Those crazy Vietnam vets

| September 6, 2012

Michael sent us this link last month about Jackie Murphy, a 71-year-old Vietnam veteran who decided that whatever he was shoplifting at a local store in Harrodsburg, KY was worth shooting it out with responding officers. Of course they were better shots than Jackie and he ended up getting airlifted to the hospital.

But his friends blamed Jackie’s bad behavior on his service in Vietnam;

“Jack saw some very bad stuff in Vietnam, and he’s been having some problems, hearing voices and seeing Charlie,” Peyton said last week. “We were coming out of Loafers the other day and he said, ‘I just saw two VC (Vietnam Cong)!’ I said, ‘No, Jack, we’re in Harrodsburg. There are no VC here.’”

“I don’t know everything,” said Peyton, who also served in the Army after the war was over. “He’d tell me bits and pieces, and then he’d break up, so I don’t have the full story, all the details.

“His squad got overrun by the enemy. There was a lot of close fighting with helmets and knives, hand-to-hand combat,” Peyton said. “He was the only one who survived, and he had to crawl a long way to escape.

He was indeed a veteran of the Vietnam war. I don’t know how many squads of cannon-cockers there are who fought hand-to-hand in Vietnam, though;

All of that hand-to-gland fighting and not a scratch worth a Purple Heart? I wonder why a squad would force poor Jackie to drag his howitzer out on patrol in the jungle. While it’s quite possible he may have been in a close combat situation in a firebase where his battery was, it doesn’t seem likely that he would have had to crawl for miles away from the protection of the firebase.

And, I’m pretty sure that getting captured by loss prevention officers didn’t trigger any flash backs of his shoplifting escapades in the PX. He opened fire on the officers before they exited their patrol car, so you can’t blame it on the gunshots since his were the first.

While I’m not ready to say he doesn’t suffer from PTS or that he wasn’t in any situation that could have caused PTS, that’s not what people with PTS do. I’m just tired after 40 years of watching people take for granted that all Vietnam veterans are nuts. Although his story sounds fishy, I’m not ready to call him a phony. But, I will say that nothing he did that day was related to his service in Vietnam.

Category: Veterans Issues

Comments (14)

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  1. UpNorth says:

    “nothing he did that day was related to his service in Vietnam”. If only the media would proceed with that thought in mind, vets wouldn’t be stigmatized like they sometimes are. That also goes for those who feel the need to rationalize what some vets do later on in their lives.

  2. PintoNag says:

    When someone starts talking about seeing things that aren’t there, it’s time to get them to a professional. PSYCHOSIS DOESN’T GO AWAY ON ITS OWN.

  3. Jabatam says:

    I’m surprised…the original article didn’t mention veteran once!

  4. Ex-PH2 says:

    Not to be difficult, but he was sent to Vietnam in 1966, but returned to the US, to Ft. Bragg, 12/29/1967 ahead of the start of the Tet Offensive. I’m simply wondering what and how much he actually saw, and whether or not he ever applied to the VA for vets’ health care benefits. We were always told to apply as soon as we got back home, to get registered with the VA right away.
    There used to be drop-in centers that Vietnam vets could go to where their claims were expedited and they could get into a group of incountry vets to download all that stress.

  5. Ex-PH2 says:

    So, to follow up, I checked the VA’s website and the drop-in centers do indeed still exist. There is one not too far from Harrodsburg, so I’m having difficulty with the idea that he couldn’t get any help with his problem.

  6. 2-17 AirCav says:

    As Jonn said, it would not be a surprise to later learn that he was at an overrun firebase and was in close combat. But the point, and I agree, is not this particular Veteran’s experience but the fact that every nutcase who goes off either himself or through a proxy traces his detonation to his military experience. I am convinced that more legitimately suffering Veterans have been harmed by the Flashback Brigade than have been helped. Who wants to ask for help when you’re likely to be regarded as a grenade w/o a pin and wild-eyed beast? I’m done for the day.

  7. Ex-PH2 says:

    I completely agree, AirCav.

  8. OWB says:

    Plus one more.

  9. 1AirCav69 says:

    Jonn, I believe, is hitting the nail on the head and so is 2-17. In all my years, over 30, of working with combat vets, 99% with PTSD, probably 90% severe, none ever shoplifted nor did they shoot at police or anyone else. It is agreed that no veterans of any war were ever treated with more disrespect then Vietnam Veterans but starting in the 80’s and continuing today this country has tried very hard to make amends for that treatment. Mainly because we started our own movement to get the respect we earned. I don’t know one Vietnam Vet that doesn’t know about the Vet Center Program, which I think is what Ex-PH-2 is talking about, or at least going to mainstream VA for help. There were numerous times that Artillery men had to fight as infantry to defend their FSB in that war but it doesn’t matter. PTSD did not cause this guy to shoot at the police. He was not having a “flashback” when he was shoplifting, nor when he decided to shoot at men that would have probably tried to get him help. I have zero sympathy for this guy.

  10. UpNorth says:

    Agree Air Cav, both of you.

  11. LIRight says:

    So much to say….but some particularly excellent comments above make adding my two cents unnecessary.


    I never shop-lifted or stole anything from anyone in my entire, almost 65 years, life.

    Jackie Murphy reminds me of a line an old hunting buddy uses for those that don’t accept personal responsibility for anything: “Excuses are like assholes, everybody has one.”

  12. Ironsides says:

    You’ve certainly signed on for a tough mission, separating the sheep from the goats.
    Oh, and to prevent further accidental maligning of the King by otherwise well-intentioned grunts:

  13. chilledout* says:

    You have no idea. I have nothing against military veterans but, soem of the vietnam veterans you ride with on the DAV bus are psycho. Can we all agree about this? You are all in the same room together with them talking amongst eachother and you can tell there’s a lot of pist of people. I was wondering to myself why they can’t just chill out/relax. I think I had a pretty bad experience today at the VA. I now realize the people who have the worst kinds of mental problems and anxiety. It goes to the vet’s of the vietnam era especially since they have been living the longest. You all need to seriously chill out! You all need to really it’s more important to be Nice, then to feel important. You can really wreck a persons day, so please be kind. Realize that civilians aren’t trying to harm you. no need to go all crazy with your imaginations. Sit back and relax. It’s not going to be all the way a smoothe ride just put a smile on your face and try to understand how others may feel. Just don’t let it get the best of you. Do I actually think you’re crazy, no. I just think you all have a chip on your shoulder. It will find you fast. You dont always have to be talking jsut sit back and dont talk to anyone and dont worry about what others think. I sat back and just kindly observed people and people what they’re saying and there actions. I realized you all need to take a chill pill and stop being so angry. Also, to the people who work at the VA. Im just saying this as a courtesy thing, you all need to stop being so bossy and drop the i’m still in the military act treating others like there still in the military. What i mean is, stop the come up here not explaining why. Dont treat us like were all children, its really belittling and rude. Treat others how you want to be treated and dont stop doing that. show them the same respect the whole day through. I always like hearing your wars stories but, show people respect and we will want to hear them all the more. Im sure some of you got me. Thanks for serving.

  14. Chillin says:

    Yeah to the veterans chill OUT! Nobody is out to get you.
    To the people working for the VA, stop belittling the people who go to the VA. They are no longer in the military, stop treating them like piss! You have no idea what these people have been through, show some Respect instead. I about pulled my hair out with the stuff I come across today. Stop worrying, your no longer in the military drop the act entirely you may help someones day just talking like a regular person. I would say thanks for serving but, that is so cliche. But thanks, be nice you all.