Last night at school we had an outstanding presentation for all of the policy classes on issues in social work with veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. The speakers were two ladies who work for non-profit agencies which assist service personnel and their families. The third and best speaker was a career soldier with combat experience and a PhD in social work. He talked about issues in treating veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), stabilizing families while a member is on deployment, and the difficulties of reintegrating veterans into non-active posts or the civilian life. He spoke movingly of some of his own experiences on deployment. He also described some of the horrors he has seen during his time in other countries. Finally, he addressed a challenge that continues to be a serious issue for soldiers trying to reintegrate into the civilian life: stereotypes and false perceptions. He said that the popular stereotype of soldiers as “bloodthirsty Rambo wannabees” is one of the greatest barriers to peace time adjustment. Frankly folks, we owe everyone who has served this country in uniform better than that.
Dr. Sunshine showed her rear again last night. She returned graded assignments that we had e-mailed in but didn’t have anything to return to one of the members of my research team. Sunshine claimed that my classmate had not turned it in. My classmate went to the computer lab and printed out the message from her “sent” file showing that she had sent the completed assignment on the due date. Sunshine then started asking her questions indicating that she (Sunshine) thought that my classmate had somehow forged the printed message in the 5 minutes that she was gone from class. Nice, huh? There are few things more odious than somebody who cannot face it when they are wrong.