Requiem for a VA Victim

By Michelle Malkin

Grave Yard
Requiem for a VA Victim
Michelle Malkin
Michelle Malkin

USA –   -(Ammoland.com)- What does a suffering military veteran have to do to force an unresponsive government to change its ways?

How about self-immolating in front of his VA clinic? Hello, paper-pushers and desk jockeys? Are you there? Would the heat, the smoke and the smell of burning flesh rouse you in the least?

Nope. Apparently, even this horror is not enough to move the inert bureaucrats at the Department of Veterans Affairs — let alone the indifferent tango dancer-in-chief.

While President Obama sashayed in Buenos Aires two weeks ago, proud Navy veteran Charles Richard Ingram III, 51, made his last life's journey. He walked nine miles from his home in Egg Harbor Township, N.J., to the curb in front of the Northfield, N.J., VA clinic on New Road.

With a large blue wooden cross looming on the side of a chapel in the background, Ingram stood on the lawn, poured gas all over his body and lit a match. A firefighter told The Daily Beast that the retired chief petty officer, known as “Rich” to family and friends, was “100 percent burned.” A bystander had rushed to his side with blankets to snuff out the flames and first responders arrived within minutes.

But it was too late.

CPO Ingram leaves behind a grieving wife, two young children ages 3 and 5, and a charred patch of brown and blackened grass 75 feet from the entrance of the VA's Atlantic County Community Based Outpatient Clinic.

The bloated VA system now employs nearly 400,000 people to carry out its purported “mission of caring.” The CBOCs were established to “to more efficiently and effectively serve eligible veterans and provide care in the most appropriate setting,” according to the feds. But nobody from Ingram's CBOC — one of 800 such offices run by the VA, which boasts a record $150 billion budget — was there to help on that Saturday when Ingram perished.

Why not? Because the facility is closed on weekends. Its daytime, weekday hours (8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.) serve the convenience of the government employees, not of the men and women who put their lives on the line for their country.

Area veterans' advocates and local officials in both political parties have pushed for years to address chronic understaffing and Soviet-era wait times. The Atlantic City Press reports that there is just one lone psychologist to provide therapy to 200 veterans on any given day.

“To make matters worse,” local Democratic state senator Jeff Van Drew (who worked in the VA system as a dentist) pointed out last week, “there are no Veterans Affairs hospitals in the region, so even if a veteran is able to schedule a timely appointment at the nearest VA hospital, he or she would have to travel hours to Philadelphia, Penn., northern New Jersey or Delaware to receive care.”

Would it have been too much to ask the VA's employees to open for just one day of weekend appointments and one weekday of late-night appointments? Apparently, that was too much of a sacrifice for the 8-to-4:30-ers. Vets' groups petitioned for extended hours for years. Nothing happened.

How about a pilot program to free the VA's hostages and allow vets to receive health care from personal doctors and local hospitals, as Rep. Frank LoBiondo, R-N.J., has long proposed? There must be no escape hatches, anti-privatization special interests have decreed. All must suffer for the Greater Good.

Flacks for the Wilmington, Delaware, VA Medical Services facility, which oversees Ingram's South Jersey clinic, downplayed appointment delays and vets' complaints after Ingram's sacrificial act. Instead, the bureaucrats blithely touted their “telehealth” services via computer, “group therapy” and “additional social workers.” Nothing to see here, move along.

When Buddhist monk Thich Quang Duc burned himself to death on a Saigon street corner to protest abuses by the Diem government in 1963, the world took notice. The monk left behind his crystallized bones, intact heart and an inflamed movement to end repression against his people. American journalists played a key role in amplifying Duc's message and ensuring that his death wasn't in vain.

Where are the national media voices and advocates for U.S. Navy CPO Charles Ingram and the countless other martyrs victimized by the VA?

If a loyal veteran burns himself to the ground in a forest of government bureaucrats, will anybody hear him?

About: Michelle Malkin
Michelle Malkin is the author of “Culture of Corruption: Obama and his Team of Tax Cheats, Crooks and Cronies” & “Unhinged: Exposing Liberals Gone Wild”. Her e-mail address is [email protected]

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5WarVeteranDavid RichardsAmmolandKaren M. SimpkinsJacob M. Opperman Recent comment authors
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5WarVeteran
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5WarVeteran

So far NO RESPONSE from Michelle Malkin.

My guess is she is like the rest. Trots out Veterans for personal publicity and when a real one tries to contact her she is NOWHERE to be found.

Typical politician.

I expect something like “I am sorry Mr Veteran I see your plight but I cannot do anything for you.” More like “I do not want to take on an actual responsibility regarding these problems . . . But vote for me anyway!”

5WarVeteran
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5WarVeteran

OK I sent it to this one:
[email protected]
Now to wait and see.

5WarVeteran
Guest
5WarVeteran

Here is what you get with the POSTED email address of Michelle Malkin

This is an automatically generated Delivery Status Notification.
Delivery to the following recipients failed permanently:
* [email protected]
Reason: Permanent Error
So much for that letter.

Ammoland
Admin

Try this one: [email protected] and let us know the results. Also you can try twitter https://twitter.com/michellemalkin or her webiste, http://michellemalkin.com/

5WarVeteran
Guest
5WarVeteran

I just wrote a letter to Michelle: Michelle, I appreciate what you are trying to do. I am a vet. I served 22 years. While on active duty in 1987 I broke my neck on base and wen to the hospital. I was xrayed and told I was fine. In 1994 I slipped and fell across a water tight hatch knife edge and broke my back. That day I went to Portsmouth Naval Hospital and they took me off ship. For 2 years I was on med hole while the NAVY did nothing. However I was labeled a malingerer. (Quality… Read more »

David Richards
Guest
David Richards

[email protected], need help with some information getting help w/spine injuries, VA refuses help same as your story, thanks

Karen M. Simpkins
Guest
Karen M. Simpkins

The victimization of our veterans by the government, and sadly the people, they so valiantly served is a horror defying description. Michelle’s graphic description of CPO Charles Ingram’s last moments came very close. This was a man trapped in the devastation of a war well fought and the knowledge that the very government and people he served were not coming to his rescue. We, the people, are just as guilty as the government. We merrily go through our lives, enjoying the very freedoms these veterans and their families have sacrificed to make sure we keep. WE LOSE 22 VETERANS A… Read more »

Jacob M. Opperman
Guest
Jacob M. Opperman

This just goes to show how this government is showing there I-DON’T-CARE attitude to the vets and active duty military people. It is about time we the people tell these idiots how we feel about them. COME ON CITIZENS GET OFF OF YOUR DEAD ASSES AND EMPEACH WHERE YOU CAN AND VOTE THIESE STUPID IDIOTS OUT OF OFFICE AND GET OTHERS IN THERE THAT WILL TAKE CARE OF OUR VETS AND US AS A COUNTRY. WE THE PEOPLE NEED TO TAKE OUR COUNTRY BACK.

2nd Amender
Guest
2nd Amender

This is OUTRAGEOUS! The VA is so bloated with do nothing, make work employees who sit on computers shopping during the holiday season, or anytime it’s payday. I was once told by a VA employee I could not be helped at the facility where I was, (the Phila VA Med Ctr), that I should go to another location to solve a problem. (WRONG). Luckily someone in the know directed me to the correct office on a different floor. The clerk who I had interrupted from doing her nails was an IDIOT! I find most of the Professionally Trained and Educated… Read more »