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Editor’s note: Chuck Norris’ weekly political column debuts each Monday in WND and is then syndicated by Creators News Service for publication elsewhere. His column in WND often runs hundreds of words longer than the subsequent release to other media.
U.S. combat Army veteran Kryn Miner, 44, served 11 deployments in seven years. Since returning home, Kryn has suffered from Post Traumatic Syndrome Disorder and a traumatic brain injury after a bomb blast in Afghanistan in 2010 threw him into a wall – one of 19 blasts he endured over the two decades of service to his country.
On April 29, Kryn died from a gunshot wound after he threw a gun to his teenage son, who shot and killed his father in defense of his mother and sibling. It was a tragic ending to a stellar military career. Kryn even tried to take his own life last September. But according to his wife Amy, none of this would have happened if the U.S. government was as vigilant to care for their veterans as they are to deploy them overseas in battle.
The 39-year-old widow explained to the Associated Press, “The truth of the matter is if we can’t take care of our veterans we shouldn’t be sending them off to war. It doesn’t make sense. Because they’re coming back and this is the result and it’s happening more and more.”
The health page on Boston.com reported that after a nice family outing to a friend’s wedding, “The troubled 44-year-old Army veteran became verbally abusive toward his wife on the ride home and began to hit himself. Prosecutors say he threatened to kill his family, assaulted his wife, and then threw a loaded handgun to their teen child who came to her aid.”
The once loving father and career soldier taunted the teen, ”Do you want to play the gun game?” After Kryn pulled a second gun from a bag, his teenage son fired six shots, which prosecutors ruled as a justified shooting, absolving the teen from facing further charges.
Kryn was laid to rest on May 2. But other wounded warriors like him don’t have to be if the U.S. government cares for America’s best as they cared for us on the battlefields of war.
About 15 percent of veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan suffer from PTSD, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Though estimates are lower in the Gulf War vets, percentages for PTSD are even higher for Vietnam War vets.
Despite being often stereotyped as a military war illness, those who are plagued by PTSD include a broad range of citizens (3.5 percent of U.S. adults) who have been impacted by personal assault and more. PTSD can occur at any age, including childhood, according to John Hopkins Medicine.
The National Institute of Mental Health defines PTSD as “an anxiety disorder that can develop after exposure to a terrifying event or ordeal in which there was the potential for or actual occurrence of grave physical harm. Traumatic events that may trigger PTSD include violent personal assaults, natural or human-caused disasters, accidents, and military combat. People with PTSD have persistent frightening thoughts and memories of their ordeal, may experience sleep problems, feel detached or numb, or be easily startled.”
The power of PTSD can be seen when one compares a before-and-after image of the person who was assaulted. For example, Kryn was once physically and mentally as sharp as they come. He even “completed multiple endurance races, triathlons and obstacle races. These things brought him a lot of happiness,” according to his obituary.
It went on to explain, “Kryn was ‘that person,’ the one who could walk into a place full of people he didn’t know and an hour later he was friends with every single one of them; he just had that special ‘thing.’ He has friends around the world that he has inspired, whether it be with his amazing stories, his infectious yet mischievous smile, or his awesome charisma Kryn was an amazing husband and father. He loved them with all of his being.”
Kryn’s latest mission was to help fellow veterans know they are not alone through his own foundation, the Forgotten Fallen, and also the Lone Survivor Foundation.
Speak of the forgotten fallen and to add insult to injury, who can even stomach one of the greatest tragedies and cover-ups of the Obama administration: secret recordkeeping and delays in treatment at veterans’ hospitals that led to dozens of patients who died while waiting for care?
As even Jon Stewart noted last week, “Here’s what disgusts me: Somehow, we as a country, were able to ship 300,000 troops halfway across the world in just a few months to fight a war that costs us $2 trillion … yet for some reason it takes longer than that to get someone hurt in that war needed medical care or reimbursement – all while we profess undying love for their service.”
Speaking of absolute utter neglect of America’s best, Marine Corps Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi, a Purple Heart decorated combat veteran who also suffers from PTSD, remains in a Mexican prison since March 31, when he accidentally crossed the border into Mexico with three legally registered firearms in his vehicle, according to CNN. The Blaze explained how he relocated to San Diego just days before and was still looking for a permanent place to live. That is why he still had most of his possessions in his car when he headed to dinner with friends in San Ysidro, only 1.7 miles from the Mexican border. Tahmooressi missed his intended exit and accidentally drove across the border looking to circle back at the next exit. But it was too late. (The Blaze showed how easily this could happen to anyone by filming a journalist on the same route.)
And what has been the White House’s response to this American Marine’s undeserved and unwarranted incarceration crisis? To wait and watch for 100,000 signatures on a White House website petition asking for Tahmooressi to be freed. The website even explains, “since incarceration, his life has been threatened; sustained a neck wound requiring hospitalization and chained in a 4-point restraint.” Does the president even consider how his present maltreatment is exacerbating his PTSD right now?
When the commander in chief resorts to “hashtag diplomacy” to free a decorated U.S. combat veteran from a groundless and unjust foreign incarceration only miles from our border, it should infuriate even his most ardent supporters.
Mr. President, you don’t need to wait for 100,000 signatures by May 31 on a White House petition. You just need to get on the Oval Office hotline today and order Mexican officials to free that U.S. Marine immediately!
For Washington to play “out of sight, out of mind” with our U.S. veterans lives and health is to abandon them and their families in their greatest hour of need. It intentionally delivers them to the wolves of this world and the many other battlefields of war aftermath.
America’s best put everything on the line for us. The very least that we can do for them is fight for their welfare – during and after their deployments, and at very least ensuring that they have proper health care when they return from the battlefield.
And if the U.S. government won’t properly care for every last service member who risks it all, then we the people must – one at a time. Let us start with those in our own families, neighborhoods and community. Extend (another) hand of gratitude and express your appreciation for those who serve our country. Befriend a veteran. Help their families. Give to groups like the Wounded Warrior Project.
And if you or someone you know is a being affected by PTSD, depending upon severity, here are some tips for finding a good PTSD therapist. Contact the Veterans Crisis Line: 1 (800) 273-8255, press 1 (text 838255) or Confidential Veterans Chat with a counselor. Don’t be afraid to call 9-1-1 or go to the nearest emergency room. Call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255. And here are some help and crises resources for family and friends. You can read much more at the website for the National Institute of Mental Health.
And for those so inclined, you can help Amy Miner or their children Lalaina Miner (18), Macintyre Miner (15), Trinity Miner (11) and Piper Miner (7) by sending donations to the Miner Family Fund.