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A police officer outside the Pulse nightclub memorial in Orlando. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Two years after the Pulse nightclub shooting, the first responders who witnessed the gruesome scene are still struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder. ProPublica has a deep dive into five of their stories.

The big picture: Police are having flashbacks to the night of the shooting and its affecting their work in the field. All five found it difficult or impossible to go back to work, at least in the field.

The details, per ProPublica:

  • The symptoms are all relatively similar — vivid flashbacks to the night of the shooting and sudden flashes of anger or anxiety at home.
  • One police officer described vivid flashbacks triggered by the iPhone’s default ringtone, because victims’ phones were ringing constantly inside the club as friends and relatives tried to get in touch.

Professional support varied. Some were encouraged to get treatment and therapy; other had to fight for reassignments and benefits. One was fired for a subsequent infraction and is suing the Orlando fire department for wrongful termination. Some say they were told that seeking help for PTSD was a sign of weakness.

Therapy worked for some, but not for everyone.

  • “Did it help? I don’t know. Did it make it worse? I don’t know,” former police officer Omar Delgado told ProPublica. “But I’m not well. And when you’re not well, is something working?”

Go deeper

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
Updated 2 hours ago - Economy & Business

Our make-believe economy is here to stay

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The Federal Reserve and global central banks are remaking the world's economy in an effort to save it, but have created something of a monster.

Why it matters: The Fed-driven economy relies on the creation of trillions of dollars — literally out of thin air — that are used to purchase bonds and push money into a pandemic-ravaged economy that has long been dependent on free cash and is only growing more addicted.

Mike Allen, author of AM
3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Why Trump may still fire Barr

Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Attorney General Barr may be fired or resign, as President Trump seethes about Barr's statement this week that no widespread voter fraud has been found.

Behind the scenes: A source familiar with the president's thinking tells Axios that Trump remains frustrated with what he sees as the lack of a vigorous investigation into his election conspiracy theories.

Mike Allen, author of AM
3 hours ago - World

Scoop: Trump's spy chief plans dire China warning

Xi Jinping reviews troops during a military parade in Beijing last year. Photo: Thomas Peter/Reuters

Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe on Thursday will publicly warn that China's threat to the U.S. is a defining issue of our time, a senior administration official tells Axios.

Why it matters: It's exceedingly rare for the head of the U.S. intelligence community to make public accusations about a rival power.