A Suicide-by-Cop Attempt Prompts a Plan to Use Marijuana to Save VeteransMiami New Times
JUNE 14, 2019
“Seeing that one of my own service members, a major that I’m supposed to look up to, couldn’t handle his own PTSD and decided to shoot up a soldier-reprocessing site made me feel absolutely terrible," Ortiz says. “I had survivor’s guilt, and I still have survivor’s guilt.”
Having failed at a previous suicide attempt, South Florida Army veteran J.C. Ortiz was determined to succeed the second time.
It was 2009 and he had just returned from his second tour of Iraq, where he had experienced a grueling 15 months of continual combat. Four years earlier, after another 18 months of war, he'd begun suffering from PTSD. He would become addicted to opioids.
Now the plan was to lock himself with bottles of rum and pills in the bathroom of his home on the Fort Hood military base in Texas. Through the door, he would tell his wife he was going to take his own life, knowing she would call military police.
Florida is home to 17 percent of the nation’s homeless, according to the U.S. Census. And the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans estimates veterans make up 11 percent of the nation's homeless population. Ortiz says there are 3,500 homeless veterans in South Florida.
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