Texas VA Tragedy As Hundreds Watch Veteran Kill Himself
On Tuesday, in the waiting room of the Austin, Texas VA outpatient clinic, a veteran shot himself to death as hundreds reportedly watched, according to a report in Military Times. The clinic services around 23,000 veterans. The man, whose name was not released, had a meeting with a “patient advocate” that went bad.
The incident took place on the first floor waiting room at around noon, when hundreds of people were there. He was visibly upset when he came out of a meeting room. He said, “I guess I’ll shoot myself,” and pulled out a gun. He shot himself in the stomach, and died of his injuries shortly thereafter, according to DisabledVeterans.org.
It took at least an hour to evacuate the facility so that the investigation could be done, as some veterans were still in a group therapy class after the shooting.
“All of a sudden, over the intercom, they have this statement about everyone must clear the building including staff, so it was a little surprising.” Ken Walker
Is it a lack of resources or access to those resources?
“There’s a scheduling problem. Part of it is a matter of accessibility, getting there, and frankly part of it is a matter of finances and costs.” Jack Swope, veteran and licensed counselor
This veteran may possibly have planned to do this in advance. Why do I think that? Because the VA medical clinic is a “no firearms permitted” zone. Ninety nine percent of US veterans are law abiding citizens and obey signs. This man did not. He may have been unhappy with his treatment for some time.
The facility does not have metal detectors according to the reports, but rather relies on infrequent searches.
The VA states that veteran suicide is it “highest priority,” yet the numbers don’t exactly add up. Out of a budget of $6.2 million for suicide prevention, only $57,000 was spent, according to the December GAO report .