Numbers, Percentages, and Responsibilities

Numbers. Let’s run a few:

22 Veteran and 1 Active Duty take their own lives every day. That’s 23 Americans that wear or wore the uniform for this country. That is 161 every week, 644 a month, and 8,372 per year.

According to the latest numbers I could find, we have lost about 6800 of our sons and daughters, fathers, mothers, brothers and sisters on foreign battlefields since 2001.

We lose more in the War At Home in one year than the enemy has taken in 14 years. What the hell is happening in America?

We have a serious problem and it’s not going away. Why is it so high now? There have been devastating psychological effects on Warriors since war began, why such insane numbers now?

Technology may be  one reason. I don’t mean the weapons, I am talking about the major advances in battlefield medicine and the astounding skill of our Corpsmen and surgeons. More lives are saved than ever before. The inner damage, though, still remains. Our advances in treating PTSD and TBIs lag way behind. Shamefully behind.

Those in the medical and psychiatric fields have just recently begun to truly investigate the causes and effects of both of these wounds. Two distinct and separate injuries, they often share similar, overlapping symptoms with devastating effects.

Of course, our bloated system lags even farther behind.  Behind that is the government’s response to the problem. I don’t need to mention the V.A. horror stories. Unfortunately, the news is full of the problems Veterans encounter every day.

Another number I want to look at though, is my number. Yours too if you are a civilian. Let’s look at all of ours.  We’ll start with some historical numbers.

"That 2,000 Yard Stare" painted by Tom Lea..."That 2,000 Yard Stare" painted by Tom Lea, World War Two, 1944. The painting is among about 300 paintings by U.S. servicemen and women that will be unveiled to the public for the first time at Philadelphia's National Constitution Center in September. The paintings have been selected from about 15,000 collected by the U.S. Army since the 1840s. Most have never been on public display. "Art of the American Soldier" focuses on the duties, sacrifices, and everyday lives of troops, and covers every conflict from the World War One to Afghanistan.  REUTERS/Tom Lea/National Constitution Center/Handout  (UNITED STATES - Tags: SOCIETY) NO SALES. NO ARCHIVES. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS

Since ancient times, tribes, clans, communities all had their Warriors. In most of these, all men were considered Warriors if need be, unless physically unable to perform. There stood out among them a Warrior Class, though. Warriors for life. If their tribe or clan was safe, often they would defend neighboring communities and vice versa.

In these situations the entire community helped train, support, and send the Warriors off to battle and when they returned home, they were welcomed back into the community by the entire populace. They were honored among the people and rightly so. They grew older and became elders and taught the young men and boys in the tribe. They were valuable, an asset to the tribe, not a liability. The cycle continued for generation after generation.

America’s first conflict, the War of the Revolution, was our first type of “modern war” in which only 3 per cent of the population was actively involved in the war. The actual Warriors substantially less. we muddled through somehow. The Civil War has astronomical numbers as our American casualties are counted from both sides. Brother against brother at times. The total of America was at war….against itself. The entire country was left with scars from a devastating conflict. PTSD was rampant, but no one truly understood it.

WWI and WWII came along for us and once again it seemed the entire country was involved. We agreed to halt the madness in Europe in WWI late in the game and triumphed, losing over 50, 000 troops in 2 years. America stood together with our Warriors. In WWII we had children collecting and rationing, Rosie The Riveter building munitions at home and an unprecedented amount of troops deployed to foreign battlefields. We sent them, we supported them, and we welcomed them home.

In Korea, things changed a bit. We sent them and forgot about them. In Viet Nam we sent them and then spit on them when they came home. The horrors of war in a foreign battlefield and the utter devastation of rejection at home. We destroyed many lives as a nation. Some are still dying from the wounds of war and the wounds at home.

We learned a bit from that and we asked forgiveness, but as a nation, are we better than that yet?

The current numbers that tell a big part of our problem are this:

One percent of the population in our volunteer service society wear the uniform of their country at ant given time. That makes approximately ten percent of us intimately acquainted with what is going on. About ninety percent of us only hear an occasional newsbite nestled between racial unrest and the Kardashian soap opera. We are disconnected as a nation. Removed from the process of developing and receiving our Warriors as a community. We allow the government spend billions creating our warriors but require no investment from them at all when they return to society.

1% serve

99% are still at home with only 9% of those, actually related to or friends with the 1%.

We are the 99% (I am speaking to fellow civilians now) Elementary math.  That’s a ratio of 99 to 1.  If we all involved ourselves in this we could put an end to the shameful numbers at the beginning of this rant. We are the true 99%. We aren’t talking economics now or class warfare. That’s somebody else’s cause. Mine is the 1% that cared enough to take an oath, put on a uniform and put themselves in harm’s way for a nation that is completely disconnected from their responsibility to them.

If we can send them, we can mend them. That’s our job. Society as a whole. Family and friends need to be on the front lines of this war at home. Society should be right behind them supplying what they need to obtain victory. Where is Rosie The Riveter for this war? We ALL need to Fight This War! FTW!!

A very wise and very beloved Man once said, and I am paraphrasing a bit, “Which of you wouldn’t leave the 99 to save the 1?” Well, the question still stands…

 

“That 2,000 Yard Stare” painted by Tom Lea, World War Two, 1944. The painting is among about 300 paintings by U.S. servicemen and women that will be unveiled to the public for the first time at Philadelphia’s National Constitution Center in September. The paintings have been selected from about 15,000 collected by the U.S. Army since the 1840s. Most have never been on public display. “Art of the American Soldier” focuses on the duties, sacrifices, and everyday lives of troops, and covers every conflict from the World War One to Afghanistan. REUTERS/Tom Lea/National Constitution Center/Handout (UNITED STATES – Tags: SOCIETY) NO SALES. NO ARCHIVES. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS