He can relate

I read the April 5-12 issue from front to back and found the experience very satisfying, particularly the story of the Boone family (“Long road home,” April 5), a gritty tale well told. Having experienced PTSD first-hand, that part of the story was of great interest: This was the first time I had read a personal account of what it’s like and it matched my own experience — frightening at times, sometimes terrifying and, after a time, the emotional you has left the building and you don’t know if it’s coming back. Wonderful. Just in time for the zombie convention.

After 18 months or so, when by then most of my symptoms were long over, I happened to see a posting by the VA that by dosing returning vets from Iraq with Valium for anxiety issues they inadvertently created 10,000 brand new PTSD cases. Whoopsie!

The VA didn’t give me PTSD, I did. I was grieving and without sleep for days when I discovered an old [prescription] in my sock-drawer with nine valium left. That first one probably did the job. Shock at the death of a son had left me unable to write down an entire phone number, read what I had written or speak more than a few words at a time. And that was before any pills.

So, I wish to thank the Boones for the story, Erika Fredrickson for doing an admirable job relating it, the Independent for running it and the VA for having the guts to admit a mistake. In this age, where failure is unacceptable, cover-up becomes the norm and professional advisers are likely to look you straight in the eye and lie like a rug.

Marco A. DeAlvarado


Proven leadership

I write in support of my legislator, Kathleen Williams, as our next congresswoman. Kathleen is a leader — one who understands the need to compromise for the common good. Kathleen has proven leadership and understanding of the legislative process, having served from 2009 to 2013. Kathleen has been an advocate, standing up and fighting for Montanans on many issues, including cancer patients, labor unions, Medicaid recipients, Native Americans, natural resources, outdoor enthusiasts, hunters, gun owners, landowners, farmers, ranchers, entrepreneurs and women. Most importantly, Kathleen Williams has integrity and has proven it over and over. Learn more about Kathleen Williams at KathleenforMontana.com. Please join me in supporting Kathleen Williams and electing another Montana congresswoman. America and Montana need Kathleen’s leadership now.

Dulaney Collins


Clarifying positions

I want to clarify some statements from an interview with Derek Brouwer (“What it means to be Green,” March 22). It’s interesting that in a 40-minute interview on a range of topics, Brouwer declined to include stances such as student loan forgiveness, ways to make college more affordable or tangible ways to address sexual assault in Montana.

Brouwer prefers to mischaracterize my positions on sexual assault. I’ve always stood firm against sexual assault, but after a string of domestic battery cases in Bozeman, I questioned whether efforts to limit speech and paint all men as potential rapists were as effective as teaching women tangible warning signs of potential assailants. Many scientific studies have found most rapes are committed by a small percentage of men with similar modus operandi, not opportunistically by anyone. This was borne out in the case of Grizzly football player Beau Donaldson. After being arrested, several more women testified they too had been sexually assaulted.

The FBI and DOJ reports identified 350 women over an 18-month period who were discriminated against or had their sexual assaults mishandled by the university and the city. One of the reasons I’ve taken a stand against $200 million in property taxes for the university system is its mishandling of the tragic circumstances that lead so many women to be mistreated. I thought perhaps journalists could see the difference in context between using the phrase “rape culture” in a heading on a website referencing the UM scandal and what is being taught about the need to limit speech and malign all men. I was obviously mistaken.

Brouwer’s deliberate choice to forego actual solutions provided by a candidate and instead paint some gotcha picture of someone trying to do good in their community and state is unfortunate, but not surprising. When corporations control not only the two major political parties, but also the news charged with keeping them honest, cherry-picked narratives become the norm. I encourage all voters to learn more about their candidates directly, since reporters with agendas will never provide the whole truths needed to make an informed decision.

Timothy Adams

Three Forks

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