Per Day? Per Day?

I saw this article before, and purposely passed over it because I thought it said 22 veterans have committed suicide since the first of the year.  Not hard to believe, I thought, considering how many people have served in the armed services.  But, it's not 22 since January first, it's 22 per day, since then.

                          22 per day?

Isn't this the most shocking thing that's going on right now?  How can this be happening?

source: The Washington Free Beacon


Healing the ‘Invisible Wound’

Feature: Veterans Honor Military Suicide Victims on National Mall
Lt. Col. (Ret.) Dar Place was two feet away when his friend and fellow soldier took his own life during the Gulf War. Two decades later, like so many other veterans, Place is still haunted by the plague of suicide in the military.
“I personally saw my driver after Desert Storm in his tank put a gun underneath his mouth and pull the trigger, while I was no further away from him than I am from you right now,” Place told the Washington Free Beacon at the National Mall in Washington, D.C., on Thursday. He was one of the dozens of activists with Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) who planted thousands of flags to honor veterans who had killed themselves.
By noon, 1,892 American flags graced the Mall, representing the number of veterans who have taken their life this year alone since January 1st—an average of 22 per day.

9 comments:

  1. I believe they are brainwashed into thinking suicide is a valid option during the deployment. While in the middle of numerous days outside the wire getting maybe four hours of sleep, every two weeks or so you are dragged to a tent to watch a 3 hour suicide prevention brief depicting scenarios where otherwise healthy soldiers have many everyday problems that they solve by suicide. My personal opinion is many young soldiers would not even consider suicide if it wasn't shown as someone's escape from a troubling situation. It is almost like a three hour infomercial for taking your own life and keeping it as a topic of conversation in a stressed out environment.

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    1. Craig - So what you are saying is, that the government imposed prevention/solution is actually counterproductive. That is definitely worthy of serious consideration. I have seen many other examples of this, most notably, the D.A.R.E. program has been shown to actually increase drug use by teens, and sex education in schools have done nothing to reduce teen pregnancy. I'm not saying that there is a conspiracy here. Just that even the best intentions of our government are not only ineffective, they may very well be harmful.

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    2. If there was an actually productive program to reduce suicide, it would have to be peer driven, or at least put together by junior level NCO's like E-6 and below with some little oversight by mental professionals. I really from my time in do not think the officers corps gives a rat's ass about their soldiers. They are pawns for the most part to accomplish their upward mobility. Maybe not all, but a grossly high percentage.

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  2. hey Neal;

    As a vet I do have some input, sometimes the things we do or see or the situation makes suicide an attractive option to "Get away from it all" A lot of vets will not talk to the VA about suicide or anything like that because it gets them put on a list and the gov't strips them of their 2nd amendment rights. So suicide is a silent disease and will continue to kill.. There is such a stigma attached to talking about it even to the chain of command, you are expected to "man up" and "suck it up" and if you actually talk to your chain of command, it imperils your career.

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    1. So is there anything that can be done about it?

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  3. Hey Neal,

    Craigs M idea sounds good, the upper chain of command is more concerned about getting the next promotion or next plum assignment and with the "zero defect" mentality that permeates the system, any blemishes on an OER*Officer evaluation report* is cause for great concern and having troops talking to a suicide hotline will look bad on an evaluation so there is a great push to bury the issue or they would "chapter" people out so it doesn't reflect on the chain of command. Having a place where troops could get help with no repercussions would do wonders, but that involves a cultural shift in the military and with the draw down, there is no push to to do it since the Military will be shedding people.

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    1. Craig and MrGarabaldi - I have a couple of questions.

      1) Is this a problem with veterans from all countries, or just the U.S.?

      2) Has this always been a big problem (Did we have this problem with WWII vets, with Civil War vets?), or is it just something that developed recently?

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    2. I obviously cannot speak for veterans of other conflicts, or foreign military members, but I have a couple of observations.
      1) Other militaries are less concerned with cultural sensitivities. The British I spent time with were allowed to have a couple of beers in Iraq. They really didn't give a crap if the Muslims liked it or not. They also seemed to treat their soldiers more like adults without constant micromanaging outside of the soldier skills.

      2) WWII vets had hope. As bad as their conditions were, they knew as soon as they knocked off Hitler or Tojo, they were coming home. There was a goal, and unanimous direction to their effort. To this day I have no reason as to why we were rolling around Iraq in sardine cans waiting to get blown up seemingly just to support a garrison type existence.

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    3. The reason I ask is that it would make sense to me that if this is a relatively recent phenomenon, and it is limited to U.S. veterans, we should look at anything that has been introduced to our military since the problem started and is unique to the U.S. military. My suspicion is that the problem lies there.

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