On a Friday night in October, Patrick Zeigler lay in a tattoo shop in Daytona Beach. His shirt off and chest bare, he braced as the tattoo gun pierced his skin. He had mulled the design for several months — the date "5NOV09," surrounded by a circle of thirteen stars, one for every person killed in the massacre 10 years ago at Fort Hood.
Zeigler timed the appointment just so, to give the tattoo enough time to heal before the 10th anniversary of the shooting Tuesday, Nov. 5. He asked that one of the stars be made gold, in honor of all the other lives that were torn apart that day, among them, his own.
"Plenty of people have been shot, don't be a fucking pussy about this," is not the advice many Americans would give a friend still in intensive care after surviving a gunshot wound. But then again, Green Beret veteran Kevin Flike probably didn't need any of their shitty advice.
While medical research into traumatic brain injuries is not new, our ability to identify and subsequently treat them, has leapt forward in the last decade and a half, owed in large part to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.