Fort Hood again

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Above: Lt. Gen. Mark A. Milley gives press conference after shooting at Fort Hood, Texas.
(Photo via YouTube)

Another sad day for central Texas,” said Dr. Glen Couchman, Chief Medical Officer at Baylor Scott and White Health. The wounds of Fort Hood have been re-opened for one of the largest military bases in the world.

In November of 2009, Army psychiatrist Nidal Hasan killed 13 people and wounded more than 30 others. In August of 2013, Hasan received the death penalty. He is currently in a military prison waiting to die.

A year before the Hasan massacre, while working at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, the Medical Center and the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences expressed concern and questioned Hasan’s behavior: “Was Hasan psychotic?” His co-workers and students saw his behavior as deeply troubled. Some described him as aloof and paranoid. Others used terms as “belligerent” and “schizoid.”

On Wednesday, around 4 p.m. C.S.T., a soldier opened fire on fellow service members at Fort Hood, killing three people and wounding 16 before committing suicide, according to the media and military officials. He has been identified as 34-year old Ivan Lopez. He was undergoing treatment for depression and anxiety. He had been deployed to Iraq for a period of time and was undergoing a diagnosis to determine if he was suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). He may have self-reported a traumatic brain injury and was on medication. Media reports reveal that despite suffering from a mental illness, he was able to purchase a weapon just a few days ago.

So we now ask: How did this happen again? It’s no secret that veterans wait incredibly long to get benefits … some more than a year. Why can’t we diagnose those veterans with mental illness more quickly? Why can’t we get them treatment more quickly? Are we simply “sitting on” a serious problem, with clearly disastrous consequences, until it happens … again?