AM
This may come off harsh, but I must say it: Mr. Dedering, you are a 25 year old photographer. You are naive and have very little life experience. You are the product of an educational system that taught your generation what to think- political correctness. Instead of learning productive skills and knowledge in school, you were given "self-esteem" to vent your ignorance with confidence. Universal health coverage would not have prevented this tragedy. Instead of pushing an unproductive health care agenda, maybe you should ask where was Ms. Brown's family when she was in dire need and her children were taken away by the state. She was left homeless and suffering, but the family didn’t step up. Now they’re coming out of the woodwork to get their hands in the deep pockets. You rail against profit-driven health care, but the free-market system is the reason the United States develops the most advanced medical devices and medicines. Do you think the government could produce these advancements? What program does the government run efficiently? Social Security and Medicare are insolvent. The government has been fighting the war on poverty for 50 years with nothing to show, but entrapping a segment in a vicious cycle of despair. Education has been declining for decades with more and more money thrown at the problem. What leads you to believe the government will do health care better? BTW, have you noticed that Gov. Walker's policies are working in Wisconsin?
John Mehoff March 31, 2012 at 09:48 AM
I’m amazed at how much control of their own lives some people are willing to cede to the government. Mr. Dedering you mentioned your unpleasant interaction with the police, who are agents of the government. Yet, you want to give the government the power to make decisions about your health care. You thought getting arrested was harsh, wait until you get a colonoscopy by a government doctor.
Joanne A Sinclair-Muir March 31, 2012 at 06:57 PM
There needs to be an inquiry into what has occurred to Anna Brown. Would all she have needed was anti-coagulent tablets and to stay quiet/inactive for a few days? How expensive would that have been? Do people not look out for each other in the USA? This should not have happened to a this woman.
Godfrey April 03, 2012 at 04:47 PM
Godfrey. Mr. Mehooff. With respect to you and your info on this young lady's background, I must disagree with your interpretation of the Healthcare system and the lack of regard it has for the less fortunate. I worked in the healthcare system for 31 years, and I can assure you, there is a double standard when it comes to a situation such as this. Anna Brown's family history is irrevelant when it comes to being treated at a health facility. Wheather or not this woman would have lived or died is not the point! She should never have been refused treatment, and that is the bottom line! The Police should not have intervened in this matter.
DGD April 05, 2012 at 05:18 PM
To Mehoff, you ask where was her family when she lost her children to the state; her mother is who took the children in. Her mother had the choice of taking in her grandchildren or her daughter, and who wouldn't pick the grandchildren. That is why Anna Brown was homeless, and her mother has since then expressed regret for listening to the judge and wished she would have taken her in too.

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