Firing bullets at a gun range — as a Marine reservist was doing Saturday when he allegedly killed ex-Navy SEAL and "American Sniper" author Chris Kyle — can ignite combat flashbacks, a leading expert on post-traumatic stress disorder said Monday, adding, however, that hunting and target practice can be therapeutic for veterans if their shooting buddies intimately know war.
“The question being asked is: Wouldn’t the shooting of a weapon out in the open trigger feelings, nightmares, flashbacks? The answer is, yes, it can,” said Dr. Harry Croft, a San Antonio-based psychiatrist who has talked with more than 7,000 veterans diagnosed with PTSD. “But the hope would be that those would be triggered in a situation that’s safe, where other people are there who understand PTSD and could help the person cope with the thoughts that may come back to them.
“In situations like a shooting range, the sounds may set off a hyper-vigilant response, maybe flashbacks and nightmares at night. But it doesn’t make you violent, like you’re going to kill the person around you. And if the person around you is a Chris Kyle, a Navy SEAL who knows and can support you, then that experience can have a more positive effect,” Croft said.
Eddie Ray Routh, 25, a Marine Corps corporal from 2006 to 2010 who deployed to Iraq in 2007 and Haiti in 2010, was arraigned Sunday on two counts of capital murder in the deaths of Kyle, 38, and Chad Littlefield, 35, at a shooting range in North Texas. Both men were killed with a semi-automatic handgun. Read more via NBC News...