August 11, 2008

No Offense to our Veterans?

There has been some talk lately as to the criminality of our returning veterans and its impact on our society. Inflammatory comments have been made and a defense of our veterans has been proffered. Validity resounds upon both sides of the argument as our veterans go on and try to live their lives.

I have only been arrested twice for driving under the influence, I say only because I have drove drunk many times. To say that this is the extent of my criminal activity would be misleading. Most of my felonious behavior resulted in tearing up my own personal property or my wifes, getting into fights with the whole bar, and instigating or looking for trouble in any form. It was gods blessing that I did not wind up in jail or prison on assault charges from the numerous times that I beat someone in a blackout of rage.

With a mind reeling in the cycle of survival, a feeling of need to engage the adrenaline rush overwhelms the person. The survival mode having been triggered feeds off of dangerous situations due to the fight or flight defensive mechanism. Survival depends on a reactionary responsive reflex, a instantaneous engagement of life threatening situations (Cercone, 302). A soldiers training suppresses the flight portion of this evolutionary apparatus leaving only one option for the veteran, self destructive behavior.

The driving force behind criminal activity for the veteran comes out in situations as unplanned overreactions to stimuli in our environment. Societies law enforcement, medical and mental health institutions, and judicial systems have little understanding of the war veterans perspective on life. A punitive approach to dealing with these individuals would only compound the mental health issues prevalent in our combat veterans.

When I hear of the offensive and incendiary conversations by individuals with little comprehension or compassion on the topic of combat veterans clashing with society I feel very much disrespected. I mean really, how do we expect our soldiers and veterans who have been on multiple deployments in Iraq to act? Most of these soldiers have been in a combat zone for an average of 2 to 3 YEARS, yes you read that right, years. Roadside bombs, their buddy blown apart right next to them, bullets whizzing by, RPG's, is that child going to blow me up? Try living with this for years and see how that might affect your mental ability to separate and distinguish cognitions into comprehendable interactions.

No offense to our veterans? Please, spare me the rhetoric. Go do some research and brush up on your knowledge of the situation from more than one narrow perspective.


  1. You only chose the "driving force" that supports your argument. It also says this....

    "Some combat veterans also may seek to recreate the adrenaline rush experienced during combat."

    So some of the criminal acts are just thrill seeking behavior. Which people without PTSD also commit.

    "Societies law enforcement, medical and mental health institutions, and judicial systems have little understanding of the war veterans perspective on life."

    I disagree, many war veterans have productive careers in all of those endeavors.

  2. Steve, if everything was perfect then yes, all the world could live as you do. But believe it or not the psychological impact of combat and other traumatic events can and does impact some people negatively.

    True, not everyone. And true not everyone with PTSD goes to the extremes of insanity.

    I even agree that many veterans go on to do all of the things that you say succesfully.

    But, this is not a math theorem where it is an either or proposition as you propose.

    Choosing to base your argument on one line each from two entire articles weaves a loose thread to your counterargument.

    All around those two lines contain other information that make a cohesive train of thought designed to educate people on how PTSD may affect certain individuals, NOT everyone.

    All of the research is in my blog to support what I say. I also base my writings on 18 years of personal experience. I have read about a hundred or so books on mental health and begin my juinor year in college on the 25th of this month.

  3. I posted this article in A Soldier's perspective.

    SoldierPeaceTime's comments from said blog summed up the "driving force" effect perfectly:

    By SoldierPeaceTime UNITED STATES on Aug 14, 2008

    "The big question is- Is mental illness a crime as well what types?"

    "One key factor is how real the interaction of the environment is for the person whom is impacted by it."

    "Persons whom have never had a flash back have no idea how real they can be, yet that time is the only point that person should be excused from their actions."

    "The major problem is-No one can tell where that person is except them as well it becomes an excuse for some to be abusive at least."

    "This is when that persons history has the most important role as to being judged is it a crime or part of the mental illness?"

    "For anyone to state its black & white or right & wrong misses the fact their seeing it from the healthy mind."

    "Until you have gone through this in person all judgment is impaired when it deals with real(being there in person) or watching (in ones memory) for some they are both the same."

    "The fact is treatment is a must for them and those around them to place someone in prison based only by the judgment from those who cannot at least hurt their brain trying to grasp the two 'Key Points' above is a crime in itself."

    "BTW till you have had flash backs for some time telling them apart (past/present) comes only from experience and a time factor."


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