Falling thru the cracks

November 18th, 2010

ATTN: KVAL News
cc: Governor Kulongoski
160 State Capitol
900 Court Street
Salem, Oregon 97301-4047

Dear Governor. Kulongoski,

My name is Travis David Warren. I am 24 years old, and I am an Iraq Combat Veteran. I served my country from December 12th, 2004 – 2007. I was meretriciously promoted to private first class in boot camp. I did one tour in Iraq, during which time; I was hit four times by I.E.D.’s and was in a fire fight that took the life of my good friend Lance Corporal Nervara. I have been diagnosed with chronic P.T.S.D., personality disorder, and manic depression as a result of my tour of duty in Iraq. When my tour was over and I was placed on leave, I returned to Oregon and my home town of Eugene.

During my leave, I started having nightmares and violent flash-backs among other problems in my civilian life. I had married my middle/high school sweetheart before enlisting and returned to find that she had been unfaithful to me. With an eminent divorce and dissolution of my marriage looming before me, and the mental and emotional effects of my deployment surfacing, I began using methamphetamine in an attempt to cope with the overwhelming reality I had come home to.

I had received two charges for possession of methamphetamine before my leave was up, and had become so addicted that I was unable to stop using. I failed to return to duty, and went U.A. for 187 days. I received a bad conduct discharge and was released from the Marine Corps. I was never given consideration for treatment at that time, or since, for the effects of P.T.S.D. or my drug problem. Upon my return to civilian life, I never got any better, nor did I receive any help from the V.A. because I was ineligible for benefits due to my bad conduct discharge.

I continued to use Meth, and started getting into legal trouble. I was caught with a pistol, and due to my two prior possession convictions, and three juvenile adjudications occurring at age 12 and 14, I was sentenced to nineteen months in prison. During my incarceration, I never received treatment for my P.T.S.D., or drug addiction.

After my release from prison, I began school at Lane Community College, studying Computer networking. For the first four months I maintained my focus, did well in school, and was trying to work with the V.A. to become eligible for benefits and to receive treatment for my conditions. My nightmares and other symptoms continued to escalate because I was no longer able to afford my medication without benefits, and I resorted once again to the use of methamphetamine. Inevitably, the associations and lifestyle I engaged in during my use, led to my current incarceration in the Lane County jail from which I now write you.
I have been charged with felony possession of a firearm, and theft1 by receiving- (which I have evidence to prove I did not commit). Regardless, the D.A. is seeking a sentence of at least 5 years, and is unwilling to consider drug treatment and counseling as an alternative to a prison sentence. Under the current system for imposing sentencing guidelines, a history of person to person felony convictions is equally condemning, whether those convictions occurred in the recent or distant past. This system does not distinguish between or impose a different weight of consequence on the actions of a 12 year old boy, and a grown man.

As a boy trying to grow up, I made some very serious mistakes. My experiences serving my country as a marine made me a man. Those same memories and experiences also created the damage I mistakenly tried to treat with drugs. I became a father on November 13th of this month when my son, Ayden Ray Warren, was born. Somehow I was allowed to fall thru all the cracks, and now my son is going to grow up without a father to teach him how to be a man, and to know right from wrong. I am not a bad person, and my actions do not warrant a prison term. What I do need is help- drug treatment, counseling and the tools necessary to change my life and be a good father.

Sir, if there is anything within your power to help me, or intercede on my behalf, please do so. I am one of far too many combat veterans that are falling thru these cracks in the system, and into the state and federal prisons. I have attached a website of a brief with additional information and statistics regarding the dilemma faced by myself, and thousands of other veterans who have fought, bled and believed in duty, honor and country, only to be abandoned by the system they served and protected.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,

Travis D. Warren


www.drugpolicy.org/library/veterans2009.cfm

This story is inappropriate and should be flagged for moderation. Please choose from one of the following options:

Add a comment

Name:

Comment: 250 Characters Left

KVAL 13 and its affiliated companies are not responsible for the content of comments posted or for anything arising out of use of the above comments or other interaction among the users. We reserve the right to screen, refuse to post, remove or edit user-generated content at any time and for any or no reason in our absolute and sole discretion without prior notice, although we have no duty to do so or to monitor any Public Forum.