One more mass killing, one more batch of soon to be forgotten victims, soon to be forgotten heroes. The contemporary shock and sorrow fleeting before the next breaking news.
A single solitary man changes the narrative from Elections, Presidential dramatics all of a sudden to the visuals scores of heavily armed police officers and a colourful strobe light effect from emergency response vehicles.
The media for their part will make not naming the perpetrator a thing as to not give the type of notoriety that may inspire others to carry out similar crimes. His name was Ian David Long, a former Marine who served in Afghanistan.
The failure comes in the form of a system that does not see or hear or listen to the warning signs. No safety net for those whose world spins so fast that it throws reality into a maelstrom that engulfs innocent victims who through no fault of their own are decimated. No one wins, everyone fails and families grieve as those failures are forgotten.
A conversation will be had about Mental Health, the scapegoat of most mass shootings in America. A conversation that when held anywhere else outside America does not have the stark reality of a culture of rights vs wrongs in the name of those rights. The great American failure is having that difficult conversation of mental health after a shooting incident and seemingly at no other time.
The failure comes in the form of Veterans being ignored by those who send them to war and ignore their service on return. Sure, the Government can spend millions of dollars a year of Stadium fly pasts with screaming jets, a massive flag on the field and a collective 'we're awesome' ringing around packed arenas.
America has never shied from showing great veneration of those who serve in the military and all the pomp and ceremony and a patriotism tethered to loving those who serve.
If only the ceremony could carry on after the game is over and those who serve where others shy away and cower. The parasitic patriots will stand proudly when with a service member and say how proud they are of the brave. Leaders who talk big and let the grunts do the heavy lifting in war.
The great failure of America is prioritising the care for its service members long after the last note of the Last Post dies away. For too many who suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder that last note goes on and on. Many will read this and not know the true nature of war.
We who have not served in the military cannot comprehend the damage war does to a body or the mind. We have no concept of the fear, the sounds of splintering bones, burning flesh and the all too forgotten broken minds that absorb those smells and sounds.
A broken mind back from war in the real world left behind is a shame on the houses of those who ignore the suicides, the self harming, the screaming in the night, the cold sweats. Some service members on their return simply can't adjust as the scars of the war they fought aren't on display physically but in the darkest recesses of the mind where the suffering is private and brutal. Sounds you and I take for granted as the hustle and bustle of every day are sounds that can spark a memory that brings all those horrors of a conflict flooding an already hurting mind.
Ian David Long, the former Marine that carried out the massacre at Thousand Oaks, California was one such broken mind. A marine that fought in Afghanistan and a man broken by that fight. His act of brutal murder of young students at the beginning of adulthood born of the beginnings of his own first steps into adulthood where Duty, Service and Sacrifice would include Suicide Bombers, Taliban brutality and the loss of friends in the fight.
He was failed by his country, by the military and by Republican and Democratic leaders who can only muster up a conversation of mental health after a mass killing incident. Soldiers are broken down and built into functioning effective battlefield operators. Equally, soldiers need to be weened off and gradually reintegrated back to civilian life, they serve you and it is only right that they are thanked in return by making damn sure that a broken mind from war is giving the same rehabilitation given to those whose physical scars are on display.
Here is a section of a letter sent from Daniel Somers to his wife and family about his struggles with PTSD. He was a Machine Gunner during the 2003 Iraq war.
What is really stopping me, though, is that I simply am too sick to be effective in the field anymore. That, too, has been taken from me.
Thus, I am left with basically nothing. Too trapped in a war to be at peace, too damaged to be at war. Abandoned by those who would take the easy route, and a liability to those who stick it out—and thus deserve better. So you see, not only am I better off dead, but the world is better without me in it
This is what brought me to my actual final mission. Not suicide, but a mercy killing. I know how to kill, and I know how to do it so that there is no pain whatsoever. It was quick, and I did not suffer. And above all, now I am free. I feel no more pain. I have no more nightmares or flashbacks or hallucinations. I am no longer constantly depressed or afraid or worried
I am free.
Daniel Somers took his own life and I encourage all to read the letter in its entirety and understand the broken mind of a soldier.
A former service member should never have to struggle when the war ends. He or she should never want as the country they serve should be eternally grateful for their service rather than take it for granted.
That arrogance particularly for those who use the Military as tools for self purpose and need, the politicians who hide behind those who serve and hide from those who serve when they ask rightly ''What will my country do for me in my hour of need?'' These are the same politicians whose failures lead to war and conflict and the very same people who ignore the return of broken service men and women.
Their war is a war without end and one ignored by those who worship at the foot of the soldier. Worshippers who ignore the unending pain and unending visions of what a soldier sees and hears and smells. They fight so you don't have to and the very least that could be done in return is making sure they never want or lack the help they need.
As the world commemorates the end of the First World, the war that led to so many other wars it is only fitting that the last words of this post go to one who knew that war. Someone who never talked about the war until a few years before his death. He never let go of what he saw because his mind would never let him.
He saw hell..........
Man made hell.