A shooting at Fort Hood that left four people dead, including the gunman, Spc. Ivan Lopez, hits close to home for U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii).
In 2009, Gabbard and other Hawaii National Guard members went through post-deployment processing at Fort Hood. They were in the same building where, just weeks later, Maj. Nidal Hasan gunned down 13 people and wounded 32 others.
“I think it really points to a deeper need for the military community and our community at large to recognize and serve returning veterans who are suffering from post traumatic stress or traumatic brain injury and to really stem this epidemic of suicides that are occurring within our military,” Rep. Gabbard said.
“There are so many people with Hawaii ties who are either based at Fort Hood or are in the Fort Hood area. It’s a very large base and I know all of us were concerned about making sure that our friends or our family were safe,” she added.
The Hawaii Congresswoman, who was recently appointed to the House Armed Services Committee, says Congress will be looking carefully at the tactics and procedures used in Wednesday’s shooting.
“I think we have to look deeper to make sure that we are doing more to prevent these types of incidents and to make sure that we are taking care of the needs of our returning veterans,” Rep. Gabbard said. “(We need to) make sure we take the lessons learned from this and apply them elsewhere to prevent something like this from ever happening again.”
According to Gabbard, the military sees about 22 suicides every day.
- Army: Fort Hood gunman showed no previous violence – Apr. 2, 2013