Monday, August 15, 2011

Military suicides and PTSD

Friday March Forward had an event at the GI coffeehouse Coffee Strong addressing military suicides with a focus on Sgt Derrick Kirkland whose brother Jeremiah is in March Forward and whose mother Mary Kirkland participated in the event. Steve Fetbrandt (Patch) reports:

Among the seven speakers were four veterans, one active-duty serviceman, the wife of a recent military suicide victim and the mother of U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Derrick Kirkland, 23, a two-time combat veteran who hung himself in his barracks at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in March 2010. Kirkland was sent home midway through his second tour in Iraq for putting a shotgun in his mouth. He also attempted suicide during a layover in Germany. A Madigan Army Medical Center psychologist diagnosed him as low-risk for suicide and he was assigned to a barracks room by himself. He hanged himself less than 48 hours later. "March Forward" co-founder Kevin Baker accused the military Friday of paying lip service to --and even mocking -- soldiers like Kirkland, who have suffered combat-related mental illness. "We're demanding justice for Sgt. Kirkland ... and also for every single active-duty service member and veteran ... and for the rights of those in the military who've yet to be deployed and traumatized," he said.

Keith Eldridge (KOMO -- link is text and video) reports on the speak-out and quotes Mary Corkhill Kirkland stating, "My son did not want to die. He wanted help. He was crying out for help." Also participating was Ashley Joppa-Hagemann whose husband Sgt Jared Hagemann took his own life less than a month ago and she stated her husband wanted to leave the military and, "He just wanted to know what it felt like to be normal again." John Stevens (Daily Mail) reports that Jared Hagemann had already deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan eight times and could not take a ninth deployment.

Meanwhile in England, BBC News reports, Iraq War veteran David Adams is calling on the British government to do more for the service members suffering from PTSD -- more or even something since "he had no psychiatric help following his tours of duty." He now receives psychiatric treatment -- after destroying his house and attacking his wife and being arrested. Were it not for that arrest and sentencing, he might not have received treatment (or a diagnosis) for some time or ever.

In the US, the parent of an Army helicopter pilot who served in Iraq calls for the US military wars to stop:

Our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the intervention in Libya are breaking our treasury.
Remember what President Eisenhower said: "Beware of the military industrial complex". He knew the military liked to buy every toy the arms industry would or could build. Then they want to try them out on some rogue nation. We never needed a big army with "boots on the ground." We have the weapons to splatter any bad guys from afar — cruise missiles, stealth bombers, etc. But our military leaders wanted to "go in."

That's from an opinion piece -- unsigned -- entitled "It's time America brought troops home from war in Asia" (The Advertiser). Use link to read piece in full. Still in the US, Senator Patty Murray is also the Chair of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee. Her office notes this event tomorrow.

(Washington, D.C.) – On Tuesday, August 16th, U.S. Senator Patty Murray, Chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs, will hold a listening session to hear from area veterans on local challenges and to discuss her efforts to improve veterans care and benefits nationwide. This will be Senator Murray's first discussion with local veterans as Chairman of the Veterans' Affairs Committee. Senator Murray will use the struggles, stories, and suggestions she hears on Monday to fight for local veterans in Washington, D.C.

WHO: U.S. Senator Patty Murray

Local veterans

WHAT: Veterans listening session with Senator Murray

WHEN: Tuesday, August 16th

1:00 PM PT

WHERE: Ft. Vancouver Artillery Barracks

600 East Hatheway Road

Vancouver, WA 98661


Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "Operator Error" went up last night. On the latest Law and Disorder Radio -- airs this morning at 10:00 a.m. on WBAI and around the country throughout the week, hosts Heidi Boghosian, Michael S. Smith and Michael Ratner (Center for Constitutional Rights) have a jam packed program which includes Michael Smith singing a Joe Hill song, Heidi Boghosian singing the praises of Katie Galloway and Kelly Duane de la Vega's new documentary Better This World, discussions with attorneys Dennis James and Barbara Harvey on the Boycott Divestment Sanction movement and much more including Harper's Scott Horton attempting to process what went wrong with Barry. Oh, aren't you still "wowed" by him, Scott? (That was his term in 2008, "wowed.") It's fun to hear a worm squirm. Come on, Scott, is he not still "a 'hope monger' just when the nation needs one"? Again, your words. Come on, Scott, answer Ashford & Simpon's musical question: "Is It Still Good to Ya?" If Barack's not the man he was made out to be maybe you better slice off a piece of the blame pie for yourself. Or continue being a lying hypocrite. Your choice, of course.

The e-mail address for this site is