Monday, July 18, 2011

Help for a veteran in "a perfect storm of things going wrong"

An encouraging story from Michigan about how the local courts and police worked with a veteran with PTSD to salvage his life. MP+

July 17, 2011
Coming Together to Fight for a Troubled Veteran

OKEMOS, Mich. — When the standoff began on a humid August night, it seemed destined to become one more case of a returned soldier pulled down by a war he could not leave behind.

Staff Sgt. Brad Eifert circled through the woods behind his house here, holding a .45-caliber pistol. The police were out there somewhere and, one way or the other, he was ready to die.

He raised the gun to his head and then lowered it. Then he fired nine rounds.

“They’re going to take me down, they’re going to finish me off, so,” he remembers thinking, “finish me off.”

Leaving his weapon, he ran into the driveway, shouting, “Shoot me! Shoot me! Shoot me!” The police officers subdued him with a Taser and arrested him. A few hours later, he sat in a cell at the Ingham County Jail, charged with five counts of assault with intent to murder the officers, each carrying a potential life sentence.

In daring the police to kill him, Mr. Eifert, who had served in Iraq and was working as an Army recruiter, joined an increasing number of deployed veterans who, after returning home, plunge into a downward spiral, propelled by post-traumatic stress disorder or other emotional problems.

Their descent is chronicled in suicide attempts or destructive actions that bring them into conflict with the law — drunken driving, bar fights, domestic violence and, in extreme instances, armed confrontations with the police of the kind that are known as “suicide by cop.”

Such stories often end in death or prison, the veteran in either case lost to the abyss.

But something different happened in Mr. Eifert’s case. Headed for disaster, he was spared through a novel court program and an unusual coming together of a group of individuals — including a compassionate judge, a flexible prosecutor, a tenacious lawyer and an amenable police officer — who made exceptions and negotiated compromises to help him.

Read the whole story here.

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Mad Padre

Mad Padre
Opinions expressed within are in no way the responsibility of anyone's employers or facilitating agencies and should by rights be taken as nothing more than one person's notional musings, attempted witticisms, and prayerful posturings.


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