The Edmond Sun


April 7, 2014

The Dallas Morning News: Military must study mental illness more closely

DALLAS — Let’s stipulate that no amount of security can guarantee an end to shootings like the one Wednesday at Fort Hood. A motivated attacker, especially one able to get inside the perimeter, will inflict damage.

This knowledge does little for our sorrow today. This second such horrific event in five years at the nation’s largest Army base leaves us struggling to comprehend and united in grief and anger with those who serve and their families. Four more dead. An additional 16 or more wounded. Too many questions, not enough answers.

And while it’s logical to connect the Nidal Hasan and Ivan Lopez shootings, if only by victims and location, take care to not miss the larger point.

Regardless of what the Army says, Hasan was a terrorist who attacked fellow U.S. troops from a warlike impulse: to protect fellow Muslims on the battlefield. His Nov. 5, 2009, rampage left 13 dead and more than 30 wounded. A military jury found him guilty in August 2013 and sentenced him to death. Today, he sits paralyzed on death row in Fort Leavenworth, Kan.

We will learn more about Lopez in the coming days. What we know now is that he was mentally ill and, after four months as a military truck driver in Iraq in 2011, was seeking treatment at Fort Hood, living in nearby Killeen with his wife. He dressed for his rampage Wednesday in green camo and shot himself in the head when confronted by military police.

In most respects, he appears to have far more in common with Aaron Alexis, the Washington Navy Yard gunman who killed 12 and injured three in September 2013. Police killed Alexis to halt his deadly spree.

The Lopez shooting consumes us today. What’s important is that we not let it slip from memory as we have Alexis and too many other mass killers.

What it should make clear is that the military must study and resolve how its internal culture has been altered by 13 years of active war footing, since the initial assault on Afghanistan. According to a Department of Defense survey, about 7 in 10 active-duty military enlisted personnel are 31 or younger, along with about 4 in 10 officers. These young men and women have spent much of their careers — and all of their adult lives — at war.

The stress exacts a toll. How much? Can the military do a better job of screening for mental illness, from recruitment to discharge? And, importantly, can the military use those assessments in a way that’s fair to the assessed and those who serve around them?

Mental illness rarely manifests in mass killing, but mass killing often results from mental illness. We must find a way to study and treat the vast scope of mental conditions without sending the message that we believe everyone with mental illness is a potential mass murderer.

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  • New Orleans features its own “Running of the Bulls”

    On July12, the streets of the Warehouse District of New Orleans were filled with thousands of young men who were seeking to avoid being hit with plastic bats wielded by women on roller skates as part of the annual “Running of the Bulls” that takes place in New Orleans.
    The event is based on the “Running of the Bulls” that occurs in Pamplona, Spain, that is  part of an annual occurrence in which a group of bulls rampage through the streets of Pamplona while men run from them to avoid being gored by their sharp horns. That event was introduced to the English-speaking world by Ernest Hemingway, who included scenes from it in his critically acclaimed 1926 novel “The Sun also Rises.”

    July 22, 2014

  • OTHER VIEW: Newsday: Lapses on deadly diseases demand explanation

    When we heard that the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had created a potentially lethal safety risk by improperly sending deadly pathogens — like anthrax — to other laboratories around the country, our first reaction was disbelief.

    July 22, 2014

  • Holding government accountable for open meeting violations

    A few weeks ago I wrote about the recent success of three important government transparency proposals which will go into law this year.

    July 21, 2014

  • GUEST OPINION — Oklahoma GOP voters want educational choices

    A Braun Research survey released in January showed that Oklahoma voters — Republicans, Democrats, and Independents alike — favor parental choice in education.

    July 21, 2014

  • HEY HINK: IRS interferes with citizens’ rights of free speech

    The patient is gravely ill. We have detected traces of a deadly venom in the bloodstream. We don’t know how widespread the poison is, but we know, if not counteracted, toxins of this kind can rot the patient’s vital organs and could ultimately prove fatal.

    July 19, 2014

  • 130408_NT_BEA_good kids We're raising a generation of timid kids

    A week ago, a woman was charged with leaving her child in the car while she went into a store. Her 11-year-old child. This week, a woman was arrested for allowing her 9-year-old daughter to go to the park alone. Which raises just one question: America, what the heck is wrong with you?

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • RedBlueAmerica: What should the U.S. do about illegal immigrant children?

    The crisis along the southern U.S. border has politicians and immigration officials scrambling. More than 52,000 children, mostly from Central American nations, have arrived so far this year. The Department of Homeland Security is running out of space to hold them all.
    President Barack Obama is asking Congress for $3.7 billion in borrowed money from taxpayers to cover the growing “care, feeding and transportation costs of unaccompanied children and family groups” when our own veterans are not taken care of. Texas Gov. Rick Perry criticized the president’s plan, saying more money should go toward securing the border.

    July 17, 2014

  • VA scandal highlights the need to change Pentagon spending priorities

    The ongoing Department of Veterans Affairs scandal raises an important question: When our veterans are being denied access to basic health care, why is the Pentagon squandering billions of dollars on programs that do not benefit our military forces? Is there a link in organization attitudes?

    July 16, 2014

  • For better politics, it’s time for some raging moderates

    Like more than 20 percent of my fellow Californians, I am now classified as a no-party-preference voter, registered to vote but with no affiliation to any of the state’s political parties.
    I am for lower taxes and for marriage equality. I am tough on crime and I am anti-abortion. I believe that a pathway to citizenship is a necessary part of immigration reform and that student test scores should be a critical component of teacher evaluations.

    July 15, 2014

  • Father on mission to stop gun violence

    Since his son died six weeks ago as collateral damage to a troubled young man’s wish for vengeance, Richard Martinez has been asked whom he holds responsible.
    “I’m responsible,” the California lawyer answers, referring to most Americans’ failure to push harder to change gun laws after earlier mass shootings. “All those kids died and none of us did anything.”

    July 14, 2014


If the Republican runoff for the 5th District congressional seat were today, which candidate would you vote for?

Patrice Douglas
Steve Russell
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