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Disconnect seen in ‘crazy vet’

After reading the stripes.com article “ ‘Crazy vet’ assumptions after shootings more stereotype than reality” (on front page of Feb. 8 editions as “Experts: Don’t rush to link veterans’ violent behavior to PTSD”), I found one very specific point missing that might help us to understand why such a mentality remains within our society. The idea of a crazy veteran is able to continually be promulgated and focused on as being real due to the disconnect between our country’s warriors and the rest of its citizenry. The more distance that citizens choose to keep between their armed forces and themselves — or vice versa, as some situations have shown — the longer the narrative of the crazy vet will remain branded into the societal mindset. Both sides need to take time to really understand each other if we are to remove this continually problematic pronouncement of reality.

No matter how many experts there are on the issue of post-traumatic stress disorder and how veterans do not often fit the predisposed presentation of Rambo, nothing will change if those who report on those of us who deal with some level of the disorder choose to frame it as something other then what it is. The media — like the populace at large and, to some degree, veterans who present themselves as such to excuse otherwise bad behavior — are just as culpable for the situation in which we find ourselves. All of us need to strive to change this fiction into its reality.

Donleigh Gaunky
La Crosse, Wis.

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