Friday, November 6, 2009

The Fort Hood Shootings: My View

Now that all IVAW members of the Fort Hood chapter have been accounted for, I can breathe a little easier, and will give some of my thoughts on this situation.

The first and foremost is that it IS telling that the shooter is an Army psychiatrist. It's telling for a lot of reasons, and yes, whether or not the shooter himself had PTSD, it does relate to the Army's PTSD treatment.

When I first began receiving treatment for my own PTSD, I had to deal with a couple people who were flat-out incompetent. At one point, I was in an intensive therapy situation, and a Major that I dealt with tried to give me some "helpful advice" - that I should deny my PTSD to anyone who might care about me until they'd known me for years, at which point it would then be appropriate to spring it on them. This Major, who I wish I remembered the name of, spent more time talking about her own sex life to me, and her own personal life issues, than my trauma. This woman was in no position to be treating soldiers, and especially not in the wing area I was, where a lot of the soldiers had been medevaced out for trauma.

What did I do? I complained. What happened? Really, nothing. They added my formal complaint to a stack of other previous complaints, and said every complaint helps to build a case.

This was far from the last terrible military mental health treatment I received. If it were not for one provider I saw within the last six months, I would still to this day think that there was absolutely NO quality mental health care in the Army.

Let's be honest: the military mental health system is breaking. If it's not already broken, it is definitely breaking, hard. It cannot sustain high quality mental health care for the number of soldiers that need it. So what are they doing? Well, they don't have the funds to attract truly competent civilian providers in the numbers they need. We don't have scads of psychiatrists trying to sign up for the Medical Corps. So the military does what they can with what they have: which includes not looking into their own very closely.

Whatever this major's reasons, whatever went wrong in his head that he thought trying to murder an entire roomful of soldiers was okay, I am not going to argue here. The fact that I hope no one will dispute is that he was absolutely crazy at the moment he did so, and crazy does not, counter to some people's beliefs, happen overnight.

Let me make it clear: I am not interested in arguing here whether it was secondary PTSD or garden variety crazy or religious fanatic crazy. I don't know, and at the moment, I don't care. Any of these three still add up to crazy, and none of them happens in a vaccuum.

Where were the screenings? How did none of his fellow psychiatric colleagues recognize that this man was a problem? No, not a problem because he was a Muslim, not a problem because he may have been against the war, but a problem because he was FLAMING FUCKING CRAZY and they were IN A JOB WHERE THEY ARE SUPPOSED TO RECOGNIZE CRAZY.

And if they are not competent enough to recognize a major crazy problem in someone they work with every day, how are they supposed to recognize problems in soldiers they only see for one hour a week?

14 comments:

mandinga801 said...

Amen.

liberranter said...

As any of us know who have spent a significant portion of our lives on active duty, the official story is not always the real story. A cursory read of the official press reports in their chronological order leads the careful reader in several contradictory directions, even if one takes into consideration the initial confusion resulting from the speed at which the violence unfolded. It is beginning to seem entirely possible, perhaps even likely, that Major Hasan was NOT the actual shooter.

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The Streetsweeper Chronicles said...

librranter,

I'll entrust any evidence CID & Texas Rangers offer up long before I'd support one lil pee-brained idea you may have.

There is a reason the FBI took a backseat to the Texas Rangers on this one.

Oh by the way, MJR Hasan is now charged with 32 counts of pre-meditated armed assault...added to 13 counts of homicide?

Army Sargent? My apologies for busting in here. Hope you are doing well! Garryowen!

*salute*

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