Not even one block from where I started in downtown Los Angeles California where I walked down the sidewalk from a Starbucks that I was sitting inside was Jamal who’s served from 2002-10 deploying to Iraq with the USMC. He told me what he saw no one should have to see. He said upon his arrival home he felt like his head would explode from the pain he saw and felt. He started seeking treatment with pain pills which lead to the moment I wasn’t expecting. He reached down grabbed his glass pipe with his push rod and brillo and lit up his crack pipe. In his small medial bag, he had other items.
I took a few steps back and watched him inhale as the smoke surrounded his face. After he came back to our conversation, he asked me did I know what the EGA stood for and I told him! I asked him why didn’t he go back to the VA and keep fighting?
His response was why should I fight anymore when no one is fighting for me? LA is his home and he said this is now life.