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A brief look at Jonathan Schulze would scare anyone. Standing at more than six feet and
weighing nearly 220 pounds, he indeed looked an intimidating figure.
Yet, a short conversation
with the man, revealed a very benevolent nature to the giant man. He was known by his family
and his fellow marines as the ‘gentle giant’. Schulze, it seemed, was always up for a laugh.
However, all that changed after he came back from a tour of duty in Iraq, in late 2004.
After doing his time, Schulze got out of the Marine Corps in 2005. At first, Schulze tried
to live with the nightmares that the war had brought him. Slowly though, he lost control. He
sobbed on his parents couch, as he told them about how his fellow Marines had died, and how
he, as a machine gunner, had killed people in Iraq (Forgotten Heroes). He tried to seek help
through the Veterans Administration (VA). The VA denied him any immediate help, and instead
put him on a waiting list, even after Schulze told them that he had suicidal thoughts. On January
2007, the nightmares enveloped Jonathan, and he committed suicide by hanging himself.
The cause of his state of mind was later attributed to post traumatic stress disorder due to combat
exposure in Iraq (Forgotten Heroes). According to Schulze’s parents, it was the VA, who were
responsible for his mental condition in large part, as they had failed to properly care for him for
the wounds he suffered from combat. The VA had let him down, and had turned their back on
him. In their words, he was a ‘delayed casualty’ of the war (This Marine’s Death). Now, it is
coming forward that Jonathan Schulze is not the only ‘delayed casualty’ of the war. In a similar
case in 2004, the VA twice neglected to treat Iraq veteran Jeffrey Lucey, for posttraumatic stress
disorder (the second time because he was told alcoholics must dry out before being accepted to
an inpatient program). By the time a VA counselor tracked down a bed in a New York facility
with a built-in detox program, Lucey had already hanged himself. "The system doesn't treat
mental health with the same urgency it treats general health care," says one former Marine, Brain
Hitchcock, who has been diagnosed with PTSD and is trying to get help (Brain Hitchcock
Post traumatic stress disorder is not a new condition or diagnosis. Posttraumatic stress disorder
(PTSD) is an emotional illness that develops as a result of terribly frightening, life-threatening,
or otherwise highly unsafe experiences. PTSD sufferers re-experience the traumatic event or
events in some way, tend to avoid places, people, or other things that remind them of the event
(avoidance), and are exquisitely sensitive to normal life experiences (hyper arousal). Although
this condition has likely existed since human beings have endured trauma, PTSD has only been
recognized as a formal diagnosis since 1980. However, it was called by different names as early
as the American Civil War, when combat veterans were referred to as suffering from "soldier's