Friday, September 21, 2012

More thoughts on suicide w/ some observations from Montana:

Across the street from where I was staying in Missoula, Montana,  lives a young couple who are very involved in remodeling their house. They have the help of the husband’s brother in lieu of rent, which seems to work well for them. I decided to pry, and found that both brothers are Veterans. The older, home-owner brother is firmly ensconced in the Missoula Police Department, and a member of the SWAT Team. The younger brother, however, is the one that piqued my interest. Word on the street has it that this mid to upper twenties younger brother is unemployed, doesn’t talk to anyone in the neighborhood at all, and is very withdrawn. Granted these are all third party observations, but nonetheless, the red flags started popping up all over the place.

How good would it be if this young Warrior had someone he could trust; someone he could spill his guts to; someone other than a family member? Even better, how great would it be if the Department of Defense had a program designed specifically to transition our young Warriors back into civilian life at the end of their commitment? There are still over 40,000 Troops in Afghanistan, alone. If the numbers simply hold where they are right now, 10,000 of these Service Men and Women will commit suicide after they come home.

Is the United States of America ready to drive 10,000 more souls to their graves simply for lack of a plan? The very thought of this occurring absolutely disgusts me. I refuse to sit idly by and watch as My Brothers and Sisters in Arms are offhandedly allowed to wallow with their demons, and end up six feet under because my Country doesn’t give a damn.

I am passionately motivated to not let that happen to these young folk who have recently worn the same boots as we did forty to forty-five years ago. We know first hand and all too well the pain, the agony, the frustration, and the anger these Soldiers are feeling. It is, perhaps, much easier for them to talk to us older Veterans. They can more easily relate to us, and we them. We can’t act as licensed professionals, but we can certainly create semi-formal support groups. This is something we can do outside the auspices of the Veterans Administration. It would be nice if we had their blessing.

Our job would be more efficient if the Department of Defense were to institute a comprehensive separation program for these young Soldiers. It is a know fact that they are coming back to a life where there are no jobs, there may well be a foreclosure notice on their front door, their young families are in shambles, and there doesn’t seem to be anywhere to turn. I will reiterate my sentiment; “This is a National disgrace!”

(more to come….I’m not finished with this topic.)

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