PTSD Claims- AlpacaQueen

A. Brannan Vines has never been to war, but her husband, Caleb, was sent to Iraq twice, where he served in the infantry as a designated marksman. He’s one of 103,200, or 228,875, or 336,000 Americans who served in Iraq or Afghanistan and came back with PTSD, depending on whom you ask, and one of 115,000 to 456,000 with traumatic brain injury.

  1. This is a quantitative numerical claim. There is not enough information provided to prove that credibility of Caleb’s place among some several hundred thousand other PTSD and traumatic brain injury sufferers.
  2. “Served” in Iraq or Afghanistan covers a broad spectrum of people. Not everyone who served fought directly in battle or experienced the same degree of trauma.
  3. Why do these statistics have such a large deviation of error? 1 in 103,200 Americans who served in Iraq or Afghanistan and came back with PTSD is a lot different than 1 in 336,000, along with the numbers for traumatic brain injury. It seems a little unprofessional to throw around numbers with deviations of almost 200,000 when your dealing with an issue this serious.
  4. Who does the author mean when they state, “Depending on whom you ask?” A person on the street could make up the number 336,000 Americans who served in Iraq or Afghanistan came back with PTSD.

B. Now, he’s rounder, heavier, bearded, and long-haired, obviously tough even if he weren’t prone to wearing a COMBAT INFANTRYMAN cap, but still not the guy you picture when you see his “Disabled Veteran” license plates. Not the old ‘Nam guy with a limp, or maybe the young legless Iraq survivor, that you’d expect.

5. This is an analogy claim. The author compares Caleb to an old Vietnam soldier or a young legless Iraq survivor.

6. This claim can be very controversial. According to the author, Caleb’s round, tough appearance isn’t what most people see when they think of “Disabled Veteran.” By using colloquial terms such as, “Old ‘Nam guy with a limp,” and saying “that you’d expect,” the author assumes that her audience is predisposed to looking at disabled veterans in a certain light.

C. “Somebody at the VA told me, ‘Kids in Congo and Uganda don’t have PTSD,’” Caleb tells me angrily one day.

7. This is an evaluative claim. In this text, the author is evaluating Caleb’s response after he, too, evaluated someone’s extremely vague factual claim. It looks as though the VA is to blame for this interjection to make Caleb’s PTSD appear inexcusable.

8. “Somebody at the VA” makes readers assume the person stating this claim to combat Caleb’s PTSD is directly related to the VA’s administration. In this case, “somebody” could have just been a irritable passerby in the clinic.

9. There is unfortunately no way for readers to tell that Caleb was in fact angry when telling this information. Instead of stating that Caleb “seemed angered” when telling this information, she jumps to the conclusion that Caleb was in fact mad upon hearing this statement.

D. He wasn’t diagnosed for years after he got back, despite Brannan’s frantic phone calls to the VA begging for tests, since her husband, formerly a high-scoring civil-engineering major at Auburn University, was asking her to help him do simple division.

10. This is an moral/ evaluative claim. The blame is placed on the VA in this scenario and their inability to test Caleb.

11. “Years” after Caleb got back could have been two years or eight, as a specific time is not given.

12. “Phone calls to the VA begging for tests” again could have been two phone calls or eighty. These calls could have been made over the course of three years or three days. “Begging” could have been a repeated request or an extremely vocal cry for help.


2 thoughts on “PTSD Claims- AlpacaQueen”

  1. You’re a keen observer, Alpaca. I admire your ability to discern the unspoken attitudes of the author.

    We don’t agree in every instance, but we shouldn’t be expected to. In matters of nuance, observers will differ. But now that I’ve praised your expertise, I’d like to offer my reading of a few passages for your consideration.

    A1. Well called. The numbers are entirely inconclusive.
    A2. Love this observation.
    A3. Absolutely the numbers show an outrageous deviation. But suppose that was the author’s point? That the wild deviation demonstrates exactly what you say: either this Disorder is really hard to diagnose or the numbers reflect the biases of those who do the counting. That wouldn’t be unprofessional.
    A4. The author might mean: the numbers reflect the biases of those who do the counting.

    B5. I see your point, but it’s more of a Comparative claim if Caleb is distinguished FROM the stereotype.
    B6. Nailed it. You are so right that the stereotype is the author’s, which she only assumes is shared by her reader.

    C7. Masterful.
    C8. So smart.
    C9. I see your point, but does “seemed angered” change the report? The author is the only witness to the anger and reports it as seen. Nobody but Caleb could confirm or deny it. Should she have asked him and then reported his response?

    D10. Totally agree.
    D11. So true.
    D12. Nicely said.
    Dxx. There’s a lot more to be said about this passage, but I see we’ve reached our one hour deadline.

    This is not a score sheet, Alpaca. You’re not wrong where we disagree nor necessarily right where we agree. You’ve done highly credible work here and more than successfully completed the assignment.

    You didn’t ask for feedback, but I hope this experience with Notes will encourage you to seek it in future.

    By the same token, if you’d rather be neglected, I do tend to ignore students who don’t engage in the conversation.

    Your response?


  2. Professor Hodges,

    Thank you for the praise and critique, you’ve opened my eyes to some very good points. For example, in 3A, I never thought to look at the large differences as something the author included on purpose to show that PTSD is hard to diagnose or that the numbers can vary based on biases of those who you ask.


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