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Ear to the Ground

Accused Serial Killer Returned From Iraq ‘Totally Changed’

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Posted on Jan 17, 2012
Christian Peralta (CC-BY-SA)

Friends tell the Los Angeles Times that Itzcoatl “Izzy” Ocampo returned from Iraq a changed man. The ex-Marine from Orange County, Calif., is accused of killing four homeless men, each stabbed more than 40 times. “He’s a veteran who did not get the help he needed,” said a fellow Marine, adding that she had trusted Ocampo with her life.

Los Angeles Times:

Ocampo’s family said the 9/11 attacks inspired him to join the military. When Ocampo went through basic training in San Diego in 2006, he struck fellow Marine Robert Hays as “really motivated” and “gung-ho.”

But something changed after he returned from a deployment to Iraq in 2008 , those who know him say. Though it did not involve fighting, his job with the Marines’ 1st Medical Battalion was a notably grisly one. He was assigned to meet and inspect the wounded — both friend and enemy — when they were flown in from combat zones en route to the hospital.

“He came back totally changed,” Hays said. “It was almost like he didn’t care anymore. He’d get fidgety, he’d start shaking, spacing out. You’d see him staring off.”

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By Shislandia, April 23, 2012 at 6:14 pm Link to this comment
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Newspapers were never for truth . They are an advertising meiudm, with editorial content around to justify the ads. And that editorial content was always biased. To use Kanuk examples, The Toronto Red Star   Gob and Pail and others were constant cheerleaders for the Lieberal party.  Craigslist and kijiji are to printed newspapers what push button elevator controls were to the elevator operators union. Now that most under 30 are functionally illiterate, thumb-typing, game-playing, phone watchers, newspapers will die. Yes it’s sad.And welcome at the same time. The Interweb has connected us better than ever. No longer do editors play the role of kings, deciding which stories the public sees. I’m all for that. For example, the Newsweek editor spiked (a print term) the Monica Lewinsky-Slick Willie Clinton story. Like most editors, that one was a Democrat, or at least left-leaning. Matt Drudge ran it, from his mother’s basement or wherever. Today Drudge is a millionaire, while money-losing Newsweek was sold for a dollar.

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By Camille, April 23, 2012 at 6:13 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I can totally reltae. I worked for a small local newspaper in Buffalo and everything, including the layout of the newspaper was done by hand. Hours were spent with wax spreaders laying out copy done on what was called a Veritype machine; graphics were cut from pages provided by a subscription service; headlines were printed ; photos were developed and attached. No colour pictures then. Lots of people were needed to put the tabloid-sized newspaper to bed. Then it was hand delivered to the printer and picked up for distribution.  So much has changed, but I believe the biggest change is the lack of real investigative journalism. Everything has to be in easy to read bullet points with lots of pictures. Back in the day,  the content was cleaner and clearer, the pictures told a better story and, because the vast amount of time that it took to put together, there weren’t that many ridiculous, salacious stories in evidence.  When you had to double type everything in order to have it come out in neat columns, you did not waste a lot of time and space with flowery language. Too bad modern journalism students do not have to see or experience that type of publishing.  It’s so much easier now. With a computer and a digital camera, anyone can publish a newspaper. BTW, my late uncle was the drama critic for the Hartford Courant.

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By caped amigo, January 19, 2012 at 6:51 pm Link to this comment

This is a tragedy of Greek proportions, and we keep repeating it over and over
again. You want change: require every Congressman and woman to send their
sons and grandsons to war as an obligation of office. Wars would stop unless we
were attacked and we’d eliminate the deficit. That’s just for openers.

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By litlpeep, January 18, 2012 at 12:48 pm Link to this comment

It is still news that the US Vererans Administration is a horribly callous, imperial bureaucracy, totally devoted to the whims of the bureaucrats therein, paying attention only to those combat vets in need when those bureaucrats find it convenient for their own career prospects?

Nothing new here since 1952.

Try again.

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By SoTexGuy, January 18, 2012 at 12:22 pm Link to this comment

Bring back the draft.. limit exemptions.

Tear down our mercenary expeditionary force-expansion.

Adios.

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By PatrickHenry, January 17, 2012 at 3:40 pm Link to this comment

Stay tuned, many more to come.

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By Outraged, January 17, 2012 at 11:13 am Link to this comment

Good post, ardee.

I remember my brother coming home on leave from Vietnam radically different than when he had left, he was just eighteen. At the time I couldn’t have been more than ten or twelve.

He was saying things extremely unlike him, or anyone in our family for that matter. He was home for only a few days, spending most of that with his fiance.

One of the days while visiting with my parents and the family, a huge argument broke out between him and my parents regarding some of the things he was saying. It created a huge situation, with half of us wanting to let him speak (regardless of what he said or how horrible it sounded) without making unqualified judgments and the other half wanting to “set him straight” regarding some of the bizarre stances he was taking. It was very upsetting to everyone and he only had leave for a few days so there wasn’t much one could have done, if in fact one could have done something. Hanging over it all, we knew that we might never see him again, at all… ever… since he was in heavy combat zones. He basically avoided family for the rest of his short leave and spent it with his fiance.

It was strange to see him so radically changed in so short a time. Eventually (after 3 yrs) he was
discharged, he married his fiance and still kept mostly to himself and his wife, avoiding family.

Now that many years have passed I do know that he suffered horribly with only his wife to help him through, which she did admirably. They are still together and in their sixties now and through the years info regarding what had happened filtered out. But even in this, mainly the rest of us don’t have a clue, only what we can imagine.

He REFUSES to talk about it at all with the rest of us and what we do know is only what his wife has implied (only many decades after the fact). She apparently has a pact with him never to divulge anything he doesn’t - she’s been true to that - and as hard as it is sometimes on this end, I think it created a trust that allowed him to deal with the pain.

But you are spot on, the damage done is irreversible and from what I can tell, the damage can only be addressed but never undone. It never just “goes away”.

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By 3am mystic, January 17, 2012 at 10:58 am Link to this comment

Those of us who were safe here at home have no idea what that young man saw.  I realize that many have fought in wars without becoming so mentally ill that they lost control and killed innocent people.  But the breaking point is different in us all.

Those I am most angry with are the people who have never gone to war, will never go to war, but become so thrilled when war comes and give no thought to the young men and women who are physically and mentally destroyed. It is as if waving the flag and yelling “God Bless America!!!” fills them with the arrogance that tells children “You may have to die now”.

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By bragladish, January 17, 2012 at 10:51 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Sry, but don’t fall for it… using this guy to try to make people believe wars create serial killers, is wrong and just plain old incorrect. Serial killers are people who can be triggered by anything that excites them, anything from combat experience to crashing a motorcycle. These people have such low stimulus that it takes something thrilling and or death-defying for them to become aware of how they can be stimulated. I’d bet this guy was abusing or even murdering the wounded, and formed some kind of penchant for murder before he got back home.

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By ardee, January 17, 2012 at 5:40 am Link to this comment

There are many victims of war other than those killed or maimed on battlefields. So called “collateral damage” includes civilians in war zones as well as those soldiers forever damaged by their experiences.

My own Vietnam era buddies are not exempt from this PTSD syndrome yet battled for years to get the help they so desperately needed. If there were a just universe those responsible for these unnecessary wars would be prosecuted and jailed; including Bush 43, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, Powell et al.

When will we learn?

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