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The victims on the other end of the remote-controlled massacre

When she and Captain Larson met in 2016, she said, he was already taking mushrooms once every few months, often with other pilots. He also took MDMA – known as ecstasy or molly – a few times a year. The drugs might be illegal, but, he told her, they offered relief.

“He was just saying he had a very stressful job and needed it,” Ms Larson said. “And you could tell. For weeks afterwards, he was more relaxed, more focused, more loving. It seemed therapeutic.

A growing number of war veterans are using psychedelic drugs illegally, amid mounting evidence that they are potent treatments for the psychological wounds of war. MDMA and psilocybin are expected to soon be approved for limited medical use by the Food and Drug Administration.

“It gave me a clarity and honesty that allowed me to rewrite the story of my life,” says a former Air Force officer who said he suffered from depression and moral impairment after hundreds of Reaper assignments; he asked not to be named in order to discuss illegal drug use. “It led to some self-forgiveness. It was a huge first step.

In Las Vegas, civil authorities were willing to pardon Captain Larson, but the Air Force charged him with a litany of crimes – possession and distribution of drugs, making false statements to Army investigators. air and an accusation specific to the armed forces: conduct unworthy of a policeman. His squadron grounded him, forbade him to wear a flight suit, and told him not to talk to other pilots. No one screened him for PTSD or other psychological injuries from his service, Ms Larson said, adding: ‘I don’t think anyone realized it might be related.’

As the charge progressed over two years, Captain Larson worked at the base gymnasium and organized volunteer groups to perform community service. He and his wife divorced. Struggling with his mental health, looking for productive ways to deal with the trauma, he read book after book on positive thinking and set up a special meditation room in his house, according to his girlfriend at the time. Becca Triano.

“I don’t know what he saw, what he processed,” she said. “What I saw towards the end was that he was working really hard to try to stay sane.”

nytimes Gt

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