Combat veteran Kryn Miner, 44, served 11 deployments in seven years. He suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder and a traumatic brain injury after a bomb blast in Afghanistan in 2010 threw him into a wall. It was one of 19 blasts he endured over two decades of service to his country.
On April 29, Kryn died after being shot by his teenage son, who was acting in defense of himself, his mother and his siblings because Kryn had threatened to kill them and pulled out a gun. Prosecutors ruled that it was a justified shooting, absolving the teen from facing charges. It was a tragic ending to a stellar military career. But according to his wife, Amy, it wouldn't have happened if the U.S. government were as eager to care for veterans as it is 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."
Kryn was laid to rest May 2. But other wounded warriors don't have to be if the U.S. government cares for America's best as it cared for them on the battlefields of war.
About 15 percent of veterans who served in Iraq or Afghanistan suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Though estimates are lower for Gulf War vets, the percentage is even higher for Vietnam War vets.
Despite being stereotyped as a military-related illness, PTSD plagues a broad range of citizens (3.5 percent of U.S. adults) who have been impacted by personal assault or other types of trauma. PTSD can occur at any age, including childhood, according to Johns 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."
Speaking of medical military tragedies, who can stomach the latest political farce and cover-up from the Obama administration, the secret record keeping and delays in treatment at veterans hospitals that led to dozens of patients dying while waiting for care?
Even Jon Stewart noted this past 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 cost 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 utter neglect of America's best, Marine Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi, a Purple Heart-decorated combat veteran who also suffers from PTSD, has remained 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 that he had 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 only 1.7 miles from the Mexican border. Tahmooressi missed his intended exit. He was looking to circle back at the next exit, but it was too late; he had driven across the border. (The Blaze showed how easily this could happen to anyone by shooting video of a journalist on the same route.)
And what has been the White House's response to this 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 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 ensure that they have proper health care when they return from the battlefields.
But if the U.S. government won't properly care for every last service member who risked it all, then we the people can -- one at a time. Let us start with those in our own families, neighborhoods and communities. Extend (another) hand of gratitude and express your appreciation for those who serve our country. Befriend a veteran. Help veterans' families. Give to groups such as the Wounded Warrior Project (http://www.woundedwarriorproject.org).
And if you or someone you know is being affected by PTSD, you can contact the Veterans Crisis Line by calling 800-273-8255 or by texting 838255. You also can chat confidentially with someone at http://www.veteranscrisisline.net. Don't be afraid to call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline's number is 800-273-8255. There are more resources at http://www.ptsd.va.gov/public/family/resources_family_friends.asp.
And for those so inclined, you can help Amy Miner and her children -- Lalaina, 18, Macintyre, 15, Trinity, 11, and Piper, 7 -- by sending donations to the Miner Family Fund. Go to http://www.youcaring.com/help-a-neighbor/miner-family-fund/170506.