Message To Nation of Veterans From Ed Tick

I am a member of the International Council Of War Veteran Ministers, as is Edward Tick. Dr. Tick is the author of the book, “War And The Soul.” It has sold millions and saved lives. It is nice to know that one of our own has our back.

I write you from my next “duty station.” Because it is a most
important event, I want to share with you the impact and penetration
that our work in Soldier’s Heart has achieved, and how we may
continue together to bring hope, healing and positive change to our
suffering nation and world.

I have been chosen, and today begin, to provide the U.S. Army’s
CAST (Chaplaincy Annual Sustainment Training) in Post-traumatic
Stress Disorder for this year. The army annually pulls its chaplains in
from the service to give several days of rest and intensive training in
subjects the Pentagon deems most critical. Over the next 6 months,
I will meet with 2,000 chaplains on 7 different military bases. Each
time I will have a few hours to train them in our model, interpretation
and approach to healing the wound we call PTSD.

This task could not be more daunting or important. Our chaplains
are the only ones responsible for the spiritual care and tending of our
troops. Chaplains may work with up to 5,000 soldiers each. They
are of all ages and persuasions. In our war zones they receive and
tend physically, psychologically and spiritually wounded men and
women, minister to the dying and tend the souls of the slain.

In Soldier’s Heart we have been teaching that PTSD is a soul wound
and a social wound. In contrast to almost all other approaches, we
declare that such invisible devastation is inevitable in war, made
much worse under contemporary conditions, and has its source in our
souls and in our society.

Military culture is changing. Some generals have come out of
the closet admitting their PTSD. Many leaders are saying it takes
courage to admit your pain. Many are accepting military-civilian
partnerships because the wounds are too large and too many for

the military to treat alone, and they lack both resources and warrior
wisdom for bringing healing. It is in this atmosphere that I work.
I seek to carry Warrior Medicine into the Army. I seek to help
our chaplains understand that there is such a thing as spiritual
warriorhood, that military and war wounding is inevitable and must
not be treated as a pathology, weakness or illness to banish. Rather
it must be embraced as initiatory and transformative. PTSD is neither
illness nor failure, but a sacred wound.

Together we in Soldier’s Heart have responded to PTSD as the
soul and social wound it is. We have gathered, taught, supported,
loved, witnessed. We have practiced spirituality in community.
We have invoked the Sacred Warrior Spirit of all times and places.
We have gone into deep old pain together and emerged cleansed,
strengthened, healing, with hope and direction. Together we nurture
elder warriors and communities to practice truth telling, restore honor
and embrace all those who have been wounded by their time in hell.

Today, April 24, is the first of my seven trainings of the military
chaplains. I begin at Ft. Carson, CO and will travel far and wide
through September. As so many of you have, I will go where I am
needed and asked to serve. Today and for this half year, I ask you
to kindly think of me, have patience with my busy schedule and high
demands. Please send good thoughts my way, say prayers on behalf
of this work and its power to reach and teach, enlighten and inspire
our chaplains. Pray that Sacred Warrior Medicine enters our military
through this portal and contributes toward its transformation into a
peace making and healing force.

If this appointment means anything, it affirms that we small people
can, indeed, bring changes to our society and world. We must
continue. We all know how violence pervades our lives and world.
We must and can transform that practice and imbue it with soul and

Thank you for your support and bless your healing efforts always.

Ed Tick

Response To Warrior Code Of Honor/ Former Army Platoon Commander and Western Writer: Bill Black


Those who read this all the way through were there and knew it.  Those who did not read it or finish it would never understand it anyway.  It creates a “Damn, I wish I could say that” moment.  Thanks to the writer.


One portion talks about why I wrote several of the pieces I did:

“Serenity is earned by a lot of prayer and acceptance.

Acceptance is taking one step out of denial and accepting/allowing your  repressed, painful combat memories to be re-lived/suffered thru/shared with other combat vets – and thus de-fused.

Each time you accomplish this dreaded act of courage/desperation:

            the pain gets less;

            more tormenting combat demons hiding in the darkness of your gut  are thrown out into the healing sunlight of awareness, thereby disappearing them;

            the less bedeviling combat demons, the more serenity earned.”


Keep up the fight.


Bill Black


The Warriors Code of Honor

>There are times when commentary only interferes with the message. This is one of those times.
>  As a combat veteran wounded in one of America’s wars, I offer to speak for
> those who cannot. Were the mouths of my fallen front-line friends not
> stopped with dust, they would testify that life revolves around honor.
> In war, it is understood that you give your word of honor to do your duty –
> that is – stand and fight instead of running away and deserting your
> friends.
> When you keep your word despite desperately desiring to flee the screaming
> hell all around, you earn honor.
> Earning honor under fire changes who you are.
>             The blast furnace of battle burns away impurities encrusting
> your soul.
>             The white-hot forge of combat hammers you into a hardened,
> purified warrior willing to die    rather than break your word to friends –
> your honor.
>  Combat is scary but exciting.
>             You never feel so alive as when being shot at without result
>             You never feel so triumphant as when shooting back – with
> result.
>             You never feel love so pure as that burned into your heart by
> friends willing to die to keep     their word to you.
>             And they do.
> The biggest sadness of your life is to see friends falling.
> The biggest surprise of your life is to survive the war.
> Although still alive on the outside, you are dead inside – shot thru the
> heart with nonsensical guilt for living while friends died.
> The biggest lie of your life torments you that you could have done something
> more, different, to save them.
> Their faces are the tombstones in your weeping eyes, their souls shine the
> true camaraderie you search for the rest of your life but never find.
> You live a different world now. You always will.
>             Your world is about waking up night after night silently
> screaming, back in battle.
>             Your world is about your best friend bleeding to death in your
> arms, howling in pain for you to kill him.
>             Your world is about shooting so many enemies the gun turns red
> and jams, letting the enemy grab you.
>             Your world is about struggling hand-to-hand for one more breath
> of life.
> You never speak of your world.
> Those who have seen combat do not talk about it.
> Those who talk about it have not seen combat.
> You come home but a grim ghost of he who so lightheartedly went off to war.
> But home no longer exists
> That world shattered like a mirror the first time you were shot at.
> The splintering glass of everything you knew fell at your feet, revealing
> what was standing behind it – grinning death – and you are face to face,
> nose to nose with it!
> The shock was so great that the boy you were died of fright.
> He was replaced by a stranger who slipped into your body, a MAN from the
> Warrior’s World.
> In that savage place, you give your word of honor to dance with death
> instead of run away from it.
> This suicidal waltz is known as: “doing your duty.”
> You did your duty, survived the dance, and returned home. But not all of you
> came back to the civilian world.
> Your heart and mind are still in the Warrior’s World, far beyond the Sun.
> They will always be in the Warrior’s World. They will never leave, they are
> buried there.
> In that hallowed home of honor, life is about keeping your word.
> People in the civilian world, however, have no idea that life is about
> keeping your word.
> They think life is about ballgames, backyards, barbecues, babies and
> business.
> The distance between the two worlds is as far as Mars from Earth.
> This is why, when you come home, you fell like an outsider, a visitor from
> another planet.
> You are.
> Friends try to bridge the gaping gap.
> It is useless. They may as well look up at the sky and try to talk to a
> Martian as talk to you. Words fall like bricks between you.
> Serving with Warriors who died proving their word has made prewar friends
> seem too un-tested to be trusted – thus they are now mere acquaintances.
> The hard truth is that earning honor under fire makes you a stranger in your
> own home town, an alien visitor from a different world, alone in a crowd.
> The only time you are not alone is when with another combat veteran.
>             Only he understands that keeping your word, your honor, whilst
> standing face to face with death gives meaning and purpose to life.
>             Only he understands that your terrifying – but thrilling – dance
> with death has made your old world of backyards, barbecues and ballgames
> seem deadly dull.
>             Only he understands that your way of being due to combat damaged
> emotions is not the un-usual, but the usual, and you are OK.
> A common consequence of combat is adrenaline addiction.
> Many combat veterans – including this writer – feel that war was the high
> point of our lives, and emotionally, life has been downhill ever since.
> This is because we came home adrenaline junkies. We got that way doing our
> duty in combat situations such as:
>             crouching in a foxhole waiting for attacking enemy soldiers to
> get close enough for you to start shooting;
>             hugging the ground, waiting for the signal to leap up and attack
> the enemy;
>             sneaking along on a combat patrol out in no man’s land, seeking
> a gunfight;
>             suddenly realizing that you are walking in the middle of a mine
> field.
> Circumstances like these skyrocket your feelings of aliveness far, far above
> and beyond anything you experienced in civilian life:
>             never have you felt so terrified – yet so thrilled;
>             never have you seen sky so blue, grass so green, breathed air so
> sweet, etc.; because dancing with death makes you feel stratospheric – nay –
> intergalactic aliveness.
> Then you come home, where the addictive, euphoric rush of
> aliveness/adrenaline hardly ever happens – naturally, that is.
> Then what often occurs? “Quick, pass me the motorcycle” (and /or fast car,
> drag race, speedboat, airplane, parachute, big game hunt, extreme sport,
> fist fight, gun fight, etc.)
> Another reason Warriors may find the rush of adrenaline attractive is
> because it lets them feel something rather than nothing. The dirty little
> secret no one talks about is that many combat veterans come home unable to
> feel their feelings. It works like this.
>             In battle, it is understood that you give your word of honor to
> not let your fear stop you from doing your duty. To keep your word, you must
> numb up/shut down your fear.
>             But the numb-up/shut-down mechanism does not work like a tight,
> narrow rifle shot; it works like a broad, spreading shot gun blast. Thus
> when you numb up your fear, you numb up virtually all your other feelings as
> well.
>             The more combat, the more fear you must “not feel.” You may
> become so numbed up/shut down inside that you cannot feel much of anything.
> You become what is know as “battle-hardened,” meaning that you can feel hard
> feelings like hate and anger, but not soft, tender feelings (which is bad
> news for loved ones).
>             The reason that the rush of adrenaline, alcohol, drugs,
> dangerous life style, etc. is so attractive is because you get to feel
> something, which is a step up from the awful deadness of feeling nothing.
> Although you walk thru life alone, you are not lonely.
> You have a constant companion from combat – Death.
> It stands close behind, a little to the left.
> Death whispers in your ear; “Nothing matters outside my touch, and I have
> not touched you…YET!”
> Death never leaves you – it is your best friend, your most trusted advisor,
> your wisest teacher.
> Death teaches you that every day above ground is a fine day.
> Death teaches you to feel fortunate on good days, and bad days…well, they do
> not exist.
> Death teaches you that merely seeing one more sunrise is enough to fill your
> cup of life to the
> brim – pressed down and running over!
> Death teaches you that you can postpone its touch by earning serenity.
> Serenity is earned by a lot of prayer and acceptance.
> Acceptance is taking one step out of denial and accepting/allowing your
> repressed, painful combat memories to be re-lived/suffered thru/shared with
> other combat vets – and thus de-fused.
> Each time you accomplish this dreaded act of courage/desperation:
>             the pain gets less;
>             more tormenting combat demons hiding in the darkness of your gut
> are thrown out into the
>             healing sunlight of awareness, thereby disappearing them;
>             the less bedeviling combat demons, the more serenity earned.
> Serenity is, regretfully, rather an indistinct quality, but it manifests as
> an immense feeling of fulfillment/satisfaction:
>             from having proven your honor under fire;
>             from having demonstrated to be a fact that you did your duty no
> matter what;
>             and from being grateful to Higher Power/your Creator for sparing
> you.
> It is an iron law of nature that such serenity lengthens life span to the
> max.
> Down thru the dusty centuries it has always been thus.
> It always will be, for what is seared into a man’s soul who stands face to
> face with death never changes.
>  This work attempts to describe the world as seen thru the eyes of a combat
> veteran. It is a world virtually unknown to the public because few veterans
> can talk about it.
>             This is unfortunate since people who are trying to understand,
> and make meaningful contact with combat veterans, are kept in the dark.
>             How do you establish a rapport with a combat veteran? It is very
> simple. Demonstrate to him out in the open in front of God and everybody
> that you too have a Code of Honor – that is, you also keep your work – no
> matter what!
> Do it and you will forge a bond between you.
> Do it not and you will not.
> End of story. Case closed.
> I offer these poor, inadequate words – bought not taught – in the hope that
> they may shed some small light on why combat veterans are like they are, and
> how they can fix it.
> It is my life desire that this tortured work, despite its many defects, may
> yet still provide some tiny sliver of understanding which may blossom into
> tolerance – nay, acceptance – of a Warrior’s perhaps unconventional way of
> being due to combat-damaged emotions from doing his duty under fire.
>                                      Signed, a Purple Heart Medal recipient
> who wishes to remain anonymous.
> Dedicated to absent friends in unmarked graves.
> Respectfully written and submitted by;
> Pete Oakander []
> Commander of Chief Joseph Chapter 509 of the Military Order of the Purple
> Heart – Boise, Idaho
> Charter Member of American Legion Post 39 – Middleton, Idaho
> Yours in Patriotism

City of Tucson Development Military Style

It is well known in the Armed Forces that if you cannot keep the latrines clean, you cannot get promoted!

It is a delight to see the City align itself with the the novel, “Zen And The Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.” It is all about attention to detail.

One day the tiles along the esplanade between La Placita and Hotel Arizona will get some Rio money too.  They have been on the deferred maintenance list for awhile.

While managing La Placita in the 1980’s, I wrote out a work order to fix those tiles in May of 1983!

All good things come to those who wait.




Council Member Steve Kozachik
Ward 6
Contact: Steve Kozachik Date: 04/09/2012
Ward 6 Council Member TDD: 791-2639
(520) 791-4601
On Thursday of last week the Rio Nuevo Board voted to approve a Memorandum of Understanding that
suggests they are willing to fund certain restroom improvements at the TCC. That is a welcomed step.
And yet, the MOU unnecessarily opens several issues and creates some very large concerns:
1. Rio makes their offer contingent on the City upgrading the bleachers – we voted to do that a month
ago. We’re doing that with or without the Board participating.
2. Rio suggests that the City fund ADA issues – why would you agree to upgrade restroom facilities,
but split out a portion of the work that needs to be done? Simply make the needed improvements
to the facility, which Rio owns.
3. Rio ties the I-10 parcel of land owned by the City to this MOU. It is stated that we are to include
both Rio and owners of “private property” adjacent to the facility in conversations about how to
develop that parcel. Would those ‘private property’ owners be somebody Rio has specifically in
mind, with a specific intent? What’s the deal behind the deal they have in mind?
4. Two of the Rio Board members participated in a very transparent process that involved the award
of an RFP for the development of that parcel – negotiations for which were placed on hold when
Rio sued the City. Are we simply flushing that entire selection process and negotiation away?
5. The December 2010 Term Sheets that were agreed to by Rio included a settlement related to this
parcel of ground that runs contrary to what is now included in the current MOU.
I am pleased to see that Rio has found $1M to begin to do the work needed on the TCC. Let’s move that
idea along without conflating other non-germane issues that can only serve to confuse the simple goal of
improving the TCC.
But, it is just as important to stop any “closed door” negotiations. That keeps all of us accountable,
whether we are elected or simply appointed.

Rural Clergy Training By Veterans Administration

Never in my 40 years of advocacy for veterans have I seen an Veterans Administration as pro-active as this one. Former General Eric Shinseki clearly wants to make his mark in history. From the care for homeless to the endless outreach programs, the American soldier, sailor, airman, Marine, should be proud to have such dedication and diligence. I am aware that at time the line is long, but tell me where else in the world a veteran can get this level of care?

Logo for the Rural Clergy Training Program, a black and white sketch of a distressed soldier with the worlds "Some war wounds are not visible..." Veterans Health Administration/Office of Rural Health


Rural Clergy






Educating community clergy about how they can support Veterans and their families through the readjustment process.

Many Veterans and their family members who seek help for their

problems do so from clergy.

Rural Veterans in particular have limited choices for healthcare. In some communities and the military culture, the stigma associated with mental health problems can be quite strong, which could reduce a Veteran’s motivation to seek care. Some Veterans may delay seeking help until a crisis makes it unavoidable.To help build a strong support net for our Veterans, the National VA Chaplain Service is hosting 1-day education and training events for local clergy of all faith groups, as well as for non-VA chaplains and representatives from Veterans Service Organizations. Logo for the VA Chaplaincy
Training topics will include:

  • The readjustment challenges Veterans and families face following deployment(s),
  • The spiritual and psychological effects of war trauma on survivors,
  • VA benefits and services available to Veterans,
  • How to connect with the VA to make a referral or get information,
  • The important role of community in helping to reduce stigma.

Don’t miss the opportunity to attend one of these
informative events in your area!

Demand is high and seating is limited for these free events, so register TODAY!
You may complete the Registration Form below or contact
Jim Goalder at 1-800-872-9975/ to reserve your seat.

(ex. Rev./Dr./Chaplain/Pastor/Rabbi/Mr./Mrs./Ms./Miss)

18th Annual Vietnam Remembrance Day Ceremony

18h Annual Viet Nam Remembrance Day Ceremony

In-Country Viet Nam Veterans in conjunction with the Vietnamese Community in Arizona & many generous Veterans Organizations

Request the honor of your presence

Sunday – April 29, 2012


To those that will join this day of remembrance -“welcome home”.

To those whose names are inscribed on the Viet Nam War Memorial – “thank you”.

This day is for the living to pay proper homage to the fallen and

to the cause to which they gave their lives.


The commemoration starts at 08:30 with ceremonies at 09:00

Viet Nam Memorial

Wesley Bolin Memorial Plaza, Phoenix, AZ

-  17th Avenue – – Adams Street westbound/Jefferson Street eastbound – (one way streets)

Massing of colors and flag raisings of the U.S. and S. Vietnamese flags

Display of historical military memorabilia, military vehicle display

Color Guard Units are invited to participate in the Pass and Review of Colors – POC Josie Kakar-Delsi 520-836-1022

if your color guard unit is participating please respond so that you will be properly introduced – muster @ 08:00

Wreath Presentation POC Josie Kakar-Delsi 520-836-1022

All other information contact Midge Munro 623-979-0829

Holy Week For Veterans/Christ Seized In The Garden

This icon was most likely commissioned during the Crusades in the State of Syria or Palestine. I am always reminded of the fact that my role model, St.Francis of Assisi was first a warrior. He was very likely one of the first PTSD sufferers. The biographical movie, “Brother Sun Sister Moon,” the 1973, Zefferelli award winner, depicts the aftermath of war well in the first five minutes of the film.  Sacred events and lives are often preceded by trauma.

The sacred event is shown in God’s view, with a solid gold background of uncreated light. Jesus exists in the light of God. The icon shows no time or place and like the Gospel itself is for all people everywhere in all times. Humankind is depicted as a circular ball of dramatic tension. They are dancing in a mass of energy as our earth swirls in waves of violence and betrayals—just as we are now in the 21st Century! The feet are shown in arrested movement–all them caught in mid-stride–as they may if Jesus were to appear to us this Easter–or this day. Jesus robes billow out from his body as if he were running to meet His destiny. Judas Iscariot is reaching forward to kiss Jesus and betray Him to the authorities. The tension is accentuated by all facing forward except Judas. The absence of eye contact is considered the realm of the Devil.

Behind are all of the instruments of betrayal and destruction. The wooden cudgel used by the commoner. The fire-brand wood common to Romans and Jews. Metal tipped staff used by soldiers. The Labarum, a imperial insignia symbolizing the power of Rome. The spear, the weapon of occupying forces. The sentry speared Jesus! A battle ax used by Romans. And the regimental labarum topped with titles and ribbons of officers on missions.


The only person who is grounded in the world is Malchus, the high priest’s slave, who has feet knocked out from under him. (today’s unemployed). He is responding to the bleeding wound of his right ear and earlobe. As an unnamed disciple comforts Malchus, we see Simon Peter standing over them with his sword extended and ready to defend.

A secret teaching embedded in this icon was the belief that the three torches were symbolic of the Triune God. The common mans wooden cudgel was left outside the domination of the triune God, along with his free will, so men and women could decide to follow Jesus Christ and believe or be lost in the world of violence.  This icon was meant to be used during Lent as one would sit in front of it an examine where his/her soul has betrayed or gone astray from Gods Commandments.

Whom have we betrayed or furthered acts of violence?

Let this Easter be the announcement of a new world order–one without violence.









Is America Ready For Returning Veterans of War?

In the next 18 months we will be welcoming home a substantial number of men and women who have been in combat zones in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Some of them for multiple tours of duty. They are entering a climate of anger and political travail.  The behavior of a large segment of our citizenry would not be considered Sunday school worthy. How is the meshing of minds going to play out in the midst of one of the most polarized  political climates since the days of Civil Rights?

How do we prepare? How do we show these sailors, soldiers and Marines that we as a nation are mature enough to not rangle them beyond tolerable limits?

If these presidential candidates are truly about Country first and submerging political gain, how will they show it?

When I worked on the Old Pueblo Trolley, we had many riders who were soldiers on liberty and between deployments. Some were a tad touchy, and not much interested in adolescent political theatrics.

Ironically, the door men at some of the local taverns were more  attuned and prepared than the rest of civil society.

I pray that we can find a level of equanimity and class amongst our leaders for fear that we will see a level of enmity reminiscent of the Vietnam War.

Jesus, any chance of coming too see us at your earliest convenience?

“In a San Diego, California neighborhood, debate is raging: The Department of Veterans Affairs is planning to establish a residential treatment program for Veterans with PTSD and mild traumatic brain injuries. On its face, the idea doesn’t seem controversial. After all, given two wars in the past decade, the U.S. government is doing what it can to provide Vets with the best care possible. But that’s not how some San Diegans view the situation. They say the facility will be too close to a school. They say it’s “just the wrong place.” Without saying as much, this is an example where some in a community are simply not comfortable with what they view as damaged and potentially unstable Veterans being near a school. Of course, this attitude doesn’t take place in a vacuum, and it wasn’t formed recently. There is a reason people have such views of those who once protected them. If you’ve read the news lately, you may have seen one of several stories describing recent Veterans as “ticking time bombs” or as “dangerous” on account of post-traumatic stress. It’s a narrative that has persisted for decades, but a handful of recent high-profile incidents have resulted in headlines like these:

  • ·

Police get help with vets who are ticking bombs (USA TODAY)

  • ·

Experts: Vets’ PTSD, violence a growing problem (CNN)

  • ·

Veteran charged with homeless murders: Hint of larger problem for US military? (Christian Science Monitor)

While these stories highlight horrific killings, the connection between disturbed murderers like Benjamin Barnes and Itzcoatl Ocampo and their service in combat is weak—despite what media reports and popular culture would have many believe. And such rhetoric, when solidified in the public consciousness, can have negative consequences for both Veterans and society—like causing Veterans to avoid seeking help or employers to avoid hiring them. “This is a huge misrepresentation of Veterans,” said Rich Blake, an Iraq War Veteran and psychology doctoral student at Loyola University Maryland. “Crazed? That’s even more extreme.” For the past two years, Blake has worked with Veterans who have PTSD in the residential trauma recovery program and the women’s mental health clinic at the Baltimore VA Medical Center. He doesn’t shy away from the obvious—that combat and wartime experience can have mental health consequences—which can contribute to some Vets acting out. But he throws caution to the idea that this is an epidemic. “[These incidents] are like shark attack stories,” said Blake. “People are scared of shark attacks but they don’t happen that often.”

In a 2007 report on Veterans in state and federal prison—the most current report of its kind—researchers at the Bureau of Justice Statistics worked to demystify the vagaries surrounding Veterans and crime. As it turned out, during the past three decades, the number of Veterans in state and federal prison had actually declined. And when the mental health of Veterans in prison was compared to that of their civilian counterparts, there seemed to be a trend: Civilians reported a higher rate of “any mental health problems” than Veterans—both in state and federal prison. When it came to psychotic disorder, which represents the more extreme end of the spectrum of mental health problems, the rates remained higher among civilians as well. When the survey was conducted in 2004, the Veteran population in the U.S. was 24 million. America’s prisons were home to 140,000 Vets—of which 21,000 had been convicted of murder. And while those numbers seem large, this accounts for less than 1/10 of one percent of the entire Veteran population. A far cry from what some in the media would lead us to believe.

While a small fraction of Veterans have been convicted of murder, it often matters little in a media atmosphere which can place a premium on sensational headlines. In such an environment, Veterans are often stereotyped by those with an unclear understanding of what it means to live with PTSD. And the fact is, there is no limit to the number of reasons why a person might choose to become violent. “The headlines are irresponsible,” said Brian Hawthorne, an Iraq War Veteran and board member of Student Veterans of America. “Murder should be talked about but shouldn’t be centered on the instability of a few in our military population.” According to Gerhard Falk’s Murder: An Analysis of Its Forms, Conditions, and Causes, the occupations most likely to include murderers are laborers, service workers, and students. A comparison of those findings with the FBI’s Most Wanted list for violent crimes in 2012 shows a similar occurrence of occupations. Overwhelmingly, the top three offenders by occupation are general laborers, construction workers, and gang members. Of course, we rarely—if ever—see articles hinting at a larger problem within the laborer field or the construction field. Likely, this is because we inherently understand that occupation or work experience doesn’t typically factor into a propensity for murder. Then again, headlines that scream, “Man Yielding Concrete Mix Charged with Murder: Hint of a Larger Problem?” are likely not as profitable.

Unfortunately, this rehashed portrayal of PTSD, reminiscent of the Vietnam era, has the power to deter Veterans from openly speaking about their service—especially in today’s economic climate—when unemployment among younger Vets hovers between 20 and 30 percent. That concerns Iraq Veteran Ryan Gallucci, now with the Veterans of Foreign Wars. “Vietnam Veterans were stereotyped as the crazy Veteran, but over the years we’ve proven that isn’t the case,” said Gallucci, the VFW’s National Legislative Service Deputy Director. “What concerns us are today’s Veterans sitting down for a job interview and once they mention their military service, the tone of the conversation changes.” While most can discern between sensationalized news stories, the reality is that less than one percent of the population serves in uniform—leaving many with a slim exposure to today’s Vets. And this is the image they are fed—as seen in a January issue of The Week: Blackouts, flashbacks, night terrors, and sudden rages are common among veterans; suicide, alcoholism, and drug use have surged. PTSD has been cited as a factor in many acts of vets running amok. . .

As long as such language remains prevalent and acceptable, college admission offices, future employers, and those alike can peg today’s Veterans as “running amok” with the tendency to burst into “sudden rages”—quietly 16

widening the divide further between Veterans and civilians. “Overall this creates at most a hostile and at least uncomfortable situation for Veterans in school or the workplace,” said Hawthorne. “Teachers may not encourage Vets to share their opinions in the classroom out of fear of creating a negative environment.” Dr. Sonja Batten, the Deputy Chief Consultant for Specialty Mental Health in the Department of Veterans Affairs added, “The truth is, PTSD doesn’t have to and shouldn’t impede success in everyday life for Veterans. Years of research have demonstrated again and again that most people recover naturally after experiencing potentially traumatic events, and we have effective treatments for those who develop more significant problems with PTSD. I think what gets lost in these stories are the amazing strengths that our nation’s Veterans have.”

In fiscal year 2011, over 476,000 Veterans received treatment at VA medical centers and clinics across the country for PTSD. Of those, 99,000 were Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans. Dr. Batten expects more Vets to seek treatment in the coming years. “We have made progress in the fight against PTSD stigma,” she said. “Veterans are now more likely to recognize if something is wrong and come forward so that they can move on with their lives.” While the country has slowly begun to recognize post-traumatic stress—from “soldier’s heart” to “shell shock” to “combat fatigue”—there are still barriers preventing Veterans from seeking help. According to one survey of OEF/OIF Veterans, there is still legitimate concern over asking for care. With imbalanced portrayals of PTSD, these ideas will continue to fuel misunderstandings like the type seen in San Diego. But we have the leverage to change this—to make a conscious decision to understand what it means to live with PTSD. And to give those who have served a fair shot by stripping away those unwarranted stereotypes and seeing Veterans for who they really are.”

Source: VAntage Point Kate Hoit article 6 Mar 2012