Sunday, November 8, 2015

Get it Right For Veterans Day or We Will Continue to Fail Them

Veterans Deserve The Truth
Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
November 8, 2015

Here we go again. As Veterans Day approaches there are more news reports and editorials coming out. Some from politicians and some more from charities. Jeff Chidester, host of the Clear Channel radio show wrote a piece on how we've failed veterans.
Each of our veterans is part of an elite fraternity, to which only about 1 percent of the country belongs. The U.S. military is without a doubt the most mighty fighting force ever assembled in history. However, it is also the most moral and humane group of men and women.
If you really want to honor veterans on the one day of they year their existence is acknowledged, then please get it right. Veterans are not "1 percent of the population" but current military are a little less than 1 percent.
"There are 21.8 million veterans of the U.S. armed forces as of 2014, according the Census Bureau, approximately 10 percent of whom are women. To put that in context there are 319.2 million Americans, according to the bureau. Nov 10, 2014"
Plus the number of homeless veterans has gone down since the high of over 300,000 when everyone was avoiding them. Homeless Veterans
America’s homeless veterans have served in World War II, the Korean War, Cold War, Vietnam War, Grenada, Panama, Lebanon, Persian Gulf War, Afghanistan and Iraq (OEF/OIF), and the military’s anti-drug cultivation efforts in South America. Nearly half of homeless veterans served during the Vietnam era. Two-thirds served our country for at least three years, and one-third were stationed in a war zone.
12% of the homeless adult population are veterans
20% of the male homeless population are veterans
68% reside in principal cities
32% reside in suburban/rural areas
51% of individual homeless veterans have disabilities
50% have serious mental illness
70% have substance abuse problems
51% are white males, compared to 38% of non-veterans
50% are age 51 or older, compared to 19% non-veterans
But the fact remains they served this one nation and returned to different states. If you want to know what is going on in your state, the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans has an easy search to use to find out how your state treats veterans.

Bill pushed to end homelessness for veterans
The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development report there were nearly 50,000 homeless veterans across the country in 2014. More than 750 of those veterans live in Upstate New York with 143 homeless veterans in the Southern Tier.
Veteran Suicides The claim is "22 a day" but everyone seems to get that wrong too. Congress Acts on Veteran Suicides, New York Times By The Editorial Board FEB. 9, 2015
Jeff Hensley, an Iraq war veteran, last year at an installation about military suicide in Washington. Credit Jewel Samad/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
An estimated 22 veterans kill themselves each day on average, according to the latest government data. Although many are older veterans, and some never served in combat, the suicide rate is particularly high and has been climbing among veterans under 30.
This was about the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention Act among a series of other attempts to appeal to the masses as if it would do a damn bit of good when it simply repeated what had already been done and changed, absolutely nothing to reduce the number of suicides.

As a matter of fact, they went up.

Suicide Epidemic Among Veterans, CBS News, November 7, 2007
CBS News did an investigation - asking all 50 states for their suicide data, based on death records, for veterans and non-veterans, dating back to 1995. Forty-five states sent what turned out to be a mountain of information.

And what it revealed was stunning.

In 2005, for example, in just those 45 states, there were at least 6,256 suicides among those who served in the armed forces. That's 120 each and every week, in just one year.
Yet before this bill the number of military suicides reached the highest level in 26 years,

2006 Suicide Rate for Soldiers Sets a Record for the Army, Associated Press August 17, 2007
The report said that the 99 confirmed suicides by active-duty soldiers compared with 87 in 2005 and that it was the highest raw number since 102 suicides were reported in 1991, the year of the Persian Gulf War.

Investigations are pending on two other deaths.

Officials reported 948 suicide attempts, but there were no comparisons for previous years.
We reached that number in the first quarter of 2015 according to the Department of Defense Quarterly Suicide Report.
In the first quarter of 2015, there were 57 suicides among service members in the active component, 15 suicides among service members in the reserve component and 27 suicides among service members in the National Guard.
Those reports are from the Army alone yet every branch has seen the number of enlisted reduced as the number of active duty suicides and attempted suicides went up.

If you really want to do something to honor veterans, then tell the truth or don't say anything at all. We knew more about all of this before all the online groups started. Just because you think you have something to say doesn't mean it will help and more often than not, it does more harm.

Members of Congress have gotten away with just repeating the same failed attempts to reduce suicides and the stigma of PTSD. They failed and we let them because we didn't make sure we were doing our veterans a service instead of serving our own ego and political point of view.

With all the facts in hand, I take the veterans side against all politicians. Men and women join the military and accepted the fact they may die for the sake of those they were with. Political point of view didn't matter. When it comes to taking care of them, both sides failed but zealots took sides of the elected instead of the neglected.