The recent saga of Chris Dorner has the media types dusting off all the Hollywood fiction they can find. It’s only natural when trying to make sense of what we don’t understand to attempt making correlations to things we have experienced. In the absence of similar experience, we turn to the shared experiences of others. Lacking even that, we go searching for anything we can twist into a shape similar enough to the misunderstood event to make some sort of comparison.
The remainder of this article will rely heavily on the work of Lt. Col. (Retired) Dave Grossman http://www.killogology.com So, I hope this is sufficient citation. Thanks, Dave for all you’ve given to the profession of arms.
When all we can find that seems to relate are Hollywood images, we get a really wrapped view of reality. Grossman tells the story of the Secret Service Agent who was shot in the defense of President Regan. This man was a 200 pound athlete and he was charging at the shooter when he was struck by a single .22 caliber round. If you go back and watch the video, this raging bull of a man reacts to his gunshot by flinging his body backward. Why? Is it possible for such an impact to cause such a thing? No, it isn’t. If you’ve ever hunted, you know that you can hit a 100 pound deer broadside with a 180 grain .30 caliber bullet and the deer doesn’t fly away! They usually take off running! So, why? He did a half a back flip because every movie and television show he’d ever seen told him that that’s what happens when you get shot.
Now what about Mr. Dorner? Some in the news have already begun to talk about police hiring practices and how they need to stop hiring military veterans. Chris Dorner was in the military for a while. Chris Dorner never saw combat and was not suffering from PTSD. But golly this story sure is a lot like Rambo! The poor messed up vet comes back from the war and can’t adjust. All he knows how to do is kill people. So, he may as well shoot up all the cops in a small town. Be very careful when you read descriptions of this murderer in the news. You will find they like to throw tags on him that sound impressive. He was not a member of special forces. He was not an elite warrior. He was a guy who served some time in the naval reserves and once, he went to Bahrain. Bahrain is the place where the guys in combat occasionally get to visit for conferences and R&R. It’s a resort. You can take your family there on vacation! We owe our returning veterans so very much for the sacrifices they have made. Let’s stop the spread of stupid mythology that hurts them. It’s hard enough for them to find work after the military. If we make it harder for them to continue to serve us on our police forces, we really are shooting ourselves in the foot and missing out on the best, brightest and most talent members of our society.
Ok, what if Dorner was suffering from PTSD? Personally, I’m fed up with all the press the disorder has been getting in recent years. Colonel Grossman has probably studied it more than anyone on the planet and points out that it is real and people do suffer. However, it isn’t a life sentence. It is treatable, curable, and in most cases mild. Very very very few members of this current warrior class suffer from actual PTSD. Many many many wannabes and moochers are pulling in VA checks for PTSD. Grossman submits that most PTSD is not caused by being scared or seeing terrible things. Rather it results from an attempt to reconcile our natural aversion to killing another human with having done it and been rewarded for it. So, simply, if you haven’t been down in Baghdad or Helmand shooting evil people in the face, you likely aren’t a PTSD casualty of this war. It’s also worth mentioning that it is an extremely rare event for a PTSD patient to commit murder.
Grossman does address one type of PTSD patient that isn’t treatable. Those who have committed atrocities never recover. So, if you can suffer from PTSD after death, I hope this murdering piece of human waste suffers eternally.