MARINE CORPS TIMES: Marine Colonel calls suicide ‘shameful,’ cites ‘godless age’ and calls on Marines to ‘read some scripture’

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  1. Bob Jones

    I think the Col. Could well have a point. Is he allowed to order his men to attend a Church or read scripture ?I don’t think so .Suggest doing so, why not?He is to look after his men , right.O back to Their religion, studies , readings of good. Problem with that when we have that many suicides without answers as to why
    Movies, TV, Internet, and feeling of instant gratification can all be part of It.Going back to your beginning of calm, peace, something good tombelieve In, self..well, that can’t hurt



    People have all kinds of stressors ( physical dangers of combat, family worries, financial, etc) that can drive them to suicide. I dn’t think that this military leader has a mental health background or expertise to say that it is due to a lack of religious practises or beliefs in people’s lives.

  3. Mark Sebree

    Bob Jones,

    A col. “suggesting” that is troops attend church and read the Bible IS an order, especially when done forcefully. It has to do with the hierarchical dynamics of the military, especially with a CO over the junior and mid ranked enlisted, as well as the junior officers. He ONLY endorsed christianity. And what about the atheists and agnostics in his command? He is really throwing them under the tank with his words, especially those that became atheists and agnostics BECAUSE they had read the Bible. (The most common reason for Christians to become atheists/agnostics in the USA). Telling those that are not religious or follow a minority religion for which there are not services available to attend religious services adds to the isolation and feeling of being outsiders.

    If the Col. REALLY wants to do something about the suicide rates, there are other steps that can be taken, some of which would need to be pushed up the chain of command.

    First, STOP PUSHING HIS RELIGION ON HIS TROOPS AND MAKING MANY OF THEM FEEL LIKE OUTSIDERS WITH NO PLACE TO TURN TO!!!! That is something that will make any mental health problems worse, not better.

    Second, work to change the regulations, and thus the culture, for getting help. By this, I mean change what military psychiatrists and psychologists are required to report to the patient’s superiors. Retain things like “reasonably belief of the patient is in imminent danger of harming himself and/or others”, but get rid of things like alcoholism and drug abuse and treatment. Drop any martial counseling from the reporting requirements. Drop depression, PTSD, and similar mental illnesses from the reporting requirements. Basically, treat the reporting requirements as classified as required by the US government’s HIPAA laws, and not anyone else’s business unless there is a real danger to the patient or others. If the soldier or sailor is going to a mental health professional, then he or she is trying to treat an issue before it gets out of hand.

    Third, don’t automatically suggestion that the soldier/sailor with a problem go talk to the chaplain, especially when a mental health professional would be better. Many chaplains come from evangelical denominations, and they often want to either convert the distressed military people, or impose they personal beliefs onto the distressed military people. Or both. This often CAUSES more problems for the person, especially LBGT personnel. The chaplain usually is also not trained to treat actual mental health issues, and may be unqualified to handle marital problems as well.

    Not everyone sees the Bible as a “source of good”. There are many that see it as a source of evil, hatred, bigotry, racism, discrimination, and other ills, and with good reason. There is no “one size fits all” solution to suicide, or any other mental health or personal problem. Trying to push such a poor “solution” onto others for which it does not fit will just make the problem worse.

  4. Grey One talks sass

    The Colonel is a person who sees all Mental Health issues as nails to be hammered. I know their type having been exposed to the Mental Health system for more than a few decades. Honestly, they do more harm than good.

    From the article: “In an email he sent to staff, which was obtained by Marine Corps Times, Col. Dom D. Ford, the commander of Marine Corps Communication-Electronics School at Twentynine Palms, California, called on Marines to read some scripture to boost their religious and spiritual wellness and help combat the suicide epidemic.”

    No where in the article did I find any reference to addressing the source – why these warriors felt so trapped, so alone and without resources. Perhaps sending warriors to die for Corporate Greed isn’t the no risk scenario promised by the Higher Ups?

    I know my late husband struggled with the tasks he was ordered to perform. People killed not because they were combatants or “evil” but because they were In The Way. In the way of what? That question was apparently above his pay grade. Be a good soldier he was told; do what we tell you. He did and it haunted him to his death.

    So in the news I read about specific soldiers who went on killing sprees betraying every oath made to their country. I read about a politician bragging about violating the Geneva Convention, and for the love of anything that is holy, rewarded by the idiot citizenry who continue to elect them.

    Perhaps Command needs to LISTEN to their soldiers instead of assuming all they need is more Gwad and Country. Seems to me the latter has resulted in some very dark times in history.

    added rant – will the Christian Nationalists please get it through their head that most Atheists are who they are because they’ve read the holy books written by the Children of Abraham? This idea which CN’s obsess upon where we heathens are this way because we’ve not heard their “Good News” is insulting at best and fighting words if they don’t back off from my face. In my entire life I’ve yet to find anyone to offer a fresh take on the big three. I love energetic discourse; too bad those mired in the conservative religions dogma offer only talking points.

  5. Paul Ferd

    You are a blowhard and full of it. A suggestion in an emaail to all hands – during a time when your command is experiencing a 350 percent increase in suicidal ideations/attempts (did the Times mention that? I was at that command when the CO sent that email. Where you?) to try something different and develop spiritual fitness – which is proven to work- isnt wrong. There can be zero moral ambiguity when addressing our nation’s young warriors on what is right and wrong. There are some things that an active duth Marine does that are shameful but arent for a civilian. Different standards, and for good reason.

  6. DF

    You would have a point but the command the colonel commanded was a school that mainly taught Marines under the age of 20 right out of boot camp. All of the suicidality that command saw ( i was there when the colonel sent the email) was from junior troops who had never seen combat and had barely left home. 95 percent were fresh from boot camp and simply lacked coping skills and resiliency, usually due to growing up in fatherless, non religious homes. Usually they were sad about a romantic breakup. But what do I know….you know “the type” so you are clearly the duty expert on the subject.

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