Quote of the Day: Learning How to Help Vets Who Own Guns

“Chances are the reason he’s not talking to you is because he’s afraid he’s going to lose his gun that he carries pretty much all the time. My buddies are the same way. We all carry — all the time.” – Jay Zimmerman (above left) in Veteran Teaches Therapists How To Talk About Gun Safety When Suicide’s A Risk [via npr.org]

comments

  1. avatar jwm says:

    I tried to quit guns after I came home. I credit a hippy chick in New Mexico with helping me get my head back on straight.

    1. avatar Curtis in IL says:

      Sounds like a great story. It would be great if you would write it up and send it to TTAG.

      God bless the hippy chicks.

    2. avatar rt66paul says:

      Wise people come in all flavors. Most of us men need a woman to complete us – then we are finished. Done is most of the depression and we have something to live for.
      We ended up “helping” our daughter raise our granddaughter. This gave me my reason. The fact that my 20 year old daughter came home after a failed marriage pregnant from a rebound, made me change my mind. we pretty raised to grandchild from 6 mos old, when my daughter went back to school to a medical testing carreer that pays well.
      So, what can be seen as an unplanned pregnancy, can chang 3 people’s lives for the better. Even though the grandaughter is very mouthy as a teen, I wouldn’t trade that bond for anything.

      1. avatar Jonathan - Houston says:

        I’m glad that worked out for your family. Major mistakes can be very difficult to recover from in life.

        We operate differently. (I’m not saying better, just differently, so anyone offended can just keep their crap to themselves. Or don’t. I don’t care.) In our home, kids know that they aren’t expected to be perfect. Life is harsh and even the best of us strike out sometimes. That said, insanely stupid decision making receives no support and finds no forgiveness.

        Go out into the world, scrape a knee, stub a toe, get knocked down and pick yourself back up. We’ll be there. Get your heart broken, watch a dream or two shatter, we’ll still be there.

        Flounce off in a huff, declare that “It’s my life!”, that you know more than anybody else, and promptly proceed to flush down the toilet every advantage you were born with and skill we’ve equipped you with, while flipping us all the bird as they circle the bowl? Well, as Marco from Tropojë said: Gooood luck….

        1. avatar uncle_pickle says:

          I think there are some who are incapable of learning from other people’s mistakes. Many of those same people do not pick up on patterns where someone (whether it be friend, parent, spouse, or sibling) gives them good advice they don’t want to follow, and turns out to be right 10/10 times.

          The best way to recognize these people is to look for hypersensitivity or poor reaction to “I told you so.” This isn’t because they don’t think the prediction was true, but rather because acknowledging it will force responsibility on them in the future and deny instant gratification they get from poor decisions.

          However, MOST people do not fit into this category, which is why being a hard-ass is probably the most effective strategy to prevent human suffering.

          For example, cutting off welfare for single mothers- let’s take all the people who would be able to collect welfare if pregnant. Example numbers here

          10% are probably the people I described above
          60% could swing either way, and seeing someone made example of impacts their decisions
          30% are going to try like hell to better themselves, regardless of what the other 70% do

          The stubborn 10% will always be there, whether you give out welfare, cut off the money, or publicly scourge them. Take Middle East Countries and Historical numbers from 1600-onwards as proof of this. No matter how forbidden this behavior is, there is a small minority that will do it, damn the consequences.

          However, that 60% will watch the 10% and the 30% carefully and make decisions based on what they see.

          So, in the long run, it is a more successful strategy to limit welfare because seeing the 10% haggard and a mess STRONGLY affects the 60% behavior.

          In the US, if you have no goals and no ambitions, there is really no punishment for being that 10%, and the 60% takes notice.

          This is why there is a 70% illegitimacy rate in the black community today. The 10% still can afford hair extensions and painted nails despite all the “keeeeds” so the 60% are not dissuaded from joining them in that lifestyle. Look for illegitimacy rate in the 1920s and I will wager it is inversely proportional to the relative misery that single pregnancy resulted in. Same story goes in Appalachia, and anywhere else you find a bunch of poor people.

          The tough thing is that when YOUR daughter or son does something stupid, you might have sired one of those 10% who will do what they want, and “you’ve been taught better than that” is meaningless in the face of genetics. So you’ve got to sit there while they make a fool of themselves because your child is the 10% that is teaching 6 of your family friend’s 15-yo daughters what happens when you ignore your mother and father.

          This isn’t a very poignant lesson if momma and daddy swoop in and support her and the deadbeat dad financially while she gets to paste a bunch of pictures of the squirming red-faced babes on facebook and talk about how cute they are.

      2. avatar bLoving says:

        “men need a woman to complete us – then we are finished.”
        Never mind the rest of your post, that was the most poignant part… trolololol.

    3. avatar C.S. says:

      I’m not sure you can beat Tom’s lesbian midget story, but I’m all ears.

      1. avatar jwm says:

        Lesbo midgets and kevlar turkeys. Nobody beats TIO’s storys.

  2. avatar jwtaylor says:

    It is important, when talking about suicide and veterans, to know who your target demographic really is.
    The average age of a veteran committing suicide is 60 years old.
    Veterans who have not seen combat are more likely to commit suicide than veterans who have had a combat deployment to Iraq or Afghanistan.

    1. avatar Warren says:

      I feel like you (or someone equally qualified) could probably write up a useful article on the topic, for vets, active duty, and civilians. This is a subject several of my vet family members have struggled with, and I’ve often felt inadequate to help them, or point them in a direction where they could get help. #22aday

    2. avatar Desert Dave says:

      If you are worried about suicide stay away from the VA (or any) Psychs and don’t take any of their psychotropic drugs! That the the primary issue with suicide which is a side effect of such “therapy”.

      1. avatar Gordon in MO says:

        I have to agree with Dave about the drugs.
        A friend of many years ( Vietnam Veteran) was on prescribed psych drugs for an extended time. Look up side effects of the more common drugs. He started showing adverse symptoms and they switched to something different. He promptly went completely off the edge, he was foaming at the mouth insane and was still lose on society.

        I cut off all contact and still don’t go close.

    3. avatar Cliff H says:

      Mr. Taylor. As mentioned, your expertise and some reliable statistics on this topic would be greatly appreciated. Not only to enlighten us with real facts and real news, but to counter the impression by Hollywood and the MSM that all vets returning from the middle east are in imminent peril of PTSD induced suicide or are mentally unstable and likely to perpetrate violent attacks on others.

    4. avatar Geoff PR says:

      “Veterans who have not seen combat are more likely to commit suicide than veterans who have had a combat deployment to Iraq or Afghanistan.”

      So, we’re really not gonna know about ‘Sandbox’ deployment suicides rates for about another 20+ years or so, then?

    5. avatar Hank says:

      Thank you for enlightening me to that. I too would like to see a more in depth article if you’d feel up to that, or a point in the direction of some real useful, not politicized data. Which I’m aware, it quite hard to come by.

  3. avatar Joe R. says:

    I think it’s important to note the real problem here. It’s at the end of the OP blurb “[npr.org]”.

    It’s not that there isn’t a problem with vet suicide, or that it includes a gun, it’s just that the npr doesn’t give a flying F except as it tells their story.

    1. avatar Rokurota says:

      Read the story before you judge. Yes, NPR as a whole is terribly biased, but this story is even-handed. I applaud these docs getting an education on guns. I also like the line about these guys carrying all the time. That’s right, NPR listeners: there are a lot of CCWs out there, Get used to it.

      1. avatar Joe R. says:

        F to all dat. If there’s a story there (and I already said there was) don’t let POS NPR be your source for it. Ever hear them talk about military/veteran/DAV successes? NO.

        Where’s the expose on Boots2Business? Ya.

        You know why they’ve done more stories on PTSD than any on the recent/current wars overseas? Because it’s another way that FAKE NEWS can say that we “lost” when we truly kicked ass, and we could’ve sterilized the region if we had half the shitty morals of the rest of the world (yeah, I’m talking about you POS UN rape crews).

        Again, regardless of any need for ‘getting the word out’ or ‘awareness’ NPR just used you like a tool. Go wash yourself before putting yourself up in the shed.

        1. avatar Joe R. says:

          NPR is “talk of the enemy”. It is “fake news” that’s attempting to ruin the morale of current troops or dishearten incoming or future U.S. military inductees. The message (ON IT’S FACE) is “yeah, even surviving the war, isn’t really determined until many many years down the road, where/when you may be an inexplicable danger to yourself and your loved ones”.

          There’s a better way to tell the story, and it can include a lot of support and even some “buck-up” language. But YOU FIGHT YOUR FUTURE WARS FIRST BY THE STORIES YOU TELL YOUR CHILDREN TODAY.

          Oral history, and garnering whatever tales of heroism, and willful sacrifice, are what creates the soul of a nation’s fighting spirit, and that can even be milked from stories of incredible failures and near failures (ever heard of Omaha Beach?) but it doesn’t come from POS wet shit aholes like NPR trying to punch holes in a “win” with their B.S. story about how much they care about mentally ‘damaged” veterans.

          F NO

      2. avatar Rokurota says:

        Didn’t use enough ALL CAPS to match your crazy.

        1. avatar Joe R. says:

          Yeah, but your brain thanked me.

  4. avatar Jonathan - Houston says:

    According to a study by the VA based on data on 55 million veterans from 1979 through 2014, 65% of veterans who commit suicide are age 50 or older. However, to put that in context, know that 75% of all veterans are age 50 or older. What matters are the age group rates, not just the absolute figures. Otherwise, resources could be misdirected toward lower risk subgroups.

    For example, the 18 to 29 veteran age bracket had a suicide rate of 77 per 100,000 in 2014. Veterans ages 50 to 59, by comparison, had a rate of just 39 per 100,000.

    The 2014 suicide rate for all veterans was 35.3 per 100,000; the rate for all adult non-vets was 15.2 per 100,000. After adjusting for differences in age and gender, the VA concluded that veterans have a 21% higher risk of suicide than non-veterans.

    Even that might be an overestimate, as some people are suicidal before entering the military. Some specifically enter the military hoping to be killed in combat. Of course, most veterans do not see combat, even if deployed to a general combat theater of operations. Ither lost souls enlist hoping to find some structure to provide some purpose to their lives.

    The military can do great things, but it can’t save everyone. It’s unfair and inaccurate to paint veterans in general as potential basketcases when all kinds of people intersect at military service. It’s not necessarily the service that influences their subsequent suicide decision.

  5. avatar Gordon in MO says:

    I am a veteran and I am “old”. I don’t consider suicide as a suitable out but that is just me.

    I am a member of three veterans service organizations and very active in one. The vast majority of “older” veterans that I know are hard working stable people. This includes Vietnam veterans, a lot of whom now fit the older category.

    Suicide happens with older veterans, usually seems to be heath related.

    We see a much higher rate among the younger (Middle East) veterans. Some are physical health related, most are something else.

    Most are under VA care. The VA is swamped, insufficient money, etc. The problem is made worse by the bureaucracy. It seems their main job is to say no. That saves them money to the detriment of the veteran.

    Most of the medical people are good, dedicated, hard working. Occasional problem just like any other group.

    The VA does not have a good answer for veterans “head related” issues, whether is it mental, generally categorized as PTSD, or physical from combat damage (TBI). They treat with prescriptions and group therapy. That may help some problems but does not help a lot of things.

    If we can get the veteran to set down and talk one on one to another veteran it sometimes helps for a while. Continuing sessions with no pressure, no questions, no forms, no telling them what to do, no trying to get them to enroll; just talk, helps. Eventually they will open up and we can make progress, help them get a job, a place to live, money to get started.

    It doesn’t always work but it is a lot better than letting them stew in their own juice and the problem building.

    A lot of veterans (most?) are leery of shrinks. They are viewed as ivory tower intellectuals with no real world experience trying to analyze something that they have no concept about. The few I know fit that description well.

    What is the answer? More “older” veterans get involved to help the younger ones would be a start. Check with your local American Legion, VFW, DAV.

    Be wary of a lot of the charitable organizations that mainly focus on raising money and not helping veterans.

    Just my opinion.

  6. avatar Lhstr says:

    Lhstr, shamefull, I guess all the vets can fight for us, but are not allowed to carry, very shamefull. Most of my family are veterans, Godbless them!

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