While flipping through the crowded channels of the internet, I came across a story from earlier in the week that just made me irate…
Raymond and Amelia Schwab – photo from DailyHaze.com
Originally reported by the Daily Haze, the story of retired veteran Raymond Schwab and his wife Amelia is slowly making its way around the internet, though not nearly as fast as it should be. As a Gulf War veteran, Schwab had come home from a tour overseas with some medical issues, including the improperly named post-traumatic stress disorder (‘disorder’ signifies there is something wrong). The U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs describes PTSD as a stress reaction after a traumatic event that does not go away or disrupts your life. These stressful reactions can come after any traumatic event like assault, natural disasters, and, of course, combat.
In the case of Raymond Schwab, his PTSD caused disruption to his life and came with a great deal of physical pain, as well. As he has been qualified for a 50% disability rating, the VA prescribed a series of drugs and medications to help Mr. Schwab life a full life. As he describes it, these drugs “were making me crazy, they made me worse.”
In his search to find a way to calm the trouble inside him, Raymond ended up with a heroin habit. Knowing this was not the answer his family needed, he used cannabis therapy to overcome his addiction. With his medical marijuana card in hand, Schwab found a way to help overcome his addiction and help calm his PTSD and pain symptoms. That was great until he received a job offer from the VA and had to relocate to Topeka, Kansas, in 2013. Everything was going along swimmingly until Raymond and Amelia decided to transfer to a position with the VA in Denver.
As Raymond and his wife Amelia were packing up and getting ready to move back to Colorado, Amelia’s mother took the five Schwab children to police in another county. Her reasoning for this? The children were abandoned. According to the Denver Post, this is an action the mother now regrets, but as far as I see it, it’s too little, too late. If I were in Raymond’s shoes, I am afraid my children would grow up without a grandmother.
Now, Raymond and Amelia are living in Colorado and fighting the state of Kansas for custody of their own children. Raymond is always prepared and carries around a tattered old briefcase with important documents. One of the papers in that old briefcase is the results of a Kansas child abuse investigation. The paper shows that after three months of investigation, all allegations of child abuse were dismissed as unsubstantiated.
Even after the three month waste of taxpayer money that shows the state of Kansas and that horrible grandmother were in the wrong, the Schwabs must deal with at least four months of drug testing in which each test must come back clean. Otherwise, they can say good-bye to their children for good.
This is wrong on many levels. Let’s start with the state of Kansas and the legal system that regularly oversteps its boundaries and harms the people they claim to try and help. I have seen first hand the extents a court a will go to keep children away from loving parents. Unfortunately, when the courts overstep their boundaries and exert their power unjustly, the only thing that families like the Schwabs can do is hope for the best.
The four months of clean drug tests is also a joke. Marijuana is one of the only medications that will sit in your system for an extended period of time. No matter if you are a recreational user or a medical user, smoking today can make a drug test next month show up dirty. That means even is Raymond has stopped smoking, his drug tests will likely still come back positive for a month or two. The courts and legal system knows this and this is the reasoning behind these types of drug tests. While they claim to care about the children and drug use, Kansas is using the children and family of a military veteran to strip him of the freedoms he risked his life to save.
If you or anyone you know is dealing with issues from PTSD, please visit the VA PTSD Help Page to find out how you can find help and relief.