Monday, January 11, 2010

Zackery Bowen - Iraq vet -murder suicide

Saw there is a book out – seen here on Amazon – about an Iraqi Vet that served and returned home to New Orleans in time for Hurricane Katrina. Intrigued that his path somewhat matched my own as I returned home from Iraq and was deployed to Hurricane Katrina cleanup, I thought I’d take a look.

The story review from Publishers weekly

On October 17, 2006, 28-year-old Iraq war veteran Zackery Bowen leapt to his death from a New Orleans hotel roof, leaving a suicide note directing police to the dismembered body of his girlfriend, Addie Hall. In journalist Brown's (Snitch) account of Bowen's life, the deterioration of the vet suffering from PTSD parallels that of Katrina-whipped New Orleans, its residents left as stranded as unsupported veterans like Bowen. A high school dropout, New Orleans bartender and a father at age 18, Bowen was determined to improve himself and do well by his child and Lana, his wife, and enlisted in the army, serving as an MP in Kosovo and Iraq. Granted what Brown says was an unfair general (under honorable conditions) discharge, Bowen returned to New Orleans in late 2004, where, abandoned by Lana, he began a turbulent relationship with Hall, culminating in Bowen methodically dismembering and cooking her remains. After covering the murder-suicide for Penthouse in 2007, Brown moved to New Orleans, and his detailed reconstruction of both Bowen's life and the city's deterioration make heartbreaking reading. Perhaps most poignant is the message painted on Bowen's apartment wall: please help me stop the pain.

While I know first hand that the services for returning veterans are pathetic, I’m not convinced that the symptoms of PTSD lead you to become an individual as demented and or tortured as Zackery Bowen. The review of the book leads me to believe that the story may be worth a read…if not a little uncomfortable perhaps.

What bugs me a little bit is the constant blame given to PTSD for Veterans…are we becoming suspect more than other groups. They depicted Vietnam Vets in a socially unacceptable manner for years in the media and the stigma is pervasive in depictions of those that served. Are Iraq and Afghanistan Vets heading for the same treatment?


Unknown said...

I just read this book your speaking of "Shake The Devil Off"

Pretty heartfelt.

Zack had more then PTSD going on from what I read.... just a very very very sad story and ending.

My heart goes out to ALL our Veterans. And Thank YOU for servicing!!!!!!!

(Danielle in NC)

Anonymous said...

PTSD isnt the only thing that led him to this. The fact that everyone around him wanted him to be someone that he wasnt is what led him to it. I am his daughter, i had to watch his life crumble down around him. It was horrible. But i love the way the book put it, it didnt make him seem like a monster. Some people made him out to be a horrible person but he was the most caring person i have ever had the privlidge to meet. Too bad it ended the way that it did

Anonymous said...

I had the pleasure of meeting him in Giessen Germany, right after he came back from Iraq. I was a new soldier and he was pretty cool actually. Him and another sgt in charge of the unit at the time when most were still downrange. He then got out and never heard from him till this