Post-Traumatic Story Disorder


The latest of our nation’s mass-media-broadcast shootings took place yesterday (April 2) at Fort Hood, where a gunman—according to reports, one Ivan Lopez—murdered 3 and wounded 16 before killing himself.

Given the ghoulishness of the 24-hour-cycle press, it’s unsurprising that their first, hopeful question was whether this was a terrorist attack. Given their stupidity, it’s also unsurprising that, once they found out poor Lopez was just some guy possibly suffering from PTSD following a stint in Iraq, they reached precisely the wrong conclusion: that this wasn’t about terrorism after all.

You idiots. Of course it’s about terrorism. It’s all about our government’s stupid, belligerent, macho response to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, knocking over countries with little or no connection to those attacks, in the mistaken belief that we could run those countries better than they were already being run. It’s all about how Congress and the military have removed hundred of billions of dollars from the American economy in order to build and maintain palatial outposts of Empire, only to strand our people there at the first sign of trouble. It’s all about how we continued to recruit unfledged and underemployed men and women and dispatch them into conditions that favored the advancement of sadists and psychopaths, places where anyone of normal disposition would end up damaged in mind, if not also in body.

When the networks say it’s not about “terrorism,” what they mean was the shooter wasn’t Muslim, or they can’t connect him to any extremist groups at home or abroad—more’s the pity for them, deprived of their latest bogeyman, their newest Tsarnaev or Nidal Hasan. Lopez, if it is him, is just some schmuck they can’t fit into a preexisting narrative; at least, not one they’re willing to broadcast. But the story’s clear enough to anyone who doesn't purposefully blind themselves to it.

Share This


Luther Jett

Not to minimize the casualties, of both body and spirit, but I don't know how this trope ("it's all about terrorism") accounts for the hundreds of Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans who have made a successful transition to civilian life, who were *not* turned into psychopaths and sadists, and who are making substantial and meaningful contributions to society.

It isn't very helpful to discourse about interventionism, whether by the U.S. or by other nations (Russia comes to mind...) to portray the military as either deeply damaged victims or brutal predators. Most soldiers are just decent citizens, trying to do the right thing as they see it, often under very difficult conditions.

Moreover, as Mr. Stiles points out, the likelihood is that Mr. Lopez was not suffering from PTSD, shell-shock, battle fatigue, or any other war-related condition.


PTSD? I'll give you PTSD. Almost all of these shootings are by men and I bet most of these men's psycho behavior can be traced, at least in some loose fashion, to problems they are having with women in their lives. It is rumored that the pilot of the lost pane "down under" had wife and girlfriend problems. Prove THAT wrong!

Jim Stiles

The suspect drove a truck in Iraq and probably did not suffer under "conditions that favored the advancement of sadists and psychopaths, places where anyone of normal disposition would end up damaged in mind, if not also in body."

Just another workplace shooting.

© Copyright 2020 Liberty Foundation. All rights reserved.

Opinions expressed in Liberty are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the Liberty Foundation.

All letters to the editor are assumed to be for publication unless otherwise indicated.