AP: Beware veterans with guns

| February 6, 2013

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.

Category: Veterans Issues

Comments (37)

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  1. A Proud Infidel says:

    I’m beginning to think that the left really sees us Vets as a threat. Just a few years ago Sen. Lautenberg tried to tack an amendment onto a bill forbidding any returning GI that has had counseling from owning a firearm. The left want as much of the American public unarmed as they can achieve and living like people do in Chicago, Detroit, and LA!

  2. Scubasteve says:

    There is something very therapeutic about going to the range. My wife had never been to a range, nor held a firearm before, and I took her to the range one day. Before any rounds were even purchased, we spent about an hour going over safety, control, and the basics of how the firearm workes. She loved it, and when she has a bad day at work, she now says “I wish I could go to the range, I need to relax.”

    I don’t know what it is that’s so realxing about zeroing a rifle or tightening your shot group, but it truly is relaxing. Contrary to what some would think, I’ve never ‘projected’ anyone I’ve been pissed off at onto my target and I’ve damn well never wished the target was any real person.

  3. The Dead Man says:

    That’s funny seeing as how the research I dug up on PTSD for a final showed that a range of things have been found to help the condition, from dogs and therapy to violent video games, range time and various other things that have been linked here and over at Blackfive in the past.

    Of course, expecting anyone to do any research beyond even Wikipedia is probably asking too much anymore.

  4. Richard says:

    Infidel, I think you are exactly right. The media has been screaming Veteran-with-PTS every time something bad happens, whether or not the perp was ever even in the military. Given the current argument about gun control and mental health, it looks to me like the pieces of a long-held plan falling into place; they just needed a few coincidental tragedies to close the trap. I think they want an excuse to disarm veterans along with everybody else.

  5. Hillbilly says:

    Vets with guns are scary man. I’ve never heard of a civilian shooting anyone. I hate the way these asshats will try and use this to further am agenda.

  6. Detn8r says:

    When I went through the VA medical screening for PTS, not one question was asked if I had thoughts of going out and gunning anyone down. However, a lot of questions were asked about isolationism, self injury and substance use. PTS does not manifest itself in “Rambo” flashbacks as the media would want sheeple to believe.

    Trigger time is about the only thing that calms me down, that, and being around my Grand daughter. Two of the best blood pressure medicines I know of!

  7. Joe Williams says:

    If the fog lifts I will get some trigger time in Today.Need to relax. When I put the rifle to my shoulder,the WORLD goes away. Simple as that for me. Joe

  8. Twist says:

    After recent events the calls to disarm all vets with PTS have grown a lot louder. My wife now realizes why I talk to fellow vets or certain people in my church instead of seeing a therapist.

  9. Detn8r says:

    Joe, I have 200+ acres to play on and this weekend, I plan on offing a lot of those paper bad guys. I hope the fog lifts for you!

  10. B Woodman says:

    Of course Libtards should beware of veterans with guns! They can hit what they aim at!

  11. Fasteddy says:

    DHS report claiming Veterans as a high threat for acts of terror , i.e. Tim McVeigh, was published 2 years ago and the latest paid for with our tax dollars DHS study said Veterans, those that hold the 2nd amendment dear, people who display flags and a list of other patriotic people were most likely to become lone wolfs and commit acts of terror against this regime……..

  12. pete says:

    these next couple of years are going to be extremely difficult and trying for all of us vets

  13. Redacted1775 says:

    Interesting how the AP will lay personal responsibility at the feet of someone in possession of a gun only when it’s a veteran. Double standard much?

  14. Ex-PH2 says:

    I think there definitely is a hidden agenda.

    Who is the source of it? This isn’t something new, it’s been going on for a very long time, before the incumbent won his first election.

    If it’s media bias, then it stems from people who think that anyone who has an elevated voice level is nuts.

    And who are they to judge us?

  15. Flagwaver says:

    I can’t afford the ammunition to go to a range, now can I afford the cost for licensing an AR-15. However, the few times I have been to a range with my pistol, I have come away much calmer and more at ease.

    Heck, at the range, I actually met a couple of other veterans. They were the only other two who were on the range in the pouring rain. We all went and got a bite to eat afterwards then sat around one guys house as we cleaned our weapons. It’s funny, I actually helped one fix a problem with his AR (the joys of being an armorer).

  16. NHSparky says:

    Well, let’s see, based on that, I now know what I’m going to spend the “extra” money from my tax return on:

    It’s pretty, it’s black, and it goes bang. It’s at Kittery Trading Post, and it’s mine…all mine…mwaaahahahahaha!

  17. Redacted1775 says:

    I’m moving to NC soon. when I get back there, I’m thinking Ruger Super Redhawk Alaskan, .454 Casull. Never owned a wheelgun, figured why not start.

  18. NHSparky says:

    But on a more serious note, the people who are going, “Well what the hell was Kyle thinking putting a guy with violent tendencies, etc., out on a range?”

    Well gee, kids–maybe if he’d been able to do any sort of a background check or ask anyone if the guy had any sort of commitment or other issues, he might have not let Routh on the range.

    But guess what laws prevented Kyle from even asking?

  19. Robot Wrangler says:

    I call it my zen moment, once the magazine is loaded and the range is hot I let everything go. There is only the moment of finding my target, breathing, squeezing the trigger, and repeating. I find that it calms me a lot more than talking to a therapist at the VA.

  20. NHSparky says:

    I’m thinking the first thing I do with my pretty (not black) gun is sight it in so that I can hit an orange at about 400 yards.

    It’s been far too long since I’ve gone to the range.

  21. Joe says:

    I read the guy Routh said something like, “I sold my soul for a pick up truck”, implying he shot them just to steal Kyle’s truck. Sad.

  22. NHSparky says:

    Which if that is in fact the case, there goes the PTSD/insanity defense. As Ron White said, “Here in Texas, we have a death penalty, and WE USE IT!”

  23. MCPO NYC USN (Ret.) says:

    AR-15 question:

    I need to buy a quality US made bayonet and sheath for my AR-15.

    The AR-15 is the pre-ban, Colt, Sporter, HBAR, full length.

    What make, model, and manufacturer is best for bayonet?

    Trivia Question:

    Who said, “they dont use bayonets anymore”.

  24. Virtual Insanity says:

    There are a number of us where I work that hit the civilian range on a regular basis, at lunch.

    We call it “gunpowder therapy.”

    I then spend the rest of the day (mostly in meetings) getting the occasional whiff of GSR off my clothes and hands.


  25. Twist says:

    Joe, you would be correct. They are now reporting that in the MSM even though they are still working the PTSD angle hard.

  26. Semper says:

    If anyone wrote an article like this in 1866, 1919, or 1946 they would be drawn and quartered in public.

    I’m certain illicit drug use was profoundly more compelling a change agent than the shooters harrowing experience than a Unit Armorer. Our unit armorer’s in Iraq and Afghanistan experienced terrifying exponential weight gain due to constant exposure to green bean coffee bombs and mignight TIC’s at DFAC 5.

  27. Veritas Omnia Vincit says:

    @18 It’s easy to Monday morning quarterback that thinking process, however it is also clear the Mr. Kyle found that exercise therapeutic for himself. Taking the time to work the weapon isolates your focus to a single purpose, for many people that keeps their brain from the scattered focus and multi-tasking overstimulation that makes up the daily lives of many of us now.

    I suspect Mr. Kyle was simply thinking what worked for him might work for most folks, and not considering he was dealing with a larcenous, murdering b4stard who wanted his truck. The downside of learning to trust your squad/team mates is that you sometimes misplace that trust outside of the conditions that earned that trust previously.

    That the public fears veterans is not something new, it’s been happening for a while and with the larger disconnect between those serving and those with zero knowledge of the military and those who serve it’s not likely to be something that changes anytime soon. Humans distrust those who look, act, talk, or seem somehow to be different. That’s in our evolutionary nature as a self preservation trait, we can be environmentally conditioned to understand that difference doesn’t always equate to danger. But with less and less of the civilian population being involved in or knowing someone who is involved in the military that is a very unlikely outcome.

    Expect the public to fear(or at a minimum, eye with suspicion) its warriors for some time to come, if not forever.

  28. Retired Warfighter says:

    PTSD is largely a myth made up by the MSM to stigmatize honorable vets. Sure you run into a few weakminded malcontents like Mr.Routh and others who develop “issues” when they get home. It’s all just another liberal lie

  29. David says:

    Anything that makes you focus on the task at hand and concentrate to the exclusion of the worries/cares/ distractions/stresses etc of the day is therapeutic. Good game of pool, range time, pushing the car a tad through the twisties… they all help wash the day away.

  30. LIRight says:

    @28 Retired Warfighter

    “PTSD is largely a myth made up by the MSM to stigmatize honorable vets. Sure you run into a few weakminded malcontents like Mr.Routh and others who develop “issues” when they get home. It’s all just another liberal lie.”

    A stunningly stupid statement. Please tell me you were being sarcastic….or you were kidding?

  31. Ex-PH2 says:

    @29 – Writing books works, too.

  32. James Sherer says:

    The want by veterans to continue owning guns, practicing with them, having these guns acdcessible for purchase and customisable is why the newest “Assault Weapons Ban” will not come to fruition. The unintended consequence of the volunteer army and war is hundreds of thousands, maybe millions of young men and women who would never have carried, fired, and protected the lives of themselves and people they have come to respect and love with those guns would not have happened. Now when they return home to the United States they know these weapons, they know how to handle these weapons, they know how these weapons make a difference in a fire fight and they want the security these weapons provide in their homes like they had in foreign lands. I also think as U.S. Citizens they find resentment in the idea the same politicians whom voted and sent them to these wars are now saying … by the way not in this country.

    This represents a vast shift in demographics of uninvolved non-gun owners to very involved gun users since the last “Assault Weapons Ban” (That and Dianne is 20? years older and has done nothing of significance before or since and she is becoming nervous about her legacy.) I surmise Dianne and the rest of the politicians of her thinking have underestimated this shift and underestimated the authority, knowledge and integrity these veterans are bringing to bear socially, politically and morally against gun ownership restrictions. In fact, much like prohabition as the old guard died off and the newer adults became active, whom were not scared of and responsible with “adult beverages” things became more reasonable and relaxed i.e. hard liquor being advertised on public airwaves and in magazines, the building of thousands of microbreweries, the willingness to allow alcohol purchases in grocery stores, at any hour and on Sundays and the expansion of choice in all “adult beverage” selections. So to, when the 60’s Peace Nick, all violence is bad, all guns are scary and evil crowd dies off and the wisdom of the current crop of veterans takes their place, the shift away from more gun control to less will continue as we have seen in the last twenty years.

  33. Rob says:

    The latest story I saw on Chris’ killer was that he was planning to steal the truck.

    The fact that he had PTS and was out there for therapy is coincidental when it seems he shot those two as a part of a robbery.

  34. Joe says:

    I’d say the a**hole had a major problem with impulse control long term thinking. How far did he think he was gonna get in his new truck. Senseless.

  35. Twist says:

    @34, He also told his sister where he was planning on hiding. Criminal mastermind he was not.

  36. SFC Holland says:

    Lotsa good here in the comments. I gotta go with 12 as nail on the head tho. I am terrified as a citizen/veteran.

  37. Common Sense says:

    There was more today about the 911 call and what he told his sister:

    “Eddie Ray Routh told his sister and brother-in-law that he and the two men “were out shooting target practice and he couldn’t trust them so he killed them before they could kill him,” according to a Lancaster police search warrant affidavit.”

    “Laura Blevins told police her brother seemed “out of his mind saying people were sucking his soul and that he could smell the pigs. He said he was going to get their souls before they took his,” according to the affidavit, which was first obtained by WFAA-TV. Routh told his brother-in-law, Gaines Blevins, that everyone was out to get him, according to the affidavit, which says Lancaster police obtained a warrant to search Routh’s home for weapons and other evidence.”

    “In a 911 call obtained by The Dallas Morning News, Routh’s mom, Jodi Routh, told an operator in September that her son “probably needs to go to the VA to the emergency room and they need to admit him to the mental ward.” Later, she said one of her son’s Marine Corps buddies had taken weapons from the house for safekeeping.”

    Full article:

    There was a whole lot going on and I think he used “PTSD” as an excuse. He should have never been allowed out of the hospital, he was clearly a danger to others.

    As for me, I am FAR more comfortable and trusting of vets and active military than cops. After all, the cops shot those 17 people in NY, NOT the bad guy. And don’t get me started on failed no-knock raids.