April 03, 2014

Ft. Hood Shooter Didn't See Combat, But that won't stop the Blame Bush/PTSD meme

Ivan Lopez from his Facebook account

So, you have PTSD -- or you think you do -- and yet you didn't see any combat?

The soldier who shot three people to death at Fort Hood apparently did not see combat during a tour in Iraq three years ago but was clearly troubled, under treatment for depression and anxiety and being evaluated for post-traumatic stress disorder...

There is no record that Lopez saw combat or was injured during a four-month deployment in 2011 to Iraq, where he was a truck driver, military officials said. At that time, American forces were withdrawing from Iraq.

Records show no combat citations or ribbons, the officials said. They stressed that it did not mean Lopez was not suffering serious psychological problems — only that they did not appear combat-related, as is often associated with soldiers suffering from PTSD.

They said there was also no medical confirmation the Lopez suffered a traumatic brain injury. Milley said that the soldier “self-reported” a brain injury.

I see Drudge has a headline up noting that the guy was taking Ambien because he wasn't sleeping well.

Why is it that when a guy is crazy that we always try to blame it on something? Combat stress. Brain injury. Ambien. His mother died.

Aren't most people who are crazy just, you know, crazy? Like they were born that way. That it's something in the brain.

My impression from the Ph.Ds in Psychology I work with is that pretty much most of the psychological theories stemming from Freud and those that followed his lead in tying psychological disorders to life experiences or events have pretty much fallen out of favor. Yet in the popular mind & media we try to create a causal string of traumatic life events to psychological disorders.

But, what do I know? I'm: a) not a psychologist; b) never been in the military.

So, I'll link you over to this at a great milblogger over at This Aint Hell:

Yesterday, thousands of veterans suffering from PTS didn’t shoot anyone...

Well, we know that people who do have PTS don’t normally hurt other people, they hurt themselves, but not the rest of us. So it’s unfair of Milley and the media to check off the PTS box as the cause for this incident.

And this followup:
As I’ve been saying all along, PTS has become an excuse for bad behavior, but on closer examination, something the media is largely unequipped to accept, that’s all it is – an excuse. An excuse largely accepted by the social engineers and our intellectual betters who have all of the answers and none of the experience.
Sounds about right to me.

Still, this is going to be laid to blame on Bush. Somehow.

Also, note that Ivan Lopez is a "white Hispanic". They say he's from Puerto Rico, which is a suburb of Peruvia. I think.

Oh, one other thing. The right-wing equivalent of the Blame Bush meme is that this is somehow Obama's fault for not allowing guns on military bases. I agree that it makes absolutely zero sense to not allow soldiers to carry weapons on bases. Of all the people in the world most trustworthy as a group to carry guns, those that serve in uniform are them.

So, I'm tempted to blame Obama fort this too. The only problem? Apparently the no guns rule goes way back to 1992 -- when George H.W. Bush was President. And was implemented in 1993, when Bill Clinton was President. (sorry, no link for this, but I read it somewhere last night but forgot to save the link)

Whenever an insane person murders someone it is tempting to blame larger forces. But in the end the only person to blame is Ivan Lopez. And thank God, he's dead.

UPDATE: I just talked to one of the Psychology professors and he pretty much verified what I wrote above. One thing he mentioned that I thought worth passing on was that he says that the current thinking is that traumatic or stressful events can affect the mind, but that such stresses have to be prolonged in order for any lasting damage. Single events don't cause psychological damage, but prolonged exposure might.

Also, he tells me that in his opinion Ivan Lopez, "is an Assh*le." That's a clinical diagnosis.

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 11:19 AM | Comments |