Military Policies in Ron Capps's Back from the Brink: War, Suicide, and PTSD

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Back From the Brink

Through the personal account of his struggles in “Back From the Brink: War, Suicide, and PTSD,” Ron Capps effectively relays his views on the current “don’t ask don’t tell” policy on anything deemed abnormal to the U.S. Military. In order to save lives of many men and woman, those views and policies on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder must be changed and evolve.

Through most of his writing, Capps uses his personal experience with PTSD effectively and easily connects with readers who are affected directly and indirectly by PTSD. With the effective use of pathos, Capps is able to turn a seemingly fictional story of near suicide into a personal story that could just as easily be a loved one to any of the readers. His personalizing of the story gives PTSD a face easily recognized, a face seen in a brother, a mother, a sister, or a father. In Capps situation, he wore the face of a hard working husband.

After Capps describes his hesitation to admit he was suffering from PTSD, he goes on to explain that if he admits to having a mental disorder he will likely lose his clearance for his job. In this explanation, Ron Capps not only employs pathos to play on the emotions of those who understand job loss, but also effectively uses ethos. To establish the credibility of his claim that he would be likely to lose his job, Capps describes the situation where he had to work out a sort of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” deal with his doctor so he would be able to continue with his job and not lose his clearance.

In the last bit of his writing, Capps uses simple statistics on suicide rates of military men. His affective use of simple numbers easily explains how many people PTSD affects and how many die unnecessarily each year because of the stigma that comes along with acknowledgment of having PTSD. Through simple use of logos, Ron Capps clearly shows how affected the military currently is and how ignoring these people who are hiding their PTSD will...
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