Saturday, September 20, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Fort Hood shooting Services honor Fort Hood victims

Last week's shooting at Fort Hood calls attention to the importance of bolstering security at military bases and the emotional well-being of personnel strained by multiple deployments and federal budget cuts, U.S. lawmakers said.

"The issue of the mental health of our service members is critical," Rep. John Carter (R., Texas), whose district includes part of Fort Hood, said Sunday on ABC's This Week.

U.S. officials need to learn more about post-traumatic stress disorder and brain injuries, Gen. Peter W. Chiarelli, a former Army vice chief of staff, said on ABC.

"We need to mount a national effort to get at this problem, and ensure that we do our research a lot smarter than we've done it in the past," Chiarelli said.

The Fort Hood shooter, Army Spec. Ivan Lopez, killed four people, including himself, and wounded 16. He served in Iraq for four months in 2011, and had been prescribed medications for depression, anxiety, and insomnia.

Army Secretary John McHugh, testifying last week before a Senate hearing, said Lopez didn't have any direct involvement in combat while in Iraq, adding that a psychiatrist who examined the soldier last month found no indication he was prone to violence.

The shooting also highlights the need to bolster security at bases, lawmakers and officials said.

"I think it requires a review, a reanalysis of the force-protection policies that we have at our military installations," Rep. Mike McCaul (R., Texas), chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, said on Fox News Sunday.

McCaul said the military should consider hiring more police and allow senior leaders to carry guns on bases.

Michael Mullen, a former Joint Chiefs of Staff chair, disagreed, but acknowledged a need to review security procedures. Letting people carry guns on bases "invites much more difficult challenges," he said on NBC's Meet the Press.

Dan Pfeiffer, a top aide to President Obama, said on CBS's Face the Nation that Pentagon officials also "don't think it's a good idea."

Sen. Tim Kaine (D., Va.), who sits on the Armed Services Committee, said on Fox that the military has also been hurt by automatic spending reductions.

On Sunday, church services in Killeen, Texas, became tributes to the Fort Hood victims, the AP reported.

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