Veterans Continue The Battle — Only This Time, With Their Own Government


By Carolanne Wright

Contributing Writer for Wake Up World

Veterans in the U.S. are discovering the fight for freedom and liberty is far from over once their tour of duty is completed. In repayment for risking their lives — as well as mental well-being — veterans are facing increasing rates of inadequate medical and psychological care, homelessness and poverty. Some are taking matters into their own hands — and finding how truly limited and distorted personal liberties are in America.

Off-Grid, Eco-Friendly, Debt-Free

Tyler Truitt knows firsthand about hypocrisy in “The Land of the Free.” Last January, the 27-year-old Marine Corps veteran, and his girlfriend Soraya, decided to create a sustainable and self-sufficient lifestyle in Huntsville, Alabama. He brought in a 550-gallon rainwater storage tank and solar panels. Next came the composting toilet, which was installed within their single-wide manufactured home. The structure has a propane water heater as well as a propane grill for cooking.

With a desire to live frugally and debt-free, Tyler plans to complete his physics degree at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, a program he began in 2008 before enlisting in the Marines.

But having the freedom to live off-grid isn’t as simple as it might appear. The couple opted for renewable means with their home, but the city believes it endangers the public.

In late March 2015, several armed plain clothed officers served a citation to the couple, claiming the structure violated a Huntsville zoning law that forbids trailers outside of mobile home parks. On top of that, the home was condemned as being unsafe because the heating, plumbing and electrical systems do not conform to building codes — in other words, they were not hooked up to city utilities.

Says Kelly Schrimsher, communications director for Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle:

“The purpose behind these requirements is public safety,” Schrimsher told “This includes ensuring that occupants of a residential dwelling have safe, potable, running water and electricity, particularly in the wintertime. The city has posted the property as ‘Unsafe’ for this reason.”

The city also requires either a septic tank or sanitary sewer line.

In a recent interview with Truth In Media, Tyler points out:

“It’s certainly frustrating, but not surprising. My oath was to support and defend the Constitution of the United States (and the freedom that represents), from all enemies, both foreign and domestic. What I have come to realize in the last few years is that the biggest threat is a domestic one. We are in danger of having our liberties taken away by the very governments which are sworn to protect us. To me, the responsibilities that oath entails will follow me until I die. Just because I’m no longer on some sandy battlefield far from home doesn’t mean my responsibility to keep fighting and standing up for what I believe in goes away. Our city officials need to realize this too.”

The fight isn’t over. The couple continues to reside in their home, which they view as an act of civil disobedience against an unjust law that discriminates against low-income families, who don’t have the resources to build a posh house.

The first court date for the building code violations is set for July 29th.

The biggest thing I believe people can do to help right now is to call the city officials and local government representatives and tell them that affordable housing and self-sustained living are not a crime. We have to let our officials know they will be held accountable to the people for their actions,” said Tyler.

If you would like to support Tyler and Soraya in their fight for justice, contact the following officials and make your voice heard:

  • Mayor Tommy Battle: (256) 427-5000
  • Judge Sonny Rodenhauser: (256) 427-7810
  • City attorney Peter Joffrion: (256) 427-5026
  • City administrator: (256) 427-5009
  • Community development director Ken Benion: (256) 427-5400
  • Zoning administrator Jim McGuffey: (256) 564-8008
  • City council member Richard Showers Sr.: [email protected]
  • City council president Mark Russell: [email protected]
  • City council member Jennie Robinson: [email protected]
  • City council member Bill Kling Jr.: [email protected]
  • City council member Will Culver: [email protected]

Regrettably, Tyler isn’t the only veteran fighting for his personal freedom. Kristoffer Lewandowski is experiencing persecution as well.

Disabled Marine Faces Life Sentence in Prison

Kristoffer served three tours in Iraq and Afghanistan before he was honorably discharged for medical reasons from the Marine Corps.

Suffering from post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), Kristoffer is considered 100% disabled due to the severity of his condition. His VA medical team ordered a protocol that included 13 pharmaceutical pills a day, which ultimately took their toll on Kristoffer’s liver. The pills were literally killing him.

Out of desperation, and knowing marijuana has been shown to be exceptionally effective for treating PTSD without side effects, he grew six plants for his own use.

Whitney, Kristoffer’s wife, told Truth In Media:

“He was on his way out of the military and just wanted to see if it would help with [his mental health issues]. He was taking 13 pills a day, and it was just killing his liver. He was having all these issues with his body and he just wanted to try something more natural to just see if he could do without that many pills a day.”

She also said the medical marijuana was “absolutely effective.

Then, in June 2014 Kristoffer suffered a PTSD episode. Removing herself and three children to a neighbors’ house, Whitney hoped to reduce the tension of the situation. When the neighbors called the police in an effort to get help for the veteran, the officers instead searched the house, which prompted Kristoffer’s arrest and subsequent drug investigation after finding the marijuana plants.

Total weight of the illicit plant matter was under an ounce.

Since Oklahoma has some of the harshest laws against cannabis in the United States, Kristoffer was charged with a felony for marijuana cultivation — which carries a maximum sentence of life in prison.

This veteran needs help, not prison time.

Sign the petition to Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin to pardon Kristoffer.

Additionally, information and updates can be found on the Free KRIS Facebook page.

Also, have a look at the Weed for Warriors Project, which “aims to allow Veterans the freedom to use medical marijuana as a recognized medical alternative to harmful psychiatric drugs without any discrimination or unjust actions against the individual.”

Article sources:

Previous Articles by Carolanne Wright:

About the author:

Carolanne Wright

I’m Carolanne — a writer, chef, traveler and enthusiastic advocate for sustainability, organics and joyful living. It’s good to have you here. If you would like to learn more, connect with me at or visit


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