By Patricia Kime and Rebecca Kheel: For Complete Post, Click Here…
He had endured many tough days with a fog descending on his brain — fumbling for words, forgetting the reason he left his house, hellish nightmares.
But this was different.
Army Spc. Daniel Williams had barricaded himself inside a bathroom of his home with a loaded .45. Less than a year after seeing combat in Iraq. Williams, who had been trained by the service to detect and destroy weapons of mass destruction, sat in the cramped space, his broad shoulders slumped forward in defeat.
Fury had given way to despair. The anger over the loss of a friend to a roadside bomb, frustration at the growing blanks in his memory, and rage at an Army that couldn’t get him a psych appointment for six months all collapsed into a burning desire to just make the pain stop.
As Williams’ wife pounded on the door, visions of his future faded from view. The physical pain from his injuries — a torn shoulder, busted back and relentless migraines — was omnipresent, but the mental fallout from the blast was what moved Williams to put the pistol in his mouth and pull the trigger.
No bang, just his wife’s continued begging and the door splintering open as police officers busted through and grabbed the gun.
They thrust the burly, 6-foot-3-inch soldier into the tub and handcuffed him. After the chaos subsided, one of the officers took the weapon from the house. When he attempted to clear the gun of ammunition, it went off.
“The same round that refused to kill me went off perfectly for him,” Williams testified before Congress nearly a decade later.
It would be three more years before Williams, initially diagnosed with an adjustment disorder that later was determined to be post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, began to understand the extent of his injuries from the improvised explosive device that slammed him into the hood of a Humvee and killed his friend while deployed in Iraq.