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photo by Sheri Dixon

Saturday, February 28, 2015

American Heroes

While everyone is singing the praises of Chris Kyle- American Sniper, I'm not so quick to join the choir.

Oh, not because I don't think he was a good American or a good sniper or a good guy- I'm sure he was all of these things. And his death was a tragedy, as all death is.

I do question the common sense of 'treating' PTSD with loaded automatic weapons...I think that's sort of a dangerous version of getting back up on the horse that threw you...and Chris Kyle's untimely death seems to lend credence to that line of thinking.

Yes, I've heard and read some of the articles and interviews from other American Snipers that are less than complimentary, but here's the thing. It doesn't matter. Chris Kyle is dead.

He came home, wrote a book, got himself killed, and had a movie made about him. Then, to top it all off, the Texas governor-elect deemed it necessary to give him his own holiday...Chris Kyle Day is a 'thing' now in Texas and will be every year.

You know what else is a 'thing'?

A literal shit-ton of Veterans in this country that are homeless.

They're homeless and sick physically and mentally because they went off to fight for something they were told was worthy and came back broken and shattered.

There's so many the VA can't handle them all. There's so many going un-handled that they are killing themselves off at a higher rate than the war is killing them. More veterans have killed themselves after coming home to the country they fought for than have been killed in (fill in the blank of your favorite current war).

They're getting killed in war and they're killing themselves when they get home and you know who else is killing them?

Police officers. *Remember when they were called Peace Officers? What the hell happened to THAT?

Seriously.

http://thefreethoughtproject.com/shocking-video-released-cop-killing-homeless-veteran-drunk/

Our police officers are killing our veterans. Are they twitchy and drunk and drugged up and armed and dangerous? (the veterans) They can be. Or not. Raymond Keith Martinez was not any of those things except drunk- a state of self-medication he kept himself in for lack of proper help and medication.

51 years old, drunk and loitering. Shot dead.

Nicholas McGehee- purple heart recipient. Shot dead.

Tommy Yancy- served in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as boots-on-the-ground service after 9/11. Beaten to death.

AJ DeVillina- a High Desert Marine. Shot dead. On Veterans' Day weekend.

Are these men not also heroes? How were their sacrifices any smaller than Chris Kyle's? Why is their legacy and story not movie-material?

What about Chad Littlefield- the veteran who was killed with Chris Kyle? Only because of his proximity to Chris Kyle do we know his name and story.

And Eddie Routh- the man who killed both Chris and Chad- he's famous too, or infamous...heading for life in prison because someone thought it would be a grand idea to arm him in a 'safe and controlled situation'. He suffered from PTSD- just another broken pawn on our empire gameboard.

It's not that I begrudge Mr. Kyle his Official Texas Day. I just wonder where the Official days of remembrance for all the others are.

I guess they all can't have their own day because we'd run out of days right quick. Maybe we could give them each an hour because

Every 65 minutes, a military veteran commits suicide.

Look at this-

http://www.pbs.org/coming-back-with-wes-moore/about/facts/

The story and movie everyone should be talking about is NOT the story of Chris Kyle. It's Raymond, Nicholas, Tommy, AJ. It's Eddie and every veteran who is homeless and jailed and beaten and killed and who kills themselves in despair and hopelessness.

We are failing them. They stepped up and served and we are backing off and letting them fall.

We're watching them fall, sometimes pushing them over the edge, sometimes killing them before they kill themselves. That is not the hallmark of a civilized compassionate nation.

Every 65 minutes another tiny light in our national sky blinks, wavers and goes out and no one even pauses to notice.

In the time it took me to write this we lost another one. Before I go to bed we'll lose two more. By morning another half dozen will be dead.

And on and on and on...our country keeping time in corpses piled up of those who served and were summarily cast aside.


1 comment:

  1. we are no longer a compassionate nor civilized nation. It won't change in my time. God help the next generation.

    ReplyDelete

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