Thursday, March 23, 2017

If Veterans Committing Suicide Really Matter, Then Why Don't the Facts?

What good does it do to act as if something matters, then prove it doesn't matter enough to learn about it before opening your mouth? It is one thing to make a mistake. It is another to portray yourself as being on a mission to create some kind of change, when you didn't even show you care enough to read the rest of the report you are quoting.

An Op Ed on Miami Herald had my head exploding this morning. "Respect America’s volunteer military" by Delbert Spurlock is actually part of the problem.
"No Americans have sacrificed more on the altar of our current undeclared wars than veterans and their families. Their suicide rate is now 20 a day, haunting testimony to their betrayal by our Congress and citizens who send them to war without a declaration that joins all Americans in the commitment to sacrifice for its success." Delbert Spurlock
He should know better and that is the other part of the problem.
GENERAL COUNSEL OF THE U.S. ARMY, FROM 1981-82; ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF THE ARMY, MANPOWER AND RESERVE AFFAIRS FROM 1983-88; AND U.S. DEPUTY SECRETARY OF LABOR FROM 1991-93.
Given the fact that he has the credentials to be trusted, how many trust what he said about OEF and OIF veterans? How many trusted his numbers? Probably almost everyone who read it. Then even more receiving the information passed on via Social Media. So, how many do you think believe that is all there is to know?

Nothing really knew when folks seem fine with pushups, taking walks and pulling other stunts to raise awareness about what really didn't matter to them after all.

Here is the truth that he should have passed on.

Department Veterans Affairs Suicide Report 2012, the one with the quoted "22 a day"

To date, data from twenty-one (21) states have been cleaned and entered into a single integrated file...on page 12
Further, this report contains information from the first 21 states to contribute data for this project and does not include some states, such as California and Texas, with larger Veteran populations. Information from these states has been received and will be included in future reports... on page 15

By page 18 you find this,

The numbers have not changed after over a decade of "awareness" being pushed. Are you waking up yet? Are you angry yet? Good because your friends passing on all the bullshit are part of the problem as well.

These charts are from page 20.

And on page 22, there is this
Specifically, more than 69% of all Veteran suicides were among those aged 50 years and older...
Most states have veterans committing suicide double the civilian rate. Here in Florida, it is triple. California does not track them. Illinois does not track them. So where did these numbers really come from and oh, by the way, it looks like Spurlock forgot about current military at an average of one per day. Their numbers went up too.

By 2016, this story did not change

THE REPORT CONCLUDES: Approximately 65 percent of all Veterans who died from suicide in 2014 were 50 years of age or older. Veterans accounted for 18 percent of all deaths from suicide among U.S. adults. This is a decrease from 22 percent in 2010. Since 2001, U.S. adult civilian suicides increased 23 percent, while Veteran suicides increased 32 percent in the same time period. After controlling for age and gender, this makes the risk of suicide 21 percent greater for Veterans. Since 2001, the rate of suicide among U.S. Veterans who use VA services increased by 8.8 percent, while the rate of suicide among Veterans who do not use VA services increased by 38.6 percent. In the same time period, the rate of suicide among male Veterans who use VA services increased 11 percent, while the rate of suicide increased 35 percent among male Veterans who do not use VA services. In the same time period, the rate of suicide among female Veterans who use VA services increased 4.6 percent while the rate of suicide increased 98 percent among female Veterans who do not use VA services.
Are you disgusted yet? Then get busy and start telling the truth. Lord knows nothing will change until we actually prove that the topic of veterans surviving combat but unable to survive in their "golden years" matters enough TO ACTUALLY READ THE REPORT!!!!