A day after 34 year-old Army Specialist Ivan Lopez opened fire at Ft. Hood killing three and injuring 16 others before turning the gun on himself, we are learning more about Lopez and the once again deadly combination of anti-depressants and gun free zones.
Lopez was a married father who had just moved to Texas with his wife and young daughter three weeks before the shooting. Previously, he served in the Army National Guard in Puerto Rico and did one four-month tour of duty in Iraq in 2011.
Updated: It now appears that Lopez is not the man in the Kileen Daily Herald photo from 2010, also identified as Ivan Lopez, part of the the 1st Battalion Warrior Transition Brigade. Though, Lt. Gen. Mark Milley did say that Lopez was being treated for mental health issues
“We do know that this soldier had behavioral health and mental health issues and was being treated for that,” said Milley.
Lopez was not physically wounded in action but did suffer a traumatic brain injury. As I reported yesterday, Specialist Lopez was part of the 1st Battalion, Warrior Transition Brigade. This is a brigade Ft. Hood describes as a place for mental and physical healing for soldiers returning from combat.
According to Ft. Hood’s website, “The Warrior Transition Brigade provides command and control, primary care, and case management for warriors who have suffered injury or illness while serving as a member of the U.S. Army. We ensure the each Service Member receives the appropriate medical care and administrative processing that is needed to return to duty.”
Army Secretary John McHugh reported that Lopez had been prescribed Ambien to help deal with a sleeping problem but was not found to show suicidal or violent tendencies. Which simply means “the Army didn’t see this coming.” But as The Telegraph reports, it wasn’t only Ambien being taken.
Lopez, “was on a cocktail of prescription drugs…including anti-depressants and Ambien for insomnia.”
Furthermore, this event once again points to the growing evidence against so called “gun free zones.” As with the first shooting at Ft. Hood as well as the Navy Yard shooting in D.C., these mass shootings result in far too many lives taken before they come to an end. In all three of these cases, the shooting rampages continue until Military Police arrive.
In yesterday’s shooting Lopez smuggled a .45 caliber Smith & Wesson onto the post. He opened fire in two separate buildings. Less than 15 minutes after the shooting began he was confronted in a car park by a female military police officer who pointed her gun at him from 20ft away before Lopez shot himself in the head.
Killeen’s mayor Dan Corbin said it was “unreasonable” to have expected soldiers to stop Lopez smuggling the gun a handgun onto the Army post. “There are tens of thousands of cars that come in and out of Fort Hood every day. It would be logistically impossible to search each and every one.”
That statement is true, but also highlights why when it is impossible to stop someone from smuggling a gun onto the post, allowing thousands of trained soldiers to carry weapons would only make sense.