Thursday, April 03, 2014
Wrap Up On The Fort Hood Shootings
According to what Army Secretary John McHugh told the Senate Armed Services Committee on Thursday, investigators are still trying to discover why Ivan Lopez, an Iraq War veteran shot and killed three people and wounded 16 others at Texas’ Fort Hood before committing suicide — and they haven't ruled out terrorism yet.
“We’re going to keep an open mind. … Possible extremist involvement is still being looked at very, very carefully,” Army Secretary John McHugh said.
McHugh also told the committee that while Lopez served four months in Iraq, he never saw combat and was never wounded in action. His military assignment was with a logistics and support unit. In spite of that, he was in process of being psychoanalytically evaluated for Post traumatic Stress Disorder and had been fully examined a month before the shooting. He had reported a traumatic brain injury upon his return to the US, had a number of mental health issues and was receiving psychiatric help for depression and anxiety.
Another possible clue to what happened is that Lopez was taking Ambien for a sleep disorder.
Zolpidem Tartrate, which is Ambien's real name is a fairly controversial medication. It can have a number of side effects that could be relevant, such as inducing sleepwalking where people perform their daily tasks with no memory of doing so,increased irritability, increased impulsive behavior, altered thought patterns, and decreased libido. This is especially true if it's abused by the user and the prescribed dosage is exceeded, something that's also not unknown since that can provide a narcotic high. And Ambien if abused can become addictive.
This line of reasoning leads to other questions. Lopez used a Smith and Wesson .45 in the shooting , a personal firearm he had recently purchased. How did he pass the screening during the waiting period? If Lopez was being treated for mental disorders by the Army, it appears that the Army doesn't share this information. That's a large loophole that definitely ought to be closed, and it can easily be done confidentially, with a list that can be accessed during background checks for firearms purchases.
Most of the wounded victims of the shooting have been moved to stable condition, but three remain critical.