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Thank You, Ronda Rousey, For Speaking Up About Suicide
Former UFC champion Ronda Rousey made headlines earlier this week after she candidly revealed that she contemplated suicide after her stunning upset loss to Holly Holm this past November.
Speaking to Ellen Degeneres on Feb. 16, Rousey admitted that when she was in the hospital after the fight, she was literally thinking about killing herself, questioning, “What do I do anymore? No one gives a shit about me anymore without this.”
Her candor was met with mixed reactions from fellow MMA fighters, former boxing heavyweight champs, and, of course, a myriad of different people in the comment sections of blogs and articles throughout the internet.
However, the ripples in discourse that this powerful revelation has stirred up is both refreshing and desperately needed, especially considering the lack of discussion surrounding mental health in this country and the suicide epidemic plaguing our veterans and active-duty service members.
Though some counts vary, post-9/11 veterans have a suicide rate 50% higher than their civilian counterparts, and almost one active-duty service member dies each day by suicide. This is a devastating problem within our warfighter community and why I believe Rousey’s comments were pivotal in continuing the national dialogue about suicide.
When I was perusing the comments sections on different articles I was excited to see very supportive comments regarding her statement. However, they were certainly in the minority. What was more prevalent and pervasive were comments from a plethora of armchair psychologists stating things such as:
“This woman needs professional help to make her understand how lucky she is…”
“This is honestly incredibly disrespectful to people who actually battle depression... The fact that she considered SUICIDE after losing ONE FIGHT is just a slap in the face to all the people who really suffer from this. Pathetic.”
As a veteran who has contemplated suicide and has experienced the loss of fellow veterans to suicide, I could not disagree more.
Arguably the most important thing Rousey did by candidly discussing her suicidal ideations on national television was break down the barrier surrounding suicide by humanizing it. Her statement was certainly not “a slap in the face,” rather more like a warm embrace for other people who have felt the same way.
In a 2014 survey released by Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, 40% of respondents knew at least one post-9/11 veteran who has died by suicide and 47% know at least one that has attempted suicide. And considering some units are hit disproportionately with members dying by suicide, and suicide numbers for female veterans are “staggering,” the most important things for suicidal veterans to understand is that they are not alone. Without discussing this with other people, especially those closest to you, the road to recovery is long and obstructed.
Similarly, not only was it important for Rousey to be so vulnerable during her interview, it is extremely helpful that she is perceived as a “universally acknowledged badass.” Sound familiar? The United States has the best military in the history of the world, built by 200-plus years of veterans fighting bravely for their country, which is why so many of us hear things similar to Rousey’s criticism.
Ask any veteran who has lost a fellow vet to suicide and it’s eerie how similar their responses are. Most have to explain that the victim of suicide was the toughest person in their unit, the baddest on the battlefield, or the most squared-away person they knew, while having to reconcile why they didn’t know what was going on inside the head of the person they admired.
Veterans often go out of their way to avoid discussing their struggles because they are more concerned with how we will be perceived and are afraid to be stigmatized for having an invisible wound. This will continue until our veterans feel safe enough to be more open about their struggles with suicidal ideations and leading the charge to change the status quo, like when Medal of Honor recipient Sgt. Dakota Meyer bravely discussed a suicide attempt in his harrowing memoir.
The backlash against Rousey for discussing this incredibly sensitive topic insinuates that there is a right time and circumstance for suicide, but this wasn’t it. However, nothing could be further from the truth. People with suicidal ideations shouldn’t be looking for justification, they should be looking for help, and unless we, as a society, begin to tear down the wall that prevents us from treating a mental health problem differently than a physical health problem, we will continue to lose some of the bravest women and men who have fought for our country.
The Marine lieutenant colonel who was removed from command of 1st Reconnaissance Battalion in May is accused of lying to investigators looking into allegations of misconduct, according to a copy of his charge sheet provided to Task & Purpose on Monday.
President Donald Trump just can't stop telling stories about former Defense Secretary James Mattis. This time, the president claims Mattis said U.S. troops were so perilously low on ammunition that it would be better to hold off launching a military operation.
"You know, when I came here, three years ago almost, Gen. Mattis told me, 'Sir, we're very low on ammunition,'" Trump recalled on Monday at the White House. "I said, 'That's a horrible thing to say.' I'm not blaming him. I'm not blaming anybody. But that's what he told me because we were in a position with a certain country, I won't say which one; we may have had conflict. And he said to me: 'Sir, if you could, delay it because we're very low on ammunition.'
"And I said: You know what, general, I never want to hear that again from another general," Trump continued. "No president should ever, ever hear that statement: 'We're low on ammunition.'"
This 400-pound feral hog is one of more than 1,200 that have invaded a Texas Air Force base since 2016
At least one Air Force base is waging a slow battle against feral hogs — and way, way more than 30-50 of them.
A Texas trapper announced on Monday that his company had removed roughly 1,200 feral hogs from Joint Base San Antonio property at the behest of the service since 2016.
In a move that could see President Donald Trump set foot on North Korean soil again, Kim Jong Un has invited the U.S. leader to Pyongyang, a South Korean newspaper reported Monday, as the North's Foreign Ministry said it expected stalled nuclear talks to resume "in a few weeks."
A letter from Kim, the second Trump received from the North Korean leader last month, was passed to the U.S. president during the third week of August and came ahead of the North's launch of short-range projectiles on Sept. 10, the South's Joongang Ilbo newspaper reported, citing multiple people familiar with the matter.
In the letter, Kim expressed his willingness to meet the U.S. leader for another summit — a stance that echoed Trump's own remarks just days earlier.
Constant deployments broke the Air Force's B-1 fleet. Now the service is facing a major bomber shortfall
On April 14, 2018, two B-1B Lancer bombers fired off payloads of Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missiles against weapons storage plants in western Syria, part of a shock-and-awe response to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's use of chemical weapons against his citizens that also included strikes from Navy destroyers and submarines.
In all, the two bombers fired 19 JASSMs, successfully eliminating their targets. But the moment would ultimately be one of the last — and certainly most publicized — strategic strikes for the aircraft before operations began to wind down for the entire fleet.
A few months after the Syria strike, Air Force Global Strike Command commander Gen. Tim Ray called the bombers back home. Ray had crunched the data, and determined the non-nuclear B-1 was pushing its capabilities limit. Between 2006 and 2016, the B-1 was the sole bomber tasked continuously in the Middle East. The assignment was spread over three Lancer squadrons that spent one year at home, then six month deployed — back and forth for a decade.
The constant deployments broke the B-1 fleet. It's no longer a question of if, but when the Air Force and Congress will send the aircraft to the Boneyard. But Air Force officials are still arguing the B-1 has value to offer, especially since it's all the service really has until newer bombers hit the flight line in the mid-2020s.