Showing posts from July, 2014

The VA Scandal and What Needs to Change

The recent scandals at the Department of Veterans Affairs is nothing new for the department. The agency has been plagued by mismanagement and has understaffed and underfunded since it's inception. And it will most likely continue as such. A 1970 article from life magazine states, "The VA hospital system . . . the biggest in the world . . . is disgracefully understaffed, with standards far below those of an average community hospital. Many wards remain closed for want of personnel and the rest are strained with overcrowding. . . . At Miami’s VA hospital, while sophisticated new equipment sits idle, patients may wait hours for needed blood transfusions. At the VA’s showplace hospital in Washington, D.C., a single registered nurse may minister to as many as 80 patients at a time. [Doctors in Los Angeles] describe conditions as “medieval” and “filthy.”" [America’s Appalling Veterans Affairs Scandal: The 1970 Edition | LIFE.com…

Fireworks and a Veterans Perspective

My guest commentary in the Everett Herald regarding the effects of fireworks on some combat veterans.

Guest Commentary / Concussive motars set off anxiety: Fireworks make life tough for veterans
By Joe Stone 07/01/2014 5:39 PM
I used to love fireworks. Now, after honorably and proudly serving our country, I have learned to loath them. I'm sure there are a lot of veterans out there who understand what I'm talking about. Shortly after I moved here last year, I was caught completely unaware of the sheer magnitude of fireworks used in the week leading up to the Fourth. The small fireworks aren't so bad; it's the big concussive mortars that really push my anxiety through the roof.
During my time in Iraq we were hit with volleys of real mortar shells at least once (if not twice or more) a day. In fact, it was so regular you could almost set your watch to it. If you were lucky enough to not be around one of the many large generators on the camps, you would sometimes hear the dis…