Warning order: A very special report for veterans goes live online Thursday


In more 20 years as a journalist — including 17 years as an investigative reporter — I have never been associated with anything as important as the special report that’s going live online this Thursday: “Warriors Rise Up.”

I will supply links, of course, when it’s ready.

A print version — a standalone 20-page publication — will be included in this Sunday’s Herald-Tribune.

It was written by my friend and teammate, reporter Billy Cox. It was my honor to edit this monumental work, which took eight months to complete.

“Veterans Rise Up” examines the skyrocketing suicide rate among veterans, which the VA now says averages 20.6 per day.

And then it offers a solution — medical marijuana — which many believe alleviates PTSD, TBI and other unseen wounds.

Billy interviewed scores of veterans and their families.

They all say they want legal access to medical cannabis instead of the “combat cocktail” of opioids and other heady prescription drugs offered by the VA, which give the troops problems in the bathroom and the bedroom and can lead to suicidal ideation.

To be clear, this is not a pro-drugs or pro-pot story. It’s all about removing legal barriers, such as marijuana’s current Schedule 1 status, to get the medicine into the hands of those who want it and need it — legally.

I know there are veterans out there who want the relief medical cannabis may offer, but who are afraid of losing their firearms, or the ability to purchase firearms.

This special report tackles that issue, and others, head-on.

On of the strongest voices in the project, Gen. Hugh Shelton, the 14th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said it best: “When you have veterans that are suffering because of some quirk in the law or because someone is just too lazy to do the work that it takes to get this stuff done, then that’s a real issue. And sometimes they need help, like a brick through a plate glass window.”

We’ll be throwing that brick Thursday.

I pray it helps.


About Author

Lee Williams can’t remember a time in his life when he wasn’t shooting. Before becoming a journalist, Lee served in the Army and worked as a police officer. He’s earned more than a dozen journalism awards as a reporter, and three medals of valor as a cop. He is an NRA-certified law enforcement firearms instructor, an avid tactical shooter and a training junkie. When he’s not busy as a senior investigative reporter, he is usually shooting his AKs, XDs and CZs. If you don’t run into him at a local gun range, you can reach him at 941.284.8553, by email, or by regular mail to 1777 Main St., Sarasota, FL 34236. You can follow him on Twitter: @HT_GunWriter and on Facebook @The Gun Writer.