Hello everyone. The following is a news item I cut and pasted from a newspaper website in Melbourne Australia. I have proberly broken some copywrite law so please forgive me. This is a sad and tragic. Socks "THE Department of Veterans Affairs will overhaul security after a disturbed veteran walked in and shot himself dead yesterday in front of shocked office staff. The Vietnam veteran took the lift to the 14th floor of the DVA building in La Trobe St, entered a public foyer about 1pm and sat for 15 minutes before pulling out a gun. Mr Heffernan was known to have made threats to DVA staff. Counter staff of the Veterans Affairs Network and others who may have feared for their lives later received counselling. Det-Sgt Paul Payne said a report was being prepared for the Coroner, who visited the scene. Upset mates of the veteran, Michael John Heffernan, 62, said that his death was tragically unsurprising after other veteran suicides. Mr Heffernan, of Lara, was known to local Vietnam Veterans Association official Kevin Bate as a "really nice bloke, but troubled". "He was on a knife edge and it wasn't his fault," Mr Bate said. "We don't believe the DVA handled this very well, nowhere near sensitively enough. "They knew he was not a mentally well man. The fact is the tightness of government money had driven this man to an extreme act; the same government he once put his life on the line for." Mr Heffernan had been in Vietnam in 1968 with 4RAR as an infantryman, then an army regular, and later took a job as a prison officer at Barwon. Mr Bate said Mr Heffernan retired about 2000 after being diagnosed with post-traumatic stress syndrome, which made him eligible for the top-rate totally and permanently incapacitated pension. But DVA officials cut back his TPI pension after he received a large disability payment from the Office of Corrections. Fellow prison officers said Mr Heffernan had been deeply disturbed after thinking a surprise exercise in which a female guard was "taken hostage" by inmates was real. "It wasn't a good thing to have happen to a Vietnam vet," a source said. He spent months off work afterwards and won the compensation claim in the late 1990s. Former colleagues yesterday remembered him as a respected member of the prison staff. "Mick was a real good guy with a history of service to his country," one said. Mr Bate said after Mr Heffernan's TPI pension was cut, he had written to and lobbied every DVA officer he could find. "The DVA was far too officious. They were technically correct but they were dealing with a man who needed real compassion and care," he said. Mr Heffernan was separated from his wife and family. His brother, Shane, declined to comment. A DVA source said officers referred Mr Heffernan to counselling and he had at least one visit to the psychiatric ward at Heidelberg Hospital. "He was never ignored," the source said. Vietnam Veterans Association state president Bob Elworthy said it was a tragedy for everyone. "There's a close trust between the veterans community and DVA," Mr Elworthy said. "That's why you can walk in, but security will have to be looked at." There is usually one security guard in the 14th floor foyer, but there are no checks in the building lobby or lift. A security pass is needed for other DVA floors. Veterans Affairs Minister Bruce Billson gave his condolences to Mr Heffernan's family."