The recent shooting in Thousand Oaks, once again, allowed the media to do something that has been bothering me more and more, as I get older and older. They linked the shooter with the fact that he was a veteran. They blasted it in big, bold letters in the headlines.
Sure, he served in Afghanistan, but so did a lot of others. He was a marine, but so were a lot of others. I don’t know, but he may have been in combat, but so were a lot of others. He may have had PTSD, but so have a lot of others. What in the hell does his veteran status have to do with the fact that he shot up a bar, and killed a dozen people?
It’s almost as though the media is trying to take us back in time. Back to the Vietnam Era when the public was against the military. When misguided citizens of this country called returning soldiers names. Spit on them at the airport. A time when returning soldiers were not welcome in their own hometowns.
We’ve come a long ways since then. Now it’s an honor to have served in the military. People thank soldiers, past and present, for their service. No longer does a young man face prison time for refusing to serve. Women have joined men in protecting our freedoms, and do so with pride.
It bothers me that those people reporting the news instantly grab hold of the idea that someone who has committed an outrageous act of violence is a veteran. They make it sound like the veteran status is a reason for the violence. Not so.
We should all realize that the troubles within a person that overflows into an act of violence stems from something other than their military service.
Soldiers returned from World War II with “shell-shock”, but they didn’t go “postal” on the public, or their family.
Soldiers returned from the atrocity of Korea, but they didn’t go off in fits of violence.
Soldiers returned from Vietnam with a multitude of problems, but they didn’t go around killing people at home.
I know veterans with PTSD, first responders with PTSD, normal people that have gone through hell with PTSD. None of them have gone around shooting up places where people gather.
So, don’t give me that bullshit that a person’s veteran status, or the fact they have PTSD, is the reason they did what they did. It should be buried in the story, if told at all, and not blasted in the headline.
Don’t let the media fool you. The problems with these people lie elsewhere.