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18 Suicides a Day

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Eighteen U.S. veterans, on average, commit suicide every day. Eighteen. Every day That’s the latest statistic of one of the most under-reported costs of our wars. It adds up to more than are actually being killed in our on-going wars themselves. There is still debate about how many Vietnam veterans have committed suicide on top of the more than 58,000 who died in that war. The number might be as low as the 1987 Centers for Disease Control estimate of 9,000 or as high as 200,000. One retired VA doctor who supports the latter figure wrote that: “the reason the official suicide statistics were so much lower was that in many cases the suicides were documented as accidents, primarily single-car drunk driving accidents and self inflicted gunshot wounds that were not accompanied by a suicide note or statement.” There are many messages one can take away from these grim statistics, but few as moving as the one that hit me as I watched a “60 Minutes” interview a while back with a young America…