Monday, May 2, 2016

Why Are Veterans With PTSD On Death Row?

Sometimes I am sure I should have just come home from work and taken a nap instead of reading some of the articles I am sent. After this one, I need a good stiff drink first and then maybe a nap.
An Ex-Marine Killed Two People in Cold Blood. Should His PTSD Keep Him From Death Row? "We are sending to war the most proficient and lethal killers in our nation’s history." Mother Jones, By AJ Vicens, May 2, 2016
The ruling on his case has implications for a question that has concerned the military, veterans' groups, and death penalty experts: Should service-related PTSD exclude veterans from the death penalty? An answer to this question could affect some of the estimated 300 veterans who now sit on death rows across the country, according to the Death Penalty Information Center. But it's unclear how many of them suffer from PTSD or traumatic brain injuries, given how uneven the screening for these disorders has been.

Experts are divided about whether veterans with PTSD who commit capital crimes deserve what is known as a "categorical exemption" or "exclusion." Juveniles receive such treatment, as do those with mental disabilities. In 2009, Anthony Giardino, a lawyer and Iraq War veteran, argued in favor of this in the Fordham Law Review, writing that courts "should consider the more fundamental question of whether the government should be in the business of putting to death the volunteers they have trained, sent to war, and broken in the process" who likely would not be in that position "but for their military service." In a 2015 Veterans Day USA Today op-ed, three retired military officials argued that in criminal cases, defense attorneys, prosecutors, and judges often don't consider veterans' PTSD with proper due diligence. "Veterans with PTSD…deserve a complete investigation and presentation of their mental state by the best experts in the field," they wrote.
That part of the article is right. PTSD is not a get off the hook free pass but justice does require disclosure of it. These cases are still very rare, as indicated by the number of veterans reported to be on death row. We have about 22 million veterans in this country.

If we don't take care of them when they are in the service, which clearly evidence proves we don't, and then can't manage to take care of then as veterans, substance abuse usually follows along with a lot of other things. The very nature of someone in the military is to save people even though they are trained to kill in order do to that, but we tend to skip that part. So how is it they go from being willing to die for the sake of someone else into killing others? That is a good place to start but then we have to add in the other simply fact we also like to forget. It is still happening. When it happened to all the other generations of veterans, we had the luxury of ignorance for an excuse. After all these years, no excuse should be acceptable because since 2007 the military and the VA has had 40 years of research to come up with a better plan than they ended up with.

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