Addressing Veteran Suicide
Article written by guest writer Rin Mitchell
What’s the Latest Development?
In a recent blog post, Major General Dana Pittard described suicide as “an absolute selfish act.” The post came after Pittard attended the funeral of a soldier who had committed suicide. He later recanted his statement, but others believe that he is not the only one that probably views veteran suicide in this light. However, what draws concern for some is that no higher ranking army officials stepped in to publicly respond to Pittard’s comments. Pittard’s views in no way represent army policy and views, but now that it is out there—it raises the question as to whether senior military leaders and The Department of Defense will ever speak out about what suicide among veterans means—and determine some kind of perspective on it as a country. It was unacceptable and unfortunate for Pittard to take it upon himself to shed light on the subject, especially around the holiday when soldiers of the war are remembered the most—Memorial Day. It isn’t something people want to think about and probably should remain as it has remained—an “unseen tragedy.”
What’s the Big Idea?
On Memorial Day people take time to honor and remember those that fought for their country. Should the soldiers who committed suicide be viewed differently and undeserving of honor? Many that return home are living with combat trauma, which is usually something they have to sort out on their own. So, why is it unreasonable to assume a soldier was not being selfish when they decided to take their own life when no one knows what a person was thinking or feeling in that very moment? There probably is no correct way to determine veteran suicide and maybe it is best to leave it as an untouched matter.