The story is now well known worldwide - it was on March 11 when 16 innocent Afghan civilians, including as many as nine children, were shot or stabbed, allegedly at the hands of U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales.
The scope of the incident cannot be ignored or downplayed. However, many Americans say that despite there being no excuse, they do understand the fact that Bales was possibly suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.
"Given what they've gone through, you have to figure the guy snaps," Arlington resident John Goebel said.
Bales lawyer, John Henry Browne, has questioned whether the 38-year-old suffers from PTSD, although he has not been diagnosed with is. That's not something that's easy to do, according to D.C.-based psychologist Dr. Katherine Marshall.
Marshall says that there are four criteria doctors look for when diagnosing PTSD, including looking for signs of psychosomatic or physical distress or how they are dealing with other areas of their lives.
To that point, recent reports say that Bales had been dealing with financial struggles and the fact that he was passed over for a promotion.
Meanwhile, at least one veteran's group is pointing fingers at the government, saying that a previous head injury should have kept Bales from serving a fourth tour of duty.
"Sgt. Bales would have never been redeployed, and he wouldn't be in this situation," Graham Clumpner, from Iraq Veterans Against the War, said.