After a veteran, most likely suffering from post traumatic stress disorder, took the lives of twelve people at a California bar, WAAY 31 spoke to local veterans to get their reactions to the tragic event.
We spoke with one veteran who also suffers from PTSD and learned what he struggles with on a daily basis.
“Oh man, not again. And especially when I found out he was a service member. So automatically, I knew it had to be PTSD, because when I say PTSD is real, the struggle is real," Gerald Fletcher said. “It’s tragic and I hate it for that soldier."
Fletcher says he’s experienced the bad dreams and the night sweats, but the worst is when he thinks he smells gunpowder.
“I mean, it may be a perfume fragrance, somebody put on too much perfume that triggers it. You may be having a good day, and then you might give a person a hug like, ‘Hey, how are you doing,’ and then that smell sends you to a place where you shut down," he said.
This is why Fletcher says incidents like the mass shooting in California are exactly why he volunteers his time to help other veterans with PTSD--saying the condition doesn’t discriminate.
“You can be the best-dressed person in the world, all kinds of skills and know-how, but you’re still suffering," he said.
Fletcher says he’s afraid the shooter was too far gone.
“It’s like you’re lost inside," he said. "You’ll be so far gone, there’s no listening to reasoning."
Fletcher says he hates to hear another veteran was struggling, but he says he’ll be praying for the families who lost their loved ones in the California shooting.