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  #1  
Old 20 January 2007, 09:57 AM
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snopes snopes is offline
 
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Icon81 Vietnam suicides

Comment: I have just recently been told that more Vietnam vets committed
suicide after they returned home to the U.S. than were killed in action
during that war. I find this very hard to believe.
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  #2  
Old 20 January 2007, 10:59 AM
Malruhn Malruhn is offline
 
 
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It's true. It was all the cars involved in the funeral processions that caused the gas crisis in the early '70s.

On a more serious note, there were some - and I recall seeing a report that said that XX% were "expected" to attempt suicide - if the numbers from previous conflicts held true.

Luckily, because of Vietnam, the services now have stress counselors to help the folks deal with what they've seen and done. After the first Gulf War, the numbers were cut by well over 90%.

(I saw the report in '94 or so... the original number was like 0.02% were expected to have psych problems after that were bad enough to attempt suicide. After the GW-I, the number was 0.004% or something near there.)
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Old 20 January 2007, 03:48 PM
Majorsam Majorsam is offline
 
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I wrote a long & drawn out argument saying this is probably bunk, but in my internet searches I found someone who has done the research & writes better than I do.

http://www.ndqsa.com/suicide.html

The problem with this subject is suicide was & is taboo. The "three times as many committed suicide" crowd tend to lump any death that was self-inflicted as a suicide...in other words if they died of a drug overdose, alcoholism, single car crash etc. then they died of suicide. Seems iffy at best to me. They claim that the reason they aren't counted as suicide is out of kindness to the family, or no note was left and it was assumed it was an accident.

http://www.suicidewall.com/

The problem with that thinking, of course, is that it's comparing apples and oranges. If the statistics for Vietnam Vets is off because it doesn't consider those kinds of deaths as suicides, then it is meaningless to compare them to national standards of suicide rates that don't use the looser standards of the suicide wall.

Overall, I highly doubt the premise. Contrary to stereotype, most Vietnam vets are remarkably well adjusted, have lived very normal lives and got over it.

There is, by the way, another similar statistic floating around that more soldiers returning from Afghanistan have died in motorcycle accidents than died in action. I'm still lookign for hard proof on that one
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Old 20 January 2007, 03:55 PM
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CannonFodder CannonFodder is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Majorsam View Post
There is, by the way, another similar statistic floating around that more soldiers returning from Afghanistan have died in motorcycle accidents than died in action. I'm still lookign for hard proof on that one
The statistic that's quoted on AFN over here constantly is more people have died in motorcycle accidents post deployment from Iraq and Afghanistan than have been killed in Afghanistan. Knowing how many of my soldiers (including myself) are buying motorcycles on our return, I don't find this statistic too incredible.
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  #5  
Old 21 January 2007, 01:31 AM
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If they're using VA data on suicides, the conclusion is further compromised by the possibility that many of the people being treated by the VA for Vietnam-combat related PTSD never actually served in combat in Vietnam. Burkett's Stolen Valor estimates in excess of 50%.
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Old 21 January 2007, 02:21 AM
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ganzfeld ganzfeld is offline
 
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I didn't read the articles yet but I wanted to comment about the statistics: 54,000 or so died in the war but there were over two million vets. So one may question whether a suicide rate of 0.07% per year would be very abnormal for that age group.
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  #7  
Old 21 January 2007, 11:18 PM
Majorsam Majorsam is offline
 
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Howdy Cannon;

The statistic I'd been quoted was Afghanistan vets only...Yes, I'd believe the statistic if one lumped OIF in there was well. It is a problem, unfortuantely...young soldiers come back with a wad of cash and buy the most powerful bike they can get, and usually without the life experience to realize 120MPH is a lethal thing.

Of course, young soldiers aren't the only ones...my roommate bought Harley from the on-post vendor & had it waiting for him. A man his age...

Stay safe & sane.
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Old 22 January 2007, 09:35 AM
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CannonFodder CannonFodder is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Majorsam View Post
Howdy Cannon;

The statistic I'd been quoted was Afghanistan vets only...Yes, I'd believe the statistic if one lumped OIF in there was well. It is a problem, unfortuantely...young soldiers come back with a wad of cash and buy the most powerful bike they can get, and usually without the life experience to realize 120MPH is a lethal thing.

Of course, young soldiers aren't the only ones...my roommate bought Harley from the on-post vendor & had it waiting for him. A man his age...

Stay safe & sane.
I bought a Ducati. One of my joes bought a liter class Honda sportbike, several Soldiers have purchased Harleys, and on the day our extension was official one of my buddies (and an absolute combat stud) ordered some kind of $40,000 custom bike. Isn't this how the Hell's Angels got started?
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  #9  
Old 22 January 2007, 02:03 PM
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annabohly annabohly is offline
 
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My oldest brother was in Vietnam and he did try to commit suicide. I was 18 yo and it was pretty bad, he just stared having flashbacks and snapped. He's alright now, but it was really scary.
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  #10  
Old 22 January 2007, 07:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CannonFodder View Post
Isn't this how the Hell's Angels got started?
OT: pretty much. Of course, a lot of them were buying surplus bikes--Harleys and Indians I think--for $50-100 or so.
Also, this is how European sports cars became popular, GIs saw them and drove them over there. When the opportunity to buy them here happened, there was a market.

Back on topic--the statistics for suicide from whatever source are all a little suspect.
Why would someone have to have been in combat to be eligible to be suicide prone? There is survivor's guilt, but surviving is a great gift too.
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