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The PJ Tatler

by
Bridget Johnson

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April 3, 2014 - 7:43 am

Army Secretary John McHugh told the Senate Armed Services Committee this morning that the Fort Hood shooter was on psychiatric meds but an evaluation indicated no signs that he would become violent.

The previously scheduled hearing with McHugh and Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno was intended to review the Army’s fiscal year 2015 budget request and current posture.

“We meet with heavy hearts,” Chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.) said at the beginning of the hearing. “Once again, our Army must recover from an act of unspeakable violence here at home. Much remains unknown about the shooting incident yesterday evening at Fort Hood, including the question of what prompted this horrible attack. All that is certain is that lives have been lost and that families are grieving. We all share in their grief. Secretary McHugh, General Odierno, please convey this committee’s condolences to the men and women of Fort Hood and the Army, and please be assured that this committee will fully support your efforts to care for those affected.”

Levin asked the officials to begin their testimony with any comments on Fort Hood.

McHugh said the shooter, identified as Army truck driver Ivan Lopez, 34, had visited psychiatrist last month and showed “no sign of any likely violence either to himself or others.”

He was taking medications including Ambien, the secretary said.

Lopez, who joined the Army in June 2008, was in Iraq for four months in 2011 but his record showed no signs of injury. McHugh said the shooter was a Puerto Rico native, and even though it’s not initially suspected “possible extremist involvement is still being looked at very carefully.”

A spokeswoman for the Puerto Rico National Guard said Lopez joined in 1999 and went on a mission to the Sinai Peninsula in the mid-2000s, according to the Associated Press. Lt. Col Ruth Diaz said Lopez left the Guard for the Army in 2010.

Odierno told the committee that some of the procedures put in place at Fort Hood after the 2009 massacre by Nidal Hasan “did help us yesterday,” adding that the toll “could have been much worse.”

President Obama was on a fundraising trip in Chicago when the shooting happened and returned to Washington as scheduled on Wednesday night.

On Air Force One, Obama hopped on a conference call with Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Martin Dempsey, Chief of Staff of the Army General Ray Odierno, FBI Deputy Director Mark Giuliano, Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Lisa Monaco, National Security Advisor Susan Rice, and Assistant to the President and Deputy Chief of Staff Rob Nabors, according to the White House.

“The President directed his team to utilize every resource available to fully investigate the shooting. As the President said earlier tonight, these brave men and women serve with valor and distinction, and when at home they need to feel safe. The Fort Hood community is strong and resilient, and the President emphasized the importance of doing everything we can to ensure the community has every resource needed to recover, heal, and come back stronger than before,” the White House said.

“The Department of Defense has the lead on the investigation with support from federal partners including the FBI, as well as state and local law enforcement personnel. The President will continue to receive updates as new information becomes available and has directed that his team do everything it can to assist the families of those lost and wounded today.”

Bridget Johnson is a veteran journalist whose news articles and opinion columns have run in dozens of news outlets across the globe. Bridget first came to Washington to be online editor at The Hill, where she wrote The World from The Hill column on foreign policy. Previously she was an opinion writer and editorial board member at the Rocky Mountain News and nation/world news columnist at the Los Angeles Daily News. She is an NPR contributor and has contributed to USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, National Review Online, Politico and more, and has myriad television and radio credits as a commentator. Bridget is Washington Editor for PJ Media.

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Top Rated Comments   
".... and when at home they need to feel safe."

No, they don't need to 'feel safe', they need to actually be safe. They need to have the means to effectively defend themselves vice the illusion provided by security/gun restrictions which only serve to disarm them and make them more vulnerable.

Instead of videos about sheltering in place, they should be trained to use and carrying sidearms.
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
Knowing the promotion rates in the Army, I have to ask how big a loser this guy was. Joined in 2008 and still a spc?
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
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Has CNN called him a White Hispanic yet? Probably won't be saying anything now that they know he is from PR.
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
Every time one of these shootings happens, the first thing I wonder is "What medication was he on, or had just stopped taking?"

And every time I'm right....every damn time.

Let's take a look at Ambien.

"Abnormal thinking and behavior changes have been reported in patients treated with sedative/hypnotics, including Ambien. Some of these changes included decreased inhibition (e.g., aggressiveness and extroversion that seemed out of character), bizarre behavior, agitation and depersonalization. Visual and auditory hallucinations have been reported."

Hmmmm....so "aggressiveness" is one of the symptoms, huh?

Hallucinations....interesting...

"In primarily depressed patients treated with sedative-hypnotics, worsening of depression, and suicidal thoughts and actions (including completed suicides), have been reported. Suicidal tendencies may be present in such patients and protective measures may be required. Intentional overdosage is more common in this group of patients; therefore, the lowest number of tablets that is feasible should be prescribed for the patient at any one time."

"Suicidal thoughts and actions" as well, huh? Well that ain't good...

So what we have is a soldier being treated for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) with a drug that can cause him to be suicidal and extremely aggressive at the same time, and can also cause him to hallucinate.

Oh, and he was also taking ADDITIONAL medications as prescribed by a psychiatrist that we have not yet been informed of as to the specific medications.

Wonder what kind of interaction those drugs would have when ingested simultaneously by a single person?

Who'd a thunk this could turn out to be a problem?

By the way, both of the above quotes are from this website:

http://www.rxlist.com/ambien-drug/warnings-precautions.htm

Anytime you see an ad on TV about a new drug, you might want to notice what the side effects are....."suicidal thoughts and tendencies" seem to be blurted out briefly only at the end of the commercial.

In the meantime, I fully expect to see the usual suspects lining up behind microphones to demand more gun control.

One should also wonder about the propensity of pharmaceutical companies to keep coming up with new uses for their concoctions....
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
I'm betting two more days before it starts to leak that he just happened his name to Muhammad last year but that this had nothing whatsoever to do with it...

I just assume the government and the MSM (but I repeat myself) lie to us 100% of the time...
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
"[T]he President said earlier tonight, these brave men and women serve with valor and distinction, and when at home they need to feel safe." The President has about 100 Secret Service armed with automatic weapons that make him feel safe everywhere he goes. Our servicemen are disarmed and defenseless by command of their leaders, with the tacit approval of our safe and secure President. Why are men who are fully trained in the safe and effective use of military weapons denied the right of self defense by their country?
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
What on earth could psychotropic prescription drugs have to do with this? Sarcasm
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
"on meds" -- a theme that keeps popping up in stories of this kind (when it isn't jihad). It's past time to have a serious discussion of what these "meds" are doing to people's brains.
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
Yes. I'm not going to go black helicopter on these meds, but there does need to be some serious study of them. All sciencey-like.
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
Wasn't there a similar claim with Hasan that did the last shooting at Fort Hood? The Army hasn't learned any lesson.
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
I just hope that Diversity wasn't one of the casualties yesterday.

(Do I really need to add the sarc tag?)
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
Something that needs to be gotten out of the way: what was his religion?

Trustworthy sources only, please.
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
Yep, good point. Would a 4 month tour in which you did not see any combat really cause PTSD, and result in this kind of massacre 3 years later?

In the mid-2000s he was in Egypt with the National Guard. He joined the Army in 2010. Deployed, saw no combat. Was under care for potential PTSD and depression.

Then he gets transferred to Ft. Hood and murders 3 people and injures more than an dozen others?

I don't like to speculate on things like this. However we should find out his religion, and if he's Muslim, find out who he was with in Egypt.
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
Interesting. First name Ivan, last name Lopez: that's multicultural, and Ivan showed no signs of likely violence. Interesting. I didn't know the new army was a non violent governmental organization dedicated to pacifism and Transcendental Meditation with the help of psych meds.
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
Ivan is a common Latin American name. Long time catcher Ivan Rodriguez, and the Yankees have a pitcher named Ivan Nova.
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
Isn't Nova Latin and currently a television series on PBS besides being an exploding star? Strange, I thought Ivan was derived from Russian Cyrillic, perhaps coined by a Greek monk by the name of Cyril? It can be confusing keeping track of all the multicultural mutts on the planet.
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
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