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U.S. Needs to Re-Examine Mental Illness & Drugs

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April 4, 2014 original publish date
April 19, 2014 Updated Report

Main gate at the Fort Hood Army Base in Killeen, Texas. Image credit."  UPI/ Robert Hughes.

Main gate at the Fort Hood Army Base in Killeen, Texas. Image credit.” UPI/ Robert Hughes.

U.S. Needs to Re-Examine Mental Illness & Drugs

original article written by Net Advisor

CHICAGO. President Obama said he was “heartbroken” after learning about another Fort Hood Shooting, but managed to regain composure to attend three political fundraisers in Chicago.

“We’re heartbroken that something like this might have happened again,” Obama told reporters at the site of his first fundraiser, Chicago Cut Steakhouse.

— President Barack Obama said on April 2, 2014 (Source: Chicago Tribune PDF)

The Chicago steakhouse dinner reportedly had 25 people attending, paying up to $32,400 for the 2014 DNC campaigns. The press was not invited.

In Denial of Reality?

What seems to be shocking is the apparent denial of reality in the President’s statement. The President said, another Fort Hood shooting “MIGHT” have happened again? Actually this DID happen again.

Former U.S. Army psychiatrist Major Nidal Hasan. Bell County Sheriff's Office photograph.

Former U.S. Army psychiatrist Major Nidal Hasan. Bell County Sheriff’s Office photograph.

Fort Hood Shooting 2009

The first 2009 Fort Hood Shooting was a terrorist attack by definition under Title VIII, §802 of the 2001 Patriot Act [Report, Point 3].

According to Reuters, U.S. Army psychiatrist Major Nidal Hasan was an American-born Muslim who “admitted in his opening (court) statement to killing 13 people and wounding 31, saying he switched sides in what he considered a U.S. war on Islam.”

The Obama Administration called the first Fort Hood terrorist attack as “work place violence.”

The Obama Administration denied U.S. troops who were killed or injured in the 2009 Fort Hood attack any combat medical or other benefits, let alone distinguishing their service with a Purple Heart since the attack was not classified as a terrorist attack.

The Obama Administration however showed consideration to the terrorist, Hasan who received $278,000 from taxpayers as military pay while he was in jail awaiting his trail.

Breitbart reported that Hasan “murdered his fellow soldiers because he wanted to protect al-Qaeda and Taliban soldiers.” The FBI apparently had Hasan’s emails one year prior to this first Fort Hood attack making these statements.

The Obama Administration refused to acknowledge the truth even today after all the facts are known, that Hassan was a domestic terrorist. Hasan was convicted on all charges and sentenced to death.

Photo of Ivan Antonio Lopez (Source: NBC News, Twitter)

Photo of Ivan Antonio Lopez (Source: NBC News, Twitter)

Fort Hood Shooting 2014

On April 2, 2014, there was another shooting attack at Fort Hood where 3 people were killed and 16 others wounded. This latest shooting seems to be chocked up to Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), even thought the investigation has barely stared.

The 2009 Fort Hood Shooting was initially blamed on PTSD, but after the investigation, trial and verdict, that theory was completely unsubstantiated. The 2014 Fort Hood perpetrator, Ivan Lopez was reportedly being treated for PTSD.

According to CNN (PDF), Lopez served four months in Iraq in 2011 as a truck driver – not a combat role for the U.S. military. Its seems to be a bit of a stretch to create a blanket statement (PDF) that just because one may be suffering from or is being treated for PTSD doesn’t mean they are going to commit mass murder.

It is also highly unusually for one to serve four months in the military as a truck driver and end up with PTSD. It is possible, but as a former counselor, and I would argue that Lopez’ probably had issues that were unrelated to his stint in the military.

CNN acknowledged this point.

“Lopez had a history of depression, anxiety and other psychiatric disorders, and was receiving treatment and taking antidepressants, according to military officials.”

— CNN (HTML PDF)

Lopez was reportedly angry with the army and had been taking prescription drugs such as Ambien for insomnia, and anti-depressants.  Ivan Lopez allegedly bought a legal hand gun then illegally brought it on the military base. There is no law that anyone could ever write that will ever prevent someone bent on committing a crime.

The gun didn’t kill anyone; Lopez used a gun to kill. The U.S. troops on the military base are trained to use many weapons and to defend our country are prohibited from carrying a side arm to defend from now a second incident of mass murder on their own base.

Aaron Alexis, REUTERS/Fort Worth Police Department/Handout

Aaron Alexis, REUTERS/Fort Worth Police Department/Handout

Another Military Base Under Attack in 2013

In September 2013, another attack on a U.S. military base where Aaron Alexis, a former navy reservist shot 12 people, and wounded 14 at the U.S. Naval base in Tennessee. Alexis was reportedly traumatized by the attack on September 11, 2001 who was 22 years old at that time. Alexis, who never served in combat, was discharged from the military on or about January 31, 2011.

Alexis was discharged for at least eight counts of misconduct (More, PDF). Somehow Alexis was given a high-security clearance that ignored his prior arrest for gun charges.

CCTV footage of Aaron Alexis in building 197 holding a Remington 870 shotgun. --- Source: Wikipedia, United States Department of the Navy (CCTV), United States federal government, Federal Bureau of Investigation

CCTV footage of Aaron Alexis in building 197 holding a Remington 870 shotgun. — Source: Wikipedia, United States Department of the Navy (CCTV), United States federal government, Federal Bureau of Investigation

If one buys into some of the reports, Alexis waited 12 years to go nuts. Alexis consciously bought a shot gun two-days before he committed mass murders, and consciously rented a Toyota Prius he drove to the military base. Alexis apparently didn’t want to pollute the air before killing a bunch of people. Alexis then made sure he was wearing his government ID tags to get through security. Then all of a sudden, his alleged PTSD from September 11, 2001 made him a mass murderer? I don’t buy that logic. Alexis acted with sound mind and who is nothing but another criminal and mass murder.

The Feds argued that Alexis was under “the delusional belief that he was being controlled or influenced by extremely low frequency electromagnetic waves” before the Navy Base attack. We’ll, Alexis could also have been a sociopath and wrote the alleged emails to be discovered that would later create an excuse for his actions. Alexis could have previous mental instability issues which are probably more plausible.

U.S. troops on the base were unable to defend themselves against a nut with a shotgun because guns are not allowed to be on the base (except for law-enforcement or guard-related duty). Had military personnel been able to carry even side-arms, the trained troops could have fought back, and potentially more lives could have been saved.

Third Military Base Attack Raises Gun Control Debate

CNN’s Tom Cohen raised the question of the April 2, 2014 Fort Hoot shooting to the gun control debate. In everyone one of these cases, the shooters worked for the U.S. military or as a government contractor, bought legal weapons, and illegally brought them on the base with the intent to commit mass murder.

It is apparent with all Presidential Administrations since about 1992 and 1993 who think U.S. troops are competent to use guns in war, but deem them incompetent to defend their own lives against gun-wielding criminals at home?

CNN pointed to a November 2013 poll that said the nation is “evenly split” on the gun control issue. CNN can poll all day if they want. The U.S. is not a Social Democracy governed by mob rule.

The U.S. Constitution already made this debate clear. If the King George III supporters out there didn’t impeded upon citizens’ rights to protect themselves from would-be criminals, criminals would think twice before they act.

U.S. Military Lowered Qualification Standards in 2005

We noted in a 2009 report that the U.S. military lowered its recruitment qualification to include high-school drop-outs, and those who scored lower on mental qualification tests.

“…the Army is using looser Defense Department rules that permits it to sign up more high school dropouts and people who score lower on mental-qualification tests…”

— Source: military.com

Is the military taking on more risk by allowing those who could have potential or known mental-illness issues into the military? Or could this suggest that some may not be up to handle the harsh mental battle the military requires. Are lower standards putting the military and the public at risk? These shootings raise the question whether this policy should be re-examined.

More Veterans Killed in 2012 by Suicide Than by Combat

NPR confirmed a report in January 2013 that said that more American military committed suicide in 2012 than were killed in actual combat.

“The number of suicide deaths in the U.S. military surged to a record 349 last year — more than the 295 Americans who died fighting in Afghanistan in 2012.”

— Source: NPR (PDF)

Reuters reported that one U.S. veteran dies as the result of suicide every 65 minutes. The U.S. spends a fortune training and equipping the military, but when they are done with them, there seems to be a lack of deprogramming support back to civilian life.

The Rand Corporation published a 2008 report (highlights – PDF) that said, “approximately 300,000 veterans who have returned from Iraq and Afghanistan are currently suffering from PTSD or major depression, and about 320,000 may have experienced TBI during deployment.” (Report Summary and Recommendations, PDF 66pps) (Full Report, PDF 499pps).

The U.S. should better screen new military recruits and help veterans deal with post combat issues.

Is Mental Illness in General Being Ignored?

Mass shooters, who are labeled as ‘mentally ill’, terrorists who commit “work-place violence” or whatever, have enough self-awareness to protect themselves from those who might oppose them. In every case, these particular shooters always target gun-free zones.

2013 showed what may have been a record number of school-related shootings. It appears to be that in 21 out of 22 school-related (2013) cases, the shooter was age 14-22. The oldest shooter was 30. It appears we have young shooters with big personal issues that are not being addressed.

It does not appear there is a major effort to effectively address the mentally-ill, the impact of stress in schools, how social media plays a role in student stress, expectation, and behavior, do psychiatric drugs play a contributory factor in shootings or other crime? Do these psychiatric drugs run the risk of side effects such as suicide, increase anger or may have other aversive behavioral affects? How best do we treat and manage these mental-health issues?

The U.S. should examine these issues to come up with better ways to address these problems so that we don’t keep reoccurring them unchecked.

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