This is why I’m so deeply cynical about the so-called “patriotism” of certain politicians. You would think at the very least, taking care of the troops when they come home would be first on their list — but instead, they talk about tax cuts.
It seems like the system is so overwhelmed by the number of veterans in need of psychological services, all they do is treat the symptoms with drug cocktails — which becomes even more dangerous when veterans go to several different doctors, like this Afghan war vet.
CALLAWAY, Fla. — Libby Busbee pounded on the window of her son’s maroon Dodge Charger as he sat in the driveway of their home earlier this year. Locked inside his car, Army Spc. William Busbee sat with a .45-caliber gun pointed to the side of his head.
“Look at me,” his mother cried out as she tried to get her son’s attention. “Look at me.”
He wouldn’t look.
He stared out the front windshield, distant, said Libby Busbee, relating the story from an apartment complex in Callaway.
“I kept yelling, ‘Don’t you do this. Don’t do it.’ He wouldn’t turn his head to look at me,” she said, looking down at the burning cigarette in her hand.
A 911 call was made. The police pulled her away from the car.
William, Libby Busbee’s 23-year-old son, was talking with a police officer when he fired a shot through the front windshield of his car, according to the police report.
The police recoiled. William rapped on the window in apparent frustration, the report indicated.
Then the second shot was heard.
“I knew that was the one,” said Libby Busbee.
William Busbee took his life in March with his mother and sisters looking on.
William Busbee was no casualty of the war in Afghanistan. He was a casualty of his own mind, his mother said.
Libby Busbee bowed her head, talking as she sat next to a bird-of-paradise on the front porch of her apartment. She could no longer live in the home on 12th Street.
“They wouldn’t let me talk to him,” she said, referring to the day her son shot himself. “I know if he was able to see me he wouldn’t have done it.”
According to a Veterans Affairs report this spring, a veteran commits suicide every 80 minutes. More than 6,500 suicides have occurred since the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan began. For every service member who dies in battle, 25 veterans die by their own hands.
According to a Pentagon report, more American active service members have killed themselves in the first six months of 2012 than in the first six months of any of the previous 11 years, The Associated Press reported.
The report reveals 154 service members killed themselves in the first 155 days of 2012 alone. The number of deaths by suicide is 50 percent higher than combat deaths in Afghanistan during the same period and an 18 percent increase over active service member suicides in the first six months of 2011.
And, while only 1 percent of Americans have served in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, veterans of these conflicts represent 20 percent of all suicides in the United States, the VA reported.
Libby Busbee said when her son returned home, he didn’t leave the war behind.
“He saw horrible things — his friends dying,” she said. “The people over there were constantly attacking them. He even said the kids would be with them when they attacked.”
William Busbee was in the Army Special Forces, airborne and the Army Rangers.
“He told me how he picked up the body parts and loaded them onto a helicopter so their families would have something to bury,” she said.
She said her son had tried to commit suicide in Pesh Valley of Afghanistan. “He told me, ‘Momma, the William you knew died over there,’ ” she said.
On his return home, “He couldn’t be in the dark — at all. He’d flip out in the dark,” she said. “He was sleepwalking and they gave him 400 milligrams of Seroquel, they gave him Paxil, Klonopins. They had him on a lot of stuff. I don’t think he knew which way to go.