A man startled Democrat Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri and reporters when he left behind what he said were the ashes of his veteran father as a protest against veterans’ care, the Springfield News-Leader reported.
While authorities are investigating the incident, one source says they are confident what the man left behind was “not human ashes.”
The incident occurred during a Friday appearance at Missouri State University’s Meyer Library by McCaskill, who is up for reelection in 2018.
According to the News-Leader, McCaskill was there “to present the largely positive feedback from veterans receiving health care services in southwest Missouri.”
A man who identified himself as Paul Price of Ozark, Missouri, didn’t exactly have a positive impression of the care he said his veteran father got.
Price began by accosting McCaskill about the state of his own coverage (presumably under Obamacare) and then moved onto veterans’ care.
“Go look on the street and see homeless veterans that need assistance,” Price told the senator.
“Maybe we’re improving, but it’s third-world country care that our veterans receive.”
Price then pulled a zip-sealed plastic bag full of a gray, dust-like substance out of his waistband and held it aloft.
“You want to ask a veteran — here, ask this veteran what kind of care he got and he’ll tell you,” Price said, dropping the bag.
“Take that back to Washington,” he added.
Well, you can’t fault him for a lack of theatrical flair, at the very least.
On his way out, Price said the contents of the the bag were indeed “a veteran.”
“I was entrusted with them to make a statement,” Price said before driving away.
Springfield police spokeswoman Lisa Cox says that while an investigation is ongoing and that Price’s bag of goodies is currently with the Greene County Medical Examiner’s Office, “we are not aware that a crime has been committed.”
Jack Hembree, a member of the Springfield’s Vietnam Veterans Association chapter, says while veterans’ associations in the area would check to see if they were really a veteran’s cremated remains, “the initial feeling we had at Missouri State was that they were not human ashes.”
“He’s not much a hero in my book if those were his father’s ashes,” Hembree said. “The route he took for his problem is not going to solve anything.”
It was quite a statement, though, and one that shows just how desperate some veterans and their families are getting with the VA system. Changes need to be made, and quickly. If not, lawmakers like McCaskill are going to feel the repercussions.
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