Save Sgt. Russel - Treatment for PTSD-affected Military Personnel, not Prison
- View SourcePLEASE SUPPORT THE PETITION TO SAVE SGT. RUSSEL
Target: President Obama, Commander in Chief
Sponsored by: Assistance to the Incarcerated Mentally Ill
SGT. JOHN M. RUSSELL is a 44-year-old communication specialist from Sherman, Texas who served 16 years in the U.S. Army. Sgt. Russel was near the end of his third tour in Iraq when he allegedly gunned down five fellow service members at a Baghdad combat stress clinic. Sgt. Russel has been charged with murder. This sick soldier is no cold-blooded killer.
Sgt. Russel was himself the first of six victims of his bout with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, for which he was receiving treatment. Sgt. Russel's breakdown should have been recognized sooner, and he should have been sent home. Sgt. Russel should NOT be executed or imprisoned for life for suffering a war wound. HE NEEDS YEARS OF LONG-TERM HOSPITAL COMMITMENT.
"We've never, I don't believe, had a force that we've put through seven years of continuous combat like this, where such a large percentage of the force is going on these multiple deployments," said Gen. Peter Chiarelli, the Army's vice chief of staff and point man on mental health issues.
"They broke him," Sgt. Russel's father, Wilburn Russell said, wiping away tears. Before the shooting, Russell had e-mailed his wife to tell her "his life was over," his father said.
The undersigned demand that murder charges against Sgt. Russel be dropped. He deserves care and support, not prison. We protest American military personnel coming home to America and becoming PRISONERS OF WAR after serving their country and breaking under the strain of repeated combat missions.
DECRIMINALIZE MENTAL ILLNESS. No one can be punished or rehabilitated into a state of mental health.
NO MAN LEFT BEHIND!
~ A 2007 Army survey of soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan showed that soldiers' mental health deteriorates significantly each time they go to war.
~ Overall, the Army's suicide rate reached a record level in 2008 and is still climbing.
~ More than 27%of the noncommissioned officers surveyed on their third or fourth deployment reported depression, anxiety or acute stress -- compared with 18% of those on their second deployment and 11% on their first tour.
Better security should have been in place. During a psychotic episode, Sgt. Russel was being escorted AWAY from the stress clinic at Camp Liberty where Sgt. Russel had acted erratically. Why was the soldier sent away from the only place on base that could help him? Restraint and treatment enforced to saves lives. Sgt. Russel allegedly overpowered the armed guard and took his weapon.
"They escorted him out with a guy with a gun," Wilburn Russell said. "That was the worst thing they could have done.
Many veterans from Viet Nam, Desert Storm, Iraq and Afghanistan are imprisoned today for inappropriate behavior caused by PTSD, along with 1.25 million other mentally challenged people. Psychiatric patients should be either be committed to quality mental hospitals or released under an Assisted Outpatient Treatment program, depending on their offenses.
We demand that Sgt. Russel not join the ranks of America's 1.25 million inmates who are mentally ill, none of whom should be imprisoned instead of treated.
HOMELESSNESS, PRISON, AND DEATH MUST CEASE BEING AMERICA's ANSWER TO MENTAL ILLNESS.
NO MAN LEFT BEHIND!
Factual content for this petition is from Washington Post at http://www.washingtonpost.com/ and USA Today at http://www.usatoday.com/news%c2%a0
and "What About Our Soldiers?" at http://www.care2.com/c2c/share/detail/1090358
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PETITION TO SAVE SGT. RUSSEL - TREATMENT, NOT PRISON OR EXECUTION
Thank You for Giving Your Assistance to the Incarcerated Mentally ill.
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