There’s an Associated Press article today entitled “Slayings highlight risks of ‘gun therapy’ for veterans” that warns the public that veterans shouldn’t have guns, based on the single incident in Texas this weekend. In fact, in the article, they talk to veterans about the “therapy” of firing guns, but the they totally disregard what veterans tell them and go with what the “experts” say;
“These types of programs can often be an on-ramp for people who won’t go to any other type of program,” Rieckhoff said. “Anything that is connected to the military culture is an easier bridge to cross.”
However, he said, therapy with guns is not “incredibly common right now.”
Former soldiers sometimes take solace in target shooting and use it to reconnect with other veterans, said Rieckhoff and Tim McCarty, a former Air Force staff sergeant who now works at a gun range.
Yeah, for me, range time is like a warm hug – the smells and sounds remind me of some of the best days of my life. I didn’t realize how much I’d missed it until I bought my AR last Spring and even cleaning the weapon reminded me of the hours that I spent with my troops with a case of beer after the a long exercise, bullshit and talking shit for hours while we detailed the nooks sand crannies of the machine. But, that doesn’t matter to the “experts”;
“The smell of the gunpowder, the flash from the gun, the sight, the sound,” [Dr. Harry Croft, a San Antonio psychiatrist] said. “All of that can trigger a response … that the person’s not aware of.”
Croft said he considered gun therapy a “bad idea in the main,” although he acknowledged that target shooting could be a welcome diversion for some people. He also pointed to the high rate of veteran suicides – estimated last year at about 22 a day.
“I believe that until treatment occurs, being around guns is probably not a good idea,” Croft said.
Yeah, Doctor Croft watched Rambo once too often. PTS isn’t the “flashback” syndrome that Hollywood attaches to veterans. It rarely triggers violence and is most likely to appear as isolation.
“It’s just a familiarity thing. It’s comforting,” [Tim McCarty, a former Air Force staff sergeant] said of firing a gun. “I don’t want to say it’s a way to hang onto the past, but for a lot of guys, the military was the last thing they knew, and it was one of the best times of their lives, and it’s a way to hang onto that.”
Eddie Ray Routh, the guy who shot Chris Kyle, had substance abuse problems – so I’m wondering about his claims of PTS. He was a unit armorer, for Pete’s sake. Granted that he might have served in another capacity when he was deployed, but, still. The article says that Routh’s father knew there were problems and he was threatening to take away Routh’s gun. And stealing isn’t a PTS thing. But PTS is always an excuse used by scoundrels.