It's Worse Than We Thought

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It's Worse Than We Thought
I'm not sure anyone thought the abuse and treatment of ND fans was this pervasive, but 50 stories later, it's obvious that it is. And I have to admit, I simply viewed this as ridiculous and over the top yesterday. But after reading so many stories detailing the same abhorrent treatment, it's obvious that the police are affecting people's lives. The worst part is that it appears to be about money. As one student reported, the police told them: "alright anyone with a credit card is free to go."

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I never mentioned it, because I believed it was just a fluke instance of usher and police stupidity, but after reading here for the last day or so, it appears my experience is becoming the norm at Notre Dame.

For clarity, and those who don't know, I was wounded severely by a grenade blast in the invasion of Fallujah, Iraq. The right rear base of my skull ruptured internally, and I was left (after surgeries) with around 19 bone fragments in the lower parts of my brain, which are responsible for horrible vertigo and headaches most all of the time.

Anyway, twice since 2005 I've been able to get my doctors to clear me to go visit Notre Dame to see a football game. I got to see the green jersey ND / Army game in '06 and the Duke game last year. (On a completely irrelevant note, I've seen 12 ND games in person in my life. We're 12-0 in those games. You're welcome.)

I had one of my former soldiers from Iraq in town visiting, and managed to get tickets last minute to take him to the Duke game.

We got stuck in traffic, and missed tailgaiting completely, getting into the stadium with little time to spare. I'm not medically allowed to drink, and my buddy didn't have any time to do so, so we were stone sober. I did, however, have my prescribed vertigo pills in their official medical container from the VA in my coat pocket, and I had checked with the Usher at my gate to ensure it was ok as I was entering. I had explained my condition, and the need for the medication, and was thanked for my service, and told it was perfectly ok.

Fast forward to middle of the third quarter on a drizzly cold night, and probably getting a bit too excited about Robert Hughes' big game, and ND actually looking competant, and my vertigo issues flared up, and I was swooning a bit just as an Usher and a policeman were correcting some folks behind us about pushups in the stands. The policeman notices that I'm "intoxicated", and grabs me from behind by the neck (not real forcefully)and spins me around to face him. Couple things here. First, my neck is seriously screwy from the impact against the concrete wall in Iraq, so it hurt badly. Secondly, vertigo and being spun do not mix well, and I proceeded to vomit on his shoes.

He was not pleased, and hauled me physically into the concourse, where the pills took a dive out of my pocket, and the guy started accusing me of drug use. I was still busy throwing up, so I wasn't able to explain anything different.

My former soldier was furious about the way I was being treated, and lost his temper trying to explain my condition to the officer. The ND usher made a radio call sometime in this, and three more officers came and detained him.

I was finally able to speak as the officer moved to handcuff me, and told the initial officer to check the label of my medication, that I was a disabled veteran, and that my condition was flaring up, and I needed my medication to prevent it, and that he had made it worse by jostling me all over the stadium. He seemed to act as if I was full of shit, but the ND usher called it in over the radio, and apparently my gate usher spoke up that I had showed the pills at the gate, and my ID matched the label, ect.

The usher and the police walked off and had a huddle, and when they came back, the bad cop riff was replaced with falling all over themselves niceness and respect. My friend was released, and the ushers offered to take us down and find us a spot in the gold seats for the misunderstanding.

But by that time, I was horrendously sick, and my friend was no longer in the mood to be anywhere near Notre Dame, so we left the campus.

The story isn't probably any help to anybody, since I was too ill, and my friend was too hot-headed to even think about badge numbers or tunic numbers or anything to identify anyone or help the cause, but I wanted to share it now, since it's relevant to the discussion in some way.

This time of year, I'm usually pestering the doctors about allowing me to go back to ND to see the Irish play. Not this year, nor probably any year in the future if my wife has anything to say about it. She constantly reminds me that the officer could have dropped me on my head and killed me.

She's not much of an Irish fan anymore. She dimed ND out to my doctor as well, so I probably wouldn't ever get medically cleared to go again if I did try. I still thank God every time I think about it that she wasn't with me that day. She'd have probably clawed out an officer's eyes or something in defense of me, and done hard time for it.

Ah well, enough of that. I'm rooting for you guys to crush this bullshit from the bottom of my heart.
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