JMJ49, on 20 January 2013 - 11:25 AM, said:
I think to simplify the issue of PTSD and gun ownership does an injustice to hundreds of thousands of veterans and having government agencies report those who seek help might turn out to me counter productive.
I will tell my story: when I got back from Vietnam I was an angry and disillusioned 19 year old. I spent 10 months in the hospital recovering from wounds. I was retired out of the USMC at the age of 20. I immediately purchased guns, couldn't imagine myself without protection. Not knowing it at the time I was suffering from severe PTSD. I was treated for insomnia, high blood pressure, anger issues, etc. i met a girl at college who would become my wife. She suggested that I get rid of my guns, actually it was "the guns go or I go". I did. I went on to get 2 college degrees and teach school. Issues with sleep, panic attacks, flashbacks, intrusive thoughts etc plagued me throughout my life. I did well as a teacher but was unable to establish personal relationships with other adults. I was in and out of treatment for depression and anxiety and "adjustment disorder". It wasn't until 15 years ago that I was referred to the VA and was diagnosed with severe PTSD. I started treatment: groups therapy, individual therapy, art therapy, recreational therapy and many others i vaguely remember. My lack of sleep was still a major problem, and it is uncertain whether that was caused by the PTSD or the traumatic Brain injury. Emergency room visits became more frequent for episodes of extreme high blood pressure. Sometime they were designated "panic attacks" they always happened at night, usually when I finally fell asleep. I was urged to retire early from my teaching job. Within weeks I enrolled in a VOLUNTARY 90 day PTSD program (2005). It helped tremendously. I was sent before a Comp and Pension Board (I was already receiving 80% disability for physical injuries) I was awarded 100% PTSD. I have continued to see the psychiatrist occasionally and take meds to help sleep. I have never been violent, never arrested for anything and have been a very productive member of society. I moved to Florida 7 years ago and went back to shooting, hunting and collecting military rifles. I own an AR 15 among other weapons, I have a concealed carry weapon and permit. I no longer have any thoughts of hurting myself or others. I am a model citizen in every way.
it would be outrageous for the government to mine medical data and determine that my PTSD is cause for confiscation of my guns and rifles. It would be an incredible abuse of power and prove that all the predictions of the right were correct.
I would suggest a number of ways to cut down gun deaths. Serious classes for gun owners emphasizing skills in care, handling, securing weapons as well as lawful use and responsibility. I would also suggest recurrent training and updating.
I would suggest that there be severe penalties for those who allow their weapons to get into the hands of others that use them in crime.
People need to secure their weapons.
People who accidentally discharge their weapon should suffer severe repercussions, there is not excuse for unsafe handling of a firearm. Likewise for people who allow guns to get into the hands of children.
People who are shown to pose a danger to others should not be allowed to own guns, this may include some people with PTSD or depression , but certainly not all.
When I was given my rating from the VA they specifically said I was able to handle my own money. So competency has not been an issue for me.
It would be a serious injustice to deny me ownership of firearms and to many thousands like me. We served and protected, we paid with our blood and we have never been a threat to society except in the eyes of brainless spouters of anti gun venom. It would be a much greter threat to society if those in need of help did not seek it for fear that their rights would be restricted.
Excellent post- thanks so much for sharing!
The thing of it is, this is a highly complex subject that gets deep into people's lives and experiences, and can't be sorted by surface issues and appearances.
It's not as simple a thing as people in the military not being properly cared for. It's bigger than that- a LOT bigger.
Earlier in this thread, for example, when I inadvertantly trod on some people's feelings and was accused of "not getting it", I do know where they're coming from, but the problem is that they're focused on the surface issues and not the greater systemic social problems. For my part, I don't give a rat's arse about the surface stuff, because it doesn't mean anything when it comes right down to it.
But getting right down to it, getting to the core of what really matters, getting at what's broken here, is a HUGE freaking problem.
When I refer to things that are wrong with our respective militaries and with how veterans are commonly (mis)treated, I'm addressing a few markers that are indicators of a deep and serious social failing.
Our schools lie at the core of what's wrong with modern society. Their greatest failing is that they don't teach anyone squat about their own lives and the world they live in, at least not in any meaningful way.
For example, for the simplest, most practical of reasons, every kid living in a city should be able to look at a city map and have a good knowledge of everything in it. Here's the heavy industry, here's where this and that are made, here are the sewer lines and how they operate, here are the bus lines and the cab companies, and these are the people they move about. Here are the office towers, and this is a breakdown of what the people in them do. Here's where the rich people live, here's where the poor people live, here are the soup kitchens and the CEO's offices, the people that enforce the laws and the people that break them. Here are the art galleries, the restaurants, the libraries and the electronics stores. This is where you live, these are the jobs that are available, this is the place you must learn to fit in as an adult.
Beyond that, again, for reasons of simple practicality, kids should be taught how to organise and act during a disaster, how to help people at an accident scene, how to buy groceries, how to budget themselves. They should be taught how to scrutinise business and political ads and campaigns for lies and deception, for truthfulness and disinformation.
But that's just the tip of the iceberg. Yes, this much is old news, that a lot of what kids learn in school isn't practical, BUT- the problem goes deeper than that. MUCH deeper.
There are failings in the workings of our society that cover our oldest institutions. A few examples are: judges should go to judge school and should NOT be appointed or elected; doctors should NOT be able to keep their doings out of the public eye; the way our militaries work is dysfunctional and has need the good ol' boys network turfed out for a very long time (this is also true of many police forces); or prison system needs getting rid of- not only is it extremely dysfunctional, but the ideas and principles it's build upon are a steaming load of bollocks; the permits and bylaws system is crooked, through and through, and needs reform . . .
In short, our whole entire modern society is mired in a Mediaeval gutter, and as a people we've allowed ourselves to be lulled into a state of complacent inaction. There is no reason, in this day and age, for Feudal-style corporations and organisations to exist. There is no reason, in this day and age, why Democracy should exist only on the surface, but not also apply to our institutions, from schools, colleges and universties, to police forces and the military, from the utilities we pay our bills to what are supposed to be social
A good many areas of modern society are a steaming load of bollocks because they've been politicised. Politicians should have no right to meddle with things that are none of their goddamned business, but because many of these things are deemed "hot button" issues, politicians love to stick their filthy nebs into them in order to gain browny points. Some of these areas are: the penal system, abortion, the death penalty, stem cell research, the military, budget scrutiny and reform, crime and punishment, social health, criminalisation and addictions, and the hits just keep on coming.
There should have been mechanisms put in place a good long while ago to kick the living crap out of red tape. Taking a good, long, hard look at such situations is revealing, to say the least, in terms of who put it there and why. Care for soldiers is only one part of a larger picture. This is a systemic problem that also includes emergency responders, civilians affected by industry, individuals going up against corporations and various levels of government . . . by now you can see a pattern emerging.
And so it goes.
Capitalism is a pyramid scheme run by the 1%.