Nothing more shocking can happen to anyone than having the experience of walking in on a dead body. It’s even more shocking when it is the dead body of someone previously very close to you; perhaps one of the most important people in your life.
This is the case for the friends, family and loved ones of 22 U.S. military veterans everyday in America. Currently, 22 Vets a day are taking their own lives. This number has been consistent for the past several years, and it’s probably climbing, but statisticians have gotten better at hiding facts through fuzzy math. The numbers certainly haven’t dropped.
If you’d like to know why these veterans are killing themselves in such large numbers, the answer has been revealed in a stunning book called ‘Off Switch’ written by an Iraq War veteran by the name of Kevin Lake. After reading the book, you’ll understand why it’s happening, and more frighteningly, why nothing is being done about it.
The main character and the heroine of the story, Jennifer Hutton, is a VA counselor who deals with Corey in an attempt to help him re-integrate into society after serving a tour of duty in Iraq as a National Guardsmen.
It is through Jennifer’s private diary entries, VA computer note entries, and an omniscient third person narrative that Corey’s story is told, front to finish, of the deployment, coming home, and trying, unsuccessfully, to fit back into a society that he feels could care less about his service.
“Off Switch” written by Kevin E Lake, takes a look at several ranges of the P.T.S.D. spectrum which are mostly ignored in the loud, tribal drum beating chants for the ‘ism (a phrase coined by secondary character, and perhaps the story’s most interesting, Dr. Jerry Barnes) such as the effects of Stockholm Syndrome, dealing with being taken advantage of by anyone who is in a position to do so back home, such as spouses and other family members, and all while being stuck in a combat zone half a world away, with the inability to do anything about it and then having to figure out how to ‘keep your head in the game’ for the sake of staying alive.
We get a glimpse into the stark reality of deployed heroes whose financial, marital and even parental lives back home deteriorate to nothing while they are serving their country and are faced with ‘soldiering on’ while it’s happening, as if it weren’t.
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