It seems that “twenty-two veteran suicides occur per day” has become common knowledge. At that rate, there are 8,030 each year and 80,300 in a decade. That certainly is quite a significant number. If those numbers only represent veterans, including suicides among active military members and reserve forces would raise the number even higher for all military related suicides.
Is that figure real? Upon what exactly is it based? Does it even matter?
Being reasonably good at doing research, it seemed like it shouldn’t take me very long to find the actual statistics and the methodology used to compile them. News stories link to assorted VA data which just isn’t there. Some news stories link to Congress critters using the figures that they read in various news stories. Other stories quote each other, none leading to any real sources. And everyone is wringing their hands about the problem, and blaming each other for it.
So where is the data? Until we discover the real extent of the problem, can we even put a bandaid on it? Seems like the way it’s being addressed now is something like giving my neighbor a tetanus shot because somebody heard a rumor that a resident of a county in another state stepped on a nail. Instead of analyzing real data which might produce questions which could lead to solutions to the problem, more money is supposed to be thrown at “the problem,” which may or may not exist, and into programs which may or may not help alleviate the pain those veterans who commit suicide are trying to escape.
Does it matter? Absolutely, it matters. It matters enough that getting real numbers should be an easy task. It matters so much that it should be a national priority. Real solutions should be in place to address the needs of every veteran in this country. Who has earned it more? Celebrities? Welfare queens? Bureaucrats? Illegal aliens? Politicians?
Handwringing doesn’t solve problems. Bureaucrats and politicians who pretend that more money will solve the problem of veteran suicides, however many occur, without assessing the real issues that contribute to it are simply compounding the problem. Their attitudes are already significantly contributing to real pain, both physical and psychological, among veterans with the VA’s failure to schedule timely appointments, their failure to get injured veterans into their system at all, their allowing frauds to get treatment, and their issuing drug cocktails with little to no supervision. There is no excuse for any of it.