Some veterans and mental health advocates disturbed President Trump's comments on the Thousand Oaks shooter and post-traumatic stress disorder. He said that such broad remarks have led to false clichés about the disease and the Americans who served in the fight.
Trump started speculating about PTSD on Friday morning when he was asked about the shoot, where authorities said 28-year-old naval veteran Ian David Long opened fire in a country music bar in Thousand Oaks, California, killing 12 People. The officers found Long in an office in the bar, dead of an alleged self-inflicted gunshot wound.
"He was a war veteran. He was a Marine. He was at war. He served time. He saw some bad things, and many people say he has PTSD, and that's a tough deal, "Trump said after describing the shooter as a" very sick puppy "who had many problems.
"People are coming back – that's why it's a terrible thing – they're coming back, they're never the same," the president added, referring to Long's military service.
From 2008 to 2013, he served for a long time as MG gunner in the Marine Corps and was sent to Afghanistan. The US military remained as a sergeant.
It is unclear whether Long had been formally diagnosed with PTSD before his death, or whether the President had assumed that he had suffered on the condition of his military service and the comments in the media from persons who knew the shooter.
Trump's extensive statements to the White House on Friday raised concern that the president was reinforcing stereotypes, suggesting that the PTSD turned veterans into violent killers and that all members of the service were somehow damaged by a fight.
"Comments like this from our Commander-in-Chief are extremely unhelpful," said Paul Rieckhoff, founder and chief executive of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, in a statement. "They perpetuate a false and harmful story that veterans are broken and dangerous. Most people who suffer from PTSD, if they have access to effective treatment, can live a healthy, happy and meaningful life. "
Rieckhoff said that if veterans with mental health problems hurt someone, it is most likely they themselves, not someone else.
"We're losing 20 veterans and service workers every day by suicide," he said.
"The problem is not in the phrase, 'You go to war and come back and you're not the same' – that's true, you're coming back and you're not the same," said Kayla M. Williams. a former Army sergeant and senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security. "The worry I have is the idea that you're coming back as a mass shooter. That's not the case."
Williams said veterans would come out of the fight, which has often changed in a good way, with a greater zeal to engage with their communities and their country, and although there may be a link with PTSD and increased anger and aggression It is unethical and dangerous to encourage Americans to be afraid of veterans because of their combat experiences and suggests they go home damaged.
The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have dramatically increased the number of young Americans who have seen combat and revived the cliché of the damaged veteran. The PTSD has become an acronym known outside the medical community.
In recent years, mental health professionals and veterans groups have taken steps to eradicate the disease's stigma and to show that veterans suffering from it do not tick time bombs, as suggested by the Vietnam-era stereotypes.
"I think it's interesting and graphic in reporting and in feature films and on television to create an archetype, create a specific portrait – and the idea that the crazy killer returns from the war has some resonance. That's not true, "said Frank Ochberg, clinical professor of psychiatry at Michigan State University.
Ochberg has called for renaming the disease to PTSI – or post-traumatic stress disorder – rather than calling it a disorder. He said there are some studies showing that people with PTSD are at an increased risk of violence, but he said that this applies to a large minority, and sometimes veterans with this condition are withdrawn or have a lesser appetite for time to spend with family and friends.
"I think a president says, let's get facts before we confirm our prejudices or assumptions and really spread rumors about what's going on here," said Ochberg. "And then I think the president could take the opportunity to say, even if this veteran has PTSD Let's not consider stereotyped veterans with PTSD to be deadly dangerous because most of them are not deadly."
PTSD varies in features and is sometimes considered a "cold" of psychiatry, as some people recover on their own and others face increasing levels of severity that need to be treated, said Elspeth Ritchie, a retired army colonel and psychiatrist knows about this disease.
Service in combat does not necessarily match the PTSD. Ritchie said data on soldiers deployed in Iraq at the height of the war suggest that about a quarter of them returned with some symptoms of PTSD but did not necessarily have the full-blown condition.
"There is an increased risk of violence when it comes to the relationship between PTSD and violence – as is often the case with mental illness – but it's not the kind of violence that gets you into a bar and shoots people," said Ritchie.
In the case of mass shootings, the perpetrators often suffer from a mental condition associated with deception and paranoia, which is far more serious than PTSD, even if they served in the military and saw a fight.
"If you talk about shooting a place somewhere,. , it's almost always worse than PTSD, "said Ritchie. "It's usually a psychotic episode. Psychosis means not being in contact with society. "