There is some talk about allowing commanders and others to talk to "potentially suicidal" servicemembers and ask them to voluntarily give up their guns. A common sense answer to the deadly problem of military and veteran suicides, or a naked power grab that will be used improperly? Probably both, let's see what they are talking about.
With nearly half of all suicides in the military having been committed
with privately owned firearms, the Pentagon and Congress are moving to
establish policies intended to separate at-risk service members from
their personal weapons....
“This is not about authoritarian regulation,” said Dr. Jonathan Woodson,
the assistant secretary of defense for health affairs. “It is about the
spouse understanding warning signs and, if there are firearms in the
home, responsibly separating the individual at risk from the firearm.”
Dr. Woodson, who declined to provide details, said the campaign would
also include measures to encourage service members, their friends and
their relatives to remove possibly dangerous prescription drugs from the
homes of potentially suicidal troops.
Other helpful safety tips remind them to avoid sucking on vehicle tailpipes, playing in traffic and leaping off tall buildings. Seriously people, this is another example of safety theater right up there with the reflective belt. Senior officials know they have to do something; they don't have an actual good answer so we get things like this, and the TSA examining our shoes. The problem with suicides is real and horrifying and deserves everyone's attention. But you cannot take a purely cosmetic move like this and pretend that is a real solution.
The new amendment, part of the defense authorization bill for 2013 that
has been passed by the House of Representatives but not by the Senate,
would allow mental health professionals and commanders to ask service
members about their personal firearms if they have “reasonable grounds”
to believe the person is at “high risk” of committing suicide or harming
How long after this do you think it will be before over-zealous commanders & ass-covering, zero-defect wankers start "reasonably" believing that a diagnosis of PTSD puts someone at "high risk". I mean we can't be too sure now can we? And don't tell me that wouldn't happen, paranoia flows down hill and no one wants to be the example of the commander who didn't take the gun away before Private Snuffy snuffed himself. Plus, how many people who really need some help are gonna ask for it when they start getting their guns, meds, drivers licenses and other freedoms taken away? Talk about a great way to make sure the stigma about mental health is alive and unwell.
You wanna add some money for post-deployment counseling and maybe make it mandatory, we can talk. You want to take some BS measures and blame the evil guns, talk to the Constitution.
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Uber Pig was an Infantryman from late 1991 until early 1996, serving with Second Ranger Battalion, I Corps, and then 25th Infantry Division. At the time, the Army discriminated against enlisted soldiers who wanted use the "Green to Gold" program to become officers, so he left to attend Stanford University. There, he became expert in detecting, avoiding, and surviving L-shaped ambushes, before dropping out to be as entrepreneurial as he could be. He is now the founder of a software startup serving the insurance and construction industries, and splits time between Lake Tahoe, Boonville, and San Francisco, CA.
Uber Pig writes for Blackfive a) because he's the proud brother of an enlisted Civil Affairs Reservist who currently serves in Iraq, b) because he looks unkindly on people who make it harder for the military in general, and for his brother in particular, to succeed at their missions and come home in victory, and c) because the Blackfive readers and commenters help keep him sane.
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