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The NY TImes Public editor ignorantly blathers on about their series pedaling Veterans as a group of psychotic killers here (reg required)
Some readers wanted to know how the rate of homicides by veterans compared with the civilian rate. Several bloggers did back-of-the-envelope calculations and said the homicide rate for returning veterans was lower than the rate for the general population. So, what’s the problem, they wondered. I asked Martin T. Wells, a professor of statistical sciences at Cornell University, to take a stab at a comparative calculation. The homicide rate for returning combat veterans could be better or worse than the civilian rate, he determined, depending entirely on how many of the 1.6 million military personnel who have been deployed in the Afghanistan and Iraq wars actually saw combat, a number the Pentagon does not have.
Last I checked, there is something called the Combat Action Badge with varations Combat Infantry Badge and Combat Medical Badge)..and the military does keep track of how many it hands out. So the fact that a statistical analysis is impossible is just plain ignorance on the part of the NY Times or whoever their super secret contact in the Pentagon is.(You know...the one who leaks secrets). Unfortunately, for the Times..to do an actual comparison would inolve excluding those 121 Psychotic Killers without a Combat Action Patch or equivalent from their article.
I really don't have a problem with the NY Times doing an article on the difficulty returning Vets have re-integrating into civilian life. I also don't have a problem with doing stories on problems the VA faces....it's been a long time since WWII and Vietnam...the VA is better equipped to deal with 70 year old men with Kidney Stones and 80 year old men with Alzheimers than recently returning 20 year old combat veterans.
I do have a problem with the NY TImes perpetuating the Pychotic Killer Myth...not only does it dishoner our Vets...it compounds their problems in re-integrating. All job applications ask veterans status...planting the seeds in some idiot in the Corporate Human Relations Department that Vets pose a grave threat to the safety of the other employees is just making Vets problems worse. It is hard to describe the feeling when you see the look in the eyes of the prissy little HR clerk that suddenly change to fear when they find the "Vet" box on the application form checked.