I hear voices, see faces, of people I killed- We-Search on the Military Industrial Complex

Tiny - Posted on 24 August 2011



Editors Note: PNN's  WeSearch is people-led (rather than institution led)  research and media created by the people who are impacted by the issue we do the research on. in this series we focused on the Military Industrial Complex and its impact on young people in poverty across Amerikkka.

This Wesearch focus produced one written narrative and a video documentary- the Findings are embedded in both:


From Papa Bear, Disabled/Houseless Vietnam Vet


People call me Papa Bear. I am houseless. They used to call me Bear, but I help out other folks on the street. If I get something, I share it. I look out for people and help them get what they need. So they started calling me Papa Bear.


I have a Masters in Psychology from Ohio State, and I have Post Traumatic Stress Sydrome (PTSD)  from my years in the war in Vietnam.


I killed over 200 people in Vietnam. When you are in that situation, taking life, you lose touch with reality. Anytime you take a life it's traumatic. I started to enjoy it. That is sick. Taking someone’s existence started to make me feel like a god. That is also sick.


I’m on the highest dose of medication for PTSD and I’m scared because it’s starting to not be enough. I hear voices, see faces, of people I killed. They’re dead. I want to tell them to stay dead, don’t talk to me and don’t let me see your face.


I want to get off these streets. I want the government to do what its supposed to do. I volunteered to serve my country, I wasn’t drafted. And they don’t even give me a penny to live on.


I am proud that I was born here, but I’m totally dissatisfied with this country. I went and got my masters degree. What happened to our ancestors did not happen to us. If you want to do something in this country, you do it. So I volunteered to serve. Now, I am on the streets because of George Bush’s program to re-evaluate Vietnam vets.


I have a file of medical records and documentation that is 37 inches high. A yard is only 36 inches. This is over 3 feet tall. I did not need to be re-evaluated.


I am open to passing on what I learned, but you cannot force another human being to take your opinion if you don’t want to. I tried talking to young people and they said you don’t know what you’re talking about, I’m still going to do what I’m going to do. I am very willing to talk about it if people want to listen.


But not the specifics. You can’t talk about what happened, because talking about it brings up the memories and those are memories most of us are trying to forget. I don’t watch movies about the war. Vietmam was not something to brag about. Too bloody. Too sad.


(this series is dedicated to Philip SB)


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