THE BIG LIE: Why 22 Veteran Suicides a Day is False

Sept. 30, 2014

We read the propaganda about veterans suicides in America nearly every day, and reports always mention “22 suicides a day.”

This statistic is not accurate … it is a well-crafted lie to the American citizenry.

When VA collected data on veterans suicide in America, they neglected to include many states, California and Texas chief among them.

The VA public relations department in coordination with their statisticians, low-balled this often-quoted suicide stat, at a time when it had clear evidence showing that the number likely is closer to 50-a-day … when one includes death by toxic drug overdose (pharmaceuticals and alcohol) and high-speed personal vehicle crashes (motorcycles included) that are more likely than not, suicides.

Yet still, Americans only hear the “22” stat, and now are numb to the issue more or less. The shock of even 22 has long since evaporated in the minds of American citizens.

Since 9/11, in excess of 100,000 American veterans have died from suicide, according to data from both the VA and the Center for Disease Control (CDC). According to CDC, 20 percent of all suicides in America are veterans.

It is sad, no major newspaper, television station, or other news source will utter the words “100,000 veterans have died from suicide since 9/11.”

Perhaps, they are prohibited from doing so?

I hope anyone reading TMSR will help inform your friends, family, neighbors and associates by sending out a link from this blog to as many persons you can, to help educate and inform the citizenry to the reality of the veterans suicide epidemic in America. Certainly, the media cannot be depended on to do so. This is clear.

Thank you for reading this blog, but please take a few moments to join the grassroots effort to sound the alarm about veterans suicide, and send out TMSR’s web link via emails, social media or any other electronic communication tool you use.

Until America knows about the true extent of suicides in her veterans population, the senseless deaths will continue along with national apathy about the issue.

Please please please … join the fight to get the word out.

By doing so, you are certain to save a few lives along the way.

Thank you.

STEVE ROBINSON 1962-2014: American Vets Lose Their Biggest Battle Buddy

Steve Robinson 1962-2014

Steve Robinson 1962-2014

by The Military Suicide Report
June 20, 2014

Few people will go to their grave with thousands of saved lives credited to their name.

Steve Robinson just did.

The gentle big man, and former Army Ranger died June 12 of unspecified causes. He was just 51.

What kind of man was he?

He was the ultimate battle buddy, especially to young emotionally-wounded service members during their darkest moments … mostly guys who decided they’d had enough, gripping a loaded gun or bottle of pills in one hand and a mobile phone in the other, listening to Steve’s soothing sermons about survival and healing.

Steve was big, at least 275 lbs, probably more. He kept his hair cut at military standards, even after retirement. He had eyes that were as serious as they were kind. He always had time to help, and help he did, anytime, day or night. When it came to helping “his people,” Steve knew no clock.

He became well-known as the “go to guy” when a young soldier, sailor, airman or Marine was suffering severe psychiatric breakdown — usually just after getting home from multiple combat tours in either Iraq or Afghanistan — totally out of gas and getting a professional beat down from military commanders instead of badly needed help.

Steve knew military regs, inside and out.

He knew exactly how commanders operated — the devious tactics they used on green 19- and 20-year-olds just out of high school — and how they routinely flushed their mentally and physically wounded out of the military for new healthy young bodies, ready to deploy. Disposable humans.

Steve helped thousands of service members navigate the thick and complicated military medical and legal manuals, to save them from going to the brig during seasons when their PTSD was running wild. So many of them had military commands breathing down their necks, trying to criminalize their medical problems by punishing any and every minor infraction of military protocol to prove a “pattern of misconduct,” or by pressuring them into accepting a bogus “personality disorder” discharge.

Taking a PD discharge would get you out of the Army fast and easy, but it meant you would have a helluva time getting VA care for PTSD afterward. In excess of 100,000 desperate service members have accepted the PD discharge since 9/11, instead of waiting out the long adversarial process of navigating “the system” to get a proper diagnosis for PTSD before discharge. Steve thought this was a huge injustice for the young men and women accepting PD discharges.

You see, Steve knew exactly what PTSD was from a young age. His dad, served as a hard-ass combat Marine in Vietnam. He brought a severe case home from the war. He showed his kids what PTSD was all about.

But Steve, after retiring from 20 years with the Rangers was determined “not to be that way” with his own family. He became something that could best be described as a combination of Zen monk, platoon sergeant, big brother and military lawyer.

He taught countless troubled young men and women in uniform how to safely get off dangerous psychotropic drug cocktails that their military docs prescribed by the bag full, and instead help manage their raging minds and panic attacks by deeper breathing, calm music, sitting next to a pond, or burning some incense … hippie stuff. Steve definitely had some hippie in him.

Steve also could hold his own in the halls and cocktail lounges of Washington D.C., unafraid to pound on doors or engage congressional staffers after hours over drinks. Often, he was an expert witness during House or Senate committee hearings, where he would call “BS” on the underhanded tactics used by DoD and VA against “his people” suffering PTSD and countless other injuries, including TBI, Gulf War Illness, and injuries from the neurotoxic Malaria drug Lariam.

He had the lingo and always brought the hard statistical evidence. When Steve spoke to congress, he really had his shit together. His exhaustive work in the capital and across America helped an entire generation of veterans from being thrown under the bus, during a time when it was SOP to do so at military commands worldwide. When Steve spoke, the big guys in congress usually listened, unlike at the Pentagon.

When on occasion nobody would listen, Steve wouldn’t hesitate to pick up the phone and share his concerns and frustrations with a hungry journalist. That happened in 2006 when nobody would listen to Steve about the laundry list of serious problems facing severely wounded soldiers at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

With all the evidence of Walter Reed’s poor living conditions, over-medicating, suicides, and daily humiliation of troops in recovery there, Steve went to the Washington Post and gave them the scoop. The reports quickly awakened congress and the DoD brass. The resulting attention on Walter Reed served notice to military leaders that they could not continue to get away with handling wounded troops like recycling. The Post’s reporting on the Walter Reed scandal earned the newspaper a Pulitzer Prize.

Steve departs at a critical time, when the VA has been caught in a historic criminal conspiracy to deny care and benefits to millions of sick and wounded. Now it is known exactly how VA intentionally harms veterans. VA has been doing it through maltreatment, outright denial of benefits, or through actual negligent homicide and intentional over-medicating unsuspecting veterans with fatal prescription drug cocktails; drugs that are proven to induce suicidal behavior.

Perhaps the good soul Steve was, just could not endure seeing “his people” treated by VA and DoD in such a diabolical manner. Perhaps, his heart just stopped, because it was broken over it all. Perhaps he had loaded his vet advocacy ruck sack with one case too many, and he could not march on without more concern and help from American leaders, its citizens, and other advocates.

There is no doubt at TMSR that Ranger Robinson will be fast-tracked through heaven’s gate, and have a leadership billet waiting for him in the sky.

Senate Approves Amendment Forcing New Unified DoD Suicide Prevention Program; House Vote Pending

Senate Passes Murray Measure to Reform Defense Suicide Prevention Programs

by Adam Ashton
The News Tribune, Dec. 5, 2012

The Senate this week passed an amendment that would reshape the Defense Department’s behavioral health and suicide prevention programs, compelling each service to adopt common practices.

Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., submitted the provision to the $631 billion defense authorization bill. Her amendment mirrors a bill she submitted in June.

“This is a major step forward in Congress really focusing on the issue of mental health of our service members, and it has not been done before,” Murray, the chairwoman of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, said today.

Her proposal seeks to standardize the Defense Department’s varied suicide prevention programs. Each branch of the armed forces takes its own approach, according to a 2011 RAND Corp. study.

The Army, Navy and Marines lack formal policies to restrict troubled service members from obtaining lethal means, and none of the armed services offer guidelines describing the benefits of reaching out for help, according to the RAND study.

Murray’s amendment also takes steps to streamline the sharing of records between the Defense Department and the Department of Veterans Affairs; it encourages both the Pentagon and the VA to hire combat veterans as peer counselors for service members in behavioral health programs; and it expands access to behavioral health programs for the families of service members.

“It really is prevention,” she said. “It helps us by reaching out to the family members who are on the front lines, and the peer-to-peer counseling, which we know is a really important part, but is not part of the services today,” she said.

Suicides in the military started climbing considerably in 2005, and the trend has not abated despite major investments in new programs and outreach efforts across the services.

This year, the number of suspected Army suicides reached 166 by October, surpassing the 2012 total of 165.

Murray’s amendment has one more hurdle to being adopted. It has to go to a review by the House Armed Services Committee before the House and Senate can negotiate the differences between their separate defense bills.

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