Jonathan Schulze was a United States Marine.
He died earlier this month at the age of 25 -- not in Iraq, but back home, in Minnesota.
He died of wounds received during his seven-month tour of duty in Iraq, wounds different from the ones that earned Schulze two purple hearts. This young man died of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, of wounds to the soul and not the flesh. He died because the government that was there to send him far away to fight in 2004 wasn't there for him when he got home.
The young Marine was wounded twice in battle but returned home to rebuild his life and to cope with the things he had seen, things he had done and friends he had lost. But, by the time he was discharged from the Marines in late 2005, he was deeply troubled with images of combat and violence that he could not get out of his mind.
According to Minnesota press reports, Schulze went to the Veterans Administration (VA) center in Minneapolis on December 14, 2006, met with a psychiatrist and was told that he could only be admitted for treatment four months later, in March.
On January 11, 2007, accompanied by his parents, he went to the VA hospital in St. Cloud, Minnesota and told people at that VA facility that he was thinking of killing himself. They told Schulze that they could not admit him as a patient and sent him on his way.
The next day, January 12, Schulze called the VA, reiterating that he was feeling suicidal. He was told that he was number 26 on the waiting list.
A man who had risked his life in Iraq and done everything that was asked of him by the United States government, was told by that same government that his sacrifice would be repaid by being 26th on a list of Veterans similarly crying out for help.
On January 16, Schulze called his family and told them that he was going to do it -- he was going to kill himself. His family called the local police, who raced to his house, kicked in his door and found him hanging from an electrical cord.
Attempts to resuscitate him were unsuccessful.
"He was a delayed casualty of the Iraq war," his father, Jim Schulze, a Vietnam Veteran, said of Jonathan.
Go read the rest.
When this kid told the VA that he was feeling suicidal, they shoulda grabbed his young ass and put him in a facility on a 3-day mental hold and gotten him counseling, drugs, whatever, RIGHT FUCKIN' NOW. If he'da been in jail, say for drunk driving, and said that, the jail would've done something like that. At minimum, they'd have put him where he couldn't hurt himself and kept watch until a pro could talk to him.
Cases like Jon Schulze go to the head of the line. Period.
The VA? Apparently not. Absolutely unconscionable and unacceptable. They are complicit in his demise.
This will not be the only time we hear something like this. I fear many more like it are on the way.