6 Legitimate Goddamn Heroes You Didn't Know Got Screwed Over
The universe is ruled by a blind, mad god who feasts on pain and chaos. Even if you're practically a saint, the only reward you'll get for all of your good deeds is a horrible death followed by a swift kick in the genitals as you plummet to hell. Do we sound a bit cynical? You would be too if you knew about ...
Everybody Screwed Over 9/11 First Responders
9/11 brought out the best parts of America: Our selfless heroics, our perseverance, our ruthless capitalism ...
Okay, maybe that last part isn't so great. Take Starbucks' Battery Park location, which used the horrific tragedy as an excuse to charge 9/11 ambulance responders about $130 for three cases of bottled water -- water that they needed to give to hundreds of survivors of goddamn 9/11.
No seriously, take it. Take it away. We don't want to live in that world.
It gets worse: The ambulance crew had to pay out of their own pockets for it. It, again, being water for people who had just been 9/11'ed.
"Patriots are great. Paytriots are better."
Sure, the company ended up issuing a public apology and reimbursing the ambulance workers, but that doesn't put water in the mouths of the dying, as the saying should probably go.
It's not just corporations that saw the worst terrorist attack in American history and thought "Know what? Bet I can make it worse." Yes, the EPA itself took a cue from Ghostbusters and decided to play the bad guy: They tested the air at Ground Zero and claimed that it didn't pose a health risk to anybody. Not the survivors of the attack. Not the people living or working in the area. And certainly not the first responders, who were there right at the start and kept working for months afterward.
This being the article that it is, of course they were lying. Later, to the shock of all, we found out that inhaling death and destruction is bad for you. More than 3,700 first responders have been diagnosed with cancer and other diseases. Quite reasonably, they thought they could get some recompense. Quite unreasonably, Congress told them to take a flying fuck at the Moon on a special rocket shaped like a giant middle finger.
"Protect the Homeland, but screw the people dying in the Homeland."
It took nine years to finally a pass a measure helping first responders, but it expired in 2015 thanks to Mitch McConnell, who quietly removed the bill's reauthorization from a larger measure. If it weren't for constant lobbying from survivors -- and a ton of finger-wagging from Jon Stewart -- that's how it would've ended: with the workers who sacrificed their health to save people during the 9/11 attacks eating double-helpings of apathy.
Don't fuck with Jon Stewart when he's in Beard Mode.
Instead, they now have lifetime health coverage and compensation. It's the least we, as a country, could do for them. Well, no -- actually the least we could do was nothing, but we tried that as hard as we could and it didn't take. C'est la vie.
Related: 9/11 First Responders Got Screwed Over. Today's Frontline Workers Will Get Screwed Even Worse
Ebola Workers Had Their Lives Ruined
The 2014 ebola epidemic, scourge of ill-informed middle-aged moms across America, mainly affected the West African nations of Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Guinea. The virus progresses quickly and is extremely contagious, especially right after death. So it was crucial for people there to abandon traditional burial customs -- washing the body themselves in the family home, burying the body, etc. -- and opt for taboo cremation instead.
"In lieu of flowers, please send just a shitload of matches and gasoline."
Unfortunately, the West doesn't have a great track record with Africa, on account of the lying, the exploitation and maybe even that little slavery thing. Also unfortunately, most of the burial workers were men who lived in the same communities they served -- communities who were not exactly thrilled with all the perceived defiling of corpses (it's weird how rarely people are thrilled about that). While they bravely risked their lives to stem the spread of illness, they were evicted, thrown out of local businesses, and shunned by their families. Many of them have to live together on the outskirts of town now, because no one else will have them.
They burnt down the crematorium, which is at least better than burning the workers.
Oh and they also probably have Ebola from the ... y'know ... all the Ebola.
Hitler Gaslit A British Soldier Into Believing He Started The Holocaust
Private Henry Tandey was one of the most decorated World War I veterans in England. He had so many medals pinned to his chest he could probably deflect bullets with them, for which he would doubtlessly earn another medal.
A few more years of service and he wouldn't have needed a uniform anymore. Just medals, all the way down.
When Neville Chamberlain visited Hitler in 1938 for peace talks, the latter proudly showed him a painting that supposedly featured Tandey. Hitler told Chamberlain, "That man came so near to killing me that I thought I should never see Germany again."
You'll find Waldo before you find Tandey.
Now, Hitler -- hold onto your monocles -- wasn't exactly a trustworthy guy. The encounter likely never happened. There's a bunch of reasons to be suspicious: The timelines don't match up, the painting probably wasn't Tandey at all, he's Hitler ... you get the idea. Hitler probably named Tandey specifically because he was so well-liked -- it would embarrass the Brits if their precious war hero had a chance to kill the Fuhrer and blew it.
At first, Tandey heard these rumors and blew them off: Hitler was just a liar. Oh wait, we didn't warn you this time -- we apologize for all shattered monocles. But as time went on, and the rumors gained traction, even Tandey himself came to doubt. Tandey eventually went on record, saying: "If only I had known what he would turn out to be ... When I saw all the people and women and children he had killed and wounded, I was sorry to God I let him go."
Plenty of fascinating historical fiction has been written about their meeting
except they never mention the "fiction" part.
It basically destroyed his mind. Ruining the life of a single British war hero by spreading rumors may seem awfully petty for a guy of grand evil like Hitler, but hey -- that's why he was Hitler. He always took time to screw the little guy.
A Woman Was Arrested For Saving A Friend's Life
Veronica Cherwinski ended up in jail for saving a life, despite the fact that a law existed specifically to protect her from that -- Rhode Island's Good Samaritan Overdose Prevention Act. When Cherwinski's friend started overdosing, she didn't think twice about yelling for the neighbors to call 911. Because one thing's for sure: Alive friends are better than dead friends.
But no good deed goes unpunched: Cherwinski was promptly cuffed and taken to jail, where she stayed for 30 days on a felony drug charge.
Some heroes get rewarded. Others get a public defender.
You really, really don't want to discourage drug users from calling 911 in emergencies. Plus, Cherwinski had already lost her boyfriend to an overdose -- she couldn't bear the thought of losing another loved one. Luckily, public advocates managed to get her felony charge cleared, so all's well that ends well.
Oh right, except for the month in jail for doing the right thing.
A Woman Intervened In An Assault, Got Severely Beaten By Police
Tonie Farrell was heading home after her shift at Canada's Starbucks, Tim Hortons, when she saw a friend being attacked by three assailants. She rushed over to help, and the attackers scattered into the night. Farrell stayed with the injured woman until the police arrived, and all was well. Well and truly screwed, that is: Sergeant Watson showed up on scene and immediately told Farrell to "shut the fuck up." Understandably upset, Farrell responded by asking for his badge number and stepping away. Not so understandably upset, the officer responded by kicking her in the knee and shattering her leg.
Gruesome photos of a woman's brutal injuries: the highlight of any lawyer's day.
She hit the ground headfirst. Watson, who'd apparently missed his calling as a WWE heel, promptly jumped on Farrell and began punching her. All told, Farrell was rewarded for her bravery with a broken leg, a missing tooth, and a wounded arm. So between this and the OD story, we guess the lesson is: When emergency situations arise, just kinda roll with it and try not to get in the criminal's way.
And if you want to be a big guy who beats the shit out of little old ladies, be sure you earn a badge first.
A Woman Got Sued for $4 Million, For Rescuing A Friend
The typical reaction to someone saving your life is gratitude, in the form of promising a life-debt that can only be repaid with the life of another. Or whatever. Maybe you show your thanks differently, but your response probably isn't a lawsuit, is our point. Not so for Lisa Torti, who was driving along when she saw her friend, Alexandra Van Horn, trapped in an overturned car, filling with smoke. Torti pulled over and dragged Alexandra to safety, leaving her paralyzed, but alive. Sort of happy ending?
Just one problem: According to Van Horn's lawyer, Torti should have known that the smoking wreckage of a car was a perfectly safe space to be, and left the woman there to enjoy the musky scent of burning plastic. According to Van Horn, she only wound up paralyzed because Torti dragged her out of the car "like a rag doll," and not at all because of the horrible crash immediately prior to the supposed manhandling.
You can walk off two tons of steel. But a hundred pounds of flesh? Inevitable devastation.
Good Samaritan laws exist to prevent this kind of thing, but they generally only protect people from injuries sustained during CPR -- not heroic actions like carrying someone from a smoking wreck. So a court ruled that Van Horn was indeed allowed to sue Torti, which she did -- to the tune of $4 million. Torti agreed to settle out of court, and hopefully learned a valuable lesson about ever helping anybody with anything.
Tara Marie writes a bunch, sometimes on Twitter.
For more evidence an insane man is behind the wheel of what we call our existence, check out 5 Horrifying Ways The Universe Has Repaid Good Deeds and 5 Good Deeds That Were Punished With Excessive Cruelty.
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