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Medal for soldier killed by RCMP - Memorial Cross presented to family of veteran who had stress disorder

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Greg Matters and Ryan Seguin met in battle school in 1995, both fresh-faced young soldiers keen to serve their country. Together they learned the military trade, grew up, became best friends. Matters stood beside Seguin at his wedding as his best man, and he was the godfather of Seguin's children.

Warrant Officer Seguin handed Memorial Cross medals to the mother and sister of his comrade-in-arms, who died in a confrontation with RCMP on his rural property near Prince George a year ago. Matters was in treatment at the time for post-traumatic stress disorder, and his death focused attention on the struggles of current and former soldiers who have served in conflict zones overseas. Seguin said he believes Matters really began to struggle after a back injury he suffered in Bosnia prevented him from training to take part in Canada's combat mission in Afghanistan. "I never realized it was post-traumatic stress," Seguin said. "I think that's when he started having the symptoms, but all I could figure at the time was that, I just thought he was embarrassed and ashamed that he wasn't able to do the training with us and go to Afghanistan with us." Matters served in the Canadian Forces for 15 years.

The Memorial Cross is awarded for soldiers whose deaths are linked to their military service, and Matters's sister, Tracey Matters, said the medal is an acknowledgment to the family that PTSD was a major contributing factor in her brother's death. "We believe it is time for Canada to recognize its 'Unknown Fallen' - the men and women who are injured physically and psychologically by military service, and who, when they are discharged, continue to struggle and suffer," Tracey Matters said. She said her brother was one of those soldiers. "Many of these individuals die alone and their death is never recognized as being due to their military service. " B.C.'s Independent Investigations Office cleared the RCMP of wrongdoing in the shooting, but the Matters family said many questions remain.

Read the complete news article: http://www.vancouversun.com/health/Medal+soldier+killed+RCMP/8961514/story.html

Jean-Paul

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A very sad story - and as Jock says 'Tragic" , that the illness wasn't recognised. During the 1st. WW we executed

many men for desertion and dereliction of duty - stress wasn't recognised as an 'illness'. However, in 2013, I would

have thought an exSoldier , who had health problems, would have been looked at more closely. Mervyn

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Sadly, Mervyn, our authorities have done, IMHO, shamefully little to help vets deal with mental health issues. Many serving soldiers are afraid or reluctant to speak out, as in the macho culture of the military, 'Just suck it up.' is an all too common response. Our politicians, penny pinchers to a man, are little better, though some belated efforts are being made, mostly as a result of public outrage over cases like this one. A huge number of our homeless are veterans of the armed forces, a fact reflected in US figures too and, I suspect, in many other nations.

I have referred in other threads to the recent shooting of a mentally disturbed youth by police, an all too common tragedy. Again, lack of training is part of the problem, lack of money for mental health services another part and, sadly, 'police culture' and adrenaline a third part. "A man runs at me with a knife. I have a gun..."

Tragic but not inexplicable.

R.I.P. the Unknown Fallen.

Edited by peter monahan

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I dont know the details, and do not say at all that it is so in his case.... but somehow I begin to feel that nowdays it is sufficient to have been twice to a rifle range to be able to claim PTSD. I see folks who see in a career what soldiers 14-18 would have seen in a day... and they have PTSD.

Here is another thought... the amount of Vets on the street.... is this really due to PTSD or due to the fact that in the army some people get sooooo used to other people taking care of the daily life part of their lives, that they are unable to adjust to regular life, not because they are so badly affected by what they experianced in their service time, but rather because they simply dont have their sht together? Example... I am lucky my wife took over that for me, i could have landed on the street... not because i had PTSD or "aaaarrggghhh!! Vietnam flaschback!!!"... but simply because, while in the army the paycheck was spent on beer... sometimes it was gone after a couple of weeks... and the next couple of weeks, you relied on buddies for beer... and bought for them the next month when their check ran out..... and then go into civilian life and using your military financial skills... after 3 months guys are on the street going "aaaargghh!! PTSD!!" ... when they should be going "aaaaarrrgghh! Fiscal responsability deficit!"

best

Chris

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Tragic, I meant in the fact for both of them, I hope the guy that pulled the trigger is able to get some sort of assistance if he needs it in due course, although it may be a black and white case and no blame lies with the policeman, one would assume, as he reads more about the incident and others views it may play on his mind, it may not but most decent people will always DS something like this over and over with the thought of could I have done something differently or better etc.

Regardless of the guys issues I always hate to see anything bad befall any ex-serviceman/woman even if it is just their own poor admin, I don't think many of them on the streets actually are claiming it is down to PTSD or surely the Legion and such like would have swept them up or been in contact?

I wouldn't expect the Government or MOD to do much since they would rather not admit there is a problem in this area although a few Generals have forecast an significant increase for the future with mental health issues. The Government are more concerned with how to keep 'both homes' and a staff full of family members going with only their meagre wage and expenses allowance.

Jock:)

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Jock

Yes, nobody pays a lot of attention to the poor sod who pulled the trigger. Thank God none of my life's significant [bad?] decisions had consequences like that. I literally don't know how I'd live with it. A double tragedy, as you say.

Chris

I can't claim any real personal experience with street vets, though I have several friends who do outreach and do meet them. And, I'm a great advocate of fiscal responsibility. I even practice it myself at times! I also spent 33 years trying to explain to high school students that in the real world [ie. after graduation] "Your mother doesn't work here!" and nobody gives a tinker's cuss about your self esteem. And some of the street people fall into that category. OTOH, a few weeks on the street is probably a great incentive for those WHO CAN to pull up their socks! It's no fun out there!

Having said all that, and acknowledging that a few of the street people I have come across are Class A con artists, very few street folk are faking it to get the benefits. Partly because the benefits are so hard to get and so s**tty when you do and partly because if they had their act together they'd not be on the street anyway. Mental illness, by definition, reduces one's capacity to deal with the world. Think 'crappiest day of my life, ever',add it together with 'most annoying bureaucrat I've dealt with, ever', and multiply by ten. That's a mentally ill person trying to navigate the social services maze! I'm pretty smart, way over educated and with incredibly supportive family and colleagues and even with all that plus pretty good drugs, I only just made it through some episodes of severe depression without being hospitalized.

So, yeah, the Walter Mitty's are out there. These guys aren't them, IMHO!

Edited by peter monahan

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The statement "huge number of our homeless are veterans of the armed forces" is misleading to say the least........

Take for example "John Smith joined the forces in his 20's, left when he was 28. At age 50 he lost his job and ended up on the street. This guy would say he was in the forces, but has nothing to do with why he's on the street."

Also as we all know, once a member of the forces, always a former member of the forces... spend 3 days in basic training, voluntarily release, rob a bank 10 years later, and the media reports it as a "Former member of the Canadian forces"

Some interesting stats found by a national study conducted by the University of Western Ontario:

http://communication...20110113447261/

For a lot of them it was from drinking, which started in the military, escalated over time and 10 years later you would see the alcoholism, and through that they would lose their job, their relationships, their housing, Ray says.

Surprisingly, none of the veterans had been deployed overseas; so their current plight wasn't caused by deployment trauma or PTSD. With the exception of a couple who had experience in peacekeeping missions, the bulk of the veterans in the study all served on bases in Canada."

The average age of a homeless Canadian veteran is 52, they left the military 20 years ago, and their first episode of homelessness was 10 years after completing their service. The common response was they needed better transitional services in place, for housing and addiction, when they left the service.

There is a hope that we won't see a major hike amongst the Bosnia Kosovo, Afghanistan vets due to the fact that there are procedures in place now like the JPSU flawed as they may be. No such systems existed a generation ago and if you had issues or problems the prevailing response was "go suck it up buttercup" which more or less meant you didn't go seek help.

Ironically the very attributes that make someone a good Soldier (Sailor, Airmen) such as mental and physical toughness, self confidence, independence etc often make for a lousy homeless person. At least in the sense they're harder to treat, deal with. They're more likely to not come and ask for help. Sleeping rough, being hungry wet, cold, "hey been there done that, and can do it again if I have to mindset". Especially if they see that what's the point of asking for something I probably won't get anyway. As you said there are issues coming forth with the system, like JPSU, or the fact we have Vets forced to sue the Government as seen on the news, or read the horror stories here and elsewhere on line of people trying to navigate through the byzantine maze of indifference that is Veterans Affairs Canada.

For someone literally out of options he may simply say "frig I'll just sit here on a street corner rather than put myself through that".

Do not forget about the agencies playing the "poverty game"

Homeless Guy goes to Group A and is helped out on Monday, but he goes back on Tuesday and there is no room and bed space for him , Group A counts him as some one they tried to help on Tuesday and Monday. Homeless guy tries Group B and finds some space and a meal. They count him as some they tried to help out and helped. So for Tuesday this homeless guy is counted twice. But he is only one man.

Both Groups use this man to help show their stats to get more money next fiscal year. How many times a day does this happen, and inflate the numbers and stats of homeless people wanting or trying to get help.

Thats how to play the poverty game in Canada. You can use the above to obtain, money, (lots of tax payer funded grants etc.) and/or political capital.

Now remember though to actually ensure long term success, you have to follow a few simple basics.

1- Only you and your group can solve this situation and therefore should receive all the funding, attention, accolades ( the other groups are after all competition, although a few select few groups who also understand the "system" are useful allies and allow you to shuffle the homeless around in a form of shell game.)

2- Continually harp to the media on a) how serious this issue is /has become and b) what a fantastic job you're doing at it if only you had more money, resources etc.

3- Most importantly ensure you actually don't solve the problem. If you accidentally end up housing all the homeless/eliminate poverty well then you're out of a job and Barista at Starbucks really doesn't pay as well. Don't worry about anyone criticizing any actual lack of progress, they can be branded as homophobic, racist, chauvinistic, Harper/Harris/Ford pro oil neo con one per centers. ( delete/add adjectives as needed)

Would be interesting to know if 16%, after subtracting the portion who may lie about former service, exceeds the percentage overall of the Canadian population who have, at some point, served with the Canadian forces....which is 1.9% according to http://www.veterans....nt/press/gnstat

Money is not the answer and blaming the military for a few lost souls is not the answer either.

Sincerely

Larry

Edited by Laurence Strong

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I dont know the details, and do not say at all that it is so in his case.... but somehow I begin to feel that nowdays it is sufficient to have been twice to a rifle range to be able to claim PTSD. I see folks who see in a career what soldiers 14-18 would have seen in a day... and they have PTSD.

Here is another thought... the amount of Vets on the street.... is this really due to PTSD or due to the fact that in the army some people get sooooo used to other people taking care of the daily life part of their lives, that they are unable to adjust to regular life, not because they are so badly affected by what they experianced in their service time, but rather because they simply dont have their sht together? Example... I am lucky my wife took over that for me, i could have landed on the street... not because i had PTSD or "aaaarrggghhh!! Vietnam flaschback!!!"... but simply because, while in the army the paycheck was spent on beer... sometimes it was gone after a couple of weeks... and the next couple of weeks, you relied on buddies for beer... and bought for them the next month when their check ran out..... and then go into civilian life and using your military financial skills... after 3 months guys are on the street going "aaaargghh!! PTSD!!" ... when they should be going "aaaaarrrgghh! Fiscal responsability deficit!"

best

Chris

I must agree with you Chris all almost all points......................being a 100% disabled vet and visiting my VA hospital routinely, a life member of the VFW and DAV service organizations, I have front line experience seeing and becoming disgusted with so many wannabees that lie through there teeth to get benefits they don't deserve. A good example, the VVA, which I've never joined nor ever will, always boosted being the largest service organization having way over 120,000 members was finally investigated and was found only about 20,000 were actual Vietnam Veterans. That said, I've also seen my share of the down and out disabled vets that has not and will not take any assistance, disability or medical help based solely on personal pride due to accepting personal responsibility for their decisions. War is no romantic adventure and has it's repercussions either medically or mentally or both. It depends entirely upon the individual and how they handle what they accepted when they put the uniform on. I've seen many times what can not be accomplished after military service, blamed on that service when in fact it was just a shortcoming of personal responsibility.

I have a lot of personal admiration for the many many Canucks that came south and served in our uniform in Vietnam, only to go home and receive no medical assistance from the Canadian Government. They were told, they went to Nam under their own choosing and not on the behalf of Canada and as far as I know, unless it's changed recently, they came back south for what medical treatment they needed.

If this soldier was overlooked by the Canadian government, they learned well from the US government during the 60s, 70s and 80s. Maybe this generation can't say to themselves, 'It don't mean nothing!!!!!!" like we did and move on.

We all have some kind of PTSD and it don't have to be from military service either. I had my share but I learned how to deal with it, I stayed with my own kind for an additional eighteen years and it worked itself out. Best thing I ever did.

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Tragic, I meant in the fact for both of them, I hope the guy that pulled the trigger is able to get some sort of assistance if he needs it in due course, although it may be a black and white case and no blame lies with the policeman, one would assume, as he reads more about the incident and others views it may play on his mind, it may not but most decent people will always DS something like this over and over with the thought of could I have done something differently or better etc.

Regardless of the guys issues I always hate to see anything bad befall any ex-serviceman/woman even if it is just their own poor admin, I don't think many of them on the streets actually are claiming it is down to PTSD or surely the Legion and such like would have swept them up or been in contact?

I wouldn't expect the Government or MOD to do much since they would rather not admit there is a problem in this area although a few Generals have forecast an significant increase for the future with mental health issues. The Government are more concerned with how to keep 'both homes' and a staff full of family members going with only their meagre wage and expenses allowance.

Jock:)

Can I just add that my comments pertain to the UK not Canada, I have no idea how you look after your guys/girls.

Jock:)

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Jock

Sadly, your comments can be applied to Canada too, with not too much changed, and would be spot on. :banger: They deserve better than what the paperclip counters in Ottawa [or London] give them, and that's God's truth!

Peter

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