Tuesday, August 23, 2016

PolitiFact Not So Factual on Veteran Suicides

When it comes to rating what a politician says, there is a pesky thing called actual research to see if what they claim is true or not. On this one, I rate Politifact mostly lazy.
Kamala Harris slightly off in claim about veterans suicides
Politifact
By Chris Nichols
August 23rd, 2016

"It is unconscionable that 22 veterans take their own lives each day. We must ensure that they have support to adjust to civilian life," Harris, a Democrat, said on Twitter on August 18, 2016.
The VA examined about 55 million veterans records from 1979 through 2014. It found that in 2014, the latest year for which figures are available, 7,403 veterans took their own lives, or an average of about 20 a day.
You can read the rest here
Fact one missed is that within the reports cited is an all too often missed fascinating piece of information.

1999 the VA said there were 20 veterans a day committing suicide.  That was before Afghanistan and Iraq veterans entered into they military and while there were still WWI, WWII, Korean War veterans along with a lot more Vietnam veterans, plus Gulf War veterans. 5 million veterans less to count, the VA said in 2016 there are, yep, 20 a day committing suicide.

(Past articles had 7 million less veterans but the cut off date was before this latest report)

Look at the graph from the VA.



and this is by age


This is how we reached the abysmal finding that the percentage of veteran suicides has in fact gone up. This is after a decade of raising awareness, raising funds to talk about something few actually took the time to understand and a lot of politicians doing a lot of talking about how they will change the outcome when all they have done is repeat what already failed, it looks as if nothing will change.  It won't change until reporters actually tell the truth about what has been going on.  Yet again, a pesky little thing like using a number to make it easy to remember, when history is obliterated.  Hmm, just like the number of lives that could had been saved if we actually held people accountable.

Here is the report from the VA for the 2012 figure where they had the number at "22" and link to the 2016 report where they had the number at "20"

The stunning part on that report is they use the CDC number of suicides at 41,425 but stated rate of suicide from almost every state puts the number of veterans committing suicide at double the civilian population.  Figure that one out?

Here is the link to the 2000 Census 26.4 million veterans

Here is the link to the 2015 Census with 21,369,602 veterans and as you can see the majority of the veterans are over the age of 50 with the largest group, you guess it again, Vietnam veterans.