Army Vet’s Suicide Protests Lack Of Veteran Administration Benefits
By Gloria Christie on May 13, 2015
Suicide Due To Poor Veteran Administration Benefits
Murphy drove to the regional office prepared with a suicide note and a gun. A few minutes before he shot himself, he emailed that note to his siblings. In the email Murphy said, “his arthritis was getting worse,” and he sarcastically“thanked” the VA for not helping him.
The veteran wrote that he, “can no longer afford to pay [his] rent.” Murphy noted he had contacted the New Timespreviously about “homelessness and affordable housing problems in Phoenix.”
The veteran was frustrated with the many claims that the Phoenix VA has not addressed.
Police found a gun next to his body. A witness reported that he saw Murphy come into the parking lot and then he heard a gunshot.
But Why Commit Suicide?
Brandon Coleman worked at the VA with at-risk veterans. The VA whistle blower, who has been assigned leave, reported on the Phoenix VA’s failure to take care of veterans “on the verge of suicide…”
“I don’t think there’s anything more symbolic than to complete suicide on VA grounds.”
Coleman speculated that Murphy was upset with a claim, an appeal, or the medical care he received from the Phoenix VA.
“I think he would want to speak with us about this, I think it was an ultimate show of disregard and just frustration with a broken system.”
The whistle blower said,
“The VA is struggling to hire mental health and social workers, and vets are slipping through the cracks.”
“It’s an ultimate slap in the face to the VA, that something is wrong, to take the extra step to want to finish the act of suicide on VA property so that way they have to clean up the mess.”
The VA released a statement indicating the lone veteran took his own life and that his death was under investigation. Jean Schaefer, VA representative, would not comment on Murphy’s private medical records, citing HIPAA, but she did say the event was “tragic.”
Schaefer commented that suicide and homelessness,
“Are well documented among veterans. Unlike other diseases, where they can just give you a pill, these are some tough issues for veterans, and there is no one solution. These are two issues we’re spending a lot of time and energy and talent on because they are incredibly important.”
The VA continues to investigate.
News has spotlighted the Phoenix VA for issues of poor management, long wait lists, and falsified records. The family of U.S. Army veteran Gene Spencer announced that it was suing the city’s VA for giving him the wrong diagnosis which led to his suicide.
The VA has been starved of funding by the very same people who want to privatize it, chop it up, and give it to their wealthy donors.
Veterans are asking for help. It is not a sign of weakness, nor is screaming or crying. Asking for help means you are human. Reach out to someone.
How many more must die before Congress appropriates full VA funding? Starving the VA for privatization and financial gain is wrong. People are hurting. Our veterans went to war for us. They died for us. What are we willing to do for them?