Friday, March 07, 2014
The Mother, the Soldier, and the Con Suicide Scandal
I'm glad the mother of Cpl. Justin Stark decided to speak out about the one-cent cheque the government sent her dead son.
And that the Cons were forced to apologize, for the pain that was caused.
The mother of a dead Hamilton, Ont., soldier who received a cheque for one cent from the federal government has accepted an apology from Defence Minister Rob Nicholson but said the incident has reopened wounds.
So hopefully it doesn't happen again, because it has happened before.
Kelly Carter, a Canadian Forces member from Alberta, sent CBC News a copy of a nearly identical cheque for a penny he received in January. It's also marked "CF Release Pay," just like the cheque sent to Stark.
"I don’t believe anything the Canadian Forces say, they lie through their teeth," Carter said in an email. "Staff tell ministers lip service to make them happy, but the same problems resurface again. What a waste of time, money, resources and paper."
Which is absolutely appalling.
And the other reason I'm glad that suffering family decided to speak out is because they have also helped shine a light on the scandalous way the military treats the families of soldiers who commit suicide.
Like their son did at this armoury...
As of now, Stark's death isn't considered "military related," even though he shot himself in the armoury in Hamilton while on duty, Marston said. Stark's family has been dealing with inquests and military tribunals about the incident for years.
"Almost a year after we were briefed verbally by the board of inquiry about its findings, we still await confirmation of a final report," Stark said. She and her husband still aren't satisfied by the board's "confident conclusion" that her son's tour in Afghanistan did not cause him trauma.
By going to extraordinary lengths to try to deny that those deaths were combat related or caused by the horror of post traumatic stress disorder
When all their families are seeking is simple recognition.
"There is no financial gain for Justin's death being linked to his job or his service," Stark said. "It only involves having the recognition that those who died in theatre also have."
And this is simply outrageous.
Marston says there are 50 similar investigations happening in Canada right now about military suicides. "We have a full-on crisis happening."
For how long must they drag their feet, and how much more must those families suffer?
Of course, I have no idea why Justin Stark, seen here just before he left for Afghanistan, killed himself.
But I do know that during his seven months there he served with a battle group searching for IEDs and suicide bombers.
So post traumatic depression must surely be considered the main suspect.
And I also know that we're not doing enough to identify and treat the problem. Because I've seen the horror with my own eyes.
So to any suffering soldiers out there I would say this: remember help is available.
And to the wretched Con regime that betrays veterans of all ages, and the useless brass buttons at DND, I say this: in the name of human decency and our precious Canadian values, do the right thing. For once.
Because Justin Stark and his family deserved so much better, and so do all the others...
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