Stars & Stripes: about those “crazy vet” assumptions

| February 8, 2013

Leo Shane at Stars & Stripes writes an excellent article for a change that says some of the things that we’ve been saying here for years in regards to the “crazy vet” and PTS linkage;

Up to one in five veterans returning from the recent wars could suffer from depression or some sort of post-traumatic stress, according to a 2008 Rand Corp. study. Despite the perception that mentally ill warriors pose a public health threat — veterans derisively call it “the Rambo effect” — research has shown only a tenuous link between PTSD and veterans committing violent, impulsive acts against others.

Federal researchers have identified 30 mass shootings in America since 1999. Of those, only four have involved veterans or military personnel. Of those, none of the shooters had been deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan.

Shane points out how the media seems to wave off any other excuse in the murder of Chris Kyle and Chad Littlefield last weekend other than the fact that Routh and his sister claimed he suffered from PTS.

It’s unclear whether he has been diagnosed with the disorder. In a 911 call obtained by local media, Routh’s sister said he suffered from the illness and had received care recently in a mental hospital.

But most of the headlines in the days following the crime assumed that Routh had the condition.

Because that’s the easiest way for the media to understand – they all saw “First Blood” and they know how it works.

Elspeth Ritchie comes back from the darkside in the article;

The reasons behind the Kyle case might never be known. Routh is believed to be the only living witness of Kyle’s death. Police officials have had him on suicide watch since he was taken into custody.

In her analysis, Ritchie said it was too early to speculate on his motive. The crime could be connected to PTSD, or another mental illness, or drug abuse, or a number of other causes.

“Then again, the alleged killer simply could be evil,” she wrote.


Category: Veterans Issues

Comments (20)

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  1. pete says:

    i’ll bet that instead of suicide watch, he is probably on safety watch too keep someone from wasting his sorry ass!

  2. Ex-PH2 says:

    I vote for ‘evil’. He knew exactly what he was doing. He told his sister what he had done.

    People who are truly mentally ill, like David Berkowitz (Son of Sam), don’t have very good ties with reality.

  3. Twist says:

    If he told his sister that he “sold his soul for a new truck”, was fleeing, and had a plan on where to hide out, then he knew exactly what he was doing and didn’t do it because he was mentally ill.

  4. USMCE8Ret says:

    I’ll bet this dude had pre-service mental issues which weren’t diagnosed, along with a likely personality disorder that went untreated while he was in uniform. Marry those things up with drug use, and you have a recipe for disaster.

    He knew exactly what he was doing.

  5. obsidian says:

    The old media saying, “he is a vet and thus a walking time bomb” comes to mind.
    All of this came from the evidence and testimony of John Forbes Kerry Ex- swift boat sailor sans medals he threw over a fence But he still has his lucky hat!
    The winter soldier event made life hell for every veteran even those who did not serve in Vietnam.
    The hate, spit and harrassing attacks doubled after he lied before the world.
    Then comes Rambo movies and you have people like one of my old bosses who when asked if Their truck driver (Me) could become their warehouse worker stated “This is a place of business we cannot have a warehouse worker meeting the public who might shoot up a shopping mall someday” and the un-employment/labor board official who told me with my skills I could either join the mafia or become a security guard.
    In the democrats and liberal eyes all veterans and former service members are at best criminals and drug users or at worst mass killers.
    For a while co-workers would taunt and harass former troops until the vets got mad then ran screaming to the boss with remarks such as He is a killer I do not want to be around him!
    Did you guys know if your handicapped or disabled and just one co-worker says you make them uncomfortable with your handicap you can be fired?
    I’ve seen it happen and not just to Veterans either.

  6. martinjmpr says:

    To be fair, Jonn, much of the “He has PTS therefore he is prone to violent acts” didn’t initially come from the outside (news media, movies/television, politicians) it came from vets themselves, typically vets who got themselves into trouble with the law and who sought to blame it on “PTSD” related to their service (or who had others do it for them, family members, psychiatrists, etc.)

    Unfortunately, ill-informed civilians often bought this pathetic excuse (instead of seeing it for what it was) and the cliche “psycho veteran” was born and started getting applied to anybody who had once worn a uniform and subsequently got into trouble.

    I’m not excusing the media, I’m just saying that there are veterans among us who bear the responsibility for this, too.

    Put a little more simply, “Rambo” didn’t start a trend or create a cliche. Rambo capitalized on a cliche that had already been in existence throughout American culture for some time (since the late 70’s at least.)

  7. martinjmpr says:

    BTW the first time I saw a television show that featured a “psycho veteran on a killing spree” it was an episode of Hawaii Five-o” (the original one with Jack Lord) and IIRC it aired sometime around 1977 or 78 (though it may have been an earlier episode I caught as a rerun.)

    I could’t find the specific episode without going through all 12 season’s plot summaries, but a google search indicated that there was a H-5-0 episode in which a crazed vietnam veteran goes on a shooting rampage in a hospital and that was in the very first season (1968-69) of the series. So the “Crazed veteran” meme was out there for quite a while before “First Blood” hit the screens in 1982.

  8. Twist says:

    That’s strange, my symptoms has caused me to be jummpy around sudden loud noises and lose some sleep at night and not become a homicidal maniac.

  9. streetsweeper says:

    Add those aiding in this crazed veteran syndrome that have never served a day in their life yet, they go around pretending they have. Ran into more than a few of those when I lived out on the west coast and a few other places.

  10. Raoul Duke says:

    Ya know….I’m sure I’m gonna take a few hits on this opining. I’m 53, served in the Nat’l Guard as a medical professional and the Bureau of Prisons. A lot of my colleagues served in VNam. My observation was that the guys that were well adjusted to begin with, despite what horrors they saw, continued to be well adjusted afterwards. It was the guys that weren’t well adjusted to begin with that became the problem afterwards. I saw this with the trendy diagnosis of Attention Deficit Disorder beginning in the late 80’s and early 90’s…if you can’t diagnosis them with anything else, it’s ADD. Now it’s, if you can’t diagnosis them with anything else, and they served in the military, it’s PTSD. Don’t get me wrong…both entities exist…, but it’s way overdiagnosed and an easy out for the practitioner and patient. It’s become what’s known as a “wastebasket diagnosis.” Otherwise, it’s also known as…”this person is a problem patient…how can I can get them to leave me alone…let them be someone else’s problem” diagnosis. Medical professionals have a name for this, it’s, “poor protoplasm,” and Mr. Routh serves that diagnostic tag well.

  11. Twist says:

    Yes it is way overdiagnosed, in my opinion, there are vets that are not seeking treatmeant because of the stigma being placed on it because of that. My wife swears that I have it and now understands why I talk to other veterans and members of my church instead of the Army “experts”.

  12. YatYas says:

    You know his defense attorneys are going to try and use PTSD as an excuse at his trial. Being it will be in Texas, hopefully the jury sees through the BS and decides on the death penalty. There are no excuses for what Routh did.

  13. USMCE8Ret says:

    @ Twist in 8 and 11 – I’m with you on both fronts.

    @12 YatYas: With any luck, the prosecutor will be able to get some Marines to testify about his antics and proclivity to drugs while on active duty, and perhaps that will show a pattern and aggravation that can be attributed to his post-service conduct. Just an observation.

  14. DFK says:

    @7 The episode you’re thinking of is “King of the Hill” Season one, episode thirteen, aired in 1969.

  15. NR Pax says:

    So he’s on suicide watch? I guess locking him in a room with a length of rope, a bottle of JD and a handful of sleeping pills to test whether or not he’s suicidal would be frowned on.

  16. USMCE8Ret says:

    You can bet those cops and Tx Rangers in that part of D/FW knew Chris and Chad, and are making sure he gets day in court to face some TX justice.

    BTW, I heard Chris’ memorial service was being held at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington.

  17. MCPO SNOW USN (Ret.) says:

    A few more items to be left in his suicide room:

    A dull pocket knife.
    A black and white TV with two channels (OWN and WE).
    Waffle iron.
    A dull ice pick.

  18. Ex-PH2 says:

    Waffle iron?

  19. MCPO SNOW USN (Ret.) says:

    Yes … death by self inflicted waffle iron burns!

  20. USMCE8Ret says:

    (Cricken sounds…)