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Howard Unruh PTSD?

August 31, 2011

I was looking on my Facebook group pages when this name caught my eye.  Howard Unruh, who is credited with being one of the first mass (13) murderers on record.  This guy, though older than I, lived near where I was born, Camden, New Jersey. When I was growing up he was someone we all had heard about. He was our boogie man. He was described as “crazy”.  I can’t now help but think that this was also an early stage PTSD incident.  There is a rather lengthy write-up on him in Wikipedia and below is an excerpt.

” (Howard) Unruh was the son of Samuel Shipley Unruh and Freda E. Unruh. He had a younger brother, James; he and Unruh were raised by their mother after the parents separated. He grew up in East Camden, attended Cramer Junior High School, and graduated from Woodrow Wilson High School in January 1939.[6] The Woodrow Wilson High School yearbook from 1939 indicated that he was shy and that his ambition was to become a government employee.[7]

Always a reserved man, he had turned into a recluse in the three months before his spree. The World War II veteran was unemployed and lived with his mother. During the war, he was reportedly a brave tank soldier who served in the Battle of the Bulge and kept meticulous notes of every German killed, down to details of the corpse. He was honorably discharged in 1945, and returned home with a collection of medals and firearms. He decorated his bedroom with military items, and set up a target range in his basement. His mother supported him by working at a factory while Howard hung around the house and attended daily church services. He briefly attended a pharmacy course at Temple University in Philadelphia but dropped out after only three month”

If there was a connection between his service to his Country and these killings it could also be one of the first recorded incidents PTSD history as well.  Of course we will never know but PTSD is real and it will not go away on its own.  To have gone to these extremes seems to call out to us from the past. Seek help!!