Old Bridge Pathmark Shooting Tragedy Was Preventable

Over a month ago, a violent shooting in Old Bridge, New Jersey caught national attention as an ex-Marine opened fire inside of a Pathmark, killing two people and himself. A month later, this horrible tragedy is all but forgotten in the news, and it shouldn’t be. The shooter, Terence Tyler, joins the numerous examples of what the after-effects of serving in the military can have on a person. 

This tragedy should have sparked a national outrage in the way members of our armed forces receive mental healthcare, but it didn’t. Why?

This tragedy underscores the fact that we should have better measures in place to identify at risk military personnel. They sacrifice time, family, and friendships for us. We should be making sure they are taken care of while serving on our behalf.

Even though Tyler never served overseas, as he was stationed in California during his deployment, I can only imagine his mental state leading up to that fateful day in August. Surely there had to be some kind of counseling set up for soldiers coping with stress, but Tyler managed to slip through the cracks, and what followed has caused irreversible pain and suffering for all involved. It was later reported that Tyler was discharged from the Marines in 2010 because he suffered from depression. And during his service, he took to social networking websites discussing killing his co-workers.

Tyler tweeted in June 2009, “smh is it normal to want to kill ALL of ur coworkers?Maybe but I’m actually in a position where I can,smh” [sic].

In October 2009, he posted again, “I’m starting to see why plp go on killin sprees, and these (obscenity) are reeeeeeeally pushin my kill everyone I see button” [sic].

If there were such blatant signs as these, how did nobody think “maybe there might be something wrong here”? Tyler couldn’t have made it any more obvious for the person whose job it was to diagnose his condition. Someone who is openly posting about murder on the internet is supposed to send up some red flags, especially if they’ve served in the military.

I think the military should be taking a closer look at this case. Everybody involved in the armed forces needs to has their mental health routinely checked and be able to get in touch with someone whenever they feel like they need help or need to talk to someone. And if they are unwilling to do so on their own, like Tyler was, then the military should step in and take action.

This country does not need another rogue veteran coping with stress and other mental issues harming themselves or others for action to be taken. For what they have done for this country, anyone serving in the armed forces deserves to be looked after with great attention, even after they are discharged. That way, we may be able to avoid tragedies like the one at Pathmark in the future.