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No Country for Old Men by Cormac Mccarthy: The Issue of Veterans in The United States of America

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In Cormac McCarthy’s novel No Country For Old Men we meet the character of Moss. He is a retired thirty six year old sniper from the Vietnam era. We get a glimpse at his life as this broken down old man. He lives near the boarder of Mexico with his wife in a small house. He still knows his tips and tricks on survival, but his body is not as young as it used to be. In the opening of the novel we have moss going on a hunting trip with some buddies near the border of Mexico in the desert. Since he was a sniper in Vietnam he knows the exact distance and bullet drop of each shot he takes. He aims in to adjust the scope, and takes a shot at an animal, he misses and sees a plume of dust jump up from the desert floor. He also sees an animal limp away. Moss thinks the bullet ricocheted off of the desert floor and hit the animal in the leg. He tracks down the animal from atop of a ridge where he was to over two miles away. As he was tracking the animal he finds some abandoned cars with drugs and dead bodies in and around them. He uses his skills to clear the area to make sure there are no enemies, one of the people who was shot is still alive. He talks to the dying man for a bit before he grabs some of the automatic weapons the guys in the abandoned vehicles were using, he then cleans his fingerprints off of any surfaces he touched and takes off heading home. Later that night he returns to the area where the abandoned vehicles were found, only this time the cars are empty, and he is met with hostile forces. He gets seen and has to use all of his skills to get away.

During the Vietnam Conflict (better known as the Vietnam War) United States ground troops were under a lot of pressure and did not know if they would every come back to US soil alive or dead. At any moment during the conflict they could of been killed. Knowing that takes a toll on your body, mind, and soul. After the Vietnam Conflict the mental disorder: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (P.T.S.D.) was officially recognized as a mental disorder five years after the conflict ended. The term P.T.S.D. can be traced back to WWI under a different name; P.T.S.D. was formally known as Shell Shock. Shell Shock was the term used in WWI by Charles Myers. “Charles Myers of the Royal Army Medical Corps documented soldiers who experienced a range of severe symptoms — including anxiety, nightmares, tremor, and impaired sight and hearing — after being exposed to exploding shells on the battlefield. It appeared that the symptoms resulted from a kind of severe concussion to the nervous system” (history.com PTSD and Shell Shock). Shell Shock or P.T.S.D. happens when human beings experience a life threatening injury, explosions on a battle field, or life altering news. The term Shell Shock was also used for people who showed signs of the mental disorder but for soldiers never engaged in active combat.

After Moss finds the dead government agent next to a briefcase and his issued .45 caliber automatic rifle. He sits and closes his eyes, seeing his whole life there in front of him, day after day from dawn till dark until he was dead. With Moss being a veteran this could have reminded him of a time in combat in Vietnam during the conflict. This reaction coincides with the symptoms of Shell Shock or now and better known as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. P.T.S.D. can be triggered by any number of things. A certain sound, smell, touch, or taste. The list of things that can trigger a flashback to a traumatic experience is unlimited. There are millions of different triggers for everyone that suffers from the mental illness. When someone has a flashback their reaction can be very violent or just look weird to others. There is an article about a person who came home from Iraq and was walking down the street with his buddies. On the same street a little kid had a stick in his hand and had it up against a fence and was running and dragging the stick across the fence. When the veteran got close enough and heard it, he immediately dropped to the ground. In his mind he was getting shot at and hit the dirt. In his friends eyes he was completely crazy and just laid down on the ground for no reason.

The United States of America is one of the worst countries when it comes to how they treat and interact with their veterans. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder has caused every veteran to be labeled as a unsafe and a violent unstable human being. Even the government treats their veterans like they’re nothing when the veterans went to war, went to the Middle East after 9/11, and defended the US laws and freedom. The VA hospital is extremely underfunded by the United States government to the point where veterans with life threatening illness from being in active combat zones are dying on a waiting list just to be seen by a doctor for their first time visit. In order for veterans to afford their medical bills they have to go through the VA (Veterans Affair) which gives them free healthcare for serving in the military. In order to receive free health care they have to go through the VA hospital they cannot go to hospitals other than the VA to receive the benefits. The only improvement to the country helping it’s veterans is in 2017 when President Donald Trump signed a bill that gave the VA $57 Billion dollars to allow veterans who are deemed eligible and able to go outside of the VA to receive healthcare with the VA still picking up the tab for anything the veteran needs medically.

While Moss is running away from the hostile forces he encounters when he returns to the site of the abandoned cars. He reverts to his younger mindset and uses his skills he learned as a sniper to escape the grasps of the men chasing him. Moss jumps behind a rock that covers his body while the men tracking him are in a vehicle just like the ones that were previously abandoned. Moss sees the men approaching his position and makes a split decision to run and jump into a river close by. As he starts to run bullets start to fly past him barely missing him. He finally makes it into the river. When he gets out of the river he takes his shoes off to not leave foot prints so the people chasing him do not have a trail to follow.

Is there no country for old men? In this analysis there are a lot of cons against veterans in the United States of America. While these claims are true, there is more evidence of a country for old men. The veteran unemployment rate is the lowest it has been since the United States started to go to war and get involved in armed conflicts. The unemployment rate is at 3.2 percent. Which means out of 1.4 million service men and women there are only 44,800 veterans who are unemployed in the United States. Major companies have set goals to hire certain amount of US veterans. During the research process for information about No Country For Old Men, I came across this company that is US veteran owned and operated. They strive to hire veterans from all over the globe. Black Riffle Coffee Company is owned and operated by Navy Seals, Green Beret, Army Rangers, and other military positions. Their goal is to hire 21,000 veterans to work for the company. How can a Navy Seal, Green Beret, Army Ranger, go from kicking down doors and killing terrorists, to making coffee? The answer is: there is a country for old men. 

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No Country For Old Men By Cormac Mccarthy: The Issue Of Veterans In The United States Of America. (2021, Jun 09). GradesFixer. Retrieved January 29, 2022, from https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/no-country-for-old-men-by-cormac-mccarthy-the-issue-of-veterans-in-the-united-states-of-america/
“No Country For Old Men By Cormac Mccarthy: The Issue Of Veterans In The United States Of America.” GradesFixer, 09 Jun. 2021, gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/no-country-for-old-men-by-cormac-mccarthy-the-issue-of-veterans-in-the-united-states-of-america/
No Country For Old Men By Cormac Mccarthy: The Issue Of Veterans In The United States Of America. [online]. Available at: <https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/no-country-for-old-men-by-cormac-mccarthy-the-issue-of-veterans-in-the-united-states-of-america/> [Accessed 29 Jan. 2022].
No Country For Old Men By Cormac Mccarthy: The Issue Of Veterans In The United States Of America [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2021 Jun 09 [cited 2022 Jan 29]. Available from: https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/no-country-for-old-men-by-cormac-mccarthy-the-issue-of-veterans-in-the-united-states-of-america/
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