Letters to the Editor Week of 8/26/19

Press readers

Help stressed vets
To the editor: As a Navy veteran of the Vietnam era, I served without being brainwashed into learning how to kill - for the flag or the country. Though, I did get on the nerves of my friends and family, because I do experience post-traumatic stress disorder.
Lt. Col. Dave Grossman and Bruce Siddle have written extensively on the topic of the psychological effects of combat. So, I learned there are very few veterans who don't experience post-traumatic stress disorder. Additionally, a large number of veterans who served in a combat zone become psychiatric casualties. Is that why so many of our ex-military have become domestic terrorists, who make up 34 percent of the mass shooters like the shooter at the Pittsburgh synagogue and the Virginia Beach City employee?
Now, let me segue to a most disturbing reality that has been ignored for too long in my opinion, particularly by President Obama and President Trump. Neither man served in the military, thus they would be astounded to learn from a November 2017 report that mass shooters committing acts of domestic terrorism are disproportionately veterans. The numbers are 34-35 percent and yes, the majority of these veterans had mental problems. I have long written that we can't have veterans - who are trained to kill - killing civilians. I think my opinion and insights are especially relevant as I was able to resist the military brainwashing to learn hate and killing during my military career of three years, seven months and twenty-eight days.
I suggest in conjunction with Executive Order 13861 - signed by President Trump and known as the President's Roadmap to Empower Veterans to End the National Tragedy of Suicides (PREVENTS) - the nation and the presidential candidates address the reality of veterans being mass shooters. My rationale is that the Department of Defense along with the Veterans' Administration has the records to ascertain which veterans lack the emotional and spiritual stability and thus become domestic terrorists.
I agree with Lt. Col. Grossman and Mr. Siddle that “a nation must care for its psychiatric casualties.” In order to do so our nation is going to have to address this dire situation with spiritual, emotional, and psychological assistance for veterans.
Clarence Gafeney


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