There’s a picture floating around the Internet of a gentleman sitting in a lawn chair.
This man, in his lawn chair, is holding up two signs. Each says, “23 American Veterans commit suicide every day. No One Cares. 1 lion gets killed and the country is in an uproar.”
Saying “no one cares” about any veterans issues – or any issues for that matter – is absurd and completely false. People use this erroneous exaggeration to emphasize their point, but it’s insulting.
“No one cares” is a slap in the face to the millions of people putting forth whatever effort they can to provide veterans with the care they need.
I care. I care a lot about the veterans that are killing themselves each day. I care a lot about the community and how torn down we’ve been with labels of PTSD and suicide. I care deeply that news covers our issues because the outrage and patriot complex persuades people to share and click. I care so passionately about finding a solution to the problem (much more than our subject in his lawn chair).
I’m just one person, though. I know there are hundreds of people out there who care simply because they listen to my podcast and these stories. I know there are millions of other veterans that are distraught about their comrades falling to their own hands. I’ve witnessed crowds of people hanging on my every word as I deliver a TEDx Talk, presentation, or speech on veteran suicide and answer all of their questions. Most of those questions surrounding the big question: how can we help?
Believe it or not, there are even people at the VA who care.
I’m releasing this post on August 13, nearly two weeks after outrage for Cecil’s the Lion’s death was saturating social media. Already, the news of Cecil’s death is drowned by the next click-worthy headline.
Yet, a subject that has circulated news sources and media for years now, veteran suicide, lives on. Cecil’s tragedy infuriated Americans for a few days because it was shocking and disheartening. There will be thousands of stories like this every year.
Veteran suicide has been in the headlines for nearly a decade now because it’s a recognized crisis and there is legitimate concern.
I challenge you to resist your encouraging comments to passive aggressive activism like the picture mentioned above. I challenge you to support solutions and progress, and not just complaining about a problem.
I challenge you to recognize the individuals and organizations that work day in and day out hoping to cut the daily numbers down to 21.