I have thought a lot about my topic for this Blog as I do not like to be a scare monger. However, I decided to write this in the hope that we can avert another tragedy.
The recent shooting in Tucson left all of us dismayed but probably not actually very surprised. Sadly this kind of shooting is becoming more and more common. We have seen Columbine, (12 dead), Virginia Tech, (32 dead), Atlanta (12 dead) Washington DC, (10 dead), Nebraska, (9 dead), California, (9 dead), Alabama, (10 dead), just to mention a few, and we all remember the horrible shooting at Ft Hood, which left 13 people dead.
I am afraid. I am afraid for our Veterans and I am afraid for the future. I see so much neglect by the VA. I see so much need for mental health support. I see the need for much more education for caregivers on suicide and the possibility of enough mental instability to be cause for alarm. I see that at some time, at some place, some Veteran will have endured enough pain, intolerance, slights, ignorance, rudeness and disregard for their suffering, that they may take their weapon into a VA facility and deal with what they see as “The Problem”. When that happens, and I do think it is a question of not if, but when, then I believe the VA will be squarely to blame.
Dealing with the VA on a continuing basis and suffering the rudeness, being shuffled from place to place either on the phone or in person, the indifference and outright stupidity, makes all of us way angrier than we need to be. Pile that on top of a Veteran who has no caregiver, no advocate and little to no support and the stage is set for a major problem.
When I go to any VA facility (or any other large Government building) I am now taking stock of people and things around me. I am actively looking for exits. I am observing people very closely where before I concentrated on getting to where ever I was headed. If I see anything which gives me cause for concern, I try and alert someone and I remove myself from the situation. This is a sad commentary on our country. I do not like living this way, but perhaps if we are all more perceptive and aware, then people like the Tucson shooter would get some help before the unthinkable happens.