In early February, Sonny Joseph Mazon of San Jacinto, a combat veteran who served in Afghanistan, died after he reportedly tried to take his own life at Smith Correctional Facility in Banning.
Mazon was accused of attempted murder for allegedly beating his girfriend in January, according to the Riverside County Sheriff's Department.
Mazon, 24, served with the U.S. Army 101st Airborne Division in Afghanistan, and he suffered a "," Mazon's infantry platoon leader said earlier this year.
This weekend, the New York Times posted an op-ed video, "Good Night, Ryan," with a short essay by filmmaker Timothy Grucza. The video is embedded at the top of this report. Click to view.
Grucza's video explores the death of Army Specialist Ryan Yurchison, who served in Iraq in 2006 and returned with PTSD. After seeking help at a V.A. hospital in Ohio, he died of a drug overdose in a possible suicide.
"In the United States, many people's understanding of the effects of war are limited to terms like shell shock, battle fatigue and Hollywood tales such as Rambo and Deer Hunter," Grucza said in his essay. "These terms immediately conjure images of adventure, stoicism and heroism.
"Today's clinical term is post-traumatic stress disorder. P.T.S.D. is hard to prevent, though it is treatable. I completely agree with Cherry, Ryan's mother, that the military takes these guys, uses them, and then sends them home as damaged goods without doing enough, if anything, to help them.
"Ryan's death was preventable and treatments exist, but veterans aren't getting the help they need and deserve."
Grucza is a New York-based filmmaker who has directed two feature-length documentaries from Afghanistan and Iraq.
Op-Ed columnist Nicholas D. Kristof added perspective in "A Veteran’s Death, the Nation’s Shame," also published this weekend by the New York Times.