It seems that SSG Bales was upset because he didn't get promoted last year. Since he joined after 9/11, that would mean that he had around 10 years in the service at the time. (Maybe he should have waited a few days, since the new SSG to SFC list was just released. I wonder if he was on it.)
My son enlisted at about the same time. He is coming up on 10 years. He is also a SSG. He was also not on the previous (not eligible) or current promotion lists to SFC. The difference is that my son didn't expect to be. This was his "first look" for promotion after 9 years service. He was also disappointed. Next year he will have accumulated more points, including his current deployment to Afghanistan with elements of the 1st Infantry Division. I pray that he doesn't decide to follow in the footsteps of SSG Bales. But, on the other hand, SSG Bales has had 3 previous combat deployments in Iraq. My son has not (after training, served at Ft. Rucker, AL, Ft. Bliss, TX, Camp Zama, Japan, and Ft. Riley, Ks [1st Inf Div], and now Afghanistan).
Maybe it was the three previous combat tours, along with the financial problems he was having that tipped him over. How sad. PTSD and domestic problems to boot. How sad. A respected warrior that is now regarded as a criminal.