Thursday, June 27, 2013

Veterans deserve the truth no matter how unpopular it is

Veterans deserve the truth no matter how unpopular it is
Wounded Times Blog
Kathie Costos
June 27, 2013

How many lives have to be lost before we start asking where all the money is going? When did we just decide no one was responsible for anything? Here are two videos you need to listen to.

Iraq veteran talks about coming home and feeling like a train wreck. He ends this part by talking about when he took his gun, chambered the round and stuck the barrel in his mouth.

He begins talking about how he had the gun in his mouth when his wife walked in. Had she not entered the room when she did, he wouldn't have lived to tell his story.

Paul learned how to know that he was not only forgiven but was able to forgive himself.

We can always say dumb things when we are confronted by someone in so much pain. It is an automatic response to try to fix them. Not because we think we have all the answers, but it is just too hard to see them hurting so much and standing there in silence doesn't seem to be an option. Our silence is what they need sometimes. Just to be there and listen to them helps them heal. Our silence other times ends up harming them more because when they can't find the words, we have to be their voice.

After I was speaking at a Point Man conference I was enjoying the music. I grabbed my camera and shot this video back in 2010. (It is one of the reasons why I decided to go to school to learn how to shoot videos.) As you can see the footage is all over the place. I didn't plan on filming what Paul had to say. I was just standing at the back of the church trying to get some audio of the band that played before him. I was holding the camera, for some reason, didn't think of shutting it off when Paul began to tell his story. When he was done, I told him I filmed him and gave him the option of taking the tape, destroying it or allowing me to put it up on YouTube. It didn't take him long to decide. He said "Put it up because I am tired of losing my guys."

What is important is what he had to say almost three years ago. It is all still going on right now. Paul talked about how Point Man helped him not just heal but inspired him to help others.

It seems as if the groups popping up all over the country, sending out fundraising letters and being sponsored by companies on TV along with an endless supply of corporations sponsoring their events have a lot to answer for, but no one is asking them any questions. The numbers of attempted suicides, like Paul on the brink, should have clued people in a long time ago that when groups talk about the "problem" and show heart tugging images on TV, they never manage to actually say what they are doing about it. I am tired of giving them publicity, even bad publicity, so I won't mention them here but I have a feeling you know exactly what group I am referring to. Most of you have sent enough emails complaining about them. The number of successful suicides reaching a record high after all the money spent with the DOD and the VA "addressing" it and "raising awareness" should have been a clue they are not being held accountable either. Then we also have the high record of calls to suicide prevention at the same time all these numbers are turing bad.

Until all of us get a clue on the lack of accountability from everyone claiming to be "doing" something, none of this will ever be any better for them.

Other groups can come and go but Point Man has been doing the work of healing the "moral injury" that has been in the news lately and working with families since 1984. They started with Vietnam veterans before average people heard about PTSD. What we do doesn't cost a lot of money. How much does it cost to give someone your time, answer an email, say a prayer or take them out for a cup of coffee? Sure we have to pay for Bibles and materials if we have groups. In my case, I attend so many events that I travel with a supply of Bibles because I know I'll be talking to someone in need of these special Bibles written for veterans.

They are suffering but too many huge groups are gaining from their pain instead of investing in their healing. I am tired of it. I was tired of it when I was writing my book, which I know you may be tired of hearing about so I won't write the title this time. I am tired of turing on the TV and hearing about everything but the truth on how things got so messed up for our veterans when we have known about all of this for this long. Most of all I am tired of one more Mom asking why her son or her daughter decided to die instead of staying here. I used to be able to tell them that things were changing but that was years ago. Now I don't know what to say other than try to comfort them while they blame themselves for something that was not their fault.

Not doing anything after you read their stories is part of the problem because everyone will keep getting away with all of this unless we demand accountability all the way around. Don't the veterans deserve at least that from us?