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I’d thought that everyone in U.S. was aware of the mass number of veterans that we lose to suicide each day, but a recent message I received from a supportive Facebook group administrator who helps me by sharing my articles that I write to raise awareness of this epidemic has led me to think that perhaps I had assumed too much. I’ll share the message with you.
From the inbox:
-“Kevin, I read your post on joeforamerica.com and was inspired. Thank you for your service to our country. We would be honored to help share your story, but I do have one question for you: your assertion that “the staggering rate of (service member) suicide, currently reported as 22 each day” simply cannot be correct 22 x 365 = 8,030.”-
Now I’ll share with you a media article, circulating from Reuters, with the most current numbers to prove that, yes, we are losing 22 veterans a day to suicide, as well as one active duty member each day, for a total of 23 or our heroes daily. Then I’ll explain why this number should be much higher, and how the statistics are being manipulated by folks who just don’t want the real numbers put out there, because as their types have been known to say, “You can’t handle the truth.”
“*U.S. military veteran suicides rise, one dies every 65 minutes
Feb 2, 12:44 am
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The most extensive study yet by the U.S. government on suicide among military veterans shows more veterans are killing themselves than previously thought, with 22 deaths a day – or one every 65 minutes, on average.
The study released on Friday by the Department of Veterans Affairs covered suicides from 1999 to 2010 and compared with a previous, less precise VA estimate that there were roughly 18 veteran deaths a day in the United States.
More than 69 percent of veteran suicides were among individuals aged 50 years or older, the VA reported.
“This data provides a fuller, more accurate, and sadly, an even more alarming picture of veteran suicide rates,” said Democratic Senator Patty Murray of Washington state, who has championed legislation to strengthen mental health care for veterans.
The news came two weeks after the U.S. military acknowledged that suicides hit a record in 2012, outpacing combat deaths, with 349 active-duty suicides – almost one a day.”
Now, I’ll point out two ways in which the numbers are being downplayed so that the naked eye so easily misses them (you know, the media and government agencies have mastered this art).
First, the largest number they give in the widely read article is “349,” which represents the number of active service members who committed suicide in 2012. THEY CHOSE NOT TO MULTIPLY 22 SUICIDES A DAY, TIMES 365 DAYS IN A YEAR TO SHOW THE NUMBER 8,030, BECAUSE THAT NUMBER IS TOO BIG, AND YOU CANNOT HANDLE THE TRUTH!
Secondly, and most people are missing this; THE SUICIDE NUMBERS BEING REPORTED DO NOT INCLUDE NATIONAL GUARD AND RESERVIST NUMBERS!
Now, mind you, through most of the war on terror, the National Guard and Reservists made up more than half, and at times up to 70% of the fighting force in theatre. So, I won’t insult your intelligence by asking you to consider the math (8,030 times 1.7 equals 13,651), but I’ll ask you to consider how high the REAL number would be if all facts were reported and the big numbers were not hidden behind the little numbers in print.
I know you can handle the truth, and the truth is the only thing that will set our brothers and sisters in arms who are suffering free.
-The clip art in this article is not my original work, and it is shared with respect and appreciation from the Omaha World Herald.
*Kevin E Lake is an Iraq War Veteran and author of the book “Off Switch,” which was written to raise awareness of the veteran/soldier suicide epidemic in the U.S. It is available on Amazon at this link: http://www.amazon.com/Off-Switch-ebook/dp/B009Q3MSK2