Trump on Thousand Oaks shooter: ‘He is a very sick puppy’

Matt Saintsing
November 09, 2018 - 10:52 am

Photo by Oliver Contreras/SIPA USA

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Two days after authorities said a Marine Corps veteran opened fire at a California bar, President Donald Trump offered a theory about the gunman's alleged slaughter: PTSD. 

“He was a war veteran, he was a Marine, he was in the war,” Trump said referencing the shooter’s single deployment to Afghanistan. 

“He served time, he saw some pretty bad things. And a lot of people say he had the PTSD, that’s a tough deal.” 

According to Defense Department records, the alleged shooter—Ian David Long—served five years in the Marine Corps as a machine gunner leaving service in March 2013. He served in Afghanistan from Nov. 2010 to June 2011. 

Trump continued, “He’s very sick. It was a mental health problem. He is a very sick puppy. He was a very, very sick guy. Not too many people know about it.” 

While Long was a Marine who served in the conflict, no evidence has surfaced that he had any post-traumatic stress diagnosis. And there is no link between that mental condition and mass murder. 

What’s more, journalists with military experience took to Twitter shortly after the shooting to caution their colleagues drawing such conclusions. 

A VA spokesperson tells Connecting Vets that Long did not receive any health care through the VA. 

Neighbors describe the alleged gunman as a loner Thursday, USA Today reports. Local law enforcement said they’ve had several run-ins with the alleged shooter.

Ventura County Sheriff Geoff Dean says that officers who previously responded to a domestic dispute described him as “somewhat irate and acting irrationally.” 

But experts warn against blaming post-traumatic stress as the root cause of such mayhem. 

“It’s not PTSD,” Barbara Olasov Rothbaum, Psychiatry, and Behavioral Sciences professor at Emory University School of Medicine, and director of the Trauma and Anxiety Recovery program told the paper. “This is whatever else, what other pathology would cause someone to do this.” 

“I get upset when people get scared of veterans with PTSD because they think they are going to be violent, and they’re not,” she said. 

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