So they've got security checkpoints at work now. Metal detector, pat-downs, four armed VA cops. Apparently it's "because of the shutdown", though why a budget crisis would prompt the VA to blow MORE money, and on something that's not even relevant to healthcare, is bit of a mystery to me. They won't work on service-connection claims or travel pay for wounded Marines, but they will post guards and frisk elderly veterans whose pacemakers set off the metal detector. They've also locked down a number of entrances commonly used by patients and visitors (including the ER dock!) so as to funnel traffic towards the checkpoints. Yesterday, there were so many people waiting to get scanned that the line stretched clear out the lobby, into the parking lot. It was raining.
The best (worst?) part is, they've left at least two points of entry completely unguarded. I wandered around the campus looking hella suspicious for almost ten minutes, then proceeded to waltz into a basement side door wearing a bulging backpack and carrying a large case. ESSENTIAL. SERVICES. Thanks, America.
Are the security dudes and their stuff part of the VA, or are they contractors? If it's the latter, do they get to put up whatever security measures they deem appropriate?
I think they're part of the VA, but who the hell knows at this point? I know at least one of them is a regular-duty VA cop; he scooped up my friend last month for being North African, looking like a pothead, and maybe also for shouting obscenities at one of the doctors. But it's entirely possible that they outsourced him to Blackwater.
Despite being a federally funded healthcare system, most of the VA is still running without a hitch. The only thing the shutdown seems to be doing is causing undue stress for middle aged trauma survivors, a few of whom have been convinced by the news media that our country is about to fall apart. I don't know whether that's something to be optimistic about or something to depress the hell out of you, but there it is.
I rather suspect the armed guards are to protect the doctors and nurses from the tea party nutjob vets who can't get their government sponsored healthcare and shoot up the hospital.
What you want to tell your comrades is that the loss of their government sponsored healthcare is a small price to pay to ensure that the rest of America doesn't get government sponsored health care. It's the price of Freedom.
The teaparty nutjob vets are still getting their healthcare, and most of them have not yet been flagged by the death panels. The whole "government shutdown" mainly effects things we neither want nor need - like DoD contract labor and the FCC. Teaparty vets will continue to receive what passes for healthcare right up until the Chinese decide to send our entire country to collections.
A charity is paying the benefits with the promise of being reimbursed. It's still great they're doing it, but it's not like they're going to lose the cash.
Will, I thought you were more metal than to complain about waiting in a line IN THE RAIN. tisk.
For the record, I don't like waiting in the rain, because there's NOT ENOUGH OF IT.
When I wait in line, it's got to be in the middle of a hurricane, with lightning crashing all around me and half-naked barbarian women at my feet.
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