Apparently we have learned little if anything from the Texas church shooting?
Army lifts ban on waivers for recruits with history of some mental health issues
by Tom Vanden Brook
WASHINGTON – People with a history of “self-mutilation,” bipolar disorder, depression and drug and alcohol abuse can now seek waivers to join the Army under an unannounced policy enacted in August, according to documents obtained by USA TODAY.
The decision to open Army recruiting to those with mental health conditions comes as the service faces the challenging goal of recruiting 80,000 new soldiers through September 2018. To meet last year’s goal of 69,000, the Army accepted more recruits who fared poorly on aptitude tests, increased the number of waivers granted for marijuana use and offered hundreds of millions of dollars in bonuses.
Stop right there. You needn’t go any farther. I am well versed in these conditions because I witnessed them myself whilst attached to numerous training venues in my law enforcement department and law enforcement in general in the 1990s. And beyond.
Because, for example, that is how we got Rampart in the LAPD. Poor and/or lax backgrounding due to administrative pressure to throw more recruits into various academies. The laughable axiomatic joke bandied about by recruiters then was “and instead of asking them (potential recruits) if they’ve done dope at all, we ask them ‘how much dope did you do before you got here today?’ ”
“Predictable is preventable.”
And the US Army’s results from this act are simultaneously predictable and preventable. In other words, as Gordon Graham illustrates here, “high risk, low frequency” incidents for emergency responders, police and fire personnel — applicable also to our military.
Can we not see that this new US Army policy is fraught with unintended yet terribly predictable consequences if we but examine past incidents closely?
Lax hiring in order to fill orders for more recruits from an uninterested or damaged gene pool. That never proffers excellent or even languid results.
Life, after all, is nothing if not cyclical. Every time something like this happens, Gordon Graham winces and shivers in response.
Then he makes more cash in retrospect when people begin to ask: “have we seen anything like this before?”
This is the Gordon Graham Risk Assessment Chart.
Because, in hard budgetary times for law enforcement, what is the first, the absolute first venue to be cut in any and every department? Training. Period. Training. And that includes money spent for academies. And backgrounds. And recruitment.
Seen it, done it, lived it, for over four decades. What are the greatest areas of potential exposure for emergency response agencies?
- Negligence in hiring
- Negligence in training;
- Negligence in retention.
The Rand Corporation published a very expensive study. It proffered an assload of multisyllabic words. What was said, essentially, was this: you’re no better than your gene pool. Which would account for LAPD’s leaving SoCal and actively poaching and soliciting recruits in Northern California. Precisely because they “weren’t” SoCal.
Expanding the waivers for mental health is possible in part because the Army now has access to more medical information about each potential recruit, Lt. Col. Randy Taylor, an Army spokesman, said in a statement. The Army issued the ban on waivers in 2009 amid an epidemic of suicides among troops.
“The decision was primarily due to the increased availability of medical records and other data which is now more readily available,” Taylor’s statement to USA TODAY said. “These records allow Army officials to better document applicant medical histories.”
So now you have access to records which only confirm that your potential recruits are troubled and slagged with drugs. What positive affirmation is that?
What the hell am I missing here?
Perhaps it’s time to allow Captain Obvious into the room.
But accepting recruits with those mental health conditions in their past carries risks, according to Elspeth Ritchie, a psychiatrist who retired from the Army as a colonel in 2010 and is an expert on waivers for military service. People with a history of mental health problems are more likely to have those issues resurface than those who do not, she said.
Wowzer. Could anyone else besides me have possibly anticipated a response akin to that?
While bipolar disorder can be kept under control with medication, self-mutilation — where people slashing their skin with sharp instruments — may signal deeper mental health issues, according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Health Disorders, which is published by the American Psychiatric Association.
Oh please. What’s the problem with “self mutilation”? Let’s get real here.
But wait. Consider this:
If self-mutilation occurs in a military setting, Ritchie said, it could be disruptive for a unit. A soldier slashing his or her own skin could result in blood on the floor, the assumption of a suicide attempt and the potential need for medical evacuation from a war zone or other austere place.
“Could result in blood on the floor.”
Carlos is in a foxhole with Tashay. Tashay whips out a razor blade and starts slashing her/its wrists. Artillery shells are cascading all around. Carlos does what?
- Writes a letter of objection;
- Pees his pants;
- Fires back at the enemy;
The worst response is, of course, the last. And so it goes.
Please stand by for the most critical sentence in the entire article.
Accepting recruits with poor qualifications can cause problems.
How could anyone possibly have seen that coming?
The Army did not respond to a question of how many waivers, if any, have been issued since the policy was changed.
I term that a clue.
Damned if they do and damned if they don’t.
How are the armed services supposed to react?
They will be excoriated by mental health advocates who say that people with mental challenges should be provided with opportunities like any other individual.
They will be excoriated by persons who point out that mental health issues and problems weren’t recognized and dealt with appropriately, certainly in the First Baptist Church shooting in Sutherland Springs.
I say two things in response:
- It’s time for the armed services to cease being test beds for social engineering, stop with the political correctness and get back to protecting the nation and the world;
- It’s also time for the armed services to do their jobs and input required information regarding discharges and crimes committed by their charges.
But of course, this is me allowing facts, history, logic, rationality, proportion and common sense get in the way of a good fucked-up Leftist decision.
The Army has,
in its infinite wisdom, decided to backtrack a bit. From USAToday.com:
Army says USA TODAY story forced it to drop plans for waivers for high-risk recruits
by Tom Vanden Brook
WASHINGTON — Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley said Wednesday the Army has rescinded a September memo stating that people with certain mental health issues, including self-mutilation, would be eligible for waivers to join the service.
Milley, appearing before reporters, said the Army rescinded the memo because of an article published Sunday by USA TODAY.
He maintained that the policy on considering such waivers had not changed but had been delegated to a lower level for approval.
Milley said the Army had done a “terrible” job explaining the policy. He credited USA TODAY for bringing the issue to his attention.
“There wasn’t a change in policy,” Milley said. “There cannot be a change in policy by someone who doesn’t have the authority to change policy. I know it sounds circular.”
The memo from Sept. 7 said that people with a history of “self-mutilation,” bipolar disorder, depression and drug and alcohol abuse would be eligible to obtain waivers to join the Army. The change, which was not announced publicly, was made in August, according to documents obtained by USA TODAY.
Common sense public pressure.
Sometimes it works.