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Postby ankgrays » Mon Apr 27, 2015 7:53 am

Wing admin:
Please move this to the correct forum...or delete if you don't think its appropriate for this site.

Good Morning all!!
The following was written by a friend who runs a full service gun shop here in Central Iowa...VERY pro-2A.
Michael usually has a lot of good "food for thought" in his newsletters.

Read it, then comment, cuss, discuss,...or not.

PTSD and American Culture...

Chris Kyle. Is there anyone that hasn’t heard his name recently? Many of you may have read his book, “American Sniper” and countless others have watched the movie or plan to. Chris Kyle’s story has been in the media and even contended by some.
Having read the book, replayed the audio book while I’m at the shop bench working, and having enjoyed the film at the box office, I can say I thoroughly enjoyed the story. I have listened to many discussions and read a myriad of forum posts, facebook rants, as well as listened to many radio programs regarding Kyle’s story and people’s reflection of his work. What bothers me most is that which I’m not hearing from anyone – the impact of stress on the human condition.
I’m not sure how to convey this without risking the perception of disrespect for our fallen brother. However, I feel as if I’d be dishonoring his last mission if I didn’t shed light on what he managed to overcome. PTSD. Posttraumatic Stress Disorder is the recurring item I gleaned from Kyle’s story. While many are debating his confirmed kill records, discussing equipment and tactics, and the Ventura foolishness, they’re skipping past the true light of a dark story. Chris Kyle managed to battle back from the abyss and helped others on the brink of the same fate avoid the paralysis, or worse, of PTSD.
I remember as a young boy watching a train miles away as I sat with my legs dangling off the bridge atop the tracks. For quite some time it was still and I could neither hear nor feel the train’s motion. Yet, I could see the light on the nose of the locomotive and knew it was headed straight for me. As time moved the light grew brighter and came closer. It wasn’t long before I could hear the noise of tracks and feel a rumble in the earth below me. As the locomotive bear down upon me, and rushed under my legs it was as if the very definition of fury had been unleashed. I’ll never forget it.
I take the same view of PTSD in our soldiers returning from war and conflict. We can look down the track and see it coming, but instead of preparing for it, I think we’re ignoring it. As a society and a culture, we have a record for failure in my observation with successful treatment of PTSD. What happens when the PTSD locomotive is right atop us? I submit it will be too late and we’ll lose people.
In my studies of the finest warriors over a dozen centuries, one trait comes to the surface for all of them. It doesn’t matter if they were tribes or organized soldiers, they were all well practiced. Today our American military is extremely efficient and successful at completing their mission, whatever that may be. The reason we’re so good at building and sustaining warriors is constant practice and deployment. We ask ordinary young men and women to join our military. We build and hone fierce machines of battle from this stock. We send them into battle with first rate tools for the job and technology the enemy rarely even understands. They complete their work, and we ask them to turn the switch off, head home, put on an orange vest, and operate a forklift at a commercial lumberyard and home improvement store. Does anyone really believe after a true warrior has been built that the same warrior can be deconstructed by the shuffling of some papers?
We’re relying on the armed forces, veteran’s hospitals, and small organizations to help with all the problems associated with war. At the risk of sounding snarky, when has government performed tasks like this exceedingly well? I don’t mean to suggest the VA isn’t worthy and helpful to many folks. I hear stories about caring people at many facilities. I hear stories to the contrary as well. My point is simple. If we wait for somebody else or some entity to deal with this upcoming epidemic, we’ll find ourselves in a real pickle. How tragic will it be for these fine Americans to survive war only to come home and lose their families, their jobs, or even their lives to PTSD?
I can’t help but ponder just what I can do as individual. What do these folks need? What makes a difference in their daily lives? What methods are helpful and which ones aren’t? I think about things like this all the time. Generally speaking, I’m pretty handy at coming up with answers to the questions I come across or provoke. As far as PTSD is concerned, I’m not sure I know what to say or what to do. I find myself unable to adequately answer the questions stemming from my thoughts and discussion.
Here in Iowa there are few SEAL teams. Few Rangers or Green Berets run around the hills of southern Iowa. I’ve found that door kickers aren’t the only sort impacted by PTSD. We’ve got plenty of men and women I’ve visited with that have been torn up with IEDs as 11B or 19D, medics, or even some guys transporting things as common as fuel or supplies. It seems with the theaters we’re operating in nobody is immune to the trauma present within the fog of war.
As I discuss my concerns with others, I see a startling trend in my conversations. Nearly all of the discussions I have with folks end with an expectation by people that government is somehow supposed to handle this. Many are not of military service, not that it matters. Some in the service don’t grasp the severity either. When a topic of conversation, nearly all my friends and neighbors assume the military is going to take care of this looming PTSD situation. They agree problem exist. They agree people are hurting. They agree my concerns are genuine. Unfortunately too few grasp that America isn’t ready to pitch in and help out. At least they aren’t today.
I’m not sure what to do, but in order to begin I think I need to be a decent man. I need to be the friend and neighbor that helps a guy stack his wood. I need to be the kind of person that says “Hey, the fish in my pond aren’t going to catch themselves. Want to grab a pole and head out back?” I need to be the kind of citizen that pitches in when I notice something needs done and requires attention. There’s no reason I can’t mention to a vet, “Our preacher is kind of long winded, but his sermon is pretty darned good. Besides, the cinnamon rolls the old gals make before Sunday Service kick ass. Want to go with us?” I have no idea what kind of impact I can make, but I’m determined to reach out in a genuine fashion to let these folks know people care. That’s got to be a start. If we can’t be decent and genuine friends, family, and neighbors to our veterans, what kind of country are we sustaining? I’m not sure what Chris Kyle would be telling us at the moment, but I have no doubt he’d encourage us to lend a hand to those we know need it, for our country is impoverished when we forget the errand.

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Postby themainviking » Mon Apr 27, 2015 10:29 pm

I don't know Michael Ware, but he has provided food for thought. Here in Canada we have the same problem with our PTSD'd Vets. The government cannot be counted on to do anything except provide lip service to the problem. From what Chris Kyle did to help other vets with PTSD, I believe there is a correlation to how he helped, and how I was helped. I was not a sniper, nor was I anywhere good enough a shot to be a sniper, but I was pretty good. I used deer hunting and range shooting with some groundhog pounding to help me deal with what I brought back. I had to sit still and listen for that tiny small voice that said "now", which was pretty much irrelevant to what the end result was. I got one deer, or one bullseye or one groundhog every time I pulled the trigger, which was the expected result. What was not expected is that each still moment waiting for the tiny voice to say "now" so I could squeeze the trigger, gave me a calm moment, and when I became accustomed to those calm moments, I found I could bring them on whenever I needed them. Maybe this is a form of meditation, I don't know. All I know is that it worked for me. I have found that one vet who has dealt with his PTSD is probably the best possible solution for a vet who has not. Maybe we could stop some of them from dying of it. I have passed this on to some of the young bloods who came back from Afghanistan and the fee I charge is that they pass it on to another. With this new conflict going on in the middle east, we are going to have more vets like this so we better learn something soon.
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Postby redial » Mon Apr 27, 2015 10:58 pm

Fortunately, after my 30 years of military service, I have not got the dread. I interact with veterans that have/had PTSD, and your posting is very appropriate. Thanks for posting it, and I wish all veterans a peaceful retirement from battle, and that does not matter what work you did, clerk, cook, rifleman, gunner, driver, medic, seaman, aviator, or signaler, you still have my respect.
Len in Kapunda

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