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Wounded Times

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Sunday, September 15, 2013

Veterans should have different treatment in court and combat

Veterans should have different treatment in court and combat
Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
September 15, 2013

I really hate to disagree with veterans but dislike it even more when they are serving today. After all, they are the people risking their live while I get to sit here on the computer reading what they say. I read it, say a quick prayer and move on. Once in a while I send a private email to address what I believe they are not seeing. Then there are times like this when it has to be addressed publicly because it is just too important to ignore.

A Fort Riley Company Commander wrote a commentary on Tampa Bay Online "Veterans courts send wrong message about vets" saying that the public's impression of veterans is they are "victims" in need of special treatment.

Veterans should be treated differently and the military admitted this the day they trained them to be different. If people have the wrong idea then maybe it is time to shoot the messenger because facts have delivered what the message truly is. Veterans are not like the rest of us. It is a problem when citizens don't get it but when members of the military don't get it, then it is a reflection of the messengers failing to understand what the message means.
"I am a member of the newest generation of veterans. I’m currently an active duty commander watching many of my friends and subordinates transition back into civilian life. I am keenly aware of the tribulations they have and will face, especially the internal struggles that multiple combat deployments create.

But even the horrors of war are no excuse to be treated differently from the citizenry. There are prevalent resources available for veterans dealing with these issues provided by the public and private sectors; all a veteran needs to do is ask for assistance."

If veterans were not different then there would be no need for veterans courts and the other 93% of the population would just ignore them the same way they ignore everyone else until they need them. Cops and firefighters pay seems to be cut first and they lose jobs but then the public complains because they don't show up when they are needed. All these first responders want to do is take care of their communities and provide for their families while being willing to pay the price with their lives. Everyday they get called out, they know it could be the last time they can help someone else.

The next part is that had these veterans received what they needed from the "prevalent resources" then there wouldn't be 55 a day no longer wanting to live. We can talk all we want about the suicides while ignoring the attempted suicides proving that what is available has not worked. Only about half of the veterans needing help seek it yet 57% of the suicides happened after they sought treatment.

Now think of this piece of news. "Veterans Affairs officials have seen a steady rise in the number of veterans seeking mental health care in recent years, from about 927,000 cases in fiscal 2006 to more than 1.3 million in fiscal 2012."

Those are just a part of what has proven massive failures. There are over 900 suicide prevention programs. Veteran suicide prevention lines have received hundreds of thousands of calls since 2007 and "saved" over 30,000.

Over 31,000 were discharged with "personality disorders" instead of PTSD even though the military evaluates recruits for physical as well as mental health before giving them weapons and expecting them to be able to endure all the hardships of combat deployments.

"This program further amplifies the idea that our veterans should be pitied as victims because of their service in combat by distorting justice. This distortion is based solely on their status as a veteran. We should not give veterans special or preferential treatment in the eyes of the law."
This is a very troubling thing to read from a Commander. Whatever gave him the idea they are anything but survivors?

A quarter of Missouri suicides are veterans while in Oklahoma and Arizona, veteran suicides are double the civilian rates. Oregon reported a surge in their veterans committing suicide.

So what is the difference between veterans and civilians? It is in the comment I left on Tampa Bay Online.
I do not agree simply because the men and women serving in the military never have been the same as the rest of us. I never served but come from a family of many veterans. They are only 7% of the population with less than 1% serving today. People don't just decide to become "criminals" or do bad things after risking their lives for the sake of others to the point where their lives could be lost, without a reason. Most of it has more to do with PTSD than anything else. If they received what they needed during military service, then there would be no need for veterans courts. We've seen too many spending their lives behind bars after risking them serving the country. Veterans courts work for most but like anything else, not for all. If people have the wrong idea, then the messenger is at fault, not the veteran.
They are not criminals but they are in need of help so they do not do things that go against everything they believed in. They are not victims but they are survivors needing help to stay alive just as they had help to stay alive in combat.

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