Veterans and Homelessness
The popular series Criminal Minds ran a story line arch that consisted of David Rossi (a successful author and agent) finding his old beloved Marine friend Harrison Scott. It was a shocking discovery when Rossi realized that the man who served as a sergeant and hero to him had been sleeping between two dumpsters for the last couple of years. The episode followed its regular trend of bringing a crazed serial killer to justice all while revealing the importance of caring for your fellow man; because who knows, that man could possibly be a Marine hero.
Criminal Minds is a television show built to excite us and send us on a thrill ride of mayhem, murders and uncertainty, but moments inserted such as this is what makes this series legendary. It could be said that a lot of us are aware that our veterans are being tossed and discarded out on the street like waste but when brought to light in stories such as this we begin to acknowledge that this is not moral.
What makes people distance themselves from the oppressed is the lie that they are in their predicament because of their own reckless decisions. These ideas I don’t label as evil but more so a terrible misconception. If thought about, we are all one step away from a tragedy or an unbearable situation, and if we were to land in that rut there would most likely be people there to provide security and understanding-- some of our troops are coming back and finding out that they don’t have any of that. They come home and find out that they have no home, some re-enter the country without a house, and when they try to get back to the daily citizen’s life of providing for the family and working a 9-to-5 job they realize that they are not adjusting like they would have hoped.
Even though it is a great honor to serve our country it comes at a great price. Many would just acknowledge the obvious damage of losing a leg and or other limbs but there's also mental disorders such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). PTSD is a condition of persistent mental and emotional stress occurring as a result of injury or severe psychological shock, typically involving disturbance of sleep and constant vivid recall of the experience, with dulled responses to others and to the outside world. In other words, PTSD is the chaos that occurs within these men and women because of the trauma they have witnessed. With physical damage combined with the mental damage it becomes hard for them to resist the temptation of drugs and alcohol which we all know leads to the streets.
The veterans need more than just shelter. They need lawyers, doctors, psychologists, they need their community--- they need us, their country to stand by and fight for their rights because they have already fought for ours. Barack Obama (our former president) along with the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) raised the budget to 85% which shows that our country is making excellent strides towards taking care of our soldiers.
I absolutely love how that episode of Criminal Minds ended, Agent David Rossi did a great service in seeing to that his friend received the proper care. This fictional character’s response in love reminded me that seeing our veterans on the street shouldn’t be a sight that we’re immune to but a sight that should break us and drive us to want to take action.