Time to Step Up

The recent shooting in Fort Hood, Texas shows that it is time for the Army, and the Department of Defense as a whole, to step up and improve the treatment of our veterans and active soldiers. Sending civilians and soldiers to Suicide Prevention Training is not enough. And giving these same individuals “Active Shooter” training is not fixing the root cause. They need to come up with a new policy and plan to treat these soldiers for their mental issues.

I don’t know what was going through this man’s mind; I don’t think anyone can fully know. He was obviously suffering, and he obviously had some issues. I know I could not do what soldiers do and go to war. I don’t have the personality for that. And while I may even be called a pacifist and prefer to send soldiers to war, I do know that sometimes it may be necessary. But if we are going to send men and women to war, we need to take care of their needs after they return. We as a society cannot use them and then toss them aside.

It should be easier for vets to get the care they need. I have a friend who works for the VA, and every time he tells me a story of how tough it is for them to get treatment, I am actually ashamed. And those who need the treatment sometimes don’t because they don’t fit the “Hero” image that we want former soldiers to fit into.

I understand that the government has limited resources (funding) to treat everyone, but all soldiers should get the treatment they deserve. We should not judge a former soldier because he is addicted to drugs, since it may have been the soldiering that got him addicted in the first place. We should treat him for the drug use.

If we forget about these soldiers, we should all be ashamed of ourselves. My thoughts go out to the victims of Fort Hood, but if the government doesn’t come up with a solution and fix the problem soon, we will just have to go through this again.

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