In a surrounding suburb of Philadelphia, a veteran of the invasion of Iraq is a wanted man, accused of killing six family members. Who is to blame for this tragedy? The immediate response is the suspect, Bradley William Stone. And there is substantial reasoning to believe he pulled the trigger. The truth may never be told about the incident because of the horrific consequences of his actions. Was Stone a victim of the illegal war which he was forced to defend, or was it something else? In this particular incident a citizen with a gun killed family members, while the actual criminals remain free.
Murder is an unforgivable crime. Innocent lives lost of innocent citizens and the devastating effect on family and friends is unforgiveable. When these many instances involve former members of our military who were forced to engage in illegal wars over multiple tours of duty, and have been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, we must allocate some of the blame to the perpetrators of the original criminal action. Stone had been diagnosed as one of the affected survivors of the Mideast wars.
Stone insured the safety of his two daughters as he allegedly continued his killing spree. His whereabouts are unknown at this moment. He is suspected of the shooting deaths of his ex-wife, former mother-in-law, grandmother-in-law, sister-in-law and two other family members; all unsuspecting and innocent citizens.
The tragic incident is believed to have been the result of a custody battle over the two minor children which was initiated on December 5th. The result of Stone’s petition are not apparent.
The data is unsubstantiated, but veterans of the Iraqi conflict have suffered far more cases of PTSD than those of Afghanistan. As the search for Stone continues, questions are already arising about the effect of serving in Iraq and how it affected his mental status.
Stone was a reservist in the Marine Corps. Studies which have been accomplished post military conflict in Iraq have exposed the fact that citizens in the national guard and members who were reservists who never considered the possibility of military conflict are more prone to suffer the malady of PTSD.
Stories of lives destroyed by the mental sufferings of military men and women returning from the war zones of Iraq and Afghanistan are far too numerous to recount in an article. Domestic violence, uncontrolled rage, inability to adapt to a ‘normal life,’ depression, and suicidal tendencies are the norm for far too many of our returning soldiers who are attempting to become normal citizens once again.
The question must be asked is the simple truth, and not one which anyone in our government will address. Forced to fight illegal and immoral wars, why are the only individuals who suffer are actually the victims? Why doesn’t the administration who acted illegally and invaded one country which had no connection to 9/11, and another with the pretense of capturing or killing the author of the cowardly events, face recrimination for their lies and criminal actions?
Bradley William Stone is most likely the perpetrator of horrible crimes. He will be caught, killed, or found as a victim of suicide. Nothing positive will survive the horrendous loss of life because of his tragic decision. But we must look at this and other similar situations regarding Iraq and Afghanistan and the men and women who are now attempting to mesh into society. It appears to those outside of the military complex that these men and women are unsupported by their government and the military organization which they served once their combative service has reached it conclusion.
Washington loves to claim to ‘support our troops.’ Once the return home, they are a part of the past and ignored in the future.
By James Turnage