Female Iraq Veteran committed suicide after traffic stop

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The headline read “Woman” but when you read more of the report you see the words “US military in Iraq” and you know that there is much more to this story we may never know.

Woman shoots herself during traffic stop on I-90
By Celeste Gracey, ISSAQUAH REPORTER
Published 01:16 p.m., Tuesday, May 17, 2011
Seattle Post Intelligencer

Police believe a woman committed suicide after a Washington State Patrol officer initiated a standard traffic stop on I-90 Tuesday morning.

Kara Hinrichs, 23, of Bothell reportedly shot herself in the head after a domestic dispute with a boyfriend, said Trooper Cliff Pratt.

Hinrich had a clean police record. She did however serve in the U.S. military in Iraq, and had knowledge of how to handle a firearm, he said.

There are stories like this all over the country but most of the time the connection between veteran and what happens is buried in the fine print. National news began their day with sex and politics starting with Arnold and what he kept hidden, then Dominique Strauss-Kahn leaving very little time for reports on what is happening to our troops and veterans.

Here is one more story that should have gained national attention.

Father joins search for soldier missing in Utah
By Lynn DeBruin – The Associated Press
Posted : Tuesday May 17, 2011 18:29:29 EDT

SALT LAKE CITY — Army Spc. Joseph Michael Bushling had a tough year following his recent divorce and the 2010 suicide of his younger brother, but was looking forward to a new post in Texas and a career as a nurse. He’s now missing somewhere in Utah’s western desert.

His father, Kevin Bushling, had planned a trip this week to see his son, who was stationed at the U.S. Army’s remote Dugway Proving Ground. The site was established by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1942 to study chemical and biological warfare and covers 798,214 acres in the desert along the Nevada border.

Then there is what Senator Patty Murray, chairwoman of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee had to say. It takes an average of 400 days for a claim to be processed.

Claim processing keeps injured troops waiting
By Kimberly Hefling – The Associated Press
Posted : Wednesday May 18, 2011 5:48:54 EDT
WASHINGTON — A system designed to get wounded troops out of the military and on disability compensation more quickly has failed recently to meet its efficiency goals, delaying service members’ release sometimes more than a year, documents show.

The lag has caused some of the troops to turn down job offers or postpone college because they don’t know when they will be discharged from the military.

The system is called the Integrated Disability Evaluation System. It started as a pilot in 2007, but has since been rolled out to nearly 80 military installations. By this fall, about 140 installations are expected to participate. It works by consolidating the required medical exams and ratings, so that a service member doesn’t have to go through the disability claims process first in the military and then in the VA.

Congress pushed the system following the 2007 scandal over poor living conditions at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, which highlighted the complexities of the disabilities claims system. Some wounded veterans were left in dire financial conditions as they waited for compensation from the VA.

These stories were posted on my blog just this morning. These along with a Marine out of Yuma arrested for assaulting a police officer after he was found to be in the middle of the road screaming at passing cars. Two Marines killed in Afghanistan by an Afghan police officer and a soldier missing in Salt Lake City. There was also a report of another Marine’s death in Yuma being ruled suicide. His body was found in a canal two months ago.

We can come up with all the excuses we want but in the end, the reality of what they go through in combat and after should haunt every single one of us until we finally get it right.

The government keeps funding “programs” that turn out to be more research than an actual program that has been proven to work. When these programs are shown to not work, the government turns around and funds more programs along the same lines hoping for a different result. Congress holds hearings on the problems but never seems to be able to hold hearings on what has been proven to work so that other people can find the help they need instead of “better than nothing” offered by the government.

Day after day these men and women come home to their own communities and it is up in the air if they get what they have already earned in terms of help. The rest of us, well, we settle for the news day starting out with sex and politics.

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