Military Suicides ‘Out of Control’
CALLAWAY — Libby Busbee pounded on the window of her son’s maroon Dodge Charger as he sat in the driveway of their home earlier this year. Locked inside his car, U.S. ArmySpc. William Busbee sat with a .45-caliber gun pointed to the side of his head.
“Look at me,” his mother cried out as she tried to get her son’s attention. “Look at me.”
He wouldn’t look.
He stared out the front windshield, distant, Busbee said, relating the story from an apartment complex in Callaway.
“I kept yelling, ‘Don’t you do this. Don’t do it.’ He wouldn’t turn his head to look at me,” she said, looking down at the burning cigarette in her hand.
A 911 call was made. The police pulled her away from the car.
William, Libby Busbee’s 23-year-old son, was talking with a police officer when he fired a shot through the front windshield of his car, according to the police report.
The police recoiled. William rapped on the window in apparent frustration, the report indicated.
Then the second shot was heard.
“I knew that was the one,” said Libby Busbee.
William Busbee took his life in March with his mother and sisters looking on.
Casualty of war?
William Busbee was no casualty of the war in Afghanistan. He was a casualty of his own mind, his mother said.
Libby Busbee bowed her head, talking as she sat next to a bird-of-paradise on the front porch of her apartment. She could no longer live in the home on 12th Street.
“They wouldn’t let me talk to him,” she said, referring to the day her son shot himself. “I know if he was able to see me he wouldn’t have done it.”
According to a Veterans Affairs report this spring, a veteran commits suicide every 80 minutes. More than 6,500 suicides have occurred since the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan began. For every service member who dies in battle, 25 veterans die by their own hands.
According to a Pentagon report, more American active service members have killed themselves in the first six months of 2012 than in the first six months of any of the previous 11 years, The Associated Press reported.
The report reveals 154 service members killed themselves in the first 155 days of 2012 alone. The number of deaths by suicide is 50 percent higher than combat deaths in Afghanistan during the same period and an 18 percent increase over active service member suicides in the first six months of 2011.