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Veterans Blast Sarah Palin For Linking Her Son's Alleged Domestic Abuse To PTSD

"I am a veteran with severe PTSD and I know not to beat my family."

Posted on January 21, 2016, at 4:03 p.m. ET

During an endorsement speech for Donald Trump on Wednesday, former Alaska governor Sarah Palin suggested her son Track had allegedly struck his girlfriend because of post-tramautic stress disorder (PTSD) that he developed after serving in Iraq.

AP Photo/Mary Altaffer

Track, Palin's oldest son who served one year in Iraq in 2008, was arrested Monday in Wasilla, Alaska on domestic assault charges. Police allege he hit his girlfriend with a closed fist and handled a gun while drunk.

Palin addressed the charges on Wednesday saying her son, like many war veterans, came back "different" and "hardened."

"So when my own son is going through what he goes through coming back," she continued. "I can certainly relate with other families who kind of feel these ramifications of some PTSD and some of the woundedness that our soldiers do return with."

But after her speech, veterans quickly blasted Palin for suggesting that her son's post-traumatic stress disorder may be at the heart of his alleged abuse.

Dear @SarahPalinUSA I am also a combat veteran with PTSD and I've never done any of the dumb shit your son's been charged with


Some people argued that Palin's comments undermined the experiences of veterans with post-traumatic stress.

@kilmeade you're right, completely inappropriate, I'm a vet, was there in Tulsa, I was pissed when she said it. Undermines legit PTSD Vets

And family members of veterans with PTSD defended their loved ones against her suggestions.

@KurtSchlichter @swheaton I agree. Hubby 21 year vet. Had PTSD, didn't beat me or the kids. Excusing violence is a disservice to vets.

"I am a veteran with severe PTSD and I know not to beat my family," one woman wrote.

@TheView I am a veteran with severe PTSD and I know not to beat my family.

Some people said blaming Track's charges on his military service was a "convenient excuse."

And if she is using PTS as a convenient excuse for her son's behavior, that's deplorable.


"In @SarahPalinUSA'a desperate scramble to relieve her son of any personal responsibility for his crime, she gives us all bad names," one veteran wrote.

In @SarahPalinUSA'a desperate scramble to relieve her son of any personal responsibility for his crime, she gives us all bad names @politico

Other people argued that Palin linking PTSD to domestic abuse distracts people from the root issues of such violence.

As a combat vet, EXTREMELY disgusted by #SarahPalin blaming PTSD 4 domestic abuse. Fragile male ego & compulsive masculinity did it NOT PTSD

One man, Nate Bethea, gave his own powerful account of dealing with PTSD, but said it doesn't excuse awful behavior.

Track Palin has to deal with his own issues, don't get me wrong, but there's no explaining away personal responsibility. It still exists.

Bethea went into detail about how PTSD changed him, saying he felt "hostile" constantly.

I felt hostile towards everyone I saw and wanted to go home immediately after leaving my apartment. I walked out into the city for exercise.


But I felt like I was sweating between my organs. I couldn't stand being outdoors and I had to get home. But, here's the point of this:

But, he said how he felt was no excuse for lashing out at anyone.

At no point did I lash out at anyone, because that would have made me feel worse. It would have confirmed my suspicions of being defective.

"It would have confirmed my suspicions of being defective," he wrote.

Palin has not addressed the criticism of her speech on social media.

BuzzFeed News has contacted representatives for Palin for comment.