Republican Marine's 'Open Letter to Sarah Palin' Schools Her on PTSD

Chris Mark Sarah Palin

During her Donald Trump endorsement speech, Sarah Palin crudely  blamed PTSD and President Obama for her son Track's domestic violence arrest. Her words were truly reprehensible -- and one veteran's open letter to Palin powerfully explains why.


In her speech at the Trump rally, Palin brought up the topic of her son Track, who was arrested that same week on a domestic violence charge. (According to the Daily News, his 22-year-old girlfriend says Track, 26, punched her in the eye, kicked her in the knee, and then held an AR-15 assault rifle near his head.)

And his mother, Sarah Palin, had the gall to attempt to blame President Obama for her son's PTSD, and, in turn, blame her son's violent behavior on that PTSD.

Chris Mark, who describes himself as "a former US Marine and US Navy Officer with a Combat Action Ribbon as well as service connected disabilities" and a Republican, beautifully takes Palin to task in his open letter. He starts out by stating that he has served with, and is friends with, "dozens of combat veterans who suffer daily from various injuries and wounds to include PTSD." 

I recently read your comments related to PTSD in which you attempted to excuse your son’s arrest on domestic abuse charges and firearm charges by referencing his supposed PTSD. Based upon your previous comments I am not surprised that you would choose to use this very serious condition as a political football and, once again, attempt to divert blame from your own family’s abhorrent, violent behavior.

Mark goes on to describe that violent behavior, referencing that 2014 "drunken brawl where Track Palin (the accused domestic abuser) was involved in a bloody fight."

While you publicly stated how proud you were at your children’s violent actions, maybe this should have been a sign that Track has a problem. It is certainly curious that you did not feel the need to reference his supposed PTSD in this situation and instead stated: “…my kids’ defense of family makes my heart soar!” Maybe, instead of encouraging Track’s violence, you should have taken the opportunity to get him help. Maybe, instead of being the result of PTSD, your son was simply trying to uphold the stated Palin family values and “…make your heart soar” by abusing a woman.

Food, for thought, indeed. But then Mark gets to the heart of the matter -- the grim reality for so many of our veterans who suffer PTSD.

PTSD is stigmatized in the media and not well understood by the general public. An estimated 22 veterans commit suicide every day in the United States. This is nearly 8,000 veterans who take their lives every year. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) stated: “Every day in the United States, 22 veterans succumb to suicide — losing their personal battle to invisible wounds of war.” Veterans who have willingly given so much in service to their country should not have to bear the burden of being further stigmatized by your ignorant and foolish statements.

While I do not propose to speak for all veterans, I am clearly not alone in my views regarding your unfortunate statements. They were unfortunate for the many veterans who face further disdain and discrimination based upon your inaccurate and ignorant portrayal of those who suffer with PTSD as well as the causes of the condition.

Finally, Mark closes by saying that he'd prefer for Palin to "fade away" from the public eye, but if she won't do that, she could use her "celebrity status" for a cause.

...Please educate yourself on the facts of PTSD and try to help veterans by using your significant influence in a more productive, and less political manner. There are a number of veterans' organizations to which you can donate time, money and energy to make a difference. Two organizations you may want to consider [are] the Marine Reconnaissance Foundation and the Recon & Sniper Foundation.

Bravo, sir.

Bravo for pointing out how despicable, dangerous, and downright disrespectful it is to try to twist this situation into a political attack, thereby spreading harmful untruths about the reality of PTSD. And bravo for bringing to attention to two organizations that really do help veterans: the Marine Reconnaissance Foundation and the Recon and Sniper Foundation.

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I'd really love to know if Palin has read this letter, and if she feels at all ashamed. It's hard to imagine.


Veterans, to find PTSD resources and help, visit The National Center for PTSD.

Veterans in crisis, please contact the Veterans Crisis Line: 1-800-273-8255, press 1(text 838255) or Confidential Veterans Chat with a counselor.

If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence, please contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233).

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, please reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. 

Image via: (L) Chris Mark,; (R) Christopher Halloran/Shutterstock

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