Exceptionally few PTSD sufferers grab guns and go off on killing sprees, unlike, say non-combat veteran postal workers (the phrase is not "going crazed combat veteran" but it is "going postal"), or failed Marines who never saw combat (Lee Harvey Oswald), a couple of teen age high school sociopaths (Columbine), a South Korean lunatic student (Virginia Tech), another failed Marine who also never saw combat (Charles Whitman, Texas Tower 1966) or a non-combat veteran reportedly killing for religious reasons (Major Hasan, Fort Hood, 2009).
Here's the irritating comment from the Bales defense attorney:
The defense is expected to argue that the Army sergeant was not in a healthy mental state, suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder after four tours of duty and two injuries. "Everybody who has had three or four deployments to the Middle East is going to have some form of PTSD," Browne said.Really? Really? Even the VA estimates that only 10 to 20% of Iraq and Afghanistan vets may, in fact, suffer from PTSD.
It should be clear that until now not one of this 10 to 20% group has suddenly has arisen in the night to go off on a shooting and burning spree. Now, allegedly, there is one. One of what? 100,000? 150,000? .001% or less?
Let me repeat that point - a huge majority of veterans suffering with PTSD, let's say 99.999%, do not run amok ever.
To suggest, that is the PTSD that causes such a killing spree as SSGT Bale is accused of is to tar all the other PTSD sufferers as potential maniacs. This is patently unfair.
If SSGT Bale's defense is that he lacked the mens rea to commit murder, then the defense must be made only as to SSGT Bale. There is no need to call into question the mental state of thousands of honorable men and women who have served and continue to serve their country well. Counsel for defense should confine his remarks solely to his client.
We've seen this sort of dangerous broad brushing of veterans before - after Vietnam.
Some good thoughts at Does PTSD Make You Dangerous?