Dr. Ed Tick sends this message from Viet Nam, where he is currently leading a veteran healing journey.
I have had the great honor of working with our fine and dedicated troops at Ft. Hood. I have spent time with the clergy, behavioral staff, officers and troops. I was deeply impressed and moved by their degree of commitment, sincerity, love of country and service, and willingness to sacrifice.
I am also heartbroken to admit that I saw massive numbers and degrees of visible and invisible wounds at Ft. Hood. Countless troops with every wound from missing body parts to extreme Post-traumatic Stress Disorder. Countless recycling of these wounded for further deployments where troops are needed. Untold frustration and despair among our dedicated clergy and behavioral staff in trying to treat more legions of wounded than anyone can possibly adequately help.
I do not know the psychiatrist who committed these killings. But I do know that we are asking our troops to perform incredibly difficult and demanding missions -- both abroad and at home -- that exceed our human ability to digest, integrate and respond to. Ft. Hood is a massive sanctuary of the wounded. Many behavioral staff confided to me, sometimes numbed out and sometimes with secret tears, that they are in despair over the degree of wounding and numbers of wounded and are strained beyond human capacity to try to effectively treat them.
Our hearts should go out to every one of the victims of this tragedy, including the killer. A person must be under unbearable strain to snap as he did. He must have already been in an inner hell created by all the stories he heard and horror he witnessed. One does not have to be a combat veteran to be a combat victim. Now his private hell has spread its fires to our nation.
We must hear this tragedy as a wake up call to our nation. There is a stress point beyond which all people break, from which they cannot return. As a nation we must stop pushing our troops and their caregivers so far and expect performance beyond what is humanly possible. Every one, including the psychiatrist, is a tragic victim here. We must not do more violence by demonizing one person or his religion. Rather, let our broken hearts open and realize that all our troops and their caregivers are carrying more pain than is tolerable, more demand than can be answered.
Please -- let your broken hearts open to every victim. Judge not. Realize we are asking too much from too few and giving them too little help, too little support, too little to work with. This tragedy is all of our making. It is up to all of us to respond and help our nation and its overwrought troops everywhere to heal.