Tucson Progressive

Pamela Powers Hannley, a progressive voice for Arizona

TPD arrests disabled Occupy Tucson protester

Joan Zatorski Puca was arrested by Tucson Police on Friday, November 25, 2011. Here is the video of the arrest. Her powerful statement below details her rational for submitting to arrest at Occupy Tucson.

This statement below, is read in the video by Joan’s husband Dr. Christopher Puca as she is being dragged into a TPD cruiser.

Friday, Nov. 25, 2011

After much personal introspection, I came to the decision today that this evening I will place myself in position to be arrested at Pancho Villa Park downtown (Veinte de Agosto Park) and jailed in relation to my involvement in the OCCUPY MOVEMENT in Tucson.

I’ve been carefully studying and meditating Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s most erudite essay, his “Letter from Birmingham Jail (1963)” this past week. I am convinced that it is essential for deliberate, immediate attention be refocused on the issues of economic injustice which initially galvanized the OCCUPY MOVEMENT world-wide (as opposed to issues related to local city curfew, park ordinances, or even this issue of First Amendment Rights).

I have come to this conclusion not as a leader of any movement or group but as a singular individual desperately concerned about the profound suffering presently experienced by millions of human beings across every economic and social class, generation, gender, sexual orientation, political persuasion, religious or spiritual belief.

In good conscience, I simply cannot let Mary DeCamp (recent Mayoral candidate, Tucson Peace Activist) be the lone Tucsonan willing to enter jail (as she did in the wee hours of November 25th) as a means of drawing attention to our country’s blatant issues regarding economic injustice.

As an educated white woman, legally disabled by illness, a civil servant with almost 20 years of service to children who were living at or below the poverty line, a mother, grandmother, spouse, avowed Christian, registered and consistently-participating voter, American citizen by birthright, granddaughter of immigrants, who has never been arrested, much less walked into a jail, I believe I am the most “common” example of the “common person” impacted by the devastatingly serious economic issues that thousands upon thousands of people are demanding be addressed.

I am you… we are all one and we are suffering. Only by uniting with one another can our most egregious issues be solved.

Look in my eyes and see the reflection of your own face, your own pain… Look again and see, as well, the possibility for redemption, for resolution, for renewal of all that is good within the soul of America.

In closing, I ask you to surround me with your personal prayers this evening. That I may stay committed to my decision to display non-violent behavior, speech, and attitude in the face of (what may be) a physically and medically challenging experience for me tonight (and beyond).

Joan Zatorski Puca
Tucson, Arizona

26 comments on “TPD arrests disabled Occupy Tucson protester

  1. Mark B. Evans
    November 28, 2011

    I fail to understand how her arrest furthers her cause. It hurts her, helps no one and will go unnoticed by the millionaires and billionaires of Wall Street, the supposed source of her ire.

    • Truth in advertising
      November 28, 2011

      No cause is the cause. Outside cold, inside is warm that is how it helps her.

    • Joan Zatorski Puca
      November 28, 2011

      Hello, Mark. Thank you for posting your comment; ‘I fail to see how her arrest furthers her cause’.  I’d urge you to read up on the history of Militant Non-Violent Civil Disobedience as espoused by Mahatma Gandhi. These techniques enabled Gandhi to inspire an entire nation to throw the British Imperialists out of India.  The (original) Boston Tea Party (1773  ) was a MASSIVE act of civil disobedience—and played a huge role in you living in a place called the United States of America rather than in a group of colonies under the rule of great Britain.  Please read Martin Luther King’s 1963 essay, “Letter from a Birmingham Jail”, in which he most eloquently explains (and certainly far better than I could ever hope to explain to you) why militant-non-violent-civil-disobedience (MNVCD) is an incredibly effective tool to bring about social change.  I recently edited this great essay by Rev.Dr.King and substituted “Tucson” for “Birmingham”, among other words and phrases.  This enabled me to see how absolutely relevant M-N-V-C-D  is to resolving our nation’s present unjust economic realities.  You can find a copy of this edited version of King’s essay at this location:  http://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=115788185200241 I think reading this might help clarify any confusion you presently have regarding the rationale behind my decision to be jailed.  As MLK, Jr. explained:  “…we have to raise the level of social tension in order to raise society’s ATTENTION to these serious issues… those in power do not readily or easily give up their power…it must be demanded and taken from them”    By allowing myself to be arrested and jailed, the level of tension  in the social situation rose…and that became a catalyst for response from others in our community and our nation.  As indicated by the simple fact that you, yourself, responded to my arrest and jailing on FACEBOOK,  my act of civil disobedience got your attention.  Had I not been arrested and gone to jail, would you have asked the question you chose to post on FACEBOOK? I’m pretty sure you know the honest answer to that, don’t you? 

      • Robert Francis Griffin
        December 4, 2011

        Wow right on thank you. Here is a new economic system based on democracy.Rights                         (Based on the Mondragon Co-operative Corporation, of the Basque community in Spain)                            Written by; Robert Francis Griffin                                          Co-Written by; Aaron Benjamin Griffin All Rights reserved (2011)We recognize that workers have inalienable rights, by reason of their labor, among these are:   {#1}  The right to own and democratically control the capital. {#2}   The right for 10% of the capital to belong to the health, education, and welfare, of the worker and their immediate family.  {#3} The right for 20% of the capital to be reinvested in the research and development of new worker own democratically controlled co-operatives.{#4} The right for 70% of the profits to be equally divided by each worker from the time they are hired until retirement.{#5} The right to equitable salaries. Equal time equal pay.{#6} The right to limit management terms in office.{#7} The right to environmentally safe business practices.{#8} Employees have the right to collectively bargain with their employers. 

  2. Truth in advertising
    November 28, 2011

    “I believe I am the most “common” example of the “common person” impacted by the devastatingly serious economic issues that thousands upon thousands of people are demanding be addressed.”

    How have you been impacted? Please explain so we can understand the injustice you have suffered.

    • Joan Zatorski Puca
      November 28, 2011

       Dear “truth in advertising”, When ONE of us suffers from injustice, we ALL suffer.  … Please examine world history just a little bit  and try to figure out how Hitler was able to murder over 6,000,000 Jews during WW II? Hitler created a huge culture of  self-centeredness and fear among the German people.  Their fear of the potential of their own personal loss prevented them from acknowledging and  speaking out against the atrocities going on before their very eyes.  After you learn about that phenomenon, I urge you to then study about and learn what the citizens in Amsterdam did when Hitler passed laws requiring  Dutch Jews to wear yellow arm bands identifying  themselves as Jewish, and homosexuals to identify themselves as gay by wearing pink armbands and so on.  It’s an amazing study of contrasts on the spectrum of human action/reaction and an individual’s `personal sense of responsibility.  When you learn the actual  circumstances and results of these separate (but related) scenarios, then I urge you to ask yourself, “Which group of citizens do YOU judge to be operating on a higher moral ground?Which group chose the more moral act and which was the more cowardly?  With which group would YOU choose to align yourself today?”  I am convinced that the moment we lose sight of the humanity which joins each of us to the other, that is the moment when we begin to self-destruct as human persons.
      If I am to raise my voice in protest only when I, myself, am being hurt, maligned or abused, then I am behaving in a very ego-centric manner and from a completely self-centered plane.  Please read my statement explaining why I was willing to but myself in harm’s way as a means of drawing greater attention to the inequities in our present economic system. Rabbi Hillel, one of the most influential scholars in Jewish history, expressed this concept very succinctly and beautifully when he said,  “If I am not for myself, then who will be for me? And if I am only for myself, then what am I? And if not now, when?”
      Thank you for sharing your own questions and concerns about these issues. Sincerely, Joan Zatorski Puca

      • Truth in Advertising
        November 29, 2011

        Joan, again: How have You been impacted? Please explain so we can understand the injustice you have suffered. Per your own statement: “I am the most “common” example of the “common person” impacted by the devastatingly serious economic issues that thousands upon”

  3. mojo
    November 28, 2011

    Joan, in your time of need, please remember the words of the late, great John Fitzgerald Kennedy:
    “Ask not what you can do for a country, ask what that country can do for you.”
    I find that inspiring when I want something, at someone else’s expense.

    • dent
      November 28, 2011

      Mojo, I think you are trying as hard as you can not to feel very guilty… A disabled elderly woman has the cajones to stand up for all of us that don’t make billions per year and you mangle Kennedy’s words to castigate her? Wow, that’s pretty silly of you!

    • Joan Zatorski Puca
      November 28, 2011

      Hello, Mojo.  John Kennedy said, “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what YOU can do for your country”.  
      Thank you for posting your thoughts.  Joan Zatorski Puca 

  4. Mark
    November 28, 2011

    Thank-you for being my voice and standing up to the injustice in Amerika. By being we are. And yes, we are the ninety-nine percent.
    You are in my thoughts and meditations, for a better, more just society. “We shall overcome, someday.” soon.
    In Love and Light,

  5. Zelot
    November 28, 2011

    How do you feel knowing you’re paying those pigs salary?

  6. Joan Zatorski Puca
    November 28, 2011

    Dear Zelot,
    I’m quite certain I did not see or meet any “pigs” the night of my arrest.  However, I did meet many interesting human beings.
    Sincerely, Joan Zatorki Puca 

  7. sarah
    November 28, 2011

    does her disability have something to do with her arrest or is that detail just part of OWS’s effort to get the money they want with a giant “poor me” story?

    • christopher puca MD
      November 29, 2011

      Dear Sarah,
      Joan Zatorski Puca said in her letter that she was acting out of conscience and her decision was hers and not that of any group. This is true. I know it because I am her husband and witnessed every step in her decision during the day leading up to her arrest.

      The Occupy Movement is telling the American people that it is important to understand the issue of disproportunate power, wealth, income and the ability to buy influence that is the main driver of social injustice at this time.

      The top one percent owns 43% of the wealth in he USA.
      The top 20% including the top one percent owns 84% of the total wealth. The lower 80% owns 16% of the wealth.

      We… Joan, I, OWs, Occupy Tucson…are talking about decency, fairness, justice and democracy in our society because these values are missing as evidenced by the great and continuing concentration of income and wealth within the richest Americans, especially within the top tenth to the top humdreth of the top one percent. This is absolutely nothing wrong with being wealthy. There is something wrong with not paying one’s fair share of taxes, or of using one’s wealth to go against the public good by buying members of congress and controlling the machinery of our government for the interest of a small plutocratic class. that term is the one by President Theodore Roosevelt.
      This is all documented. You do not have to take anyone’s word. OWS and OT and the Occupy movement have been documenting, and will continue to document, everything we say because we feel that all of us, you, me, we, deserve to know the facts, not what a small group of self interested and greedy and unprincipled people want us to believe so that we will make decisions that are not in the interests of all of the American people.

      If you read Joan’s replys above, you will get a better idea of her philosophy of fairness and compassion. I will also offer a few words, that of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton of NYC, my birthplace. Mother Seton said something like “learn to live simply so that others may simply live.” Gandhi said
       “Kindness is my religion” and of course Jesus pointed out that what we do for the least (poorest, least powerful) of his children, you do for him.

      Dr. Christopher Puca, MD husband to Joan Zatorski Puca and supporter of Occupy Tucson

  8. brian
    November 29, 2011

    Hi Joan, I just wanted to thank you for your passion and sacrifice.  

    Also, since you seem to be replying to the comments here in an erudite fashion, I wondered what you think about the following question: Why non-violence?  Heroes like Gandhi and King were exceptional in catalyzing massive social change without using violent tactics.  Are their arguments against violent tactics entirely rooted in religious or other strict moral codes?  Or do Gandhi, King and others offer pragmatic or methodological reasons for avoiding violence?  It’s pretty clear that as a society we see violence as a legitimate solution to many social justice problems (e.g. ousting various despots), so it’s not like using violence is socially taboo.  And arguably, violence normally plays a role in sweeping social change (the French revolution is one dramatic and paradigmatic example).  So I’m wondering, can we reasonably expect non-violent methods to compete with violent ones on a practical level? 

    Another way of putting the same basic question: Gandhi and King obviously believed (correctly) that their methods would succeed—was this just a matter of faith?  Or did they provide some reasoning to back up the idea that we should reasonably expect nonviolent methods to be just as socially efficacious as violent methods?

  9. ststeve
    November 29, 2011

    This is a country of opportunity. I see many LEGAL immigrants who bust ass, save there money.( ie not buying new cars, ps3’s iphones) and get ahead.  Most of what I see on the news is a bunch of dirty non working bums complaining .  As a doctor you know what it takes to succeed and although you might not be in the 1% I am sure you are doing well.  Would you want someone to say you make too much after all your schooling, sacrifice,and hardwork? What would be the point of trying to succeed if I have to submit to some pay csar?  Maybe if a higher percentage of people VOTED that could be a start.

    • Truth in Advertising
      November 29, 2011

      Live within your means, work for what you want. Well said StSteve. This point is true and honest, but will not be understood by people in our society that lack personal responsibility and are looking to pass blame to others for their choices.

      • leftfield
        November 29, 2011

        “Live within your means, work for what you want.”

        For you non-right-wingers out there, this translates to:  Get used to working two jobs without benefits so you can afford to buy some rice-a-roni for dinner tonight, because there’s absolutely nothing wrong with the system.  It’s you, not the system.  

      • Pamela Powers
        November 30, 2011

        Good one, Leftfield.

      • Uri Jerkov
        November 30, 2011

        “It’s you, not the system.” Good one, well said leftfield.

  10. brian
    November 29, 2011

    ssteve and Truth in Advertising, your arguments are tired and poor.  First of all, ssteve says because you “see many” people with certain features, like “LEGAL immigrants” who are successful, it doesn’t follow that what you see accurately represents the population. That’s why what you personally encounter is anecdotal evidence, which is not very strong evidence in the grand scheme of things. Lots of immigrants who work hard fail to see results.  Lots of American-born citizens work hard and similarly fail.  Why don’t you, personally, see these hard-working failures, ssteve?  I offer two explanations: (1) they are too busy working, sleeping, or worrying about how to make ends meet, and (2) you are probably not spending a lot of your time with poor, unsuccessful people who work a lot. 

    The point of financial success in the face of taxation is the same as it is now: financial success!!  Let me give you a choice between two income/tax combos, I think it’s clear which you’d prefer: (A) You could make 5 billion dollars a year as a corporate CEO, and pay 35% in taxes, or (B) You could make 15,000 a year and pay 35% in taxes.  I think it’s obvious that as long you’re going to pay a fair tax rate, you’d rather also make a lot more money.  Raising taxes on the super-rich is not going to put them in the poorhouse, and it’s not going to cause businesses to stop profiting.  It just means that they’d pay something closer to their fair share, in terms of % of total earnings.

    Re: “Live within your means, work for what you want,” this is a noble sentiment and one that quite a lot of people do live by.  The problem is that many people who work hard and spend wisely are not having much success these days.   People with enormous wealth can (and do) ‘buy’ aspects of the political process in order to re-design the law and the electoral system in ways that benefit the super-rich at the expense of the poor, the middle class, and the moderately rich.   We give the biggest tax breaks to the wealthiest individuals, we subsidize huge corporations and banks while slashing public programs and letting infrastructure crumble, and the super-rich who end up holding that government-enabled money quite often re-invest it overseas.  In short, the super-rich exploit the rest of us, and especially those of us who work hard and spend wisely.  Truth in Advertising,  by your own lights it seems that hard-working people who act in a personally responsible way are in a very good position to see this problem.  It’s not so much a matter of “passing blame”—to some extent we all deserve blame for allowing the system to progress in this direction.  Rather, it’s about facing up to the nature of the overall situation, and how things got this way.

    • Uri Jerkov
      November 30, 2011


      Yes, everyone should pair their fair share. What really gets me is the majority of people camping in our community park do not have jobs, have not had jobs in the recent past and are paying nothing into the system; they are only taking from the system and asking for more and more to benefit themselves.

      The mega-rich not paying what most people would think of as a fair share, are at least paying into the system or creating jobs or a product.

      Change might be needed or at least awareness in our country, but have you been to the Tucson campsite? Are these people really representative of the hard working people in our country that are taking the biggest economic burden. My point is, a campsite/protest filled with people without a clear message, that present themselves in dirty clothes, have multiple marijuana flags hanging on their tents and are not doing much more than hanging out in a park socializing with each other….they are doing more harm than good for a cause that might very well have some merit.

  11. alohapuna
    November 30, 2011

    Isn’t it interesting how we revere those in history who have stood up for what they believe in, but ridicule those who strive to do the very same thing today?!!! Remembering Dr. Margaret Meade, the famous philanthropist, “A small group of thoughtful people can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that every has.”
    All you women who disdain Occupy Tucson, remember how your right  to cast a ballot came about.

  12. alohapuna
    November 30, 2011

    Mr. J. It is true that there are some of those people you speak of at the park. However, I beleive they are more a fringe group who are not necessarily representative of those who are really there with dedication and focus on the problems that are being protested. In such an open group of diverse people, how do you say who can be there and who cannot?

  13. EvenPlayingField
    December 7, 2011

    I support her right to protest and get arrested as much as I support people doing the proper paperwork to get a permit to use the 99%’s paid for park and their right to get insurance for their event. That way when someone gets hurt it’s not an instant paycheck from the city.

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The Tucson Progressive: Pamela Powers Hannley

I stand on the side of Love. I believe in kindness to all creatures on Earth and the inherent self-worth of all individuals--not just people who agree with me or look like me.

Widespread economic and social injustice prompted me to become a candidate for the Arizona House, representing Legislative District 9 in the 2016 election. My platform focuses on economic reforms to grow Arizona's economy, establish a state-based public bank, fix our infrastructure, fully fund public education, growlocal small businesses and community banks, and put people back to work at good-paying jobs. I also stand for equal rights, choice, and paycheck fairness for women. I am running as a progressive and running clean.

My day job is managing editor for the American Journal of Medicine, an academic medicine journal with a worldwide circulation. In addition, my husband and I co-direct Arizonans for a New Economy, Arizona's public banking initiative. I am a member of the national board of the Public Banking Institute, and I am co-chair of the Arizona Democratic Progressive Caucus, the largest caucus of the Arizona Democratic Party.

I am a published author, photographer, videographer, clay artist, mother, nana, and wife. I have a bachelor's degree in journalism from Ohio State University and a masters in public health from the University of Arizona. I grew up in Amherst, Ohio, but I have lived in Tucson, Arizona since 1981. I am a proud member of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Tucson and the Public Relations Society of America.

My Tucson Progressive blog and Facebook page feature large doses of liberal ideas, local, state, and national politics, and random bits of humor. I also blog at Blog for Arizona and the Huffington Post.

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