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  At a coffee shop he started near Joint Base Lewis-McChord, former Striker Brigade member Jorge Gonzalez said the incident itself didn’t surprise him as it’s the latest in a string of events involving troops from the base, though “I was surprised the victims were women and children.”

“This kind of fits in a pattern of problems at JBLM,” said the 32-year-old Gonzalez, who left the Army with a diagnosis of PTSD after serving in Iraq. He founded the coffee shop, called Coffee Strong, as a place where soldiers are welcome to discuss their concerns. “We want to change the military system,” he said.

It’s still difficult for soldiers to seek help for stress-related problems, particularly in the field, he added. “Seeking out help when you are deployed is close to impossible.”
 
Gonzalez will lead a vigil later today for victims of the shootings in Afghanistan, saying: “It’s only respectful that we remember the actual people affected by these wars.”