Which is why we go a little off-script for this episode.
Episode 8 is all about a non-profit called stopsoldiersuicide.org.
From their site:
“We take a unique “triage” approach to helping those who seek us out.
We don’t bandaid the issue with a single answer or 1-800 number.
We “fill the gap” that other organizations are simply unable to do right now.
Stop Soldier Suicide was founded and is led by ex- and active-duty military. We have a personal understanding of what our brothers and sisters are going through. The red tape, the fears, the combat, the deployments, the “coming home.”
As such, we know the problems and issues of military suicide are too complex for a single answer. It might be a financial, housing, relationship, job or substance abuse issue driving feelings of being overwhelmed or depressed. It could be physical issues of TBI, loss of limb or paralysis or mental issues of PTS or depression and anxiety.
Our three-pronged approach means every individual gets the right help and care for their situation. Our Resource Center is our core and how we offer help to those in need. This Center is staffed with volunteers who either have their BSW, MSW or are in training to receive those degrees, all led by our fully licensed MSW (Masters of Social Work) Triage Director.”
Here at American Guerrilla we made it our mission to raise $2,000 in the month of May to support them.
Their Triage Director, Shawn Jones took some time out of his day to talk with us and tell us more about what they are doing and who they are helping.
After you listen to it, if you feel the desire to donate please click the link below.
Jon Gilson is the founder of Again Faster and the AF Project, which supply trainers all of the world with high-quality fitness equipment and high-quality business advice, respectively.
He is also a seasoned trainer and lecturer spending several years on the CrossFit HQ seminar staff and advisory board, traveling the world and sharing his knowledge with others.
He will be in Fort Wayne, IN on March 7th for his 1.0 Seminar…you can register here.
I first met Jon in early 2009 at my CrossFit Level 1 Seminar in Boca Raton, FL.
He started his fitness equipment company (Again Faster) in his apartment while providing immense value to others which provided him with a huge platform to offer quality products to an enthusiastic and rapidly growing customer base…the CrossFit community.
His strategy on providing value first, is the key to building a valuable brand and business.
A few days ago I was interviewed on The Combat Flip Flop’s podcast, “One Sentence or Less.” The format is pretty straight forward, the host gives you 7 words one at a time and you have to express your thoughts on the topic in one sentence or less. It’s quite challenging but fun.
One of the words was conflict. A subject I have been thinking about a lot lately. I can preface this post with the idea that what I am writing is not really a piece on solving any problem but presenting a harsh duality that exists in the world and I believe, with most people. It will probably generate more questions than answers.
Violence and quite often extreme violence exists in our world every day. Most of us are fortunate enough not to have to endure it personally but we learn of the experiences through the news and internet. The few weeks before the podcast interview I was following these stories:
Along with countless other atrocities we will never know of.
I know I may lose some readers at this point and I understand. It’s not pleasant to neither think about nor talk about.
I feel compelled to follow these stories. It’s something about being attached to the pain of the world. Because if we are not, then it’s like burying our heads in the sand and pretending like it doesn’t exist.
In the same breath I know it takes a toll on me. It makes me sad, angry and it makes me want to do something about it.
I think most reasonable people have no interest in harming anyone and more than likely would help someone out who is in need. Most people don’t want anyone going to war and would choose peace over conflict.
Here is the hard part; How do we promote peace and tolerance while at the same time knowing that we need to maintain the capacity to kill someone?
Yesterday the President asked congress to approve sending in ground troops into Iraq…..again. There was also a report that ISIS militants are closing in on an Air Base in Ramadi, Iraq.
Both of these are significant to me for the same reason. In September 2003, as a part of the 1st Infantry Division we drove from Kuwait straight up to Ramadi, Iraq. We established the first major camp in the area and defended it for the next 12 months.
Many soldiers and Marines died helping secure the city and protect the people. And here we are over a decade later in the same place facing a more violent and capable enemy than we did in 2003.
On one hand I say we shouldn’t send in anymore American Soldiers, we have done our part……… the other side says how can we not?
These people are cutting off the heads of innocent aid workers, burning people alive and raping children.
How do we NOT get involved?
But how can Congress, a group that exists of very few combat veterans, make the decision to send other people’s children to die?
They will approve the funding and never set foot in real conflict with the short exception of a photo-op once the harsh fighting is over and after the young men and women have been sent home in flag covered coffins.
The President will meet with the grieving parents and his empty words won’t impact their empty hearts.
If war begets war, then how do we stop the cycle? How do you communicate peace with people who don’t want it?
Just before we deployed in 2003 I remember watching on CNN at Fort Riley, Kansas the epic scene in which US Troops pulled down the giant statue of Saddam in the middle of Baghdad.
People were celebrating and at the time we all thought Saddam had a hand in 9/11 and was hoarding Weapons of Mass Destruction.
I was young, slightly pissed off and ready to go to war.
I feel now as if it is the same situation all over again in that we are about to commit, again to fighting an unwinnable war against an enemy that really can’t be defeated.
Sure we could kill thousands of them, but you can’t kill the movement.
I look at this potential next phase of war in Iraq through much different eyes than 12 years ago. It is with the immense trepidation of a 30 year old combat vet, father and husband.
However, this time there is no guessing game. We know they exist and there is no risk for “failed intelligence” this time as they shoot the videos themselves and upload them to YouTube for the world to see.
How do we support sending more American Troops to fight (and possibly die) in another country half a world away? That being said, how can we do nothing?
The moral duality of man suggests that there are always two moral opposites at work, the benevolent and the malevolent.
The duality of man as portrayed in Stanley Kubrick’s Full Metal Jacket:
How do reasonable people that are committed to progress find peace with this duality and make the right decisions about how to respond to threats and potential threats?
Can we seek peace and understanding while at the same time waging war?
Where will it end? Can we ever combat radical ideologies?
Is it pessimistic to resign to the fact that there will always be war and conflict? Are human beings just so fucked up that no matter how many wars, massacres and genocides take place we will never learn?
As Mark Twain said, “History doesn’t repeat itself, but it does rhyme.”
I think one of the biggest disconnects to this duality is that most of us can’t comprehend harming someone else that didn’t do anything to us. The idea of hurting an innocent person is so foreign to most people that when we see it, it’s hard to stomach.
Like I said at the beginning, I don’t have the answers to these questions. But I hope someone, somewhere, someday will.
As we sit at the brink of another ground war in Iraq facing an enemy that is not going away and is not deterred I can’t help but ask: What can we do differently this time?
What we have been doing isn’t working. There are large groups of radicalized people all over the world that want to wage terror for terrors sake while hiding behind the cloak of their God.
What will we do about Syria?
What will we do about Hezbollah?
How do we create a stable Iraqi government?
How can we turn over security operations to the Iraqi Army when, on any given day, they would probably get their asses kicked by any local Boy Scout troop?
We need a new approach, and a new strategy.
We will send US troops to Iraq and those men and women will decimate ISIS, of that there is no question.