Tag Archives | Military Suicides

Are Military Suicides Doing It For The Money?

United_States_Army_Suicide_Prevention_PosterIt has been well documented that US military servicemen and women have been committing suicide at alarming rates, but now it appears that their motivation may not be entirely due to the terrible things they’ve seen and done: for some of them, it’s for the money. Alan Zarembo reports for the LA Times:

Army Spc. James Christian Paquette walked into the benefits office at Ft. Wainwright, Alaska, with a question: Did his military life insurance policy pay in cases of suicide? He was assured that it did.

Less than two weeks later, he shot and killed himself — and his family collected $400,000.

His widow struggles with the question of whether he would have proceeded with his plan if suicide had not been covered. “He just wanted to know we would be provided for,” Jami Calahan said. “It may have been a weight taken away.”

The role of life insurance has not been closely examined in the quest to understand why 352 active-duty service members took their own lives last year — more than double the number a decade earlier.

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For Every U.S. Soldier Killed On Battlefield This Year, 25 Veterans Die By Own Hands

Chapmans CoffinThis scandalous statistic is revealed by Nicholas D. Kristof in an op-ed for the New York Times:

Here’s a window into a tragedy within the American military: For every soldier killed on the battlefield this year, about 25 veterans are dying by their own hands.

An American soldier dies every day and a half, on average, in Iraq or Afghanistan. Veterans kill themselves at a rate of one every 80 minutes. More than 6,500 veteran suicides are logged every year — more than the total number of soldiers killed in Afghanistan and Iraq combined since those wars began.

These unnoticed killing fields are places like New Middletown, Ohio, where Cheryl DeBow raised two sons, Michael and Ryan Yurchison, and saw them depart for Iraq. Michael, then 22, signed up soon after the 9/11 attacks.

“I can’t just sit back and do nothing,” he told his mom. Two years later, Ryan followed his beloved older brother to the Army.

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Suicide Rate Doubles For Army National Guard

US_Army_National_Guard_InsigniaSome disturbing news out of Washington. CNN reports:

The U.S. Army announced Wednesday that the number of suicides rose again last year to almost one a day, despite major efforts to identify and help at-risk soldiers.

Suicides among active-duty soldiers actually declined for the first time in six years but the numbers increased among other soldiers, doubling in the Army National Guard.

The overall number of suicides for the 2010 calendar year was 343 — an increase of 69 over the previous year — and included self-inflicted deaths among active-duty soldiers, the National Guard, the Army Reserves, civilian employees of the Army and family members. The Army reported 156 active-duty suicides last year and 112 in the National Guard.

“The bottom line is this is a significant issue and clearly there is much to be done,” Army Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Peter Chiarelli said in a Pentagon briefing.

While active-duty and deployed soldiers are under constant observation and supervision, soldiers serving in the Reserves or National Guard who are not deployed may be off the Army radar for weeks at a time…

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DARPA Continues to Refine the Art of Surveillance

DARPA is developing another successor to Total Information Awareness.  Dubbed ADAMS (Anomaly Detection at Multiple Scales), the project aims to sift through billions of military emails to recognize an immanent threat — homocide, suicide, or intelligence leaks.  Wired’s Danger Room and CNN cover the project from different angles:

Darpa(Wired) The military is scrambling to identify disgruntled or radicalized troops who pose a threat to themselves or their buddies. So the futurists at Darpa are asking for algorithms to find and pre-empt anyone planning the next Fort Hood massacre, WikiLeaks document dump or suicide-in-uniform.

This counterintelligence-heavy effort isn’t Darpa’s typical push to create flying Humvees or brainwave-powered prosthetic limbs. But the Pentagon’s far-out R&D team has made other moves recently to hunt down threats from within.

The idea behind the Anomaly Detection at Multiple Scales, or Adams, effort is to sift through “massive data sets” to find the warning signs of looming homicide, suicide or other destructive behavior.

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