Our drinking buddy, Alex Horton, formerly of the excellent military blog, Army of Dude, and currently the social media honcho at the Department of Veterans Affairs, knocks another one out of the park with his post today “The Mt. Rainier Shooting and PTSD: How the Media Got It Wrong“. This is why he beat us in the 2008 Weblog Awards shoot out;
When I asked her today, VA clinical psychologist Dr. Sonja Batten said that “despite this image in pop culture of the dangerous, unstable Veteran, there is no direct, causal link between combat-related PTSD and the type of violence shown at Mt. Rainier. Although PTSD is associated with increased anger and irritability in some individuals—whether civilians or Veterans—this sort of negative portrayal of Veterans is unfair and does a disservice to those individuals who have served our country. We work every day in VA to dispel these negative and inaccurate stereotypes.”
In other words, the misguided and incorrect correlation between military service and violent crimes like murder can lead to damaging stereotypes that can inhibit the success of Vets once they leave the military. The Texas Veterans Commission says some employers have reservations about hiring Veterans because they may show signs of post-traumatic signs in the workplace. Hiring managers may think they’re getting a Travis Bickle instead of a “Sully” Sullenberger.
He wrote to tell us that he was working on this post yesterday, so we’ve been keeping our eyes open for it. You really need to read the whole thing.