A former Marine opens fire on a decorated military veteran at a gun range and many are linking his actions to posttraumatic stress disorder. CBS 19's Amanda Roberson looked into PTSD and explains it affects a variety of people.
The faces and causes of posttraumatic stress disorder vary. It can follow a natural disaster such as a flood or fire, or events such as assault, domestic abuse, prison stay, rape, terrorism, and war. After Saturday's shooting where a former Marine killed a former Navy SEAL, there's a lot of talk about PTSD.
"Now I'm looking for a new dream," explained 25 year old George Hubbard. The East Texan is an Army Ranger veteran who served two tours in both Iraq and Afghanistan.
"Transitioning back into civilian life is very hard," he explained. "It really is." And harder for him than some, because of his posttraumatic stress disorder. "Wake up in cold sweats. I still hear the screams and I still see the faces of every man, woman, and child I've ever killed. Yes, it bothers me at night."
Hubbard said anything can trigger his PTSD and has his own opinion why former Marine Eddie Ray Routh may have pulled the trigger on his friend, former Navy SEAL Chris Kyle at a gun range south of Fort Worth Saturday. "It was the noise. Overseas when you're getting shot at and belly-down in the sand the only reason you've got is to shoot back. If someone beside you starts shooting your reaction is to shoot back, no matter what. Take cover and fire. Shoot, move, communicate, and kill. If there's no one else to communicate with, just shoot and kill, move as fast as you can to cover. It can be anything that triggers it for anybody."
At Gateway to Hope in Tyler, Executive Director Pat Mallory works with PTSD every day. "Depression, anger, real touchy about almost everything," she said. "They immediately fly off at what you didn't have a clue what you just did because you don't understand it, but a lot of it's the look in the eyes."
But for the untrained eye, it can be hard to know if someone suffers from PTSD. And when asked if Hubbard considered himself dangerous after being diagnosed with PTSD, he had a quick response. "No. I consider myself just a normal, lucky human being, lucky to be alive, lucky to be home."
Hubbard isn't alone. An estimated 8-percent of Americans, 24.4 million people, have PTSD at any given time. The neurological causes of PTSD and why it happens in some people and not others is still unknown.
For more information on posttraumatic stress disorder, the symptoms, and different cases, click here.