Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Marine Tyler Schlagel Suicide No One Saw Coming

With everyone doing something to prevent suicides in the military and in the veterans community, why are they still killing themselves? Each branch of the military including National Guard and Reservists have been telling all of us that "one suicide is too many" but basically they reach that claim on a daily basis.

Lord only knows how many times they'd have to say it if they had to account for all the veterans they trained to be "resilient" over the years. They sure aren't talking about the simple fact that training isn't even good enough to keep non-deployed from committing suicide but they claimed it would work on those with multiple deployments.

Is it ignorance or incompetence? Your guess is better than their's. I doubt they are even wondering why nothing they do is working? They sure as hell aren't wondering how it is that these men and women, trained to fight wars, managed to stay alive during them but not back home when they were supposed to be out of danger.

It isn't just the fact they succeed at ending their lives, but as with the story of Tyler Schlagel is told, others have tried to kill themselves as well but we can't even get the number of successful suicides right, so no one is trying to add up those battered lives either.
When asked if anyone else in the squad had attempted suicide recently, one man said no. The second said yes. He paused, then said, “Me ... a few months ago.” Without speaking, the two men fell into a deep hug.
Suicide Claims 14th Marine From a Unit Battered by Loss
New York Times
By DAVE PHILIPPS
DEC. 29, 2015
“I didn’t see it coming, not from him. Why our battalion? I’m at a damn loss." James McKendree, posted to other members’ Facebook pages the day after his death. 
Todd Heisler New York Times
LONGMONT, Colo. — Tyler Schlagel slipped out of his parents’ house while they were asleep three weeks ago and drove through the wintry darkness to his favorite fishing lake high in the Rockies.

Mr. Schlagel, a 29-year-old former Marine corporal who was stocking shelves at a sporting goods store, carried with him the eight journals he had filled during tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. He also carried a .40-caliber pistol.

Under the bright mountain stars, he kindled a small campfire. When the flames grew high, he threw the journals into the fire, then shot himself in the head.

Mr. Schlagel’s death Dec. 9 was the 14th suicide in his military unit — the Second Battalion, Seventh Marine Regiment — since the group returned from a bloody tour in Afghanistan in 2008. Many other members have attempted suicide, one just three days after Mr. Schlagel’s death.

The suicide rate for the 1,200 Marines who deployed together — most now out of the military — is nearly four times as high as for young male veterans as a whole and 14 times as high as that for all Americans.
For the dozen Marines who came to pay their respects — roughly a quarter of the platoon — Mr. Schlagel was the last person to suspect was struggling. He had been a squad leader and the platoon’s designated marksman who had taken the most dangerous spot at the front of patrols. He had seemed fearless, joyful, steady. His suicide made some question whether anyone was free of risk.
read more here
I've been doing this for far too long and still reading about more suicides stings as much as it did over 30 years ago. Back then we had plenty of excuses. Frankly because most of us were just learning what war did to all the generations since the Revolutionary War. The press didn't care about Vietnam veterans other than reporting about some of them being arrested unlike now when they report on Veterans Courts.  The DOD didn't care much either because they could just boot their butts out and be done with having to count them at all.

Now with billions spent every year on all the training, the DOD still hasn't seen they caused this train wreck!