Gregg Zoroya writes for USA Today.
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Army Chaplains Need Training to Help Suicidal Soldiers
Chaplains who are part of the Army’s first line of defense against suicide say they need more training in how to prevent soldiers from killing themselves, according to a Rand Corp. survey published online April 7.
Nearly all the chaplains and chaplain assistants surveyed said they have dealt with suicidal soldiers, and most said they encourage troubled soldiers to get help. Because of confidentiality, roughly half said they would be reluctant to alert someone in the chain of command about the soldier, and roughly a third said they would not call a crisis hotline for the GI.
In addition, the study found that chaplains and chaplain assistants hold some of the same negative views about therapy that often discourage soldiers from seeing a behavioral health specialist. Most in the survey agreed that service members who seek help for suicidal thoughts would be seen differently by their peers. About half said they would be embarrassed.
Researchers said they believe this may be why chaplains are reluctant to intervene when a soldier comes to them with signs of suicidal thinking.
Moving Churches to Discuss the Morality of Climate Change
Rabbi Moti Rieber travels the politically red state of Kansas armed with the book of Genesis, a psalm and even the words of Jesus to lecture church audiences, or sermonize if they’ll let him, about the threat of global warming.
“My feeling is that I’m the only person these people are ever going to see who’s going to look them in the eye and say, ‘There’s such a thing as climate change,’” Rieber said. “I’m trying to let them know it’s not irreligious to believe in climate change.”
He is at the vanguard of religious efforts — halting in some places, gathering speed elsewhere — to move the ecological discussion from its hot-button political and scientific moorings to one based on theological morality and the right thing to do.
Georgia Execution Would Be First Since Botched Oklahoma Effort
After an unusual six-week lapse in executions in the nation since a botched effort in Oklahoma on April 29, two men could face lethal-injection deaths in Georgia and Missouri Tuesday night or early Wednesday.
Wellons, 59, was sentenced to death for the 1989 rape and murder of 15-year-old India Roberts, whom he abducted as she was on her way to a school bus.
At 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, Missouri is preparing to execute John Winfield, who blinded the mother of his two children and killed two other women in a 1996 shooting spree. A judge on Thursday issued a stay of execution, but prosecutors are seeking to have it lifted in time for Winfield’s execution to proceed.
A third inmate, in Florida, is slated to be put to death Wednesday evening.
As Execution Drugs Grow Short, States Scramble on Capital Punishment
Prison guards meet in the desert to hand off chemicals for executions. A corrections boss loaded with cash travels to a pharmacy in another state to buy lethal sedatives. States across the country refuse to identify the drugs they use to put the condemned to death.
This is the curious state of capital punishment in America today.
At the same time, growing numbers of states are ending capital punishment altogether. Others are delaying executions until they have a better understanding of what chemicals work best. And the media report blow-by-blow details of prisoners gasping, snorting, or crying out during improvised lethal injection, taking seemingly forever to die.
Legal challenges across this new capital punishment landscape are flooding courts, further complicating efforts by states that want to keep putting people to death.