Sunday, May 28, 2017

Memorial Day Madness Continues with Reporters

Memorial Day Madness of Bad Reporting Continues
Combat PTSD Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
May 28, 2017

Yet again, there is what could be a powerful reminder of what Memorial Day means to those who served in combat, turned into a "don't care enough" to get it right. 

"'I can't do barbecues:' Veterans say Memorial Day time to discuss suicides in ranks" on The Tennesseean by Jake Lowary seemed like a good point to raise, but by the end of the following, it was clear the story didn't mean enough to get the facts right.
"Memorial Days are tough for retired Staff Sgt. Jarrad Turner. He often politely declines invitations to Memorial Day barbecues. He can't celebrate that way. Those events conjure the horrors of war he experienced and still thinks about every day. The smell, the smoke, the flames all bring back harsh memories for Turner, and likely thousands of other veterans around the country. While Memorial Day may invoke tales of heroism in battle and the memories of those lost in combat, the holiday is increasingly a time some veterans remember those that took their own lives — often after struggles with post-traumatic stress disorder or other insurmountable internal strife."
It never stopped being a time for those who served this nation and their families to not honor the sacrifices they know all too well. My Dad was a Korean War veteran and my uncles were WWII veterans. I married a Vietnam veteran and his Dad along with three of his brothers fought in WWII. My husband's nephew also served in Vietnam. At no time in our lives has this day represented what is celebration or saving money during Memorial Day sales.

While most of the country is kicking off summer and planning parties, families like mine are going to Memorial Day remembrance serves. We go to cemeteries. We go through photo albums and see the young faces of far too many gone too soon. For us, we carry the price of what the rest of the country chooses to forget. "Freedom is not free" and the price paid by less than ten percent of the population pays the debt for the rest of their lives.

And then there was this,
"Suicides among current and former military members hit a peak of 22 veterans per day in 2012, attributed largely to the mental horrors of war and violence that have remained vivid for thousands of men and women returning from the nation’s longest conflicts ever. The Department of Veterans Affairs and other groups say the rate of suicide deaths is now closer to 20 per day, based largely on figures from the CDC. The most recent figures from the Defense Department indicate a consistent number of suicides among current military members — 478 were confirmed in 2016 among both active and reserve personnel — and no clear sign they're dwindling."
They were more than numbers and the numbers were more than were reported. The VA report stated clearly the numbers were from limited data from just 21 states. Most did not read the report and they did not even know the majority of the veterans making the final payment on the debt that came with serving, were over the age of 50.

The latest report from the VA put the number at 20 a day, and while part of the data came from the CDC, it was not the only source. Add into all of that the VA also stated the number counted was exactly the same in 1999, yet there were over 5 million more veterans alive at the time and no one was running around the country talking about something as if it mattered but didn't matter enough to actually read the report. Stunning!

VA Suicide Data  shows clearly that the majority of suicides involve veterans over the age of 50, but then again, they are also the majority of veterans in this country. They are also last on the list to talk about. Far too many people think the number they hear about is only OEF and OIF veterans.

Next on the fact list is the number of OEF and OIF veteran suicides increasing after over a decade of "prevention" efforts by the military. Clearly it does not work because as the number of enlistments went down, the rate of suicides did not. Yep, one more thing reporters to not make the general pubic aware of, event though, as taxpayers, they are paying billions for something that does not work. As a matter of fact, evidence points to it making it worse.

The military keeps claiming that the majority of servicemembers taking their own lives did not deploy. I'd like to see them explain how they think that is a good thing considering every member of the military has had that training. If it wasn't good enough for non-deployed, then how the hell did they think it would work for those with multiple deployments? 

Yet again, none of this matters to reporters. You't think they'd bother to put all the facts together and spend the time these veterans deserved from them, but alas, just not important enough to change the outcome. We're just going to have to visit more graves next year while yahoos pull stunts, running around the country, getting big donations, talking about something they don't care enough to learn about.

Until reporters actually prove these stories do matter, the rest of the country will move on to celebrating next year on Memorial Day while we grieve for those who did not have to die!

PTSD awareness, more funding help lower veteran suicide rates in Tennessee
Tennesseans who work with veterans said Friday the state's suicide rates among veterans are declining.
The Department of Veterans Affairs estimates 22 veterans take their lives each day in the U.S.
A recent report shows the percentage of veteran suicides in the state has been on a downward trend for the last few years. In 2015, Tennessee veterans represented 16.8% of all suicides. That's a decline from 17.2% in 2014, and 21% in 2013.
But on May 26, this was reported about Tennessee veterans.
Suicide rising in the military ranks, but some programs offer hope Scott Ridgway, executive director of the Tennessee Suicide Prevention Network, said Fort Campbell has nine confirmed suicide deaths so far in 2017. Defense Department totals from the first quarter of 2017 have not been reported.

Ridgway's group released 2015 totals this week, which shows increases in both veteran suicide and overall suicide. The numbers suggest one person between 10 and 24 dies by suicide every four days, and 16.7 percent of all suicide deaths in Tennessee in 2015 were veterans.

The VA does not regularly report its totals, but the August 2016 report indicates suicide rates in veterans age 18 to 29 increased 150 percent between 2001 and 2014. The increase among males is greater compared with women.

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