Is tough love in tough times the best strategy for helping despairing veterans?

_MG_2413 Moment of reflection (Royal Canadian ...

Image by Patcard via Flickr

I just read a very important post by a former mountie and veteran that I think we all need to think about because so many of our veterans from the Armed Forces, RCMP and emergency response personnel have fallen into emotional pits and they don’t know how to crawl back out on their own. Taking tough love measures to force them to see how they are abandoning the ones they love and cherish may boomerang and deepen the very depression and sense of helplessness their loved ones are trying desperately to help them recognize: THEY CAN’T HEAL ALONE. THEY NEED HELP.  

One young military wife has taped her son expressing how he feels abandoned by his father who is suffering with PTSD.

“I was home alone with one of my sons washing dishes. My son and I were having a good time talking when out of the blue I heard him say: I wish I could go back in time and make it that Dad‘s friends and commrades weren’t killed and then, maybe if I did that, Dad’s heart wouldn’t be so broken and he would pay attention to us again.

“I was stunned!!! I know our children miss the attention their Dad use to give them before the effects of what he went through and lived through during two heavy combat tours started to slowly steal his soul away from our family!
“We as a family have tried talking to ‘Dad,’ asking him to get help — Please, stop  playing 24/7 on the computer.  It hurts living with a person and being completely ignored. We rather ‘Dad’ move out then we won’t be so hurt being in the same house as you knowing we are all being ignored. There is no emergecey big enough to even get ‘Dad’ off the computer. Company comes over, ‘Dad’ ignores them. If we do get ‘Dad’ away from the computer, you know he is counting down the secs until he can get back to his computer game!

“We as a family are not willing to lose whatever is left of ‘Dad.’ We know he has changed and will never be who he was….but who is to say, with help, he can’t be or get better!! Afghanistan has stolen many many people’s souls, people’s very life. What we are not ready to do is let Afghanistan steal what’s left of our ‘Dad.'”

Let’s hope hearing the words of his child will help him “see” he needs to reach out for professional intervention. And this young wife would appreciate hearing advice from other wives who have dealt with this problem or vets who have gone through it and can give her insight on how to reach her husband. But, what this former mountie warns us about, is even more alarming for wives and families like this one of a vet suffering with PTSD. Now to Eric Rebiere’s comments. BONNIE

  11:48 a.m., Nov. 3

This is a prediction that will come to pass because I have seen this happen before. I forgot to mention in my last email about Conservative expenditures. I forgot Harper wants lots of mega prisons.

Once upon a time, when I was a Drug enforcement officer, there was this bad time called a recession. My unit executed a search warrant on an unemployed plumber who had a marijuana-grow operation in his basement. One of many we had dealt with that year. I spoke to the accused dude, who really was a nice guy — he had a family a mortgage to pay and no employment because no one was building homes. The dude looked me in the eye and said, “I’m a plumber and a good one. I would not have done this if I had work. I needed to feed my family and keep a roof over their heads.”

What can you say to a hurting human being like this? Well, he got as much of a break as I could give him.

The point here is that if the Harper Government continues to play hard ball through the VRAB with legitimate injured veterans who end up like the plumber, on the streets or close to it, you can expect normal law abiding injured Vets to break the law just to survive because the $250,000 lump-sum payment as implemented under the New Veterans Charter has been self-medicated away and spent on things that will not last. For example, a young vet may buy a brand new 4×4 loaded truck, but has no money left to pay for his insurance and gas, not to mention rent for a place to live.

So, like the plumber I talked about, desperate times mean desperate acts. So, Mr. Harper’s new mega jails are coming at a good time and they are going to get packed pretty quick with people who will include growing numbers of disabled Veterans left to their own devices.

Maybe the increase of expensive jails is part of Harper’s plan to deal with the huge fall out that will take place if he does not sit back and smell the coffee!

Like the Clouds of War seen on this country’s horizon so many times with the injured returning home, broken, needing support from their country, this time there will be injured veterans abandoned by the Government of Canada and forced to survive in ways they would not normally choose to do.

They will break the law and end up in one of the new timely mega prisons that is supposed to help keep society safer. And why? Because if Mr. Harper and his Conservative Reform Party did not have the sense or the will to keep the faith with this country’s injured veterans in the first place.

Families will be torn apart. There will be, of course, the ultimate act of desperation, which is suicide. I hope that this present government can develop a conscience. And they had better start right now because they will be bearing the brunt of their short-sighted vision.

Eric Rebiere (Former Cst. RCMP 37515 and Former CAF Veteran)


About Bonnie Toews and John Christiansen

Bonnie's Blog Posts invite our readers and free spirits everywhere to share life's adventures with us. I talk about writing my novels, reading books, chatting with other writers and John's and my journeys around the world. We welcome your anecdotes to our experiences and discussions.
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2 Responses to Is tough love in tough times the best strategy for helping despairing veterans?

  1. Eric Rebiere (Former Cst. RCMP 37515) says:

    Bonnie thanks for posting my article. I can relate to the hell this injured retired RCMP officer went through. You described me and my family can attest to that. A lot is not know about the RCMP and Police Services Officers that have volunteered to serve Canada at the request of the Canadian Government, the Harper Government. Like the Armed Forces Reserve all stepped up at the request of the Harper Government and volunteered to go to Afghanistan. I have it on good authority that the Policing mandate in Afghanistan could not be possible with out these Police Services officers providing the bulk of the man power. Approx. 70 Percent of the deployed Canadian Police in Afghanistan are Police Services Officers and the rest are RCMP because their are not enough RCMP available to be released for this mission. Not a lot is mentioned about RCMP and Police Services officers serving in Afghanistan. They wear the same uniforms as the Canadian Military carry the same weapons as the Canadian Military except the only difference is the patch on their shoulders. All volunteers. When an IUD explodes killing Canadian Soldiers its the Afghan National Police with the Canadian Police that investigates these tragic incidents. It is a fact that the deployed police to Afghanistan are coming back to Canada injured and messed up like I was after returning from Kosovo in 2000. An RCMP Sargent now retired left a third of his leg in Kaboul Afghanistan due to a suicide bomber. Trust me these officers are in military survival mode because like what happened to this RCMP Sargent you just don’t know when it could happen to you. I have been desperately trying to build awareness that these officers are putting a lot on the line as well in the effort to keep our society safe. Are these officers not veterans? Their seems to be some division on this by some not all in the Veteran community. I honestly feel sometimes I am the only one trying to build awareness that Police officers are coming back from Afghanistan injured as well and in one case totally abandoned by both that officers province and the Government of Canada that asked him to volunteer. Totally abandonded since 2000 when he came back from Kosovo. This former Cape Breton Regional Police officer called Mel Birmingham was told by the Workmans Compensation Board that he did not qualify for compensation because he did not get injured in Cape Breton? Mel Birmingham reached out to the Canadian Government that was very happy to have him serve Canada in a very violent hell hole called Kosovo Mitrovitca. He had been held hostage at gun point by the Serbs, had explosive devises thrown at the Albanian home because it was in a Serb are that he was renting. These are just some of the violent incidents Mel was exposed to but he held the line and came home with a very bad case of PTSD and know one cares except us in the veterans community. Mel is not different than those Canadian asked by the Canadian Government to serve in the Boer War, WW1 WW11 Korea and numerous UN missions and of course Afghanistan. Is Mel not veteran enough? Are we all from the RCMP and Police Service not veterans of these Special Duty Areas. It seems some do not think so. We live on the outside of the wire, no secure compound with armed guards keeping watch so you can have a hot shower eat and relax as best as possible. We lived in the warring factions neighborhoods and were subject to a lot of intimidation and violence. Ask Mel Birmingham. I personally do not like talking about it as do so many other injured vets.

    Again not very much has been said about what police officers endure in Special Duty areas. No one really talks about it but its a fact we have our fair share of injured coming back. So if we were considered veterans after the Boar War, WW1, WW11 what the hell happened now. Are we not veteran enough to be acknowledged as riotous veterans . The Harper Government will not acknowledge this because it would cost to much. I have all the respect for the Canadian Soldiers who have always come through like at Vimy Ridge. Royal North West Mounted Police fought at Vimy and some remain their.

    thanks again Bonnie for your contribution but its going to take a lot more to help injured vets like Mel Birmingham.

    Sorry for the typos I am very tired.these days. Regards Eric

  2. Eric, what is happening and what you and your family have endured without recognition or government help is uncategorically wrong. I thank you for your advocacy and your research contributing to the upcoming Ombudsman’s Report. Please get some rest.


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