Monday, March 25, 2013

Ken Wahl on Military Suicides

24 Mar 2013

A few months ago I received news that a friend of mine, a former Navy SEAL and war veteran, had lost his battle with depression and killed himself. I felt shocked, then devastated. Which gave way to guilt--the "why didn’t I see this coming, and what could I have done to prevent it?" kind of thing. And eventually I settled on anger. Not at my buddy Rob, and what he did to himself ... but at The Way It Is.

See, I’m not satisfied to simply cry a few tears, and raise a toast or two, or shake my head and say, "Man, that sucks."

I’m angry that we’re supposed to accept this.

In record numbers, a startling number of these fine voluntary military personnel, after risking life and limb to preserve our freedoms, are choosing to take their own lives. This is a sad twist of malaise that after facing down a committed and deadly enemy, these warriors return to the embrace of their own country, only to succumb to hopeless depression and suicide. The "tragedy of war" some say … you just have to accept this is what happens.

Well, I’m not going to accept this. There’s got to be something we can all do. I sat down with my friend, fellow actor, Ken Wahl, to discuss this horrible and disturbing trend. The irony is not lost on me that it just happens to be 10 years ago to the day that the Iraq War began – and Ken and I are talking about our returning Vets. And more importantly the tragedy of the fact that the suicide rates of returning Vets is soaring.

Whatever is necessary--you just cannot have these guys killing themselves, and a rate of over twenty a day? That’s beyond my comprehension. They’re trained to kill … but not themselves! Nobody is trained to kill themselves. And if these guys are feeling that … hopelessness … ’it doesn’t matter what I did, my life is meaningless, no one gives a shit’… And when people sit around and stew in that, it grows. And then it gets to the point that it is so burdensome, that the only way out is to eat a bullet. And it rips me to shreds thinking of these guys offing themselves. We gotta do whatever we can to stop that. read more here