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Thread: Alarming suicide rate among Veterans and active duty Military

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    Grand Duchess Ambrosia's Avatar
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    Alarming suicide rate among Veterans and active duty Military

    I went to dinner last night at a friend's house. This man's company works closely with certain government agencies. He said he didn't understand why the news media wasn't talking about the suicides happening and how out of control it was when 25 military and veterans are killing themselves a day. He had asked if the information was classified, and was told it wasn't. It is publicly available.

    I had caught some of the stories about suicides, and occasionally a suicide gets its own story. Being a veteran, I am aware of the hotline set up to try to help veterans who are suicidal. But I was shocked at the numbers being presented to me last night during our dinner conversation.

    Why isn't it being reported more? Why isn't the news media as concerned about these people who are dying in mass every single day as they are the shootings that are happening in the civilian world? Yes, the Connecticut shooting was horrible. The New York fire and ambush was horrible. But the day the Connecticut school massacre happened, at least 25 other people died as well. And I didn't see any stories about it. Why not?

    A Veteran Commits Suicide Every 80 Minutes

    Army, Navy suicides at record high
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    Maybe they are recognizing that their "noble service in defense of our great nation" is a sham, that their lives are sacrificed not for the protection of democracy, but increase the sale of bullets and bombs, bank loans, and the protection of oil and poppy fields, that their "benign nation of all that is good" is well on its way to become the most evil empire to grace this planet in 10,000 years, in part thanks to their own participation?

    I think Faramir said it best, "The enemy? I wonder what threats or lies took him from his home, and that he wouldn't have rather stayed there in peace..."

    Or perhaps the Joker said it second best, "Soldiers or gangbangers die, and nobody cares, 'cause it's all part of the plan, but when ____________, and ___________ start getting murdered, everybody goes CRAZY!"

    Fucking tragic.

    Perhaps, becoming a stormtropper for the Empire wasn't such a a good career move afterall?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ambrosia View Post
    Why isn't it being reported more?
    Because we as a nation have a very bad habit of forgetting about people the moment the bands stop playing.

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    All Living is Local Don's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ambrosia View Post
    I went to dinner last night at a friend's house. This man's company works closely with certain government agencies. He said he didn't understand why the news media wasn't talking about the suicides happening and how out of control it was when 25 military and veterans are killing themselves a day. He had asked if the information was classified, and was told it wasn't. It is publicly available.

    I had caught some of the stories about suicides, and occasionally a suicide gets its own story. Being a veteran, I am aware of the hotline set up to try to help veterans who are suicidal. But I was shocked at the numbers being presented to me last night during our dinner conversation.

    Why isn't it being reported more? Why isn't the news media as concerned about these people who are dying in mass every single day as they are the shootings that are happening in the civilian world? Yes, the Connecticut shooting was horrible. The New York fire and ambush was horrible. But the day the Connecticut school massacre happened, at least 25 other people died as well. And I didn't see any stories about it. Why not?

    A Veteran Commits Suicide Every 80 Minutes

    Army, Navy suicides at record high
    Why isn't it being reported more?

    Absent conscription, it's hard to fuel an imperial machine without warm bodies and the acquiescence of the citizenry.

    Widespread coverage of the suicides would interfere with both.

    It's the same rationale that forbid the news media from photographing the flag-draped coffins of America's war dead as their bodies were returned to the United States, a policy that was in place from 1991 to 2009, and a prime example of the collusion in high places that's always been a factor in politics.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ambrosia View Post
    … And I didn't see any stories about it. Why not?…
    I've seen stories about these tragic suicides. You've got to be watching (or listening to) the news in order to catch these stories. And earlier posters are correct—the government doesn't want any large public outcry, so stories on soldier suicides aren't encouraged. But they're out there. You might have to widen your scope on where you get your news.





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    Because it's easy to know who the villain is when there's a school shooting, and it's easy to wring our hands and blame X, Y, and Z for those tragedies. Military suicides are more complicated, more difficult to put into a morosely entertaining package--and the American news is more about entertainment than information.
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    I have seen stories about it. But something that continues to be true doesn't continue to be a story these days.

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    I don't understand the hint, if not outright accusation, of some kind of conspiracy of silence. I read stories in the news almost daily about the high suicide rate among active duty and veterans. Generals discuss their bewilderment as to causes and talk about possible solutions. If the government/armed forces wanted to hide the issue, it would be classified. Even the SecDef has talked about it with the media more than once.

    And, Diana, your consistent suspicion that the black helicopters are inbound I can ignore, but I resent the hell out of your "stormtrooper" comment. American soldiers, past and present, deserve better than that. I understand that Don will always find the government at fault for everything, and that you will see a conspiracy everywhere, but your insults and degrading of military service are, in my opinion, 'way out of line.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ambrosia View Post
    I went to dinner last night at a friend's house. This man's company works closely with certain government agencies. He said he didn't understand why the news media wasn't talking about the suicides happening and how out of control it was when 25 military and veterans are killing themselves a day. He had asked if the information was classified, and was told it wasn't. It is publicly available.

    I had caught some of the stories about suicides, and occasionally a suicide gets its own story. Being a veteran, I am aware of the hotline set up to try to help veterans who are suicidal. But I was shocked at the numbers being presented to me last night during our dinner conversation.

    Why isn't it being reported more? Why isn't the news media as concerned about these people who are dying in mass every single day as they are the shootings that are happening in the civilian world? Yes, the Connecticut shooting was horrible. The New York fire and ambush was horrible. But the day the Connecticut school massacre happened, at least 25 other people died as well. And I didn't see any stories about it. Why not?

    A Veteran Commits Suicide Every 80 Minutes

    Army, Navy suicides at record high
    PTSD, unemployment, loss of military camaraderie, and feeling purposeless- purposeless- what is being done by the govt or in the private sector to help these vets find purpose again?

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bebop View Post
    PTSD, unemployment, loss of military camaraderie, and feeling purposeless- purposeless- what is being done by the govt or in the private sector to help these vets find purpose again?
    They give them cake & a parade float?

    http://www.ryot.org/pentagon-debuts-...nor-vets/43674
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    Quote Originally Posted by Magdalen View Post
    They give them cake & a parade float?

    http://www.ryot.org/pentagon-debuts-...nor-vets/43674
    Yes, that is nice. I guess I was thinking of something with a little more permanence.

    Really I wanted to know if there were govt programs, or private businesses who were proactively trying to help these vets find a life, a job, a pursuit that interests them- gives them a reason to get up in the morning. We all need that.

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    Gone Fishing SuperModerator Haggis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Magdalen View Post
    They give them cake & a parade float?

    http://www.ryot.org/pentagon-debuts-...nor-vets/43674
    How nice. Timely too. [/sarcasm]

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    They have to do so many tours nowadays. It's been a problem since at least WWI, when modern warfare showed how devastating it can be psychologically (all war is, but modern warfare is worse because of the mass destruction). Remember the Lost Generation? It was a problem after WWII, where it would be difficult to fault the 'morality' of that war for the US.

    But the amount of tours today itself has to increase the number in a big way, I'd think. It's horrible.

    And the VA is not known for being the easiest place to get to, the quickest, the best, etc.
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    It's a doggy dog world benbradley's Avatar
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    Perhaps you haven't listened to NPR. I heard several of those stories over the years.
    Quote Originally Posted by Diana Hignutt View Post
    Maybe they are recognizing that their "noble service in defense of our great nation" is a sham, that their lives are sacrificed not for the protection of democracy, but increase the sale of bullets and bombs, bank loans, and the protection of oil and poppy fields, that their "benign nation of all that is good" is well on its way to become the most evil empire to grace this planet in 10,000 years, in part thanks to their own participation?
    Perhaps some commit suicide for such a reason (and if they could put it into words like you did, they'd put it on Facebook and then do suicide-by-mass-murder - that would be one way to get the message out), but I suspect most have various reasons.

    But it's kind of obvious. The Armed Services spend huge amounts of time and money PROGRAMMING people to kill others, and to not chicken out when they're being fired on, and to generally do the "right thing" in battle. If they were to spend even one percent of that time and money "reprogramming" them for civilian life when their time in the service is over, things would be a hell of a lot better for veterans.

    I don't know how this would help the suicide rate of those in the service. Sorry, I don't have ALL the answers.

    I think Faramir said it best, "The enemy? I wonder what threats or lies took him from his home, and that he wouldn't have rather stayed there in peace..."

    Or perhaps the Joker said it second best, "Soldiers or gangbangers die, and nobody cares, 'cause it's all part of the plan, but when ____________, and ___________ start getting murdered, everybody goes CRAZY!"

    Fucking tragic.

    Perhaps, becoming a stormtropper for the Empire wasn't such a a good career move afterall?
    I didn't see the movie (maybe I should, I forgot Hollywood often includes such social commentary, hiding it in plain sight by having evildoers say them), but looked online, the blank was filled with Mayor.

    Yes, it's tragic and Something Must Be Done About It.

    While I went to AA I knew many attendees who committed suicide, but hey, they're all alcoholics, many of them are going to kill themselves because they have That Terrible Disease, aren't they?
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    Lost in the Fog rugcat's Avatar
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    Young men (and now young women) are asked to do things in wartime that are incomprehensible to most of us. Only sociopaths can kill people and suffer absolutely no emotional consequences from it.

    It's no surprise that so many soldiers come back damaged in mind as well as in body. There is no way to make modern warfare painless and consequence free. It's actually amazing to me that the vast majority of veterans are resilient enough to return to fully functioning members of civilian society.
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    It's a doggy dog world benbradley's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by backslashbaby View Post
    They have to do so many tours nowadays. It's been a problem since at least WWI, when modern warfare showed how devastating it can be psychologically (all war is, but modern warfare is worse because of the mass destruction). Remember the Lost Generation? It was a problem after WWII, where it would be difficult to fault the 'morality' of that war for the US.

    But the amount of tours today itself has to increase the number in a big way, I'd think. It's horrible.
    I recall a news story (again, on NPR) maybe 5 to 6 years ago about this. People signed up for the amy, they had a signed contract saying how the maximum length of time they would be deployed before coming back home to visit families, and the maximum number of times they would be deployed. This was extended under the Bush administration for those not just coming in, but those already in the services. There was a case where someone gone longer and on more deployments than they had signed up for SUED for breach of contract. The judge ruled for the Government. There are many soldiers in the last decade who have been deployed longer than any US soldiers in any earlier war.
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    It's a doggy dog world benbradley's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rugcat View Post
    Young men (and now young women) are asked to do things in wartime that are incomprehensible to most of us. Only sociopaths can kill people and suffer absolutely no emotional consequences from it.

    It's no surprise that so many soldiers come back damaged in mind as well as in body. There is no way to make modern warfare painless and consequence free. It's actually amazing to me that the vast majority of veterans are resilient enough to return to fully functioning members of civilian society.
    There's armed drones.

    But even then, the guy flying the thing, aiming the bombs and pushing the switch at some level KNOWS what he's doing is killing other human beings (no matter how demonized the enemy is). There was an interview on Fresh Air with a former military drone "pilot" where described such events.
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    Ben, I don't listen to NPR. I have a friend who does. She updates me on a regular basis as she has it on in the background all the time. She has never mentioned this news item.

    But what I want to know is why the major news feeds aren't picking this up? Why isn't AP reporting it? Why isn't it being covered on the major networks? It's not a secret. The information is there but it is not being broadcast in an appreciable way. 25 soldiers and veterans a day is a huge amount of people taking their lives. A veteran committing suicide every 80 minutes is news, damn it. Yes, I have seen stories, off and on. But mostly off. We as a nation should be outraged. But I don't see that. And I want to know why. These people matter. And they deserve better than this lack of notice.

    Diana, you know I love ya woman. But stormtroopers? Really? From the people I knew in the military, myself included, most were looking to improve their circumstances and have a steady job. No one I knew joined with the intent of going to war and engaging the enemy. And not one of the ones that I have known over the years thought of the US as the evil empire. It was peace time when I was in. But I doubt many actually look forward to going over and facing live ammo. It takes a bit of insanity to want to walk into a fire fight.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Diana Hignutt View Post
    Duly noted. Now refute my statements.

    ETA: In ten years you can offer an apology to my corpse...
    As long as we're duly noting things around here, please duly note this, Diana. Many of your fellow AWers are veterans. Others have husbands, wives, sons, daughters or other family who serve or who served. You have a right to your opinion. You do not have the right to insult these people here on AW. Respect your fellow writer.
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  20. #20
    It's a doggy dog world benbradley's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ambrosia View Post
    Ben, I don't listen to NPR. I have a friend who does. She updates me on a regular basis as she has it on in the background all the time. She has never mentioned this news item.

    But what I want to know is why the major news feeds aren't picking this up? Why isn't AP reporting it?
    Okay, I looked, it appears AP is reporting it:
    http://www.google.com/search?q="associated+press"+military+suicides
    Why isn't it being covered on the major networks? It's not a secret. The information is there but it is not being broadcast in an appreciable way.
    I think that's up to the editors and such who decide what's a headline and what goes on page 13. Today's headline is likely "Back From The Fiscal Cliff," not "Military Suicides At Record High." I suppose you can call, write, email and otherwise notify such people that you think they should run their businesses differently.
    25 soldiers and veterans a day is a huge amount of people taking their lives. A veteran committing suicide every 80 minutes is news, damn it. Yes, I have seen stories, off and on. But mostly off. We as a nation should be outraged. But I don't see that. And I want to know why. These people matter. And they deserve better than this lack of notice.
    The troops deserve better than what the US Armed Services gives them. Drunk drivers and problem drinkers deserve better than having the the idea of hopelessness and the God of Bill W. shoved down their throats.
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    Quote Originally Posted by benbradley View Post
    There's armed drones.

    But even then, the guy flying the thing, aiming the bombs and pushing the switch at some level KNOWS what he's doing is killing other human beings (no matter how demonized the enemy is). There was an interview on Fresh Air with a former military drone "pilot" where described such events.
    Yeah, my shifty-eyed no good brother in law is working on his degree in psychology and he does a lot of studying about PTSD. The new handbook on psychological disorders includes PTSD gained from operating drones...apparently, when the missile has a camera, you see it all the way down to the ground.

    Ugh.

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    This isn't a whole lot different from the latter days and aftermath of the Vietnam War. Which doesn't make it better. Only nobody gave a shit about Vietnam vets.

    From a Vietnam vet.

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    I think more will, BBird, as more Vietnam era Vets begin to talk about it.

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    The graph in the first article indicates the suicide rate for the army and marines is about double the general population, and has generally increased over the past 10 years. Which yeah, is troubling.

    But I wish it was separated by sex because the suicide rate among men is 3-4 times that of women. And there are a lot more men than women in the army and marines, no? In 2009, the suicide rate was 19.2 for men (from wikipedia, but this is from the National Vital Statistics Report) vs. 12 for both sexes. Given that, the suicide rates in the army and marines don't look quite as troubling. I hate to say this because it sounds insensitive, but that's what the numbers suggest to me. (And this is certainly not to say that there are not major problems facing vets.) Perhaps there are more detailed statistics to be found that would give a more clear picture.

    News stories on suicide generally focus on teenagers, as there is a particular tragedy about someone who isn't an adult taking his/her life. Which gives the impression that suicide rates are relatively high among this age group, even though it is actually lower than any adult age group. (At least in Canada. I haven't looked for American stats, but I suspect they are rather similar.) Other than teenagers, suicide just doesn't seem to get a great deal of attention.

    And while the plight of veterans does get a little coverage, it seems like it has a long ways to ago.

  25. #25
    practical experience, FTW Taylor V's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LJD View Post
    News stories on suicide generally focus on teenagers, as there is a particular tragedy about someone who isn't an adult taking his/her life. Which gives the impression that suicide rates are relatively high among this age group, even though it is actually lower than any adult age group. (At least in Canada. I haven't looked for American stats, but I suspect they are rather similar.) Other than teenagers, suicide just doesn't seem to get a great deal of attention.
    Yep, elderly men are actually the demographic with the highest suicide rate, but that almost never gets talked about either. Is that a conspiracy too?

    I know that VA's been implementing suicide-prevention programs over the past few years, but I don't know how difficult it is to get into VA treatment. The Air Force also has a suicide prevention program. This definitely isn't something that's being ignored, even if it isn't plastered on the front page 24/7.
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