By Debbie Gregory.
When Ryan Broderick picked up the phone to speak with a counselor at the Veterans Affairs suicide crisis hotline, he never imagined the call would land him in jail. Angry that he hadn’t gotten the help he needed for his PTSD, he felt forgotten and betrayed.
Broderick, 31, of Fayetteville, NC has been in jail for the last four months due to comments he made during the call to the hotline. He told the person on the other end of the line that if he didn’t get help, he would bring a gun to the VA hospital and Fort Bragg and start shooting.
“I was just trying to get help,” said Broderick, who enlisted in the Army after high school. “I had no intentions of hurting anyone.”
On June 1, 2015, Broderick pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge. On June 4th, Senior U.S. District Court Judge W. Earl Britt sentenced Broderick to three years’ probation.
Broderick had reached his limit when he made the fateful call on January 29th. He hadn’t slept in three days, he had previously contemplated suicide, and was plagued by nightmares. He hadn’t worked steadily for months, but he had a job interview the next day. He had no medicine to help with anxiety or sleep.
“The weight was too much,” he said in an interview from the Edgecombe County jail. “I felt like I was crashing.”
In one day, he went from patriotic veteran to accused criminal. Broderick spent the next day oblivious that a case was being built against him, with his arrest coming a mere 31 hours after his frantic call.
The crime of communicating a threat is a felony, punishable by up to five years in prison. During 56 minutes on the phone with the crisis specialist, Broderick calmed down. He told her he didn’t mean what he had said and thanked her for listening, according to court documents.
Under the terms of his probation, he will finally get the medical care he was seeking. Judge Britt said that the nation and its leaders have not done their duty to service members who return from war psychologically injured.
“I don’t think the blame, if one has to call it that, can be placed on any one particular place,” he said in court. “We all bear some responsibility. The biggest blame in my view is the failure of the Congress of the United States to adequately fund the Veterans Affairs and otherwise prepare for and cope with the problems we have with so many returning veterans.”
Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve, Veterans and their families. We are the go-to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Board, information on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go-to site.
Army Vet Sentenced for Threats Made: Military Connection: by Debbie Gregory