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Army combat veteran’s call for help lands him in jail
For years, Ryan Broderick has been trapped inside his mind, watching a constant reel of explosions cheap jerseys that rocked the Army vehicles he had scrubbed of blood during three combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Since January, Broderick has been stuck inside a real jail, fortified by cinder blocks, surrounded by barbed wire. He was frustrated and sleep deprived.
His words were clear: If he didn’t get the help he needed for his post traumatic stress disorder, he would bring a gun to the VA hospital and Fort Bragg and start shooting.
Little more than a day later, a dozen or so agents swarmed around him in the parking cheap nhl jerseys lot of his son’s day care center. He will stand before a judge on Monday in Raleigh to learn his fate on a charge of communicating threats. Over the last month, Broderick prepared to make a plea for mercy before a jury. Court filings late Friday show the government and Broderick have reached a plea agreement, though the terms are not clear.
“I was just trying to get help,” said Broderick, a native of Canada who enlisted cheap jerseys from china in the Army after high school. “I had no intentions of hurting anyone.”
Like cheap jerseys so many of America’s soldiers returning from combat over the last decade, Broderick has tried to swallow unspeakable memories. And like thousands of others, he has tried in vain to get swift and needed care from a beleaguered VA medical system.
The lucky find a way to cope. Others, such as Broderick, have struggled to live with all they saw and did. As the wars wound down in 2011, as many veterans were killing themselves as soldiers were dying in combat.
To help, Congress ordered the VA in 2007 to set up a 24 hour crisis help line to talk veterans off the edge. Since 2007, veterans and their friends have dialed the suicide hotline about 1.7 million times to have a counselor coach them through a crisis.
But for some, that call to the crisis line triggered an unwanted response. A search of federal court records across the country found charges against at least six other veterans whose rants on the crisis line or to a trusted VA medical provider brought arrest and imprisonment.
A spokesman for the VA said crisis hotline staff try to keep the veterans’ calls private. But if the caller makes a threat against the VA or its staff, VA police are notified. From there, crisis counselors have no say; the veteran’s fate is in the hands of law enforcement and federal prosecutors, a spokesman said. attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina. Walker declined to comment on Broderick’s case, as did a spokeswoman for the FBI.
The crime of communicating a threat is a felony that carries a sentence of up to five years. For Broderick, now in the Army Reserves, a possible conviction felt like a death knell. It would mar his military record and complicate his chances of good employment. It would also jeopardize his service in the reserves, a commitment he had hoped to fulfill until he could retire.
“I felt like I sacrificed so much, lost friends, gave up my whole 20s to help people and fight for this country,” Broderick said. “(The least they could do) is give me a sit down with a counselor once a week. That’s all I wanted, to vent and talk to somebody about what’s going on in my day.”
Randy Cargill is a West Point graduate and a federal public defender whose client was arrested after a call to the VA crisis line in 2011; the case eventually was deferred while the client got psychiatric help.
“It is wrong to offer confidential help with one hand and throttle those who accept the offer with the other hand,” he said.
Broderick found himself at a breaking point on Jan. 29. He hadn’t slept in three days, and just a month before, he had thought about killing himself. Every time he closed his eyes, he could see the ground and buildings shake around him from another mortar attack.
After months without steady work, he finally had a promising job interview the next day. He hadn’t seen a therapist and had no medicine to help with anxiety or sleep.
“The weight was too much,” he said in an interview from the Edgecombe County jail. “I felt like I was crashing.”
In an instant, he went from revered veteran to accused criminal.
Grim dutyWhen Broderick enlisted in the Army, he knew the next several years would be turbulent. The twin towers of the World Trade Center had fallen; America’s leaders had launched a war on terror, and soldiers by the thousands were in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Still, to Broderick, an Army life seemed ideal. It promised structure, stability and role models absent from his childhood.
Broderick’s first combat tour came quickly, about a year after joining. Broderick was responsible for maintaining the Army’s vehicles in Iraq, a seemingly benign assignment. But as soldiers traversed desert regions littered with improvised explosive devises, cleaning vehicles was a grim duty.
Broderick scrubbed Humvees and tanks stained with blood left by the wounded. Sometimes, he would find severed limbs or chunks of skin.
The next five years brought two more deployments, another to Iraq and one to Afghanistan. During his final tour, Broderick got word that his best friend, deployed separately, had been killed by a mortar attack.
In three tours, Broderick spent 41 months in war zones.
The last assignment delivered a bright spot. Melanie Delgada, a buoyant Puerto Rican native, was working at Kandahar Airfield base in military intelligence. In a war zone, their intimacy grew quickly. Several months later, Delgada learned they were having a baby.
When Adrian was born in August 2011, Broderick tried to push aside the misery of combat and angst of readjusting to life in Fayetteville. For a little while, life made sense.Articles Connexes：
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