Fuck. Not again.
That's the first thing I thought when I heard the news out of Ft. Hood last week. Since we're here because of our support of our military (and our love of our military romances), I hope you'll forgive me if I hop up on my soapbox.
When the first shooting happened (I never thought I'd have to refer to it as "first"), I was in class, studying to be a trauma therapist. We heard the news during break and spent the second half of class discussing the situation. I have since completed my training, focusing on the military and children in foster care/adoption.
And I was frustrated then as I am now. Of course, we know now that the first shooting was not committed by a soldier suffering from PTSD, although that was the assumption in the class that night. This time, the evidence points toward a soldier with mental health issues. Time may give us a better picture of the nature of his issues.
But regardless of the exact reason, it brings the weaknesses in the military's mental health system back to the front of my mind.
Mental illness in the military in epidemic in nature. Jessica Scott dealt with the topic in her recent book, All For You. If you haven't read Jessica, you should! Anyway, the suicide rate is off the charts. Military suicide rates far exceed civilian rates. I think this shooting is part of the same problems that are leading to the high suicide rates. The realistic part of me is surprised there aren't more shootings like last week's.
The programs are out there. Programs that work. Programs that help prevent PTSD from gaining a foothold. They need to be made available to all soldiers in theater and back home. Better yet, it needs to be mandatory to remove the stigma of going for help.
Our men and women deserve it. They volunteer to don the uniform to protect us. They take on dangerous situations for crappy pay because they want to, because they believe in what they do. For that service, they deserve to be taken care of. They deserve better.
They give us their all. How can we give them any less?
Stepping off soapbox now.
On a very happy note, today is my mother's birthday! So if you see Liz Forella running around, wish her a very happy birthday!!
And while I'm wishing happy birthday, my grandmother's birthday was last Saturday. Not that I'd ever divulge her age, but I can assure you she looks damn good!!
Both of these pictures were taken at my son's wedding last year. Just thought you'd like to know. :)