PAT LAMOUREUX - One episode in a person's life, does not define the person.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Veterans, The VA, PTSD, Criminal Justice System, and Anniversaries

(Yes, I will cover all of those topics in one post.....and it won't be that long.)

Monday, August 17, is our anniversary. We didn’t do anything really “special” last year, we had a nice day together, went out to dinner; played our silly “fishy” penny slot machine at the casino. We laughed, we talked; we had a great evening.

I would give everything I own, and everything I could ever hope to own - I would give it all away, to turn back the hands of time.

In the last 11 months, I have been blamed, ridiculed, dragged across coals, and called crazy. As if the tragedy that I experienced that night and what I have lived since Pat came back from Iraq, was nothing.

As I have spent the last 11 months alone, when I think of my loving husband, I try not to remember the times during the past almost 6 years that were upsetting, and difficult to get through; I remember all the happy times we had. Those “tough” days that happened more frequently than I care to remember, do not come into my mind – usually.

In retrospect, there are only a few people who knew how things were. My beautiful daughter, my son-in-law and the other “guy” love of my life, my grandson. He and Patrick have such a special bond, this has been so hard on him.

I do wish I could erase the memory of Thursday, September 18, leading into the early morning hours of Friday, September 19, 2008. Those memories haunt my dreams. And every night when I think that I need to get some sleep, I am acutely aware of what I am sleeping on top of. Every night when I pull the nightshade down above the couch, I have a flashback, caused by the bullet holes in the shade. When I take care of the dump stations outside, I am aware of the damage done to that side of the motorhome.

It is hard to live in the scene of the “crime”.

It is amazing that many people cannot seem to differentiate between a "crime" and a tragedy.

As I look back over the last 11 months, I also can’t help but reflect back over the past almost 6 years since Pat returned from Iraq.

When I think of the information that is contained in Pat’s records, and the fact that the VA did nothing to intervene at a time that could have made a difference in this Veteran’s life, I get angry.

I also get angry at myself for being so “trusting” that the VA was giving him the proper care; that he was being given the right medications; after all, he was a compliant patient. I accepted that this is the way life was going to be, “living with PTSD”.

Nobody has to “blame” me; I have blamed myself enough in the last 11 months.

You can type PTSD on your search engine and learn all about the “symptoms”. I know them all very well, Pat was a walking picture of PTSD. But because he was a compliant patient, I did not realize that it didn’t have to be ‘that way’.

Because he was a compliant patient, I never questioned that it COULD have been better. Now when I research further, I understand the serious shortfall that occurred in Patrick’s care at the hands of the Veterans Healthcare System of Southern Nevada, Las Vegas.

What a tragedy that a wonderful man, someone I waited so long in my life to find, has spent the past 11 months detained in a cell, with an unknown future. For 11 months, he has suffered and has been left alone to deal with everything that has happened; from Iraq to this horrible tragedy.

He has received nothing – no support from trained professionals, and certainly nothing from the VA.

It makes me angry at our country. How can we treat our Veterans this way? He has been tortured, as if he were a ‘prisoner of war’. How, as Americans, can we allow these things to happen to the men and women who serve our country, who protect our freedoms and give us the right to say “I’m proud to be an American”.

I – am not so proud to be an American anymore. The citizens of our country are spoiled and ungrateful. They are so caught up in their own “problems” that they do not have the ability to understand what true problems are; the problems our Veterans are facing. Actually, they don’t care, if it doesn’t touch their lives personally, they simply don’t care – apathy.

I have already done a posting on apathy – and it had nothing to do with ‘contributions’ to Pat’s legal defense fund, but someone took it that way. No – it was about the apathy that Americans are very guilty of.

Our government is failing the men and women who serve this country – and nobody cares.

The truth of the matter is, instead of saying we have volunteer military forces – we should start saying we have disposable military forces. That is what it has become; our government uses them up and when they become broken, they throw them away, as if they were a disposable paper plate. Nothing of value.

And the people of America do not care.

The people of America are quick to judge and condemn our Veterans, when they have never walked one step in those combat boots. They cannot begin to imagine the horrible atrocities of war, the human carnage that our Veterans experience. These Veterans have consciences; what they see, what they do, what they live in combat has a tremendous impact on them.

Perhaps instead of sending career criminals to prison, we should send them to war. Some of them will be killed, and the others can be sent to prison when they return. They earned their keep. We do the same thing with honorable Veterans.

When our combat Veterans appear in the criminal justice system, how are they really tried by a "jury of their peers"? Wouldn't a jury of their peers be a jury of combat veterans? How can the average American civilian judge the actions of a Veteran who served in combat and returned home scarred from those experiences?

If prison is good enough for our Veterans, then surely it must be good enough for career criminals to punish them with the atrocities of war. Let’s save the good people of our country and punish the career criminals and send them to war.

Americans are so short-sighted that they view our wounded warriors as criminals, so let’s just make the real criminals the disposable military, instead of the honorable men and women who serve our country with little gratitude or respect from the spoiled, apathetic, American public.

Please - honor, respect, and show your support for this worthy Veteran, and forgive me for my shortcomings.

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"Grandpa Pat & Kain"

"Grandpa Pat & Kain"
"Kain-man" the jokester....

Pat Lamoureux - Iraq 2003

Pat Lamoureux - Iraq 2003
"Pat is an extraordinary, thoughtful, kind and generous man...not to mention a wonderful friend, in which one could always count upon to be there when in need." (words of a long time friend)

Pat's Family

Pat's Family
Mica & Heather, grandson Kain