Appearing with Republican presidential front runner Donald Trump in Tulsa, Oklahoma on Wednesday, Sarah Palin spoke about the domestic charges her son faces, suggesting he suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Furthermore, she suggested that problems like PTSD are exacerbated by President Obama's lack of leadership and respect for the military.
"I guess it's kind of the elephant in the room, because my own family, going through what we're going through today with my son," Palin said, referencing her son, Track Palin.
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Track Palin, a veteran who spent a year deployed in Iraq, was arrested in Wasilla, Alaska on Monday. The police said in a statement that Track Palin "had committed a domestic violence assault on a female, interfered with her ability to report a crime of domestic violence, and possessed a firearm while intoxicated."
Speaking to a rally a day after endorsing Trump's presidential bid, Palin said her son, "like so many others, they come back a bit different, come back hardened. They come back wondering if there is that respect for what it is that their fellow soldiers and airmen and every other member of the military so sacrificially have given for this country."
"And that starts from the top," she continued. "It's a shame that our military personnel even have to wonder... if they're respected anymore. It starts from the top... from our own president, that they have to look at him and wonder, do you know what we go through, do you know what we're trying to do to secure America?"
Palin added that she can "certainly relate with other families who kind of feel these ramifications of some PTSD and some of the woundedness that our soldiers do return with, and it makes me realize more than ever, it is now or never for the sake of America's finest that we have that commander in chief that will respect them."
PTSD is a serious mental health problem that can affect a person for decades. A study published last year found that more than 270,000 Vietnam War veterans still suffer from PTSD symptoms. At least one-third of those veterans were also found to be suffering from major depression. The Department of Veterans Affairs notes that "although PTSD is associated with an increased risk of violence, the majority of veterans and non-veterans with PTSD have never engaged in violence."