Apparently, the military is struggling with the question of whether or not they should punish military members for a serious but failed suicide attempt according to McClatchy;
Last year, the 301 known military suicides accounted for 20 percent of U.S. military deaths. From 2001 to August 2012, the U.S. military counted 2,676 suicides.
It’s also becoming more common among veterans. Though timely numbers are elusive, the Department of Veterans Affairs reported that 3,871 veterans who were enrolled in VA care killed themselves in 2008 and 2009.
Active-duty members of the military who succeed in killing themselves are treated as having died honorably. Active-duty members who try and fail may be prosecuted under the Uniform Code of Military Justice if the suicide attempt is deemed conduct that causes “prejudice to good order and discipline” or has a “tendency to bring the service into disrepute.”
“You don’t think people will think less well of the military if people are killing themselves?” Judge Margaret A. Ryan asked rhetorically.
It’s a tough question. On the one hand, you don’t want to encourage suicide by decriminalizing it, but on the other hand you don’t want to in effect tell the troops that unless their suicide attempt is successful, they’ll be punished.
Category: Military issues