RETURNING SOLDIERS ARE NOT DAMAGED GOODS. WHY, THEN, DOES THE ANTIGUN CROWD TREAT VETERANS AS IF THEY ARE?
Some time ago the Wall Street Journal wrote an opinion piece – an expose that appeared in the May 24th-25th Weekend Review Section, titled “Duty and Pity.” The WSJ author, Phil Klay, wrote “. . . there is something deeply unsettling about the way we so often choose to think about those who served.” Klay says that we choose to pity our returning soldiers. But, as he adds, “pity sidesteps complexity in favor of narratives that we’re comfortable with, reducing the nuances of a person’s experience to a sound bite.” Klay points out that something sinister is going on here. And, what it is feeds into the goal of antigun groups and their allied politicians who, as we know, seek to separate Americans from their guns. “This insistence on treating veterans as objects of pity plays out in our national dialogue . . . whether it is Bill Maher saying on his April 4 HBO show, ‘Anytime you send anyone to war, they come back a little crazy,’ or a Washington Times article about PTSD claiming that, ‘Roughly 2.6 million veterans who serve in Iraq and Afghanistan suffer from PTSD-type symptoms.’ That is roughly the total number of veterans who served, which suggests that the report thought there might be a 100% saturation rate of PTSD among veterans.” Now, let us extrapolate from this.
The antigun crowd and much of the mainstream media treat returning soldiers as “broken” and as “ticking time bombs,” even as they “pity” them and seek to treat them all for PTSD. “Pity places the focus on what’s wrong with veterans. But for veterans looking at the society that sent them to war, it may not feel like they’re the ones with the most serious problem.” Indeed, the mainstream media takes potshots at veterans every chance it gets. “As Sgt. Dakota Meyer, a young Marine and PTSD sufferer who was awarded the Medal of Honor for heroism in Afghanistan, explained after the Fort Hood shooting, ‘PTSD does not put you in the mindset to go out and kill innocent people. . . . The media label this shooting PTSD, but if what that man did is PTSD, then I don’t have it.’” And, “Kristen Rouse, a veteran and blogger who was struck by another article alerting fearful readers to ZIP Codes that have large numbers of veterans with PTSD, wrote that the article treated a PTSD database ‘like a sex offender registry.’ A recent opinion piece in the New York Times even tried to link combat trauma with membership in the Ku Klux Klan. If vets are truly ‘broken,’ . . . there is no telling what they might do.”
The Wall Street Journal adds, “this perspective is more than a little bizarre. Veterans rank among our most engaged, productive citizens.” For example, “in New York, the contributions being made by veterans couldn’t have been more apparent than after Hurricane Sandy. When the city failed to coordinate relief efforts in the Rockaways, the veteran-led relief group Team Rubicon filled the leadership gap . . . to map conditions and coordinate efforts to help people stranded in the storm. Veterans are used to creating order in chaotic environments – just the sort of people a city in a crisis needs.”
The May 24th-25th Wall Street Journal article sets the record straight on the issue of PTSD, but, it did not follow through on the invidious, and scurrilous attack on American soldiers by the antigun crowd and its allied politicians. For the antigun crowd seeks to deny to an entire group – consisting of those Americans who should be treated as our most honored citizens – the right guaranteed to all Americans under the Second Amendment. This effort isn’t only ironic, it’s diabolical. The antigun crowd and allied politicians treat the entirety of returning soldiers as damaged goods – potential psychotic killers. In so doing, our most treasured citizens are denied the right to exercise their inalienable right under the Bill of Rights: to hold and to keep firearms.
In particular, Senator Dianne Feinstein and others of her bent, clearly see PTSD as a convenient device to preclude an entire population of Americans – veterans – from possessing guns. This is but one more tactic in the antigun politicians’ arsenal to dismember and thus defeat the Second Amendment. Of all Americans, Senator Feinstein dares to target – oddly enough – the very last group of Americans whom one would ever wish to deny the right to keep and bear arms. This is a travesty.
So, we send young Americans off to war to fight and possibly to die and Senator Dianne Feinstein and others like her dare to treat those who return as broken – damaged goods. She says in effect that our veterans cannot be trusted with firearms once they return to their Country. She says, in effect, that, for the good of the collective and for the good of the returning soldiers themselves, we must deny our veterans their sacred right to keep and bear arms. Senator Feinstein thus treats our First Class Citizens like Third Class Citizens, behind illegal Mexicans and Central Americans. One would expect Hillary Clinton, who has committed use of U.S. military in all Middle East adventures to date, to do much the same were she to become the next U.S. President.
Ah, dulce bellum inexpertis (“War is sweet to those who have never fought”).
Leave a reply
You must be logged in to post a comment.
My experience as both a Viet Nam veteran and a mental health practitioner gives rise to some interesting observations in this area. One in particular, bears on Bill Maher’s comments. The idea that sending someone to war causes him to come back “a little crazy” actually has some merit, though not necessarily with the connotation he seems to have given it. My own experience with veterans, especially combat veterans, is that we tend to have different priorities (not values necessarily, but priorities) than the general public in the USA. As a result we see the world around us differently than most of our fellow Americans do. For example, most Americans tend to think that they are basically “nice folks,” and that if anyone else doesn’t realize this, it is only a matter of explaining it to them (Obama may be the most public proponent of this POV). Most veterans on the other hand, are well aware that there are many people in the world who actively hate us simply because we are Americans, and not only wish us ill, simply because of that, but are even willing to be accomplices in our murder (or worse) for it. As a SEAL friend once put it to me, “There is the important stuff (OK, he didn’t actually say “stuff,” I’m cleaning it up a bit), and everything else, and you have to know the difference.” To him, and, I suspect, to most veterans, the “important stuff” is that which has the potential to cause yourself or other innocents to be killed, maimed, or dishonored. Everything else is just that, “everything else,” i.e., the much less important stuff. One common symptom associated with PTSD is a characteristic of paying unusual attention to things going on around one, and evaluating them for potential threats. This trait is known in the literature as “Hyper-vigilance.” It is present in most combat veterans (also LEOs and often mental health practitioners), and it does not require one to have PTSD to develop it. This characteristic sets one apart from the typical American non-veteran, and is seen by them (for example, by folks like Bill Maher) as “Paranoia,” which it most emphatically is not. Nevertheless, he, and those like him who have never personally experienced lethal intent or hatred from others, would consider it “a little crazy,” because it is so far outside of their experience. When I sit down in a restaurant, I am immediately aware of the location of exits, places that could provide cover, the general “atmosphere” in the place, etc. If possible, I sit where I can see most of the activity in the room easily. Am I paranoid? No, not at all. Do I expect (as my wife once asked me) that someone is going to throw a hand grenade into the room or come in shooting? No, certainly not. If I had ANY reason to suspect that might happen, I wouldn’t be eating there in the first place. But , and I suspect that most veterans would agree with me, the real issue may not be that I am “Hyper-vigilant,” but rather that the average American is “Hypo-vigilant.” The average American today lives in a world where bad things don’t happen to good people, no one really HATES anyone else, and disputes are settled by discussion. Veterans know better. For example, a common expression today is, “Violence never solves anything.” The statement, while politically correct and “inoffensive” is beyond stupid. Anyone who has looked at a map in the last 600 plus years could easily refute it. It persists because most people dislike, or even fear, violence, and believe that by denigrating it, they can better ignore it (and its potential to impact their own lives). So, while the average person, like Bill Maher, may see us as “a little crazy,” we veterans tend to see ourselves as more realistic. The priorities in our lives determine what makes us comfortable. For the combat veteran, being aware of what is going on around us makes us more comfortable because we think it gives us a better ability to deal with whatever may occur. Non-veterans often feel more comfortable if they ignore potentially problematic things around them, especially those that might require them to engage in uncomfortable behavior to deal with them. Who is ” a little crazy,” and who is “more realistic?” The implications all lie in the nuances of the vocabulary chosen to express the, very real, differences in our priorities.