Politicize This

With the most absurd presidential election of my lifetime in full swing, it can be difficult to find any news story or article that can last a full day before getting pushed off the front page by the latest antics of the candidates running for the highest office in the United States.

That is unfortunate – especially when the news is about Charles Richard Ingram III. Ingram, a veteran of the US Navy who served during the First Gulf War, doused himself with gasoline and set himself on fire outside of the VA clinic in Northfield, New Jersey on March 19th. Unfortunately, the clinic wasn’t open on that Saturday – its hours are 8:30 am to 4:30 pm, Monday through Friday – and no one was available to help Ingram or stop his very successful suicide attempt.

According to Captain Paul Newman of the Northfield Police Department, Ingram walked the 9 miles from his home to the VA clinic where he had been receiving psychiatric counseling. Newman responded to the scene after a 911 call brought fire and police to the site.

“Regardless of where you work, that’s a significant thing, one you hope to never have to see in your career,” Newman told reporters.

Northfield FDIngram left behind his wife and two young children. He also left behind a host of questions on why he committed an act that is normally associated with political protest and why the staff of the clinic was unaware of his mental state. Currently, there doesn’t appear to be anyone who is interested in finding those answers. It has been over three weeks since the suicide and there has not been a national outcry on discovering the reasons behind his actions, none of the presidential candidates has taken up the questions he has left.

More’s the pity.

Ingram was a decorated combat vet, a father and a husband. He was also – obviously – a deeply troubled man who couldn’t find his answers within the health system that was supposed to help him. Instead, it is easier to whitewash the flaws of the system and accuse the people who want reforms of “trying to kill it.”

The VA system is broken. On top of the numerous other scandals that the department is facing, this should be the wakeup call for a system that cares more for the paper pushers running the offices than the veterans who are desperately in need of help. It’s time for real changes to be made. It’s time that veterans become important to the VA.

Fair winds and following seas, Chief Ingram, I am sorry that we could not help you when you needed us.

Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.

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Matt Towns

Matt is a former military journalist who spent 10 years in the US Navy. He served in various posts during his career, including a couple of deployments on the USS Valley Forge (CG-50). After leaving the Navy, he worked in management for a number of years before opening his own businesses. He ran those businesses until 2012 when he chose to leave the retail industry and return to writing. Matt currently works as a freelance writer, contributing to the US Patriot blog and other websites about political affairs, military activities and sailing.
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