Thursday, April 23, 2015
There is a guy I run into every so often.
He's a double amputee.
Right after he lost his legs a newbie third assistant trainee junior range officer tried to make him shoot a Garand off of a wheel chair at a Garand match. He was squadded next to me and I went to bat for him.
I pointed out that shooting a Garand off of a wheel chair would likely knock over. When the RO insisted I got someone over that knew what he was doing and the guy got to shoot on his belly like he was supposed to be allowed to do.
This was shortly after he was torn up during overseas duty. His wounds were fairly fresh.
I see him periodically and to be honest I don't like what I see. It's been a decade and he just seems to be getting worse over time. I get the feeling that he is content in his wheelchair collecting his pension and sitting in the pity pot.
I hope I don't see him there this year because I hope he decided to get off ot the pity pot and start doing something for himself. It's well past time. He's been feeling sorry for himself for probably over a decade now.
Truth is the man has paid some pretty heavy dues and I certainly have to respect that. In the flash of a nanosecond he suffered the traumatic amputation of both legs while in service to the United States. For that we do in fact certainly owe him a debt of gratitude.
I'm no pro in the artificial limb busines but it looks to me like there is no way he can get a set of artificial legs to gain his mobility back. He looks to me like he is pretty much wheelchair bound for life.
The truth is that the government has kept their end of the bargain. He has the best medical care in the world at his disposal and will continue to have it for life. He's also eligible for vocational rehab of all sorts. Fact is that he has every chance to make a halfway decent and productive life for himself. It's no longer up to the government. It's up to him. It looks to me like he has chosen not to bother.
We, as a people, have done all we can for this guy and it's time he start doing something for himself. A couple of years back I met a guy in similar circumstances and he was looking forward to starting a job in a few weeks.
He was actually pretty independent for being wheelchair bound. We were at a shooting match and the guys helped him do things he couldn't do for himself but other than crossing a stream or something we pretty much left him on his own. Most of us were wise enough to not strip him of his pride and independence by over-mothering him.
I remember another guy that was wheelchair bound and made a living by fixing stuff and doing things that required careful hand fitting. What a creative artist he was!
The truth of the matter is that this guy in question really hasn't been cheated by the government. They are doing what they can to keep their end of the deal up.
The truth is the guy is cheating himself by not taking advantage of what is offered to him to get his independence and pride back. Instead he seems to be taking the easy way out.
It's a shame because I'd just bet he's got untapped talents he could dig into that would make him productive.
Granted, the loss of legs means the loss of mobility and that is a major handicap. Still, there are a lot of things that are out there to do that don't require a lot of mobility.
I won't sugar coat things, but the truth is for some unlucky GIs the test of things isn't what they do in combat. It's what they do after combat that make them into what they are.
Feel free to call me a miserable heartless, cold bastard if you will. The truth here is that I am not looking to repair a battered body. It can't be done in a lot of cases. What I am doing as I write this is to try and help repair the human spirit.
You don't do that with a wheelchair and a check. Sometimes it takes a good, swift kick in the ass.
To find out why the blog is pink just cut and paste this: http://piccoloshash.blogspot.com/2009/12/my-feminine-side-blog-stays-pink.html NO ANIMALS WERE HARMED IN THE WRITING OF TODAY'S ESSAY