Vet Sent to Jail for Being Paranoid

Vet Sent to Jail for Being Paranoid

Joe Bangert is considered a pretty paranoid person to be around in his Massachusetts neighborhood. He’s constantly practicing what Mad-Eye Moody in the Harry Potter books would call “constant vigilance,” or what anyone who’s listened to Green Day might call basket case mentality. He is in a constant state of thinking that everyone around him is suspicious, and was recently sentenced to nine months in jail for dialing 911 after deeming ordinary circumstances—yet again—as life threatening.

The thing is, Joe Bangert is suffering from PTSD, and like many other soldiers, cannot help the places that his mind goes when flashbacks or trigger situations occur. In fact, Bangert’s PTSD is well documented, with huge, thick medical files to prove it. Yet instead of sending him to a treatment facility to get help, or excusing him for his misdemeanor of being a public nuisance, the judge presiding over his case sentenced him to jail.

If Joe Bangert wasn’t having flashbacks or triggered moments of PTSD before, he’s sure to have them now. And other soldiers who’ve suffered from the same disease are being treated similarly in other courts, too.

How dare you, is all I can say. How dare you spit in the face of a veteran and imprison him for something he obviously cannot control—something he obviously would not be suffering from were it not for the service he gave to the very government that employs you, sir. And your words—“ I see that you served your country honorably. It's time to do that again. I'm asking you to serve your country honorably again by (spending) nine months in the house of correction”—add insult to injury. Firstly, do you honestly believe that the place where you send people is a house of correction? It’s got a pretty good rep of turning people who weren’t into crime in the first place into hardcore criminals—not to mention its high record of rapes of both men and women.

But even more than that, do you really think that’s going to change anything? It’s going to make it worse, sir. Joe Bangert’s condition isn’t anything that he is controlling with his own mind, and spending nine months locked up not only dishonors what he gave to this country—and his very health that declined so badly due to that service alone—but also demonstrates what a simpleton you appear to be. Anyone can see that Bangert’s actions are a direct result of a condition that should be treated medically and humanely, not with punishment. The condition itself is punishment enough for what he has seen.