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Veterans believe PTSD is to blame for Ft. Hood Shooting
VIDOR-By: Leslie Rangel
The military is trying to learn more about why a serviceman at Fort Hood shot and killed three soldiers, before committing suicide.
He wounded 16 others in Wednesday's shootings.
Investigators say post traumatic stress disorder may have been a factor.
Veterans in Southeast Texas say the disorder is not an excuse but is a problem many servicemen have difficulty overcoming.
All these veterans have something in common.
More than serving in the military.
More than serving several years in the service.
"Can't sleep at night, road rage, can't drive good," Robert Mathues, a WWII veteran said.
"I did things I was ashamed of," Dale Williams, Vietnam Veteran says.
"You have a label that everybody goes through when somebody seeks help and your labeled that guy and you never want to be that guy," Scotty Hallman, an Iraq veteran who served as a sniper said.
"Just because they take you out of a combat environment doesn't mean your brain has settled to normalcy quote un quote," Fred Willette, another Vietnam Veteran says.
"My friends were all scared of me, because I was violent," Duane Graffagnino, a Vietnam Veteran says.
Violent thoughts from the wars these soldiers say stay with them forever in what they call some form of post traumatic stress disorder.
They believe it's what led 34-year-old Ivan Lopez, an army serviceman to go on a shooting spree Wednesday at Fort Hood.
"The incident that happened yesterday is a prime example of what can happen to a post traumatic stress disordered person," Williams said.
The investigation is just getting started, but the men here say there's no doubt to them why it happened.
"I feel sorrow. He didn't do that, I think he was still at war, just because they brought him home, doesn't mean it was over," Willette says.
Others understand, but say it's not an excuse.
"You know it's all about a choice in life and a choice is what happened.
He was influenced in a decision he made to affect a lot of people.
Decisions, choices these men all chose to get help and hope others who need it, do the same when they come home from war.
Military investigators say they don't believe the actions of Lopez are linked to terrorism, but they have not ruled anything out.
If you would like more information on how to get help for you or a friend or family member you can contact the Disabled American Veteran's group in Vidor at 769-8955.