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Former US Marine age 23 Kills 4 in California - A Monster or a Victim?

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The Marine Corps now put some soldiers in a 90 day transition phase upon returning home from Afghanistan in an effort to curb post-traumatic symptoms including getting into trouble with law, depression, and alcohol/substance abuse. In some cases veterans have committed violent crimes. With multiple deployments, the human brain stays in fear mode too long and becomes exhausted.  With multiple deployments and higher casualty rates, our returning troops are increasingly affected by PTSD and problems assimilating back into civilian society.

The most recent tragedy of the Afghan and Iraq wars is former US Marine  Itzcoatl Ocampo, 23, who was charged on Tuesday with four counts of murder. According to reports Ocampo stalked and stabbed 4 homeless men to death in California. The DA said  Ocampo is eligible for the death penalty and called the 23 y/o marine "a monster." 

But is this young man really a "monster?" It's too early to explore pieces of his young life. But it's safe to assume his marine training turned him into a killing machine.  He stalked his victims like prey  - something learned in the military. Why did he snap? Why didn't he assimilate successfully back into civilian life? These questions may never be answered. But the VA must do more to help our young people returning from war. Offering transition phases and mandatory mental health check-ups are a start to identifying individuals prone to PTSD and anger/rage disorders.

Vets aren't any more likely to commit violent crimes than the mainstream population.   But they are placed in highly stressful situations that most of us would never be in.  We owe them the help they deserve.

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MS in Psychology & Counseling and work in community mental health/social work. Interest in social justice and human rights. Enjoy writing. Liberal/progressive politically. Married with 3 children, 2 cats, and 2 dogs. Anti-War blogger.
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Former US Marine age 23 Kills 4 in California - A Monster or a Victim?

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