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Military, Media Quick to Report Fort Hood Shooter’s Mental Health Status

There’s no way to stop the rare mass shootings that occur in the United States. You may not like it, but it’s a fact no amount of laws or background checks will ever fix.

Every time a new shooting occurs, it’s a tragedy. No words can begin to describe the senseless violence of a mass shooting.

But it’s even more of a tragedy when the media — with the help of the military, in this case — is quick to report that an alleged suspect in such shootings was seeking mental health treatment for a concern. Especially when it ended up having nothing to do with the shootings.

16 Comments to
Military, Media Quick to Report Fort Hood Shooter’s Mental Health Status

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  1. People also need to understand that somone with a mental health diagnosis can and do have a vast range of emotions, thoughts and reactions that are completely unrelated to any diagnosis. Assuming everything someone with a diagnosis does is because of that diagnosis is one of the greatest sources of stigma.


  3. In a way, I disagree, a little. But not by much. And frankly it shows the army in a bad light, to just stigmatize the shooting before an investigation was really even done.

    What would be helpful to know is if the human resource office there blew off the request for time off, or if this was standard practice. Clearly he needed the time off and was overwhelmed by something. Did he want to get mental help and needed the time off for that? Was he afraid he’d be kicked out if he asked for help?The military doesn’t take well to their guys saying they need help, from what ive heard. We owe help to those who protect our country, or they need to better screen people that they will train to shoot and arm. The whole story is heartbreaking. Nobody “won”. Now there probably are people who won’t ask for help because the media is beginning to sensationalize mental illness in a way not seen since they gave out penny tours in the asylums. Just my opinion. That is all.

    • The problem is, as you stated, one of attitude. The military has long held an attitude that if you’re looking to get out of something, you’re a slacker or your excuse is probably not a valid one. They treat you like you need to prove to them why your request is valid and legitimate.

      As for screening beforehand, that would be wonderful if we had a screening measure that could predict the future with something like 99 percent accuracy. Sadly, we don’t. So any type of screening we could do today would be full of just as many holes as the laws some states are trying to pass to limit gun ownership to mentally well people only.

  4. Welcome to Scapegoating 101, a broad course constantly taught and practiced across the USA every day, especially when it involves death.

    I want to know not only what his meds were, but was therapy offered if not already in place due to the fact he was most likely grieving the loss of his mother from 5 months ago. Oh, and to Dr Saltz who gave her opinion to Bill O’Reilly and viewers last night, Ambien is not a safe and simple drug as she claimed, otherwise why is it a Class 4 controlled substance designation, and as it is somewhat in the benzodiazepine class, could it have risked causing paradoxical agitation or dissociative states that have been documented over the years?

    Just incredible what “experts” and “contributors” have to offer to the public on these cable shows.

    When will malfeasance finally be pursued when people are reckless in making statements on TV!?

    • It won’t stop unless some kind of organized group sues some of these agitators that seem to be belittling people of a protected class, which is what people with mental illness are. Even the presumption that he was mentally ill could be grounds for a lawsuit. Either he was indeed mentally ill in which case why was he on-duty, or he wasn’t, meaning the army did an appropriate job treating him, and what they said was almost slander.
      Either way If this soldier was indeed getting help then why aren’t there laws protecting medical information until an investigation is over? I’m not familiar all the way with these new laws but doesn’t HIIPA apply? Couldn’t they simply have said it was an argument and leave it at that until all the facts come in? Does putting fear of fellow soldiers against fellow soldier help soldiers, many who are getting help after tours of duty that would have made Patton wet his pants?

    • Agreed.

  5. Sorry, but someone who shoots people because of a leave form isn’t an ordinary Joe. He’s nuts.

    • So is that more or less “nuts” than someone who kills someone else over a few thousand dollars? Or a few ounces of cocaine? Or infidelity? These are reasons murders are committed every day and 99 percent of us could never imagine why or how any of these things could drive someone to murder, since we ourselves would never do such a thing.

      Criminals don’t have that moral compass intact. That doesn’t make them crazy — that makes them criminal.

      • “Criminal don’t have that moral compass intact”

        And that is not a psychiatric issue alone. NO, that is for society and the village to address first and foremost. Why we have prisons and graveyards if boundaries won’t be respected and accepted.

  6. I may not like how this has been handled, but surely getting people to talk about mental illness and treatment (or the shocking lack thereof here in “this grNice people don’t talk about things like that.”eat country”) is some way, shape, or form that goes beyond the fodder of horror films is at least a miniature step in the right direction.

    It’s certainly better than being shushed and shamed. People ask me legitimate questions now, and it used to be my step-mother telling me I should be quiet. “Nice people don’t talk about things like that.”

    How else will we learn? The pendulum is just swinging a little strangely. It’ll get better.

  7. It would be good if this type of violence by a soldier is put into context of how it statistically compares to similar incidents by a non-military population. Also, the medications may have more to do with this than other reasons and that is difficult to research since the drug companies cherry pick their own research to put these drugs on the market, and docs. will prescribe off label. So before any conclusions can be made a lot of research is needed. The mass media likes drama and readership and antagonism. As a combat vet and mental health professional, I have been interviewed many times by the media and most of the time they try and set me up for some kind of stereo-typed combat veteran dramatic BS thing. I am quit ready for their shallow agendas and don’t get caught in their traps.

  8. People who are mentally ill in some way do not necessarily seek help and therefor have no record of medication or evaluation. A man who randomly shoots others because he didn’t get a leave in time, his fellow soldiers, is not mentally stable at that time and probably had some problems before hand. I’ve heard much worse stories. Soldiers with sick children who could not get out of being sent to the war zone, but no mass shooting occurred. They leave families at ‘bad times’, but they do their duties without harming others. I think there may be a problem in being too protective of the term ‘mentally ill’. An evaluation should be done and it if is, it just is. Sometimes it happens, and there is mental illness. But no one else should feel as if they are part of a group with that person and it’s good to learn that you have no control over what others think, only what you think of yourself.

  9. It is natural when a tragedy occurs for people to want to make sense of what seems like such a senseless event. It helps us cope to put it into a perspective or context and use pointing to a cause is part of that. It is easy to blame it on the act of a “crazy person” because it fits our stereotypes and for most people these are not people like them. So they feel comforted by because “it can’t be me or someone I know.” Truth is bad things happen and sometimes the is no logic to it. That ambiguity is very hard for most people to live with so they just blame the on mental illness.

  10. Was the soldier mentally ill, or was he a member of some criminal organization, and his violent reaction to the circumstance of having been found out? It’s hard to say, what goes through people’s heads, especially when they kill themselves and are subsequently unavailable for comment.

    I was in the military, and in the BT cycle before mine, it was rumored that one young man had taken his life on the rifle range, no more push-ups for him. But, why? Why do people do something irrevocable, thus guaranteeing that their future will remain a blank slate? Why do people throw it all away? What mental mode do they enter, where it somehow becomes OK to kill yourself, or others, in some fit of anger? And, finally, how do you help people who’ve drifted into dire straits, and are in a circumstance of mental/emotional duress?

    Hard sayin’, not knowin’, and dead men tell no tales. But, one thing is generally recognized, namely that spies and zealots take their secrets to the grave, fanatics, lunatics, and others who just plain don’t care, and have zero reverence for human life, including their own. If only we had the magic flashlight…

  11. Anger is often a reaction to something not being accomplished fast enough; e.g., being in a fast-food lineup; the driver ahead of you going to slow or too fast,delays in paperwork,etc.
    I believe a lot of this is due to our world being set on “fast”, mostly through technology, and we have become used to getting what we want RIGHT NOW. When we don’t get it right now, the brain, conditioned to a speeded-up society, rebels and seeks an “I’ll fix them” solution. Most of the time we recognize that our anger is displaced and/or useless & we don’t act on it. Maybe the shooter was misdiagnosed,underdiagnosed, or not taking his meds.
    When Effexor finally hit the market it was the best thing for me, enabling me to keep working despite dealing with (often) schizophrenic customers who just came in the store to fight with someone or had unreasonable expectations. I realize our society has also benefited greatly from technology, but “change” is not always good for all people.



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