An average of 22 veterans kill themselves each month. Should we even wonder why? Our mentally and physically wounded warriors were sent back to the front lines for repeated tours of duty seeing fellow soldiers being killed by not much of an army to shoot at. Most of the veterans signed up for war while in high school. After spending 4 or 5 years befriending families in faraway lands, they then tell you to go somewhere that doesn’t look much like your home anymore. Most of your buddies were killed by land mines, or by shots that came out of nowhere or by fellow soldiers that they call “friendly” fire.
The people you are protecting wore the same clothing as the enemy yet everyone knew the American soldier. It was difficult to distinguish the enemy from your friend. So you trusted no one and every odd sound you heard, you reacted to in adefensive way all the time. You cannot just shut off instincts like that just because you are in the United States again. So, yeah I understand why a soldier would rather be dead like their buddies then be alive alone living a nightmare.
The entire act of war has changed. Years ago a nation went to war where everyone banded to get the job done. Now we have a small population of people that leave to fight battles in faraway lands over what? Oil for the Bushes? While the rest of civilian life just carries on. A soldier in uniform used to battle another soldier in uniform and a war would eventually end. That was the valor and pride World War II was. The American soldier now is in uniform not knowing the enemy from citizen because they wear the same clothing. The photos of old veterans all had them looking like movie stars, the new photo s have them looking already like guilty killers. They go to war being told to shoot to kill, in the states their religion says that killing is a sin and their laws say if they kill they are a criminal. So, I understand that it can be easier to just kill yourself.
We are all proud of the 90 year old tough war veteran still proudly wearing their medals of valor. They survived civilian life because when they fought wars they did one tour of duty and came home a hero. They had parade, strange women would want to just kiss them like in that famous photograph. They were offered jobs and great prices on Levitown Homes made just for soldiers and their families. There was Bob Hope who did countless entertainment shows in war zones and who made the soldier feel like he or she was the most important person in the world at the time. Yes the pride of being an American Soldier died when Bob Hope died. There was the USO that sponsored great concerts for the soldier and in every port and city there were USO places where a soldier could relax and feel like home. Then a marriage meant forever. Your spouse would wait for you to return before they even thought of a new life with someone else. After 4 years away, your girl is not your girl no more. Yeah, I can see why the new soldier wants to kill themselves.
Years ago a veteran got the best life insurance policies and health care and burial plots when they came home. We find out that our hospitals here have failed to give our soldier proper care here now. In fact an illegal immigrant can cross the United States border, have a baby on US soil and have access to tax funded services immediately. A Disabled Veteran coming back from Afghanistan has to wait a year to receive his or her benefits. It makes you want to load that gun for one last time too.
Now when a veteran gets a Medal of Honor they never smile. They are not proud. They are broken. They have tears in their eyes that stand for lost friends who died right next to them somewhere. The tears stand for stories too harsh to tell and a feeling of camaraderie that you can see bubble up in the presence of other veterans. For some, those memories can cause guilt, anxiety or depression sometimes leading to substance abuse, broken relationships or even suicide when the pain becomes too much to bear. Our bloated bureaucrats in Washington seem to have a deaf ear to the expressed problems that our newest soldiers from our newest wars have been telling them. They ignore the soldier who says they feel that their government had abandoned them. They came home to a system of dehumanization, neglect and indifference.
In 2006, Army reservist Joshua Omvig went home for Thanksgiving Dinner a week from returning from Iraq. He pulled out a gun in front of his mother and shot himself. The following year, President Bush signed into law a bill named after Omvig. It called for better screening of veterans returning from combat, more mental health professionals for the Department of Veteran Affairs and a new suicide hot line. Despite the legislation, despite the good intentions, things have gotten worse. In 2007, an average of 17 veterans killed themselves each month. Today the number is 22.
Big deal!! So what!! The VA did not deliver on what it was supposed to do ,The suits on Capitol Hill gave the speeches, had the law signing ceremony, and no one followed up to make things get done. Years ago instead of working on their tans there used to be Congressional Committees that would investigate everything all the time. This past Thursday three sets of parents testified about their dead sons before the House Veterans Affairs Committee. One of them, Clay Hunt, a Marine Corp Veteran who spent many days on Capitol Hill seeking better treatment for post -traumatic stress disorder strangely found out that the VA lost all his records. That would make anyone want to shoot themselves in the head.
So the political suits got together again and this time introduced The Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act. Let’s see if another law will help these American warriors. I say give them job training other than the instincts to kill people as in a war zone. Give these people a reason to want to live again and have a industry of products that are made by veterans and only veterans that can really be supported in a viable way. Stop the stupidity. They deserve better.