After Ft. Hood shooting, local vets talk of coping with PTSD
Thu, 03 Apr 2014 21:52:02 GMT —
Investigators continue to learn more about the gunman who opened fire at Ft. Hood Wednesday killing three and wounding 16.
The gunman has been identified as Ivan Lopez. He served in Iraq but did not see any actual combat.
Investigators say Lopez had no record of violence, but was being evaluated for post traumatic stress disorder after showing signs of emotional problems.
One Grand Strand Iraq war vet, who also suffered from PTSD, says he was just over there to do the job he was trained to do, but came back a different person and found that he could no longer fit in.
Julio Martinez of Conway was a Marine tank gunner in Iraq in 2003.
When his tour was over, he came home and got married, but soon separated himself from his family and friends.
Martinez says he felt like no one else could understand what he had experienced in the war.
"You feel like everything you do is your fault, everything you do that goes wrong, you tend to blame yourself," Martinez said. "You tend to dig a hole and the more you try to dig yourself out of it, the more you seem to go in deeper."
Martinez eventually got counseling for his PTSD through Veterans Affairs.
Today, he enjoys meeting with other vets at the Veterans Cafe and Grill in Myrtle Beach.
As for the Ft. Hood shooter, Martinez says no one knows the man's motives, but if he needed help, he should have done more to get it.
"Some people, they separate themselves from everything else and they just look for an outlet and unfortunately he chose the wrong way to do it."
One local Vietnam vet says not enough is being done to find and help vets with PTSD.
After years suffering from the disorder, Robert Reyer says he's better now, thanks to a support group that meets at the cafe, and sessions with a psychiatrist.
"They give me exercises to do that helps to relax me or relieve the stress," Reyer said. "It doesn't totally erase it, but it does help."
Martinez says counseling certainly helps him, and he thinks it might have helped the Ft. Hood gunman.
"It would have been a different story."
Martinez says today, his wife and four kids are his driving force, what keeps him going strong and he's living day by day.