Islamic Center act reminds us it's time to rethink war

Published in the Fort Collins Coloradoan on March 3rd, 2017

The attack on the Islamic Center is reprehensible and inexcusable, and the outpouring of community support in response is truly uplifting. Understandably, there is little sympathy for Joseph Scott Giaquinto, the suspect.

A combat medic in the U.S. Army for eight years, serving in Iraq and Korea, Giaquinto possibly, and most probably, suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). His father, Michael, stated that he wants to seek treatment for PTSD for his son from the Veterans Administration. Gianquinto may be among the 20 percent of those deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan who have PTSD, only half of whom get treated (2012 National Academy of Sciences).

PTSD is a mental health condition triggered by experiencing or witnessing a trauma. It can have profound psychological effects on the individual. Emotional and behavioral changes can be severe, often lasting decades beyond the original events. Though only 10 percent of American forces see combat, the U.S. military now has the highest rate of PTSD in its history (Sebastian Junger, Vanity Fair, 2015). Unlike physical injuries, the wounds of war often remain invisible — unrecognized and unacknowledged.

Sue Ellen Klein, Fort Collins