Open letter to the Minister of Defense and to the Presidents of the Defense Parliamentary Commissions


The recent defensive mandate conferred on me for the protection of the family members of a military man, graduate of the Army, who died suicide in an Italian barracks, urges me to write short reflections to represent the indifferent need that we proceed, as soon as possible, with the enactment of stringent directives aimed at preventing the deaths, unfortunately increasing, of soldiers in service, both in Italy and abroad.

Faced with the alarming phenomenon of suicides, which affects the military of all weapons and in particular the Carabinieri, as well as the police forces, it is necessary to intervene in order to submit the military to more accurate periodic medical examinations and in case there are also slight psychological problems, they foresee, in the protocol, the immediate specialist check and in any case the immediate exclusion from armed services or the elimination of the equipment of the ordinance weapon, in order to prevent every possible and unhealthy use of the same for self-injurious purposes.

The protocol must also provide for the transmission to the Parliamentary Commissions, by the Weapons Staff, of periodic statistical data regarding the medical checks carried out on the soldiers in service, so that the accountability of the top management is accentuated, as well as specific and public information on the effectiveness of the visits, designed to prevent and control any possible criticality of a personal nature.

The growing social alarm linked to the perception of a dull malaise that winds through the military can not be ignored, which, even from the point of view of moral unease in the face of young and older colleagues who take their lives, repeatedly triggers the risk of a domino effect of negative emulation.

Nor can the phenomenon be relegated to one, even if blameworthy and painful, individual choice to want to take life away, in front of which to record, in fact and from time to time, a guilty indifference of the upper hierarchical scales.

Likewise, the profound pain of entire families and communities cannot be hidden in seeing a soldier - an emblem with which the majority of citizens identify the Security and Defense of the State - who reaches the extreme act of taking his own life with the inevitable consequences on the perception, negative or at least perplexed, regarding the moral condition of members of the armed forces and public security.

We can not relegate the worrying phenomenon of military suicides to dramatic choices, but individual, as if every military was not a unitary and integrated part of the social body organized to protect the defense and security of the state.

The alarming news on the issue of suicide in the military field should not affect the awareness of professionalism and dedication to the service that our military hear and communicate to civil society and, in this sense, we must solicit, to this end and above all, the utmost attention the commanders, at the various levels of responsibility, in ensuring, in advance, the necessary listening to requests for assistance, sometimes not well expressed or collected, that the military represent towards the superiors, coming to be found, very often and as physiological, to operate in conditions of high stress.

I beg you, Minister of Defense, to receive and evaluate my alarmed consideration, with the sensitivity and attention that distinguishes it and which has manifested, on several occasions, on issues of great importance concerning military life and the safety of citizens.

I trust that he will take this into account and share the concern that certainly does not escape most, but that I feel the duty to express in order to sensitize, once again, the Institutions to face, in decisive and radical terms, a serious phenomenon that must necessarily be reduced and indeed, eliminated, by all appropriate means, to ensure serenity and awareness of their role to each operator of the Public Security and Defense.

Avv. Giulio Murano

Cassationist - ISSMI-CASD legal advisor

(photo: US Army)