Veteran Suicide and the Consequences of New York Supreme Court Judge Juan Merchan’s Political Behavior

By Ed Timperlake

Many, many reports have captured the tragedy of suicide by America’s veterans.

No country can ever totally repay the cost of a war, especially the human tragedies.

However, independent of politics, the Department of Veterans Affairs makes a valiant effort to stand ready to immediately connect with a veteran in perhaps fatal distress.

It is not hyperbole that the DVA can state that their ever improving response time is the “Gold Standard” in response rate: the average speed to respond as measured in 2018 was 7.23 seconds.

Because data collection and analysis has a lag time in reporting,  the 2023 annual report reaches back several years to state with insightful compassion:

“In 2021, suicide was the 13th-leading cause of death for Veterans overall, and the second-leading cause of death among Veterans under age 45-years-old.

In 2021, 6,392 Veterans died by suicide, an increase of 114 suicides from 2020.

When looking at increases in rates from 2020 to 2021, the age- and sex-adjusted suicide rate among Veterans increased by 11.6%, while the age- and sex-adjusted suicide rate among non-Veteran U.S. adults increased by 4.5%. Veterans remain at elevated risk for suicide.

These numbers are more than statistics — they reflect Veterans’ lives prematurely ended, which continue to be grieved by family members, loved ones and the Nation.

“One Veteran suicide is 1 too many.”

Nevertheless, the closest to a real time meteoric on the number of veterans calling or texting the Veterans Crisis Line contemplating suicide is dramatically real and very powerful:

“March 2023 marked a record number of calls and texts received by the Veterans Crisis Line,which provides assistance to veterans and service members who are experiencing mental health crises.

There has been a steady increase in the number of contacts made with the Veterans Crisis Line since 2020, and 2023 is on pace to set another record.

2020: 775,471 contacts

2021: 819,394 contacts

2022: 895,944 contacts

2023 (January-March): 249,554 contacts”

Now enter the totally unfair partisan hackery of New York Supreme Court Judge Juan Merchan.

Unless one is a total fanatic in believing “Orange Man Bad, Trump Derangement Syndrome,” the behavior of the New York Judge is so over any ethical rule of law fairness that in my opinion he has single handily put a cloud of disrespect and brought doubt to many Americans about  trust in our Judicial system. He has single handily shattered a sacred trust in America that one would get a fair trial.

It is often said prior to the trial of President Trump –stay out of court because anything can happen. That saying validates that in a fair trial with actual charges of violating the law presented and rules of evidence a trial can go either way. With Judge Merchan that was certainly not the case, again in my opinion, he drove home a forgone guilty verdict from the first time in his court of “All Rise.”

It was simple: “the ends” President Biden calling Donald Trump a convicted felon “was justified by whatever means” possible.

Such is the nature of political zealotry, and the reported fact that his family was making a profit in the Judge’s anti-Trump antics is also shameful.

Now comes but one of the law of unattended consequences that Judge Merchan unleashed.

It comes as no surprise that there is a cohort in the American political spectrum that is anti-second amendment. Everyone has a right to their opinions.

Currently, for whatever reason, either honorable or those with a hidden agenda, a series of “Red Flag Laws” have been passed. The goal is law enforcement intervention in a situation where weapons are present and an individual is a danger to themself or others.

The procedure “How to File an Extreme Risk Protection Order” (ERPO) has been  published by NY political leadership.

Please note the role of a NY Judge in issuing an ERPO order to law enforcement.

Sadly, by hard evidence a veteran calling a crisis line contemplating suicide is most certainly a danger to themselves.

I suspect unless Congress puts an unbreakable firewall protecting a veteran’s cry for help there may be other judges who believe in ends justifying the means to send a SWAT team to a veterans house.

If such an event is traced to a veteran’s hot line call it will do incalculable damage to the very professional life saving DVA suicide outreach efforts.

It is an issue for Congress not states, because of the position  as expressed by the New York Governor:

“The Red Flag Law provides procedural safeguards to ensure that no firearm is removed without due process.

“Red Flag Laws play a critical role in keeping our communities safe by allowing concerned individuals to raise awareness about potential threats,” Governor Hochul said. “This piece of legislation will ensure increased accessibility with a more straightforward process for New Yorkers to take proactive measures in preventing harm and promoting public safety.”

Procedural due process is currently a hollow national joke originating from my early home state of New York

Ed Timperlake went to Saint Patrick’s Elementary School on Staten Island.