Earlier this week during an interview with Esquire, the SEAL who killed Osama Bin Laden discussed what happened following his retirement from the Navy:
"I left SEALs on Friday. My health care for me and my family stopped at midnight Friday night. I asked if there was some transition from my Tricare to Blue Cross Blue Shield. They said no. You're out of the service, your coverage is over. Thanks for your sixteen years."
The shooter, not even two years removed from the Bin Laden operation, still struggles to receive support from the U.S. government.
"Anyone who leaves early also gets no pension, so he is without income.”
This isn't a rare occurrence. In fact, most veteran's wait more than eight months for disability claims to be processed. A troubling graph from the Center for Investigative Reporting highlights tens of thousands of veteran's still waiting for support.
Obama's administration has come under fire recently for failing to acknowledge sniper Chris Kyle's passing, as well as increasing military premiums; add this one to the growing list of concerns.
The Affordable Care Act is being heavily criticized for the impact it will have on spending and employment, but there hasn't been a lot of focus on the current state of Veterans Affairs. If this government-run program continues to fail the soldiers who depend on it, what does this say about the future quality of ACA?
We have an obligation to provide the best care for those serving this country. Local volunteer programs such as Purple Heart Homes help veterans with transitioning but it's not enough. There needs to be serious reforms to veteran health care. Let's start with rewarding doctors who identify problems, not punishing them.
The Green Movement frequently fights against establishing nuclear plants as a viable energy source, but in a recent report by NPR, the U.S. government is investing $400 million in mini-reactors:
The entire reactor — the core, the cooling system, everything — is self-contained in this rocket-shaped steel cylinder. The industry says that makes it safer. And the reactors will be small enough to build in a factory and ship on trucks, like prefabricated houses. They'll generate about one-tenth the power of a typical nuclear power plant.
Assistant Energy Secretary Pete Lyons sees promise that goes beyond a new energy gadget. He sees jobs. "One of the features of these small reactors is that they can be entirely manufactured here in the United States," Lyons said. "They can literally be made in the USA. With the large plants, that's simply physically impossible."
Lyons pictures churning reactors out in factories, shipping them to utilities to replace aging coal plants or selling them to developing countries — which can't afford a full-scale $15 billion nuclear plant.
Nuclear energy continues to be discarded as a dangerous, wasteful alternative to oil, despite well-documented studies that show nuclear energy to be non-hazardous. The same cannot be said for wind energy, which contributes to the deaths of over 30,000 birds per year.
That hasn’t prevented green lobbies from protesting, campaigning, and manipulating past reactor issues to paint nuclear power as an unstable, threatening energy source. The U.S. investment in mini-reactors is a sign that the public perception is changing. People are becoming more informed about going nuclear and realizing that the environmental impact is practically nonexistent.
These new reactors have a genuine potential to stimulate job growth, and at the very least provide an affordable, clean energy source that won't require billions of stimulus subsidies.
The Huffington Post reported today that mental health solutions alone can't thwart gun violence.
[B]y shifting the debate away from gun control and toward mental health concerns, proponents run the risk of further stigmatizing mental illness, discouraging those who confront it from seeking professional help. "Most gun violence is just not committed by people with mental illness, were we somehow to stop violence by anyone with a mental illness -- as unlikely as that outcome might be -- we would be safer, but only a teeny bit safer. As much as these incidents attract everybody's attention and concern, they are a tiny fraction of the people who get killed in this country every year."
The perception that focusing on mental health reform will place a stigma on those afflicted is confounding. The greatest "stigma" mental health victim’s face is that they are still fighting for treatment and acknowledgement of their illness. Multiple studies and commissions have argued for an increased focus on mental health care, including Michael Hogan, head of the President's New Freedom Commission on Mental Health:
"We see the results of insufficient mental healthcare in school failure and suicide. How do we do better?" said Hoganin written testimony to the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.
Addressing these gaps in mental health would help to prevent mass shootings in places like Aurora, where James Holmes met with three separate psychiatrists and displayed frequent signs of violent behavior, but no further treatment progressed. The facts also tend to get skewed a bit when discussing gun violence. Suicides, which account for nearly two-thirds of all gun related homicides barely receive discussion in today's discourse. Preventative action could help prevent a significant number of self-afflicted deaths, deaths that account for more than just “a tiny fraction”.
Why not start with stringent gun restrictions on those suffering from mental health issues? Lawmaker’s should increase advocacy for mental health, not ignore it in pursuit of gun legislation. As President Obama so infamously stated during his press conference, “if there is a step we can take that will save even one child…we should take that step."
Isn't this a step in the right direction?
Pro-life supporters gathered on the National Mall in Washington on Friday as part of the March for Life, an annual rally held in remembrance of the Supreme Court’s 1973 ruling on Roe v. Wade that permitted the practice of abortions.
The event, normally scheduled for January 22nd, was postponed until Friday due to the presidential inauguration. Despite the mid-20 temperatures and light snow, estimates of 200,000-400,000 demonstrators traveled from around the country to attend the event.
Sen. Rand Paul and former presidential candidate Rick Santorum gave speeches at the rally, in addition to a prerecorded video by House Speaker John Boehner, who spoke about the importance of advancing the pro-life movement.
Other prominent members of the pro-life platform were also in attendance, including Live Action’s founder Lila Rose who has received praise for her vigilant investigative work. “Even during Obama’s first term we saw some of the most pro-life legislation at the state level. What we can do at the state and local level is pass legislation that’s not clogged by a bureaucratic Washington,” Rose said.
President of the March for Life Education & Defense Fund Jeanne Monahan addressed the crowd enthusiastically: "We are winning with young people. I see it right in front of me today." Monahan organized the event this year for the first time following the unfortunate passing of Nellie Gray last August. Gray founded the March for Life movement and was remembered in a video tribute during the rally. Monahan later spoke about her activism in the pro-life movement.
“One thing that has continued to resonate with me is that I have people who are close to me and have made an abortion decision and have regretted it profoundly,” she said. “I watch my friends suffer which led me to take the stand that abortion hurts the life of the child but hurts the mom as well.”
The rally lasted from 12:00 PM to 1:30 PM, followed by pro-lifers leaving the National Mall to begin their trek to the Supreme Court. Police bikers led the crowd through closed off streets and waving onlookers, as marchers chanted and sang for the overturning of Roe v. Wade.
“There’s so much energy out there from people who want to connect with this movement it’s the issue of our day,” Rose said. “There’s a lot of growth that’s going to happen this year which is exciting. We’re committed to putting the truth out there because there’s a lot of misinformation and a lot of lack of awareness about what abortion has done to our society”.
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