Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Why Isn't The Press On Suicide Watch?

Military Lives Lost, Congress Doesn't Care About Cost?
Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
July 26, 2016

What the hell is going on in Washington? Is anyone really paying attention to what the already elected have done while covering those wanting to be elected? 

There were 110 military suicides in the first three months of this year.  Top that off with the latest suicide report from the VA with "20 a day" as the number they report along with the simple fact there were about 7 million more veterans in 1999 and the same number reported as taking their own lives back then everyday. The press does not seem all that interested. They were not interested in 2007 either.  So why isn't the press on suicide watch if they care at all about any of this?

You can just picture what goes on in Washington when a grief stricken family goes to talk to their elected official begging them to do something about suicides so that no other family has to go through it.  Then the politician promises them they will take action.  They call up a buddy and promise a boat load of cash to come up with some funky program, then they write a bill to get their name on it.  Doesn't matter if it has been done before and failed as long as this new one has their name on it, that is really all they care about.

Sounds absurd to some but to others, it has been a nightmare.

The Associated Press reported on August 17, 2007 the 2006 Suicide Rate for Soldiers Sets a Record for the Army and it turned out that was the highest number in 26 years.
Nearly a third of the soldiers committed suicide while in Iraq or Afghanistan, according to a report released Thursday, which said 27 deaths were in Iraq and 3 in Afghanistan.

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.

In the 500,000-member Army, the suicide toll translates to a rate of 17.3 per 100,000, the highest since the Army started counting in 1980, officials said. The rate hit a low of 9.1 per 100,000 in 2001.
Yes you read all that right so no need to check your glasses. One of the family members going to Washington was the family of Joshua Omvig. 

Well they wrote a bill with Omvig's name on it, voted on it and it was signed by President Bush in 2007. 

It was supported by Rep. Bob Filner who had this to say. "Mr. Speaker, I move to suspend the rules and concur in the Senate amendment to the bill (H.R. 327) to amend title 38, United States Code, to direct the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to develop and implement a comprehensive program designed to reduce the incidence of suicide among veterans."

Sounds like they all cared.  Especially this part.
Mr. Speaker, before I introduce the author of the legislation, I just want to say in introduction, unfortunately, suicide prevention has become a major part of our responsibilities to both active duty and our veterans.
It is a terrible statistic, Mr. Speaker, but as many Vietnam veterans have now committed suicide as died in the original war. That is over 58,000. We have to do as a Nation a better job. The Army just announced recently that the suicide rate among active duty and recently discharged has now reached Vietnam proportions. So we have to do a far better job and we intend to do that.
The author of the original legislation, Mr. Boswell from Iowa, saw this very clearly and introduced this bill.

Looks like no one has been seeing much after that considering the number of enlisted went down and suicides went up. More families hoped that their story, their suffering would make enough of an impact on the politicians but they just repeated what they promised the Omvigs, over and over and over again.

So that press repeats what the DOD says and does not seem all too willing to ask many questions at all.  Why? Do you think any of this would matter to do some basic research?

The latest from the Department of Defense is for the first quarter of 2016 Suicide Report. 58 Active Military, 18 Reservists and 34 members of the National Guard.

You'd think that 110 lives lost to suicide in three months would be important enough to mention but then you'd also have to think that they would find it worthy of mentioning that all this comes after almost a decade of "prevention" being paid to produce higher rates of suicide. 

Oh, no, not just from current members but among the younger veterans committing suicide at triple their peer rate. Nice little secret they don't seem to want to talk about. If they are no longer in the military, they don't matter and the DOD does not have to mention a word about them, even though they trained them to "prevent" this and be "resilient" enough.

Ok, just to go a bit more into proving this, take a look at the chart on the link above. Notice how they also have in other years going back to 2012. If you read Wounded Times all the time, then forgive me but this is worth repeating, since no one else is talking about this. 

What we are going to do here is compare what the press told us about how many service members committed suicide against what the DOD has in the latest report.
Active 321
Reserve 204
National Guard 132
CNN reported on 1/15/13 

Pentagon reports record number of suicides - CNN Security Clearance 

Despite extensive support and counseling programs, as many as 349 U.S. service members committed suicide last year, which would be the highest number since the Department of Defense began keeping detailed statistics in 2001.
According to the Pentagon, 239 military deaths in 2012 have been confirmed as suicides and another 110 are being investigated as probable suicides. The number of suicides in 2011 reached 301; there were 298 the year before.
They missed a few. Then on 2/2/2013 they had "325 Army suicides in 2012 a record" so either the DOD is wrong or CNN is wrong but the bottom line is that all of this is all wrong! How can they go up after all the "efforts" to keep more alive than are killed in combat?
Active 255
Reserve 220
National Guard 134
Military Times reported 1/15/2016
According to the report, 259 troops on active-duty status died by suicide in 2013, down from a record 319 in 2012, including 115 soldiers, 42 sailors, 43 airmen and 45 Marines.
During the same time, 220 members of the Selected Reserve and Guard (87 and 133, respectively), died by suicide, up from 203 in 2012.

Reported by the DOD on 1/16/2015 

There were 229 deaths by suicide among active component service members and 220 deaths by suicide among selected reserve component service members (87in the reserve and 133 in the National Guard).
Active 273
Reserve 170
National Guard 91
Active 266
Reserve 212
National Guard 124
But taking a look at the reports from the Department of Defense Suicide Event Reports we find this.
2012 319 suicides among Active component Service members and 203 among Reserve component Services members (Reserve [n = 73]; National Guard [n = 130].
A total of 841 Service members had one or more attempted suicides reported in DoDSER for CY 2012 
2013 259 suicides among Active Component SMs and 220 among Reserve and National Guard SMs of the Selected Reserve
A total of 1,034 SMs had one or more attempted suicides reported in the DoDSER for CY 2013. 
2014 269 Active Component deaths and 169 Reserve Component deaths were attributable to suicide. 
A total of 1,126 suicide attempts were reported from the four Services

And now the worst thing of all in all of this. The other numbers reported on Army Times 2/15/2015

Personnel strength of the Regular Army has dropped below 500,000 for the first time in 10 years, with 498,642 soldiers being listed on active duty in the most recent official headcount of the force.
Statistics compiled by the Defense Manpower Data Center show that as the Army entered 2015 its reserve components had a combined strength of 547,007 soldiers — 349,881 in the National Guard, and 197,126 in the Army Reserve.
The Army drawdown is on track to reduce the active component to 490,000 soldiers by Oct. 1, as required in the fiscal 2015 budget authorization from Congress.

So what the hell is really going on and who is benefiting from it? The troops are not. Veterans are not. Who is getting all the money Congress has been spending over the last decade and WHEN THE HELL WILL ANY OF THEM BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE FOR ANY OF THIS?