I’ve heard from someone who knew Adam Razani, who indicated (speculated) that his suicide wasn’t because of anything in Afghanistan. Rather, they wrongly blamed it on his personal life, and problems with assorted people. But as I’ve written before, Adam’s actions are always going to leave his survivors with that gnawing pit in their stomach wondering what went wrong. Only Adam knew, and he’s in God’s hands now. Update: Someone close to him has indicated that he was diagnosed with PTSD, thus absolutely nullifying the aforementioned speculation. However, what I will say is that the propensity for others to speculate as such shows an enormous lack of understanding of the realities and lives of those coming home from war.
But it’s impossible to ignore the correlation between three things: PTSD, deployment to the combat theater, and suicide. The high suicide rate that continues unabated in our nation. July was the worst in 2012: 38 soldiers in the Army committed suicide. From a recent article in USA Today:
Soldiers killed themselves at a rate faster than one per day in July, the Army announced Thursday.
This doesn’t include the other branches of the military, nor does it include veterans. I suspect many, like Adam Razani, might never be included in the reports.
I can’t fault the person who wrote. The civilian population doesn’t know about these figures. They don’t know suicide has been abig worry among this generation of veterans. In fact, last year after extensive studies, General Chiarelli even suggested that in order to help break the cycle or stigmatization, we needed to get rid of the “D” in PTSD. They may not realize divorce, spousal abuse, alcoholism are all on the rise. They’re not just numbers. They’re people in their own communities.
It’s important we pay attention to these reports, that we not sequester ourselves into a realm of complacency. Knowing these figures can give communities a direction in which to focus their energies and offer programs of substance. Think of such life saving and enhancing programs as the gift that comes after the handshake.