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Reflections on Fort Hood Tragedy

30 December 2009 15:38 | Stress, World Events | Permalink

The tragedy at Ft Hood has been a puzzling incident needing serious consideration of possible series of events culminating in the loss of life. Some of the possible rationale to fathom this tragic event are as follows:Background InformationThere were serious indications, early on, of the inability of this care giver psychiatrist to perform at a level that would have met the standards of US Army. He himself had expressed his inability and unwillingness for deployment on various occasions and up until just before the tragedy.He was kept on the job perhaps because of the shortage of healthcare professionals in the Army (Ratio:1:750) and also because he represented the Muslim minority and to maintain minority representation in a mufti- cultural may and the society at large.Specific rationale that may have pushed him over the edge are:

1. Mental and emotional breakdown
He probably heard lots of horror stories from the returning soldiers which impacted upon him and he broke down mentally and emotionally may primarily be due to cumulative stress buildup to the threshold levels that could no longer be contained and in part also because most often there is little care for the care givers.

2. Conflict in belief Systems
Because of his religious beliefs which tended towards orthodox Islam, he was also conflicted in view of the fact that he would have to be in a fighting army in deadly combat with people who belonged to the same faith he professed. This psychological pressure to perform tasks that conflicted with his belief system produced a stress reaction resulting in this tragedy.

3. Suicidal / Homicidal response
Desperation, and inability to cope and conflicting belief systems seem to have pushed him over the edge, resulting in oblivion complex in which the person creates a world of reality where life became a burden they can’t bear anymore. Anger mixed with suicidal tendencies leads to homicidal revenge response.

The aftermath

In the aftermath of this tragedy there are some other consideration that would have to taken into account. Some of these considerations are:

1. The morale of the soldiers
2. The role of Muslim soldiers in the army
3. The sorrow of the 600 families impacted by the incident
4. Guilt of the survivors
5. Dealing with the accused and lessons learned from this incident

Om Prakash, Ph.D., P.C.
Mentor Coach
Clinical Psychologist