YOUNTVILLE (KPIX) — People often come to church to ponder why life unfolds the way it does.
On Sunday morning, in the small churches surrounding the Veteran’s Home of California – Yountville, no one seemed to have much doubt about why the shooter did what he did.
CONTINUING COVERAGE: Yountville Veterans Home Shooting
“They used to call it ‘battle fatigue,’ you know,” Army veteran Christopher Smith said at St. Joan of Arc Catholic Church. “The duty over in Afghanistan and Iraq — it must be terrible.”
Smith lives at the Veterans Home and he served in Germany during the Korean War but he says he never experienced the trauma and fear that is leaving many current veterans so emotionally scarred.
“I think [Albert Wong] was a prime example of that. He didn’t belong in there. He needed more hel in a hospital,” Smith said.
At St. Stephen’s Anglican Church, Father Charles Dillon has spent years giving psychological counseling to troubled veterans and says programs like Pathway often contain at-risk people capable of the most erratic behavior.
“While you’re trying to give them the best care you have to be very watchful about what they’re going through and what their behavior seems to be moving toward,” Father Dillon said.
Dick Tiff spent four hours in lockdown while the tragedy unfolded. He says while he cannot understand what caused the shooter to snap it is clearly a problem that is not being adequately addressed.
“The more and more you hear of the need, there’s probably not nearly enough programs for the PTSD guys coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan,” Tiff said.
“These shootings seem so senseless but this one is different. We all know why it happened. Young people are sent off to fights they can never really win and some of them return broken, prisoners of a war that follows them home.”
Father Dillon says veterans are not being spit upon like when he returned from Vietnam but they still need to have their emotional trauma taken seriously.