An article I read online about veterans who are suing the military to upgrade their discharges, indicates an ignored mitigating factor was their Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. It was a stigma for soldiers in many conflicts to suffer ‘combat fatigue’ and the military did not have any mental health programs to help their suffering. World War II’s most infamous case of a leader who abused soldiers suffering what we know today as PTSD, was General Patton.
I do know what it is like to live with someone who suffered with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Thirty years ago, I was in a relationship with a woman whom I came to learn was not schizophrenic but rather suffering from PTSD. In the course of dealing with her middle of the night terror attacks, suspicious looks, angry stares, horrible accusations and anorexia, I was not trained, nor was I sufficiently mature enough, emotionally, to help. At the time I was in the Navy, stationed at an installation outside Washington, D.C. Over a period of several weeks everything came into the light. My job performance started to suffer badly. I was exhausted; one Monday, I failed to go to work at all. And then, banging on my door, my supervisor, a Chief Petty Officer in whom I confided my struggles, had come to check on us.
Instead of being brought before NJP – nonjudicial punishment, my supervisor verbally reprimanded me, and took charge- giving me direction about how I should lead my household. In the late 1980s, mental health, counseling – family or marital, and the host of ills that military members succumb to in combat was still in its infancy. And if PTSD was hardly recognized in the civilian population, how much less so for our veterans. I found resources for us to attend counseling. I would love to say that everything turned around and became goodness and light. It did not. Less than ten years later, I learned that she had succumbed to her health problems. For those suffering mental health issues, it is always continuing steps in recovery. But the sufferer has to be as engaged in getting healthy as those around him or her remain committed to helping. It is time for the military – and the VA – to make every effort to alleviate the mental health issues that were aggravated or incurred as a result of military service. It is only right to help warriors with tools and understanding who are suffering.
Yesterday I posted an article I read from the Voice of San Diego to Facebook. Following up an earlier expose on the rejection of a housing project in Poway for low-income veterans, it irritates me to think how my neighbors to the north look on themselves as a privileged class. I think posting the original article is very instructive on the social biases of affluent people who often want the Government to do something to help people but NIMBY (Not In My BackYard). Poway is home to large businesses, Defense contractors, and expensive homes. Sadly, many of these residents depend on the military residents who pay taxes, shop in their businesses, send their children to local schools and attend their churches. With land that is mandated for low-income residential use — home ownership and not a transient rental population is overlooked because of mistrust, ignorance and fear. Is this just an unwilling city to put money where its mouth is? When houses in the county average a half-million and condos $300K, what exactly does low-income veteran housing look like?
We Do Not Owe Them a House in Poway’
Posted By Maya Srikrishnan On December 29, 2016
After the Poway City Council denied a low-income veterans housing project in November, residents opposed to the project rejected suggestions that they were “anti-veteran.”
They are right. The opposition to the Habitat for Humanity veterans project had nothing to do with veterans.
One of the bloggers I follow posted on the recent Pepsi ad that features Jenner and scenes that bring up all the controversial issues in the USA today. I appreciate reason and tolerance. Some people are ‘offended’ by everything from colors to messages. As a retired Navy Chief, happily heterosexual man, a disciple of Jesus, and a California-born, social conservative, I probably offend some who have never met me. Though educated by world -travel, technical and university scholarship, and nearly six decades of examining human behavior, I lament the end to civility, tolerance, and nationalism.
The rub is to tolerate differing opinion – without shutting down the one who differs. That’s the real underlying message of the media and school programs which seek uniformity of thought along the guidelines they establish. Pepsi and other companies, will test the wind and see that ‘inclusion’ is the marketing tool of today.
May I use pitbull dogs as a metaphor for the messages in that ad? Some will hate that breed regardless of evidence. If there are a million dogs that have some Staffordshire Terrier in whole or part, perhaps ten thousand have been exposed to dog-fighting abuse. Some people will examine each animal individually, to see what they were exposed to and whether they can be placed with children or other pets. Some want to exploit fear and doubt of the breed for power. Some will see dogs abused to kill and maim as misunderstood. Some will adopt pitties and then neglect them. And if a community legally forces everyone to adapt by banning ‘pitbull’ ownership; by fining disobedience and by teaching that anyone who believes differently is maladjusted, can we still sing of “land of the free, and home of the brave”?
And so corporations – Pepsi, NCAA, NBA, and socialist governments- especially, the California legislature — do not try to force my thinking or my life into your determination of ‘inclusion’. While I will render to Caesar what is Caesars, I will not spend discretionary money on you. I will follow Thoreau and Civil Disobedience. I will join like-minded voters and oppose policies by the process we initiated in 1789 and worked well for 230 years.