Between 11 and 20 percent of veterans of Operation Iraqi Freedom have PTSD, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs. Currently, the FDA has approved two medicines for PTSD treatment: Zoloft and Paxil. Both have labels warning of increases in suicidal thoughts.
Justin Lukasewicz, founder of the Tucson Comedy Arts Festival, doesn't have a favorite joke. "I'm not good at telling jokes," he says with a smile. But the idea of making Tucsonans laugh consumes almost half of Lukasewicz's waking hours.
There is little means of escape, it often seems, from the pressure cooker that is our frightening global context, fed by increasingly violent wars and human suffering, fueled by the bubbling intolerance and fear that can only come when people split further apart on the spectrum of thought and opinion.
On three separate days of the week, Smith takes up to 12-hour trips to check on the quality of the water and refill the tanks. "I love the desert," he says. "This is my land and I don't want anyone to die here."