Upfront, if this does not piss you off, finally get you off your butts, run outside naked while screaming mad, make you paint your face and do a protest dance in front of the White House, then my friends, you are dead from the neck up — and you need to forever stop saying you care for soldiers or, for that matter, your own freedoms.
THERE ARE THOUSANDS OF VETERANS HOMELESS IN THIS COUNTRY — THOUSANDS!
At last, people with some political and news-making muscle are talking about a true American tragedy: homeless veterans. On his radio and TV shows, Bill O'Reilly commented on Sen. John Edward’s remarks on the plight of homeless veterans.
Time for some background.
I am not an expert on much of anything, but I have experience in some things. I have volunteered in homeless shelters for over 30 years all over the country, depending on where I was assigned. The homeless are the ugly underbelly of this great country.
Few if any local or state governments do anything officially for the homeless. The vast majority of homeless shelters survive on private funds and volunteers. There is hardly a government agency that will even count the homeless. They are in every major city in this country, living in the worst parts of towns, under bridges, in abandoned buildings, sleeping over heating grates across the street from Harvard University, or in their cars in Los Angeles or Miami.
The homeless have kids, husbands and wives. It is estimated that between 70 to 90 percent of the homeless have some form of mental disorder and simply cannot get the necessary medical attention. Alcoholism and other forms of chemical dependency are rampant in the homeless community. Various homeless advocates suggest that there are between 7 to 12 million people in this country who have been or are homeless.
The Veterans Administration suggests that there are 193,000 homeless veterans in this country; I believe that number is closer to 500,000.
That there is homelessness in the United States of America is tragic; the fact that there are homeless veterans is criminal. Mostly men, who have fought our wars, spent countless days and nights in hell holes all over the world, been wounded, lost friends defending our way of life ... only to return to live under a bridge? This should not stand, but it does.
This is not the current administration's fault; it is every administration's fault since Valley Forge. But we are at war now. We were attacked and we have soldiers being blown up and killed, so this administration should be solving this issue — and it is not. The veterans are homeless, not just because we have tough economic times this issue existed in the best of times. Those who go to war for us, those who lost their limbs for us, those who risk it all for us, should at least have a place to call home, not in some damn box on a heating grate in the middle of Harvard Square.
The commentary of Bill O'Reilly about John Edwards at least had the issue on the front pages and on TV. For many in government the homeless is a non-issue, citizens of this great country who are mentally sick living in their cars does not get anyone votes. However, homeless veterans, even if it's one, let alone thousands, ought to cause governments to fall. A nation that does not care for its veterans does not deserve them. We cannot ever be truly great until all of us have a place to sleep and getting help for what makes us sick. If we continue to do nothing about our homeless and our homeless veterans then … WE SUCK.
Now let us do something about it and fix this now. Let's build the places to live, safe places, get generic medicine and counselors to those in need. Presidents use them as backdrops, radio and TV talk show hosts do stories on them, we have parades for them, our mothers, fathers, sons and daughters are them, we are them ... how about we help them?
Colonel David Hunt, U.S. Army (Ret.), is a FOX News military analyst and the author of the New York Times bestseller They Just Don’t Get It. He has extensive operational experience in counterterrorism, special operations, and intelligence operations. He has trained the FBI and Special Forces in counterterrorism tactics, served as the security adviser to six different Olympic Games, testified as an expert at many major terrorist trials, and lectured at the CIA, the FBI, and the National Security Agency. You can read his complete bio here.