Was Private Micah Xavier Johnson, the Dallas sniper, suffering from PTSD?

Was Private Micah Xavier Johnson, the Dallas sniper, suffering from PTSD?

Private Micah Xavier Johnson was a product of the United States Military

Private first class Micah Xavier Johnson was a 25-year old U.S. soldier who did a six-month tour of duty in Afghanistan during his six years of service in the Army Reserve. He was a carpenter and masonry specialist. Private first class Micah Xavier Johnson was awarded numerous medals including the Afghanistan Campaign Medal with campaign star, an Army Achievement Medal, an Army Service Ribbon and an Armed Forces Reserve Medal with “M” Device, among other standard awards for service. He was “other than honorably discharged” from the army after he received a sexual harassment accusation.

Private Micah Xavier Johnson was a proud Black man with no criminal history

Upon returning home, he lived with his mother in the quiet Dallas suburb of Mesquite. He had no criminal record. The cover photo of his facebook page is the Pan-African flag. He liked pages connected to the Honorable Elijah Mohammed, the founder of the Nation of Islam. He posted a photo with of himself with Professor Griff, a rapper and member of the prolific group Public Enemy. I read one article that kept shorting his middle name so they could inappropriately refer to the decorated soldier as Micah X. Johnson. The article also stated that Private Johnson had “connections to ‘Black Separatist Hate Groups’ on Facebook which included The New Black Panther Party, Black Riders Liberation Party, and the Nation of Islam. None of those groups are Hate Groups. These organizations promote Black love and empowerment and Private Johnson’s affiliations with these group show that he was a proud Black man who loved Black people. There is absolutely nothing wrong with his affiliation. I will again note that Private Johnson had no criminal record.

Private Micah Xavier Johnson was angry, troubled, and probably suffering from PTSD

Dallas Police Chief David Brown said, “The suspect said he was upset with white people and wanted to kill white people, especially white officers.” Brown also said, “He expressed anger for Black Lives Matter. None of that makes sense, none of that is a legitimate reason to do harm to anyone...”

What could possibly make a quiet man from the suburbs of Dallas decide to arm himself with military weapons and assassinate fellow officers of the law? First, let’s strip away race. Let’s take white officers and Black Lives Matter out of the equation. Let’s focus on what could possibly allow a United States soldier to snuff out the lives of fellow American citizens. The only answer I can come up with is mental illness. Chief Brown said, “none of that makes sense.” None of that should make sense to a logical and sane person. But Private Johnson was not a sane person. He was a trained soldier probably suffering from Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and a mental breakdown caused by the stress of serving in war and then aggravated by the stress caused by the barrage of images of police brutality against his Black brothers.

In 2012, the Department of Veteran Affairs quietly released a report on PTSD showing that since 9/11, nearly 30% of Iraq and Afghanistan War veterans treated at V.A. hospitals and clinics have been diagnosed with PTSD. The report, which revealed that 247,243 veterans from the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars have been diagnosed with PTSD, was buried on the V.A.’s website without any press releases, fanfare or publicity. And the number of African-American and Hispanic soldiers suffering from PTSD would more than likely be higher that the 30% since these groups suffer more trauma than white soldiers.

Private Micah Xavier Johnson needed help and the government he served failed him

So many times when our veterans return home, the U.S. government neglects and fails them. Our soldiers can’t find jobs or housing and can’t get medical or psychology/mental health treatment. They are not properly integrated back into society. A lot of veterans are broken, hurt and angry. That anger needs to be diagnosed and treated. Private Johnson was angry. His anger was probably a factor in his alleged sexual harassment case. And even though he was “other than honorably discharged”, he still needed to be properly integrated back into society. But he wasn’t.

He was discharged from the army and left to fend for himself. He was left to stew in his anger and his PTSD. It’s a dangerous thing to let a man who is skilled in combat and armed to a teeth stew in anger. The United States Government failed Private Micah Xavier Johnson just as they have and continue to failed numerous other veterans. Congressman, senators and presidents love to go the war and will allocate billions to military defense, but they strike down bills for veterans’ benefits. In February 2014, the U.S. Senate failed to pass a comprehensive bill to extend health care benefits to hundreds of thousands more veterans each year, provide family planning aid to war-injured vets and make caregiver support available to families from all U.S. wars. Government is quick to deploy troops, but deaf to the needs of the soldiers once they return home.

Did Private Micah Xavier Johnson suffer from extreme PTSD which caused him to snap and assassinate white police officers?

I believe Private Micah Xavier Johnson was suffering from an extreme case of PTSD. He was exposed to numerous atrocities while at war. He was probably humiliated by racism while in the reserves because it's common knowledge that racism and sexual assault are running rampant and uncheck in our armed forces. He was trained as a solider to protect innocent people. Then he comes homes and is bombarded by images of his innocent brothers being assassinated by racist white cops. He snapped and flew into a perverted savior/solider mode. This is the government's fault. They turned Micah into their solider, armed him, and damaged him. Then when he becomes a handful, they just release him back into society without any help. But they figured he's Black and he'll go home to a Black community so if he hurts anybody they will probably be Black so we don't care. This is why Muhammad Ali refused to serve in the armed forced. He knew how that the racist perversion of an army could twist and warp a Black man's mind.  This is a major mental health issue. This is what happens when we turn our backs on the men and women we send to protect our democracy. I wish Private Johnson was still alive so we could talk to him and find out for certain if he was suffering from PTSD, but his fellow peace officers decided it was better to blow him up than to help a wounded warrior. #BlackLivesMatter #WoundedWarriors









Deanna Burrell is the author of the best-selling novel, Single Girl Summer.

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