Articles of the Week 5/28/12
On this Memorial Day when military leaders around the world honor fallen troops, one Army general has retracted a blog post stating he is "fed up" with soldiers who commit suicide, calling it "an absolutely selfish act." "Wednesday, we lost a Fort Bliss Soldier to an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound. I heard the tragic news as I walked out of a memorial service for another one of our Soldiers who decided to kill himself at home on Christmas Day so that his family would find him. Christmas will never be the same for his two young daughters he left behind," Pittard wrote at the time.
He continued, "I have now come to the conclusion that suicide is an absolutely selfish act. Soldiers who commit suicide leave their families, their buddies and their units to literally clean up their mess. There is nothing noble about suicide."
Later in the post Pittard wrote "I am personally fed up with Soldiers who are choosing to take their own lives so that others can clean up their mess. Be an adult, act like an adult, and deal with your real-life problems like the rest of us."
Oakbrook Terrace Fire Chief Gregory Sebesta said he is carefully monitoring his personnel for signs of critical incident stress after they responded Tuesday to the scene of four fatal shootings and a fire in unincorporated DuPage County.
He said he has made fire district employees aware of services available from the Northern Illinois Critical Incident Stress Management Team, which offers tips such as getting extra rest, spending time with others and alternating periods of exercise with relaxation to ease physical symptoms. Sebesta said counselors also can be made available if emergency responders need someone to talk with.
Fire Chief Mark Duski, of Villa Park and Fire Chief Andy Bonomo, of the York Center Fire Protection District helped provide stress management services while Sebesta was still busy with the fire.
“We're still human,” Sebesta said. “We still have physical setbacks; we still have emotional setbacks.”
Sometimes stress caused by responding to a scene like Tuesday's blaze won't manifest for several months, similar to post-traumatic stress disorder suffered by some military personnel, Sebesta said.