Chris Kyle's death at a rifle range in Texas at the hands of another veteran who suffered from accute Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), two weeks ago, hit me hard personally. I didn't know Chris, though I've served with the same guys in combat in different wars and dynamic, kinetic situations.
PJ Media's Blog had a good article on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and I'm relying in part on the comments of author, Rick Moran here. I'm simply throwing my cracker in the soup for the rest.
There were a record 349 suicides of active duty personnel in 2012. Nearly two in three marriages of PTSD sufferers end in divorce. The inability of the PTSD patient to hold a job has contributed to an epidemic of homelessness among combat veterans. It is estimated that one in three returning vets will exhibit at least some of the symptoms of PTSD, with between 13-20% of vets needing psychiatric care.
A companion condition to PTSD — Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) — is also a mental health problem, given the large number of soldiers wounded in IED attacks. The condition presents itself in similar ways to PTSD and it’s estimated that between 4-9% of returning vets suffer from TBI.
One of my family members, a Navy veteran, returned from Afghanistan about six months ago. And he was seriously screwed up -- as he would tell you today. The only reason that he isn't one of those statistics - one suicide per day - is because the Navy took his PTSD issues seriously. He's being helped and the Navy no longer (apparently) views PTSD as 'personal weakness'. After bottoming out and getting help, he arrived at Christmas dinner at my house and told everyone what happened and how he's being treated. That was received by a mixed reaction with some family members supportive and others shocked that he would have been as frank as he was. I am massively supportive of his efforts to "fix the problem" to the extent possible and because I'm the dad and another veteran, the kids and spouses defer to me. Will his marriage be saved? Maybe. His life - yes, he's not on the brink anymore, but he was.
American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History, reveals how Texas native Kyle came to record the highest number of sniper kills for an American. The book has been praised for its frankness in telling a first-person account of a warrior who shoots from far and close distances. The book spent 18 weeks on the New York Times best-seller list and 13 weeks at number one. Actor Bradley Cooper bought the rights to the book and is making a movie based on Kyle's experiences.
Giving the book its emotional core are passages from Kyle’s wife, who slowly watches as her husband’s affection turns from her to the SEALs and war. Chris Kyle left the navy for reasons that he explains.
Chris Kyle was apparently not suffering acute PTSD, but he died when one of the people near him flashed back at the rifle range and literally, 'went off his rocker'. That's not a medical opinion, but it's what happened.
I know what it's like to feel some of the effects of PTSD, though for me it didn't rise to the level that it did for others. For a change, the military is taking it seriously and the suicide rate is forcing the issue. Of course there are bastards like billionaire Ted Turner (former husband of Hanoi Jane Fonda) who have come out against treatment of PTSD, feeling that the suicide rate is acceptable for US Service Members.
Ted Turner, the founder of CNN, took to the airways of that network on the Piers Morgan interview show and opined that it was a good thing that some American soldiers are committing suicide because it shows a healthy aversion to war.Scum like Turner and his former traitorous wife will always be with us. Flip any rock and you'll see what I mean.