SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Veterans at VFW Post 6158 in Fair Oaks say their hearts go out to the victim’s families but they also want the government to do more to help veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD.
After serving in Vietnam, Post Commander Mike Moore knows first hand the effects PTSD. The horrific images of combat he says, never go away.
“It affected me,” he said. “It really did. When I came home, I was in bad, bad shape, and if it had not been for my mother and my brothers, I don’t know what would have happened, because I was gone.”
Moore had family support to pull him through but says most veterans with PTSD need professional help. Help the government he says is falling short in providing.
“Our system is broken. It needs to be fixed ” he said.
Investigators say the gunman, a decorated veteran, who killed three female hostages at the Veterans Home of California- Yountville Friday, was kicked out of Pathway Home – a program designed to help veterans with PTSD. Moore strongly condemns the shooter’s actions, but can’t help but wonder if it could have been prevented.
“You just can’t send a guy through a nine week program for PTSD and say all right, you passed, you’re ok. Well you’re never ok, because you never get over it ” he said.
Veteran, Rudy Curiel says he’s fortunate not to have PTSD, but recognizes the issue is very real.
“They’re not crazy. They are not mentally ill, they’re still going through war in their mind” he said.
Curiel says it’s also important for fellow veterans like himself to step up and provide support.
“Let them help the ones that need more help. Let them advise them and give them encouragement and say hey, ‘I went through the same thing that you did.’ This is where I’m at,’ because that’s what they need ” he said.
Commander Moore says enough talking, he’s taking action. In fact, he says he was so shaken up by the tragic events in Yountville that he wrote his congressman, Ami Bera, to let him know his thoughts and to push for more resources to treat veterans with PTSD.