So, we have yet another mass shooting. And the usual discussions about gun control started almost immediately after. And there will be no resolution to that debate.
But I would like to have a different type of discussion. As it turns out, Ian David Long, the murderer, was a combat marine veteran.
To be clear, he, and he alone is responsible for his actions, and there is no excuse for that kind of evil. But what about the situation itself, where he may have had PTSD as a result of combat service? Law enforcement made contact with Long multiple times and even had him evaluated by civilian mental health experts, but because of the way laws are, law enforcement could not hold him, or compel him to be institutionalized.
So, I ask, what culpability does the VA share? I say a lot, and I think they were negligent in this case. We all know that the VA has long been lacking in taking care of vets, especially those who suffer from psychological issues. Indeed, this country has a long track record of rah-rah-ing their military off to war, but when they come back, we, as a nation, fail miserably at taking care of our vets, both physically and mentally. Everyone seems to be good at being facebook slactivists, or saying empty phrases like "thank you for your service," but year after year, decade after decade, little changes at the VA. I think that whenever a combat veteran leaves the military, there should be a very intense mental health evaluation done before release.If it is determined that said veteran requires mental health treatment, ranging from outpatient, to even institutionalization, it should be taken care of immediately. If it means the government paying for non-VA treatment because the VA is over-extended and cannot provide the treatment in a timely manner, then I feel the government is obligated to pick up the tab for outside, civilian treatment. Indeed, I think the VA is largely a failure, and should be abolished in favor of signing up vets for FREE medical and dental insurance, so that they can go anywhere they need for their medical treatment.
Therefore, I believe that the VA should be sued by the family members who were killed in this shooting. In fact, the same goes for ANY mass shooting that involves a vet with PTSD as a result of military service. Until the VA starts getting sued and having to pay out massive punitive damages, I think nothing will change. Clearly Congress, and even the president seem either unwilling or powerless to do anything, with the bureaucratic monster that is the VA system.
So, what say you?