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Author Topic: No comments on the Edmonton Demolition Derby?
Michael Dorosh
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posted 13 April 2021 04:17     Profile for Michael Dorosh   Author's Homepage   Email Michael Dorosh     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
Has there been a thread on the recent PTSD incident? Doesn't seem like this crowd not to comment.

Cpl McEachern served in my MIlitia regiment but I am not at liberty to discuss what hasn't been in the public domain, even though I never knew him nor did I work in the orderly room when any of his docs resided there. Nonetheless, he has gotten what to me seems like short shrift in some other discussion groups and I would be interested in how you other detached observers have viewed this situation.

The latest news I read was that he is claiming his actions were a suicide bid.

Other reactions I've read to him have been less than complimentary. I think it may be unfortunate that his mother has become a spokesperson. I personally think its admirable for anyone (woman or man) to publicly defend their son, but in some quarters it has been seen as "hiding behind mommy", which seems to me to be uncharitable in the extreme.

Any other thoughts or reactions?

Or is this not in the news east of Medicine Hat?

[ 13 April 2001: Message edited by: Michael Dorosh ]

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Posts: 126 | From: Calgary, Alberta | Registered: Aug 2000  |  IP: Logged
Nate
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posted 13 April 2021 05:09     Profile for Nate   Email Nate     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
I do not know enough details of the incident to condemn or support the soldier, but I feel pity and sorrow for him regardless. The government does not invest in treatment for PTSS, and has an abysmal record for supporting the personnel of the CAF. If this case represents an extreme result of PTSS being exposed to the public, then the Canadian press has failed as well, for they have not shown the publicthe PTSS related suicide attemts that have succeeded.

Regards,

Nate


Posts: 13 | From: winnipeg | Registered: Mar 2001  |  IP: Logged
Gunner
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posted 13 April 2021 19:39     Profile for Gunner   Author's Homepage   Email Gunner     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
Hey, I will agree wholehardedly that the CF was slow in the beginning to provide support for members of the CF that suffer from PTSD. HOWEVER, that was than and now there are numerous programs in place to help members of the CF. If you think you have any of the symptoms or simply need someone to talk to, support is there for you at any base (heck, mental health professionals will even fly out to see you). Call any base and speak with the medical people.

WRT the subject at hand, It's hard to say the CF hasn't taken PTSD seriously in the case of Cpl McEachern. Cpl McEachern has been on the MPHL undergoing treatment for PTSD for over 2 and a half years. This means he doesn't go to work with his unit (1 PPCLI). He is allowed to concentrates on overcoming his PTSD by working with medical specialists. He even gets to work in the civilian environment collecting both military and civilian pay. He is scheduled for release this summer as a medical discharge. He will receive a medical pension and will continue treatment for his disorder. Is this the CF not helping him out?

Cpl McEachern chose to drink alcohol, chose to get drunk, chose to drive a brand new Nissan Xterra through the base HQ...he chose the behaviour and he will hopefully have to pay the consequences. I don't buy he arguement that the military wasn't helping him and he did it as a "cry for help". Alot of people in Edmonton are upset that this joker is being hailed as a "hero" and all the attention he is receiving from the media, the Ombudsman and military heirarchy. If I have to listen his mother whine about how poorly treated her son is I'm going to scream!

My final point is PTSD seems to be the flavour of the month. Anyone that has been on any type of mission (including Golan Heights, Alert, Germany and Cyprus) are able to justify their personnal problems as a case of PTSD and, in my mind, are using the system to their advantage. I am not saying that there are not members of the CF that have PTSD and the CF should do everything in their power to help them out. Where do we draw the line though?

If you served your country and feel you are suffering from PTSD then by all means GET HELP, but save the hero labels for the guys who really deserve it.

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Posts: 95 | From: Army of the West | Registered: Jun 2000  |  IP: Logged
bossi
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posted 14 April 2021 16:54     Profile for bossi   Author's Homepage   Email bossi     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
Frankly, when I initially saw this thread the first thought which came to mind was "... kicking somebody when they are down ...".
As such, I "slept on it". Today, however, my view remains the same.

I certainly do not want to be "holier than thou", but for me it's relatively simple: I don't know all the facts - I only know what I've seen in the media, and here. Also, I don't know the individual concerned.
Thus, it's easy for me to err on the side of discretion in this instance.

Certainly, smashing up a building with a vehicle is an unusual method of expression - no doubt about it. However, Canadian justice (both military and civilian) is supposed to examine incidents like these from a number of angles - circumstances, motive and prior record, to name but a few.

Thus, I'm inclined to suggest we all wait and see what happens as due process takes place (i.e. I'm not just saying this because it's Easter and I've overdosed on chocolate bunnies, but ... before nailing anybody else to a cross, let's at least have a fair hearing).

Dileas Gu Brath,
M.B.

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Posts: 209 | From: Toronto, Ontario, Canada | Registered: Jun 2000  |  IP: Logged
JRMACDONALD
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posted 15 April 2021 11:22     Profile for JRMACDONALD   Author's Homepage   Email JRMACDONALD     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
Gunner , I think the line was drawn at a rank level. a certain Maj Gen comes to mind!!!

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Posts: 92 | From: CALGARY,AB, CANADA | Registered: Aug 2000  |  IP: Logged
recceguy
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posted 15 April 2021 14:09     Profile for recceguy   Author's Homepage   Email recceguy     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
I like to know more about this incident, it wasn't carried in the local papers. I do know the military is making tremendous efforts in the area of PTSD nowdays than before. Whether to cover their butts or out of a true sense of compassion for our returning service people, who knows? It's happening, that's the main thing. Like I say I don't know the particulars, cry for help or genuine effort to end it all? I do know from 3 friends that ate gun barrels (all civilian), one that hung himself (military) and one who drove into a wall(civilian), if you truly want to go, you seldom get caught.
Posts: 28 | From: SouthWestern Ontario | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
bossi
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posted 16 April 2021 21:20     Profile for bossi   Author's Homepage   Email bossi     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
Here is somewhat of a summary from a media source (in response to "recceguy" wanting to know more about this story):

April 11, 2021


Former general to probe sick soldier's case
Suicide attempt alleged as man drove SUV into building


James Cudmore
National Post
EDMONTON - André Marin, the Canadian Forces ombudsman, yesterday appointed a high profile former general to investigate the case of a soldier who allegedly tried to commit suicide by driving his SUV through the front doors of a military headquarters in Edmonton.

Brigadier-General Joe Sharpe, who retired from the Canadian Forces in January, was asked to examine allegations Corporal Christian McEachern crashed his SUV into the Edmonton headquarters in a suicidal act of vengeance that resulted from shoddy treatment by the Canadian Forces.

"Joe Sharpe is just the perfect guy for this kind of work. He doesn't try to embellish matters, he says things the way they are, which is, I think, how he developed his credibility and his reputation," Mr. Marin said.

"He certainly has the confidence of the rank and file and I want to make sure people have confidence in the conduct of our investigation."

Cpl. McEachern faces five charges including impaired, dangerous and careless driving, assaulting a police officer and mischief as a result of the SUV incident. He has been on sick leave from his infantry battalion for two-and-a-half years after being diagnosed with post-traumatic stress resulting from peacekeeping deployments in Croatia and Rwanda.

Mr. Marin agreed to investigate the case last week following a meeting in Edmonton with Cpl. McEachern and Paula Richmond, his mother.

But yesterday Mr. Marin raised the profile of the case by appointing. Brig.-Gen. Sharpe, a popular and respected officer who previously headed a lengthy investigation into a 1993 Canadian deployment to Croatia, to assist in the case. In that investigation, Brig.-Gen. Sharpe concluded that a string of mysterious illnesses affecting Canadian soldiers who had served in Croatia were linked to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Yesterday, Mr. Marin said it was his experience investigating PTSD that made the retired general a perfect candidate for the McEachern investigation.

"He's done a lot of work in this area and he's an individual who when he was in uniform was accepted as an expert on the topic by the military," Mr. Marin said. "I expect his investigation will tackle some very thorny and difficult issues."

In March, the National Post ran a story on PTSD in which Brig.-Gen. Sharpe criticized the Canadian Forces for neglecting soldiers who return from overseas violence stricken with the psychological disorder.

"I have to be candid, I get a little perturbed at how we treat some of our people," he said in the article.

Yesterday, Mrs. Richmond, who speaks on behalf of Cpl. McEachern, her son, said Brig.-Gen. Sharpe's straight but stern language had renewed her spirit after a Parliamentary defence committee refused to allow her to speak to them about her son's illness.

"I can't tell you how much hope General Sharpe gave me. This means so much to us," she said. Mrs. Richmond believes the general's appointment will benefit her son.

"He knows what he's talking about and we need knowledgeable people who know about post-traumatic stress disorder," she said. "He is sympathetic to the enlisted man, which really does a lot for my heart. How much better could that be?"

Contacted in Ottawa, Brig.-Gen. Sharpe, said after 35 years of service in the Canadian Forces he was happy to be working outside the system to help soldiers like Cpl. McEachern.

" I like people, I like working with people and I like solving their problems," he said.

"They need some place to go when things get really frustrating before they drive their SUVs into buildings."

Brig.-Gen. Sharpe said as a former military insider who had studied PTSD he was in a unique position to help the ombudsman's office better understand the pressures soldiers face on dangerous overseas peacekeeping missions.

"Hopefully, with my name recognition, perhaps a few other soldiers who are having difficulties will come forward," Brig.-Gen. Sharpe said.

"That's exactly the reason I was so keen on joining in."

Post-traumatic stress disorder affects people who have undergone highly stressful or dangerous events. It can result in nightmares, depression, acts of violence and suicide.

Yesterday, Cpl. McEachern was awarded two more medals from the Canadian Forces in recognition of his military service.

Mrs. Richmond said she found the presentation ironic coming less than a week after her son was charged: "The timing is really weird," she said.

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Posts: 209 | From: Toronto, Ontario, Canada | Registered: Jun 2000  |  IP: Logged
recceguy
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posted 16 April 2021 22:17     Profile for recceguy   Author's Homepage   Email recceguy     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
bossi,
Thanks much for the info. Let's not judge and just hope this fella gets whatever help he needs. There but for the grace of God go we(to paraphrase). recceguy.

Posts: 28 | From: SouthWestern Ontario | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
123456
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posted 18 April 2021 22:21     Profile for 123456   Email 123456     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
I am confused about this PTSD issue. Firstly, can anyone tell me what this sickness is? How you get sick? What kind of help you need to get to get better? Some of you seem to indicate that he is on sick leave and spends all his time trying to get better. If I understand PTSD correctly, it's a psychological ailment caised by surviving a traumatic event that affects the brain in the same way a bullet wound would affect the body part it hit. I have read in a couple of places that some people consider it to be a war injury just like any other war injury. If this is the case, how can some of you take the moral high ground and pontificate that this guy should get over it and should have been more in control the night of the SUV incident. The fact that the military has a bunch of Doctors ready to give the guy pills does not necessarilly constitute "Good" care. What about the military itself (not doctors). How has the military acceptted this guy's injury? Has he been the laughing stock of the Regiment since he got sick? If so, what does that do to a guy who suffers from PTSD. My guess is it does not help. Having said that, I ask you now, is the military truly helping?
Posts: 2 | From: | Registered: Mar 2001  |  IP: Logged
bossi
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posted 18 April 2021 22:53     Profile for bossi   Author's Homepage   Email bossi     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
The question posed by 123456 is not as simple or straightforward as one might think.
From my layman's perspective, mental health could perhaps be considered more of an "art" than an exact science - I simply do not think that "the final chapter" has been written on what we refer to now as PTSD, formerly known as "shell shock", or "combat fatigue", or even "Lacking Morale Fibre" (no - I'm not making it up).
Historically, I suggest that armies were pioneers in "Critical Incident Stress" treatment - most simply put, it is nigh on impossible to effectively treat somebody unless "you were there" (either literally or figuratively) - I've always marvelled at the incredible bond of affection the Old Comrades from my Regiment had for their wartime padre, and certainly he looked after their mental health (although padres usually refer to "souls" instead of technical, medical terminology).
In the same vein, veterans organisations allowed the vets to get together with others who'd been through the wringer with them (even though they didn't know it, these Legion/VFW get-togethers were healthy in the context of CIS debriefings as opposed to individuals retreating into themselves).
But, what do I know (in comparison to the peacetime shrinks who got better marks than me in university and took all the requisite courses)?
Bottom line?
Leaders do the right thing - managers do things the right way.
Until we KNOW otherwise, it's probably wisest to err on the side of discretion/give the benefit of doubt - cut the guy some slack, hope the system is competent/capable (but, watch it carefully just in case cracks appear through which somebody could fall ...).

Dileas Gu Brath,
M.B.

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Posts: 209 | From: Toronto, Ontario, Canada | Registered: Jun 2000  |  IP: Logged
bossi
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posted 19 April 2021 08:48     Profile for bossi   Author's Homepage   Email bossi     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
Purely by coincidence, a letter to the editor from today's National Post touches on this PTSD/CIS thread - Carbert mentions "... how soldiers reach for well-known images to try to explain their experience in war ..." (okay - maybe the connection is obtuse, however I do believe it relevant to our discussion - you can decide for yourself):

Calvary charge
Re: Nurse's Note Lends Credence to Story of Crucified Soldier, April 14. Iain Overton's piece misses the important questions that merit examination when we revisit the story of the "Crucified Canadian." Whether Sergeant Harry Band died from crucifixion or other means is not important. Millions died from 1914-1918 in countless ways. However, as Mr. Overton relates, the story of a wartime crucifixion spread quickly in 1915 and resonates today. In the face of death and horror, the crucifixion of a soldier, whether fact, propaganda or trench myth, would have been a powerful image. In The Great War and Modern Memory, Paul Fussell explores the important role of myth and superstition among solders in WWI and cites the "Crucified Canadian" as an example. He reports how soldiers in northern France and Belgium were constantly reminded of the crucifixion by the calvaries at many rural crossroads. He also describes how the story of the "crucified Canadian" repeated itself in different variations during the war and that American troops in late WWII had a story of the "Crucified American." Sgt. Band's family can pursue how he died. Our efforts might be better applied to understanding how soldiers reach for well-known images to try to explain their experience in war. Finally, the Regiment's name is 48th Highlanders of Canada, not the 48th Canadian Highlanders. B.R. Carbert, Calgary.

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Posts: 209 | From: Toronto, Ontario, Canada | Registered: Jun 2000  |  IP: Logged

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