The blog post “PTSD-Connected Wall Street Journal Article Ignites My Writer’s Imagination for a TV Drama Show” — written by Phyllis Zimbler Miller on March 25th for the site PhyllisZimblerMiller.com — quoted from the beginning of the front-page March 24th Wall Street Journal article by Michael M. Phillips titled “Convicted Combat Vets Watch Each Other’s Backs to Stay Out of Prison”:
SAN DIEGO—In Iraq, Chris Stavran relied on his buddies to keep him alive. On the streets back home, he relies on them to keep him out of prison.
Two years after leaving the Marine Corps, Mr. Stavran has become part of a judicial experiment, one of a group of homeless Iraq and Afghanistan veterans convicted of criminal offenses and sent to a new veterans-only court that takes into account their wartime scars. He’s living with eight other vets and undergoing treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder, anger-management and substance abuse—with a lengthy prison term waiting if he slips up on probation.
The article describes the special veterans courts being experimented with throughout the U.S. to deal with crimes committed by veterans suffering from PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) and TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury).
PTSD can be deadly for the vets who have PTSD as well as their spouses (spouse abuse is very high), their children, other family members and friends, and the community at large because of the crimes sometimes committed by these veterans. PTSD is often undiagnosed, frequently because it can be triggered years after the trauma event.
As reported in a March 26th LA Times article:
There recently has been a sharp spike in California combat veterans enrolled in healthcare services — which include counseling — through the VA. The number jumped to 47,819 last year from 3,609 in 2003, when the Iraq war began. There are waiting lists.
Unfortunately, the symptoms of PTSD often go unnoticed: “Wife of accused of 17 murders; He was ‘big kid himself’”
And when the symptoms do not lead to murder, they often lead to suicide: “O.C.’s Combat Veterans Court helps ex-warriors fix their lives”
And then there are the struggles to get help: “Army sergeant was accused of ‘exaggerating’ the stress of war”
What all these true stories add up to is incredible conflict in drama story lines for a TV drama while making more Americans aware of this potentially exploding issue.
(Here is an article about the L.A. County Veterans Court — “First defendants graduate from L.A. County Veterans Court” — as well as a blog post about my visit to the Los Angeles County Veterans Court.)
The TV drama SOLOMON’S JUSTICE centers around Judge Robert Solomon, a fictional judge of the L.A. County Veterans Court who often needs the wisdom of Solomon to deal with these cases.
The show is being created by Phyllis Zimbler Miller with legal and military advice from Mitchell R. Miller. The pilot script (first draft) has been written by Phyllis.
Mitch is a lawyer, a U.S. Army veteran, and a member of the newly formed veterans committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association. During law school he had a summer clerkship with a Philadelphiajudge , first handling criminal cases and then switching to civil cases. Mitch is also a member of the U.S. Naval Institute and the Association of Former Intelligence Officers.
Phyllis is a member of the Department of Defense’s Bloggers Roundtable and blogs on military issues at www.MrsLieutenant.blogspot.com
She was the co-host for a year of the BlogTalkRadio show Your Military Life, which frequently dealt with the topic of PTSD. And for the past four years she has been involved with online projects to promote PTSD information, including the PTSD info at her site www.InSupportOfOurTroops.com
Email Phyllis at firstname.lastname@example.org about the proposed TV drama SOLOMON’S JUSTICE.