Thursday, October 27, 2016

Red Tape After Pulse Massacre Leaves First Responder Struggling

Orlando Officers Grapple With Trauma and Red Tape After Massacre
New York Times
OCT. 27, 2016

ORLANDO, Fla. — The sound of a ringing iPhone makes Omar Delgado sweat and freeze in place. His heart pounds. He closes his eyes to fight back the ghastly images that no one should ever have to see.

He hears the marimba-like tone and he is back at the Pulse nightclub on June 12 as a police officer pinned down in an hourslong standoff surrounded by dead bodies, their phones ringing again and again with calls that will never be answered.

“I literally felt like I was standing there at the club, my feet hurting, my arm hurting from holding my weapon,” Officer Delgado recalled, thinking of the times just after the slaughter when the phone rang and the panic came back.

It has been more than four months since a security guard named Omar Mateen gunned down 49 people at the gay club in Orlando. Officer Delgado, 44, who works in nearby Eatonville, was on the job briefly over the July 4 weekend but suffered a flashback on duty and has not been on patrol since. He has spent the last few months getting treated for nightmares and depression while managing red tape and cuts in his take-home pay because he no longer earns overtime.
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Veteran Sang National Anthem in Front of Whining Protestor

Do they actually teach what respect is there? The young woman seems to think that the veteran, who risked his life for this country, did not deserve any respect at all. Freedom of speech does not trump the rights of others to do the same. It is about time folks understood the full impact of the 1st Amendment.
Amendment I. Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
My Dad and my Uncles served and so did my Husband and his Dad and his Uncles. What they are doing is showing disrespect to every generation that thought this country, as imperfect as it is, was worth dying for. She couldn't even stop whining long enough to think about that.
Video captures national anthem standoff between #BamaSits protesters and veteran
by Andrew Donley
October 27th 2016

A peaceful protest during the national anthem before Alabama's last home game was disrupted by a proud veteran, and the incident was captured on video.

Protesters saying that the way the veteran interrupted them was uncalled for, but the veteran says he was well within his rights.

"#BamaSits is a peaceful protest. We are protesting social injustice. We support underrepresented LGBTQ community and people of color against discrimination and we're also protesting against police brutality," Emerald Vaughn said.
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Many Different Wounds You Cannot See Still Just As Real

I often get offended when some folks want to say PTSD is an "invisible wound" almost as if that allows them to walk away without ever really thinking about it. 

Take all the other "invisible wounds" and then try to dismiss them. A broken bone does not always break through the skin, yet a broken bone still causes pain and needs help to heal. 

What about a headache or toothache? Can anyone see that pain? What about torn tendons or pulled muscles? Can anyone see them with just their eyes?

About six months ago I started to have problems with my left leg. I thought it would just get better, but it didn't. It got worse. After the last time I fell, I decided to go see my doctor.

He could tell I was in pain even though there was nothing for him to see as far as my leg was concerned. He sent me for an MRI. 

What if he didn't know me or the fact that I have a high tolerance to pain? What if he didn't believe the pain I was reporting was real?

It tuns out the MRI showed a reason for the pain. I have nerve damage and it has been causing the pain running down my leg. No one can see it with just their eyes. They can only tell by the way I walk that I am in pain.

With PTSD, no one can see it unless they either know the person or use a medical scan to see it. The fact is, the pain is so real inside, if you know them, you can see the pain they carry. You cannot see a lot of things unless you actually take the time and look.

We know that it is real, just as real, as traumatic brain injury, and that is what technology has proven. The pain is real but only machines can see what you feel. That is, unless you happen to be with others, who not only see your pain, but help you carry the load until they help you heal.

The longer you wait to heal, the more you torture yourself. You could be healing right now instead of suffering.

This video is about TBI.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Camp Lejeune Marine Reservist Murder-Suicide Investigation

Brother: Man who killed girlfriend, self 'a good person'
Gaston Gazette
By Adam Lawson
October 26, 2016
As a reservist, Walker was promoted to sergeant with Company F, 4th Tank Battalion, 4th Marine Division at Camp Lejeune on Oct. 1. Marine Corps Maj. Andrew Aranda, spokesman for the Marine Corps Reserve, listed his job as tank crewman.
The brother of a Gastonia man who detectives say strangled his estranged girlfriend to death and then killed himself Monday wants to know why things spiraled out of control.

Tyrone Walker knew his baby brother, Justin Hakeem Walker, and Rebecca Jones had "been going through a little something." But he didn't foresee it ending in two deaths. Justin Walker had just proposed to her on Christmas, and the two once planned on getting married at a church in April, according to an online wedding registry.

According to the registry, the two met in September 2011 and had been "together ever since."

Tyrone Walker wants to know what was going through his brother's head at the time, what he was thinking, what could make him end two lives. Police can't answer those questions, Tyrone Walker said.

"I really don't got nothing to ask the police," he said. "There's nothing they can solve. Nobody can know what was going on with both of them. Not nobody knows the motive that really happened."
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American Airlines Sued for Treatment of American PTSD Veteran With Service Dog

Lawsuit: Airline tells veteran with PTSD, ‘You’re not flying with THAT!’
Sun Herald
Anita Lee
October 26, 2016

An Army veteran who suffers from PTSD says in a federal lawsuit that American Airlines agents subjected her to two days of humiliation and stress when she tried to fly home from Kansas with her service dog, a Labrador retriever named Jake.
Service dog Jake was wearing his vest and had the credentials needed to fly with Army veteran Lisa McCombs, according to a lawsuit she filed against American Airlines and regional carrier Envoy for refusing to let her board a plane with Jake to Gulfport from Manhattan, Kansas. Courtesy of Lisa McCombs
Lisa McCombs says she flew without incident to Manhattan, Kansas, on Oct. 25, 2015, but was stuck there for two days because American regional carrier Envoy refused to let her board a return flight with Jake, even though he was wearing his service vest and met criteria to board the plane.

“Ms. McCombs was emotionally crushed and humiliated by the conduct of (Americans’) agents, who discriminated against her because of her disability and publicly shamed her,” says the lawsuit filed by Biloxi attorney Christopher Van Cleave of Corban Gunn Van Cleave in Biloxi.
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Who Gives National Guard Families Back What Their Service Cost Them?

Military family: Enlistment bonus fiasco 'depleted our savings'
By Holly Yan and Curt Devine
October 25, 2016
In 2006, at the height of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, the Pentagon enticed soldiers to reenlist by offering hefty bonuses. Haley and Van Meter both accepted $15,000 bonuses to extend their service.
(CNN)Master Sgt. Susan Haley's family is the epitome of military sacrifice. She's a 24-year veteran. Her husband served for 26 years. Their son lost his leg serving in Afghanistan.

But now, the California National Guard is demanding more sacrifices from her -- to the tune of $650 a month.

"$650 is a quarter of our monthly income. And you just can't all of a sudden come up with that money," Haley told CNN's "New Day" on Tuesday. "We have depleted our savings."

Haley is one of thousands of veterans being forced to repay millions of dollars in reenlistment bonuses after the California National Guard awarded the bonuses in error. Years later, officials realized many of the veterans were not actually eligible for the bonuses and said they wanted that money back -- with interest.
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Tuesday, October 25, 2016

National Guard: Used and Abused, Served Then Charged Money

Veteran could lose Central Texas home
FOX 7 News
Ashley Paredez
October 24, 2016

Thousands of soldiers are being forced to pay back a large bonus they were promised to re-enlist in the California National Guard.

It has been a decade since they were deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. The Pentagon says they were overpaid. FOX 7 spoke with a retired army master sergeant who could now lose her home in Central Texas.

"I gave my time, that I will never get back, and now they want their money back. They can't give me back the missed birthdays and things of that nature," says Susan Haley, retired master sergeant, U.S. Army.

It's taken a toll on Susan Haley who spent 26 years in the Army along with her husband and son.

She's devastated that this is how nearly 10,000 soldiers are being treated after serving their country.
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WWII Veteran Gets Birthday Bash on USS Iowa

Pearl Harbor veteran gets a 99th birthday party thrown for him on-board the Battleship Iowa
25 October 2016
Ernest Thompson lives in Gardena, California, just a few miles from the Battleship Iowa Museum
The WWII veteran can no longer visit though due to health reasons
On October 26 he will turn 99, so on Sunday there was a birthday party
USS Iowa honored him by throwing a large gathering and barbecue
Special moment: World War II veteran Ernest Thompson celebrated his 99th birthday on Sunday with a party thrown for him the Battleship Iowa Museum
A Second World War veteran who was aboard the USS Missouri during Pearl Harbor has received a very special birthday party on-board a battleship.

Ernest Thompson lives just a few miles from the Battleship Iowa Museum in Gardena, California.

The veteran can no longer visit however due to health reasons and some problems with walking.

But he made a special journey to the ship on Sunday so that staff could a throw him a large party with his closest family, friends and chief selects for his 99th birthday.
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Brad Snyder Lost Sight in Afghanistan but Not Inspiration

Brad Snyder, who lost his sight while serving his country, conquers treacherous Alcatraz swim
Dan Arritt
Jill Dahle and Brad Snyder get ready for their 2.1-mile open-water swim from Alcatraz Island to San Francisco. The Factory Agency
One, two, three, four ...

Brad Snyder managed to block out every next thought, every painful memory, every unwritten plan, and remain focused on the revolving numbers in his head.

24, 25, 26, 27 ...

With every long, powerful stroke -- the thrusts he learned as a child growing up in Florida, polished as captain of the Naval Academy's swim team, and brought back to life while winning five gold medals at the last two Paralympics -- Snyder kept his mind concentrated on pulling his body to a shoreline he'd never see.

56, 57, 58, 59 ...

Even before losing his eyesight in a roadside bombing in Afghanistan six years ago, swimming in chilly ocean temperatures didn't come naturally to the Gulf Coast native. So Snyder stayed locked in on his numbers Sunday morning, counting each stroke as he churned through the treacherous 2.1 miles from Alcatraz Island to a sandy beach just east of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.
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Congress Knew Two Years Ago About National Guardsmen Bonus, Did Nothing For Them

Congress knew for at least two years about Pentagon efforts to take back bonuses from veterans
LA Times
David S. Cloud and Sarah D. Wire
October 24, 2016

The California National Guard told the state’s members of Congress two years ago that the Pentagon was trying to claw back reenlistment bonuses from thousands of soldiers, and even offered a proposal to mitigate the problem, but Congress took no action, according to a senior National Guard official.

The official added that improper bonuses had been paid to National Guard members in every state, raising the possibility that many more soldiers may owe large debts to the Pentagon.

“This is a national issue and affects all states,” Andreas Mueller, the chief of federal policy for the California Guard, wrote in an email to the state’s congressional delegation Monday. Attention had focused on California because it was “the only state that audited” bonus payments at the height of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, he added.

In the email, Mueller reminded members of Congress that the Guard had informed them about the issue two years ago. Whether members of Congress understood the scope of the problem at the time is unclear.
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