'One of our own' Nidal Malik Hasan creates carnage at Fort Hood (November 06, 2009 - The Guardian - Ben Quinn and David Batty)
Killings at Texas army base happened as veterans in Washington warned of mental health fears
America's military was last night struggling to come to terms with how and why one of its own could wreak such carnage in the heart of the largest US military base in the world, Fort Hood in Texas.
It has long been the case that numerous killings and suicides at home by soldiers, many suffering from post-traumatic stress, have never received the sort of attention given to deaths by troops overseas.
However, an irony of yesterday's rampage, in which 12 people died and dozens were injured, was that it unfolded as officials from a veterans' group based in Austin were meeting in Washington with the staff of the Senate armed services committee to plead for more mental health counsellors for troops coming home from war.
Paul Sullivan, executive director of Veterans for Common Sense, said that he and others had warned that an incident such as the one which unfolded yesterday had been on the cards for a long time.
"I'm very upset. I'm at the point of tears," he said. "We warned the military about this. We warned the military about the need to increase the number of mental health care providers," he added.
"We warned the military about lowering recruiting standards, about the medical exams for soldiers coming back from the war and needing mental health care and brain injury exams.
"We have been working tirelessly to try to prevent this from happening," he said. "This is so horrible. This is a tragedy."
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I want something done. This has got to end.</i>