Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Things Are Out of Control

A U.S. soldier opened fire on fellow troops at a counseling center inside a U.S. base Monday, killing five before being taken into custody, the U.S. command and Pentagon officials said. The shooting occurred at Camp Liberty, a sprawling U.S. base on the western edge of Baghdad near the city's international airport and adjacent to another facility where President Barack Obama visited last month. A brief U.S. statement said the soldier "suspected of being involved with the shooting" was in custody but gave no further details. Nobody else was hurt, the military said. It was unclear what provoked the attack.

In Washington, Pentagon officials said the shooting happened at a stress clinic, where troops can go for help with the stresses of combat or personal issues. It was unclear whether those killed were workers at the clinic or were there for counseling, according to one senior military official. The death toll from the Monday shooting was the highest for U.S. personnel in a single attack since April 10, when a suicide truck driver killed five American soldiers with a blast near a police headquarters in Mosul.


The day to day life of a solider in a war zone has got to be emotionally, physically, and mentally draining. These soldiers have to carry out the mission they were given while remaining cognizant that a sneak attack can happen at any time. I cannot imagine living like that for more than a week. It blows my mind that some soldiers have lived in those circumstances for years. It should come as no surprise that so many soldiers change for the worse when they return to the United States. Most of them have seen and experienced unimaginably horrific things.

Although the details surrounding this shooting are developing, it seems that the shooter was overwhelmed with stress. We all cope with stress in different ways. Unfortunately, the shooter in this case was unable to cope with his or her problems without adversely affecting others. It seems like soldiers can become their own worst enemy when their country wages war against another. Hopefully, the federal government will continue to invest in resources that help soldiers reacclimate themselves to a civilian lifestyle. "Ballad for the Fallen Soldier" by The Isley Brothers is an ode to those who gave the ultimate sacrifice while serving in the military.

I remember when I was much younger than now
I used to sit and listen to the news
I was the only child
And another day and another night

Wishin' daddy would come home
Me and mom couldn't sleep at night