Thursday, November 05, 2009

It's A Country Not A War







I grew up in a small town not unlike Ft. Hood -- in fact, Ft. Hood was just a few hours away. The year I was born, Ft. Wolters was decommissioned, near the end of the Vietnam War, a war I used to refer to simply as Vietnam until a student corrected me: It's a country, he said, not a war. Point taken. And I worked at the Blade and Wing, a bar that catered primarily to Vietnam Vets. Above the bar, there was an army green jacket that had We Were Winning When I Left embroidered over a map of Vietnam. I didn't make very many cosmos, and I wasn't often in the weeds. And if any of you want, I can still make a very good boilermaker.

Back then, we referred to post-traumatic stress disorder as "being nervous from the service." When I fell prey to this awful affliction, I only had a passing understanding of what it was in a clinical sense. All I knew was something had gone terribly wrong in my head and my nervous system. I privately referred to it as the land of the fucked. And I knew that some of the vets I served had it too. As everyone is, I'm horrified by the shooting today at Ft. Hood by an army psychiatrist that specialized in trauma and then became the inflicter of it. I used to drive around Killeen every now and then on weekends as a teenager. I can picture the scene all too clearly, the image that will no doubt play over and over for those wounded, for the survivors of those killed.

4 comments:

the walking man said...

I wish, really it is the only wish I have, that I wasn't so immune to the feeling for the death all around me. There is just so much and has been so prevalent since Richard Speck and so many others in my lifetime that I no longer even feel the care of it anymore.

I am tired of feeling the survivors pain but that I can not shake and for that I will always hate them who with murderous intent caused it for whatever reason. I could find love for them in their pain if they would have simply become another suicide but because they choose to express their hate for my brothers and sisters I will hate them and pray nothing but harm come to them all.

Dave said...

When you get too into studying PTSD and other mental disorders, you start seeing the perp as the victim and then everyone is a victim and you start thinking about The First Cause and Original Sin and then you get to No Exit.

Then you have to hit the reset buttion and make cookies with your daughters.

Charles Gramlich said...

An awful tragedy. I hear he was picked on. Well dammit, everyone is picked on in some way or another. He got an education through the military. He had a career, and because he might be deployed in a war that he had to know was a possiblity he's going to kill innocent folks. I can't work up a lick of sentiment for him.

Anonymous said...

If only he'd talked to me.--Dr. Jennifer Malfi