Friday, November 6, 2009
Corporal Klinger Syndrome? Or No Way Out!
After reading and watching the news about the Ft. Hood disaster, one picture being drawn of the shooter is of a psychiatrist that treated soldiers returning from these two stupid wars. A man who apparently was re-finding his religion. A doctor that heard such horror stories he feared his own deployment with more than the usual fear of soldiers being deployed. Think about it. Some of us can understand that picture. Of course another picture is of a religious terrorist or another-someone making a statement concerning the ills of society. The portrait is probably a mixture of all these. People are complicated.
Before I go on with this post I would like to say, for what it is worth, I am so sorry that this happened.
I am sorry that we live in a society where opening fire on groups of people is an answer to anything or for anyone. The families, the personnel at Ft. Hood, and many of our military, must be devastated. Our sympathies to all of them. This loss must feel just about as strange as when a parent losses a child-so wrong, so backwards, so out of the norm of death.
Without researching just think back through recent memory, it seems as though this type of suicide is becoming more common. I call it suicide because generally the shooter is killed or removed from living within this society of ours. There are various themes on this type of suicide. One type that comes to mind “death by cop”. Do we now add that to our law enforcement requirements? Does a law enforcement recruit have to be good at “death by cop”. The things we ask of the law enforcement agencies...
But back to the original thoughts on the shooter.
Maybe we should call it the Klinger syndrome. Do you remember MASH the movie and the TV show?
Corporal Max Klinger was the one who wore women's clothes trying to get out of the military by way of a section 8. We laughed at his attempts but did we pause to think how far these attempts could go. "I am going to live through this even if it kills me" (Corporal Klinger).
Do you wonder has this violent-take-others-with-you suicide been going on forever but not in public?
How many charges up San Juan Hill, that is just the one that popped into my head, have actually been a version of this NO WAY OUT mentality?
The questions in my mind at this point concerning the shooter are many.
Why did the military decide the young high-school graduate would be educated as a psychiatrist in the first place? What did the recruiter tell the young Muslim American to get him to sign up? Or maybe he, like many others, just wanted the education. Had he felt he had to prove something to the rest of us, or himself, about Muslim Americans?
Actually, I doubt some of these reasons apply. This man apparently had been in the military for years. Too many years for his initial enlistment to be swayed by the Muslim reasoning mentioned here.
According to one story, report, this shooter was harassed because he is Muslim. Why did the military decide that a Muslim psychiatrist should be treating soldiers returning from combat where religion is in their face every day and many have radical Muslims trying to kill them and killing many of their “buddies”? Is it just not possible that any psychiatrist treating PT SD over and over might develop a version of the very disease he treats? How often did this psychiatrist get treatment or at least counseling?
We would hope that the military would periodically check the mental health of their mental health therapists. When this shooter sought a way out because of his religious beliefs, did the military have an analysis done? Or, did they just see the need for retention of all soldiers?
I know that hindsight is 20/20 but I still wonder about how this shooter in particular got missed. I realize too that it has to be difficult to get out of your “contract” with the military or most of the “volunteers” would leave. But I think there should be studies and thought about those who really should be allowed to break that contract.
For more on the story go to the NY Times articleshere
(I call the photo art here Wings of Peace.) The quotation from Corporal Klinger is here.