Yes, this is a charged question. But the media has made people, and especially Human Resource people and Hiring managers, ask themselves this question. – Let’s give them some good answers.
I have worked with veterans with PTSD for a several decades. I was a counselor at a gated recovery center for Vietnam vets with PTSD. And as the leader of HirePatriots.com, I have met innumerable combat warriors from all US wars since WWI. And I was raised by WWII vets: My Dad was a submariner and my 3 uncles were Marines. – So I have been around combat warriors for most of my life.
First of all, many US citizens have Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome. Many of us have experienced traumatic experiences. Certainly Police and Firemen have these experiences and the harmful memories associated with them. But so do children, wives, mothers, and fathers: It is a rare person who goes through life without having a jarring, inerasable, horrible experience. — But military warriors experience extremes on a daily basis when in combat. They kill and they see their friends killed and maimed. However, when a person has a reason and a purpose for doing what they do, it mitigates the experience. — Our warriors do not consider themselves “victims.” Instead, they are killed or wounded doing a job they love and believe in. This makes a huge difference.
And in fact, when a person with PTSD is working that is the safest place for them to be. Keeping busy and focusing on the work at hand is the best therapy for people with bad memories. — PTSD is primarily a very personal thing. Rarely do those who suffer from it talk about it. They do all they can to avoid anything that brings it to the forefront of their minds. And for most soldiers that go through this, the only other people who might know are his wife or immediate family.
I think that the media and the movies have used this universal problem and convinced people that it is primarily a veteran issue and that Vets are dangerous. This is absurd! And any HR or Hiring manager who disagrees is ignorant, immature and unfit for their job.
Turn this coin over. Why is hiring a qualified US vet for any position a good idea? How would the training, discipline, military lifestyle and experience make a person a stronger more mature and competent individual? – This is what HR and Hiring managers should be thinking. And if they can’t come up with any reasons, then they should ask the next US veteran that applies for a job!