"This morning NPR reported on unemployment among this nation's returning Veterans. At 13%, it is much higher than for the rest of the population. One Veteran of the Middle East recounted how employers would tell him straight out why they would not hire him. They were afraid that he would get angry and start shooting people.
It’s bad enough that the rest of us who have faced trauma and mental illness are treated this way, but to do it to those whom we have asked to sacrifice the most in our defense is utterly reprehensible and disgusting. We ask them to take up arms in our defense and risk life and limb, and then treat them like lepers because of their experiences in doing the very things we asked of them?
The legislatures that pass mental health laws that treat people with mental illness like Southern plantation Darkies should be ashamed of themselves. The Courts, all the way up to the Supreme Court of the United States, which have handed down Dred-Scott-like rulings and opinions that justify those legislatures should be ashamed of themselves. The local courts, which ignore even those bigoted laws and higher court rulings, and deprive citizens with mental illness of due process should be ashamed of themselves. The local officials and police who treat people with mental illness to a lower standard of evidence and service, even in investigations of complaints, should be ashamed of themselves. Not to mention employers who indulge in and pander to common bigotry.
Even the EEOC, that purported bastion of civil rights and equal treatment, created a situation in its Enforcement Guidance on employment and psychiatric disabilities that amounted to political sabotage of the Americans with Disabilities Act. One of its examples required employers to put up with any surly and almost unwashed employee who couldn’t be trusted to behave around customers and co-workers. Both that and the Post Office shootings, occurring coincidentally about the same time, launched a tremendous backlash against the ADA. Aided and abetted by news media opinions equating the ADA to something requiring employers to hire ax murderers. Followed by a host of opportunistic employment “risk assessment” consultants that identified anyone with a mental illness as a potential threat of violence, using criteria without any medical or scientific validity. (Backlash Against the ADA, Ed by Linda Hamilton Krieger, University of Mich. Press, 2003; Sharing the Dream: Is the ADA Accommodating All?, U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, 1998)
It has gotten so bad that no one with a mental illness can be allowed to have normal human emotions. Getting angry and raising one’s voice in outrage, as might anyone else in a similar situation, risks forcible drugging and incarceration by local and state authorities to “get control”, on the mere basis of any threat imagined to be “reasonable”. I hear that’s a cultural and humanitarian advance from lynching and burning at the stake.
And now our society is taking its fear and loathing out on Veterans who have fought for us overseas? My other comments on the matter cannot be printed in a family publication. "