Being a Veteran isn’t Always Happy – Final Part 4

Beyond the Rhetoric

Harry C. Alford & Kay DeBow | 12/19/2019, 9:54 a.m.

All families have a hero and Harry’s is no exception. First cousin James Crawford was that

family member who stood out amongst all the cousins. There were eight children on Harry’s

father’s side of his family. Thus, there were numerous first and second cousins. His mother’s

side of the family had nine children and an even greater horde of first and second cousins.

Family reunions were incredible! Of all those cousins, James Crawford was, by far, the

toughest, slickest and most devoted member of them all.

James was born and raised in South Central Los Angeles. It was a very beautiful and peaceful

city back in the early days. As time went on, the streets began getting rough and mean and

James adjusted nicely. His passion was street fighting. There wasn’t a person in all of Los

Angeles who could intimidate James and he would go out of his way to have a good fist fight

with anyone willing to cross him. Harry’s cousins always had comfort in knowing that if they

were being bullied, they could call on James for help.

It was no surprise that when James decided to join the military during the Vietnam Era, he chose

the U.S. Marines. The Marines are the toughest branch of the military with a reputation of being

fierce. That was just the style that fitted James. However, something happened to James during

his three - year tour in the Marines. He had developed a very low tolerance for anyone he didn’t

like except for family members. His temperament would get him in trouble with the law.

One-time James felt like taking a walk down Central Avenue and would yell at the passing cars.

Yelling was bad enough. James decided to spice the event up by doing it totally nude on a bright

sunny afternoon. Another time he didn’t like the lack of courtesy he received from the workers

in a local Korean run corner store. James returned with his pistol and fired shots right outside

the store front. That got him in jail. Kay’s best friend, Lisa Collins, used her brilliant legal skills

and got him released on probation.

We were all worried about James and thought he was destined for a mental institution. The truth

of the matter, he was having the effects of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder – PTSD. Most

persons with this condition after doing time in the military would seek medical help and be at the

mercy of a local VA facility.

James came up with a brilliant idea. When he went into the Marines, he was of a sound mind.

When he came out, he was mentally messed up. Thus, he put all the blame for his condition on

the source of his troubles – The Marines. His solution would be to sue the United States

Government for rendering him mentally disabled. Sounds crazy? As the saying goes: “It was

crazy like a fox”.

After being rejected by various attorneys he finally convinced his niece who was a good lawyer