Monday, December 7, 2009

Vets On Death Row

By GARY BAUMGARTEN
Paltalk News Network


Yesterday I chatted with a woman on Facebook whose husband is about to be deployed by the military. She just received a notice from her landlord that her house is being sold and she has until the end of the month to get out with her three children.

I suggested that perhaps there ought to be a law that grants special dispensation to military families whose head of household is deployed in cases like this. At least give the family a reasonable amount of time to find another place to live.

This morning, I read an article that suggests similar dispensation to war veterans who commit capital offenses.

The AlterNet article - "Purple Hearts On Death Row" - argues that veterans who commit heinous crimes while suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder should automatically be disqualified from capital punishment.

I'm not a fan of the death penalty to begin with. Even so, I'm not certain whether setting a principle that at least suggests that PTSD is a legal excuse for committing a violent crime would be a good one. But I don know one thing that this article reminds us. We, as a nation, are not doing enough to help those we send into the field of battle transition back into civilian life. And that includes not enough mental health care for those who are psychologically damaged by the experience.

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