Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Why do non-deployed soldiers commit suicide?

Why do non-deployed soldiers commit suicide?
by Kathie Costos
Wounded Times Blog
January 23, 2013

The military points out that civilian suicides are up when defending the rise in military suicides pointing to financial problems, relationship issues and a long list of what all humans go through but they don't seem to accept the fact that the men and women entering into the military are not the same as the rest of the civilians or everyone would join.

Not every high school student takes ROTC to have college costs covered and prepare them for military careers. Not every student spends their lives thinking of doing nothing else with the rest of their lives. With less than 1% of the population of this country serving in the military, that is the best example of how rare it is for an 18 year to think of serving the country. If it is their life's mission then they have been fully educated on what comes with the hardest job in this country. If they join for the wrong reasons, then there are many issues to overcome for a young man or woman to be able to fulfill their commitment. Faced with the reality of not being cut out to be a soldier, they cannot just quit and get on with their lives. There are repercussions for quitting.

Army basic training is the time in which these young men and women really discover what they got themselves into. Some adjust easily, some need help but for a few of them there is no way to last. The discussion surrounding military suicides of non-deployed soldiers needs to include this before the reasons are understood and more can be rescued before it is too late to save their lives.

It is not just the physical training they have to complete, or bullets and bombs exposing them to what they will face in real combat or even the images of amputees coming home. This comes with part of the training some receive.

Medics can't stop the bleating at Fort Carson
While the military explores other approaches, our local post continues killing animals for training purposes
Colorado Springs Independent
by J. Adrian Stanley
January 23, 2013

'Live tissue training' at Fort Carson's Camp Red Devil claimed the lives of locally sourced goats last week.

The blood and guts are disturbing on their own, but what really churns the stomach are the sounds.

The sickening crunch of bones breaking under the pressure of hedge trimmers, the moans, and the joking and whistling of U.S. Coast Guard personnel as they spill the innards of still-breathing animals. This is documentation of a "live tissue training," an educational course for military medics that uses animals — usually goats and pigs — to simulate wounded soldiers.

The video was released by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals in April 2012. Leaked by a concerned secret informant who filmed it in Virginia, it caused uproar among activists and government officials alike. It may have prompted the 2013 National Defense Authorization Act requirement that the military set a timeline by March to largely phase out the use of live animals in such training exercises.

Fort Carson spokesperson Maj. Earl Brown calls the PETA video "kind of horrifying." It's different when Fort Carson does LTT, he insists: "We do not torture or mutilate these animals in any way."

But Brown isn't going to apologize for the post using animals in its training, even as recently as last week at Camp Red Devil in Penrose. LTT is important preparation for the battlefield, he says, "because it allows the soldiers to deal with the stress of trying to stop the bleeding."
read more here

For a teen growing up hunting and killing animals, this is usually not a problem but for a city kid who only saw meat in the grocery store, this can be horrific. It is not just an animal that was wounded or killed. To them, it very well could be a symbol of what can happen to them and a harsh reality of what they got themselves into.

We can accept the fact that civilians get PTSD after a traumatic event but we can't seem to understand why a non-deployed soldier can end up with it because we do not consider military training as being traumatic. There is a huge difference between civilian PTSD and military PTSD because while civilians are under no real threat of the trauma happening more than once, in the military the treat is never ending. There is a difference between someone living with an abuser with the threat of being abused everyday and being the victim of a stranger crime. There is a difference between being the victim of a gun crime and being a member of law enforcement facing that risk everyday.

In the last 40 years, experts have done little to distinguish the differences between causes of the trauma and how the survivor spends the rest of their lives adjusting treatment according to their threat of more exposures to traumatic events. As of today, there are not enough psychologists specializing in trauma and even fewer in the military with this specialized training. If they really want to stop the suicides and stop using civilian suicides as an excuse, they need to start thinking about the realities of what they are asking compared to what they are giving.