21 March 2008

Madness In The Desert

I got Alyssa’s memorial bracelet in the mail yesterday. I ordered it about three weeks ago, after so many stories about the record number of completed suicides, (over one thousand), and the even more frightening 2,100 total attempts, which never seem to be reported. (Now, just how many of those survivors of gunshot wounds to the skull do you suppose have much of a life?)
I didn’t know a thing about Alyssa or her death, except that she died early in the conflict in Iraq, and that she was assigned to an “intelligence” unit. Her name, Spc Alyssa R. Peterson, 27, was just there, along with about a hundred others, but only one of a few listed as a suicide. I wondered at the time, how many of the “Non-Hostile, Weapons Discharges” were actually suicides.
Long story short, I read another article today in The Chicago Tribune online about the spike in the suicide rate in the Army and the Marine Corps, only to get steamed reading about a soldier who was put on suicide watch twice, given 15 days leave, put on Prozac, who was then cleared for duty, given the bolt back to his weapon, then shot himself to death a few hours later. After stewing for awhile, and thinking about writing a blog piece about this and the bracelet, I shot the picture of the bracelet, then I Googled Alyssa’s name to get the above image and learn a little about her. This, is the shock that I received, here.
Now this, among a dozen other stories about the third woman to die in Iraq, how she died, and why she died has made me sick to my stomach. I picked this woman’s name from a list simply because I wanted show that someone was paying attention. I got more than I reckoned for. I think I’m gonna puke.
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