Do Brain Injuries Affect Our Servicemen More Than We Think?
Last year, NPR raised serious concerns about military personnel being put at risk every time they operated a shoulder-fired weapon. The author of the article, Jon Hamilton, based his report on findings commissioned by the Army from the Center for a New American Security. The Law Firm of Joseph H. Low IV would like to examine this idea further.
Shoulder-fired weapons, including the Carl Gustav recoilless rifle and AT4 anti-tank weapon, have an explosive force when deployed, sending a shock wave into the shooter’s head. This high-pressure air travels faster than the speed of sound and “…feels like getting hit in the face,” according to the study’s author, Paul Scharre. Back in 2010, the Pentagon issued a memo recognizing the dangers of blast waves from roadside bombs injuring soldiers, even though they were left with no “visible” wounds.
“Studies show that some service members who fire these weapons repeatedly have short-term problems with memory and thinking. What’s not clear is whether those temporary changes can lead to permanent deficits.” (Report To Army Finds Blast From Some Weapons May Put Shooter’s Brain At Risk)
Though more research needs to be done, the Center for a New American Security recommended that the military start making immediate changes to protect servicemen and women, including putting restrictions on how many times they can discharge these weapons per day.
In the recent court-martial trial of Special Warfare Operator Chief Edward “Eddie” Gallagher, several witnesses reported “erratic behavior” and other worrying signs in the 19-year combat veteran. They also reported that he was firing off multiple rounds of shoulder-operated weapons in a 24-hour period. Gallagher was acquitted of premeditated murder, obstruction of justice, abuse of drugs, and possession of steroids, though he was convicted of posing with a dead body. This report, regardless, should be taken seriously.
Joseph H. Low IV, who represented SEAL Lt. Cmdr. Robert Breisch in relation to this case, is familiar with the strain of combat. A former U.S. Marine as well as a trial lawyer, Mr. Low is credited with being the first to introduce post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury as defenses to combat crimes in military trials.
Members of the U.S. Armed Forces require and deserve mental health care, as well as medical care. Traumatic brain injuries, because of their neuropsychological effects, fall into both categories. It’s well known that TBIs can causes changes in personality, mood swings, lack of impulse control, poor decision-making, and other problems that would be a serious liability on the battlefield.
Joseph’s law firm continues to fight for military members who are charged with crimes. He has argued cases before the United States Supreme Court and been involved in highly publicized military trials, including that of “the Pendleton 8.” No matter how dire your situation may seem, Joseph Low is the right man for the job. Call (562) 901-0840 for a free initial consultation.