Counselors who work with PTSD patients in the military say the worst thing that could come from the Fort Hood shooting is for Americans to think that Ivan Lopez, who was believed to be suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, was in any way representative of the men and women who are returning from active duty in Iraq and Afghanistan, 1200 WOAI news reports.
"We are talking about men and women who have put their life on the line," said Megan Rogers, who counsels individuals with PTSD at San Antonio's Ecumenical Center. "We are talking about men and women of great integrity."
Commanders at Ft. Hood say Lopez, 34, opened fire at a Medical Brigade building with a .45 caliber Smith & Wesson semiautomatic. He continued shooting as he drove away and shot more individuals at a Combat Simulation area before he killed himself when confronted by military police.
Lopez had been prescribed medication for depression and was in the process of being screened for PTSD.
"He had not been diagnosed with PTSD, he was undergoing a diagnosis to determine if he had PTSD," said Lt. Gen. Mark Milley, the Fort Hood commander. "I don't know if he was diagnosed in the clinical sense. There were reports that he self-reported an injury."
There is no evidence that Lopez was wounded in combat in Iraq.
Rogers says following Vietnam, Americans made the 'wrong conclusion' about the sensitivity of returning veterans to violent acts. She says we know now that PTSD does not make an individual more violent. She says the vast majority of returning soldiers and other warriors are successfully overcoming problems caused by their experience.
"The latest statistics show the actual suicide rate is down, and that is huge," she said.
Rogers said PTSD is certainly not a condition which is exclusively experienced by combat veterans. She says it is a standard response to a disturbing or stressful incident, and is experienced by many civilians.
"This is not just for our civilians, this is how humans respond, and it can be overwhelming at times," she said.