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.


  1. A very thoughtful post that gives me a lot to think about. The military isn't known for thoughtful use of personnel in talking with people and my own family's experiences. Maybe it's the military mentality of viewing people as soldiers or tools and not as people with human rights or needs.

  2. Hi thomas,
    Of course, it could have just been the usual religious terrorist. I know that but I noted the particular person had lost both parents and with many if not most of us we start to rethink our position in the world.
    Religion or family relationships become more important. I also read that this man had sought to find a woman of his faith but hadn't succeeded in finding someone. Must have felt very alone.
    All of these things probably built up over time but I still wonder why when he gave so many signals, and even got a lawyer. He apparently offered to pay off the remaining part of his contract with the military but was turned down.
    I do not want to use his name as I believe we only give some "shooters" what they want when their name is used-Fame.
    Still in this case I hope some study or studies are done on and for mental health practitioners who deal with other peoples' sins day in day out.
    Look up "sin eater" sometime.

  3. There is a very good movie called; The Last Sin Eater. I recommend it. And, yes; I agree with the doctor getting too close the problems and losing something.. All doctors need a support system that they can go to for their own counseling. A kind of mentor or even a group of people that can help put things in perspective.

    I have others that I look to, like, you and other bloggers that help me to put all the rhetoric and nonsense in its place and see what is important and real. The world around us can be very confusing and complicated, and we all need the wisdom of our peers and more experienced people to balance things out for us. The internet gives us more of a view of all the things in the world and that can be bad at times, but the good is that we can "talk" with others and "listen" to others and I think this is therapeutic and good for us. So, the point is that this counselor should have been seeking help and who knows whether he got it or not. I just hope that it is not turned into a race/religion hatred thing. Here is a blog post to read when you have time.

  4. Yes, Thomas it is already starting. Thanks for the above link. I read that the Muslims are already on guard, or should I say beefed- up guard. When I watched the news media cover the story from day one, certain networks kept repeating the devout Muslim mantra over and over. A few were pretty equal in their guesses.

    I have been watching CSpan off and on today as the House "debates" the health care plan. It is the same old stuff.
    I also hear that Repubs are saying if people don't sign up for health care they will be charged as much as $250,000 and could get 5 years in jail, felony. Huh? According to it is $25,000 and misdemeanor with up to 1 year. This fine and term is only applies to the person refuses even after the top penalty of 1900 per family and less than 750 for the poorer ones may be imposed. It is to get all people into a "insurance pool" to keep costs down.
    Those who need it will receive aid to pay for health care or get it through medicaid.
    I am having some very mean thoughts today about some folks.
    If they don't want to pay taxes-fine but they will not use my highway or road system, they will not have gas or any energy. No ice and snow removal, no bridge upkeep, No schools, no hospital emergency rooms, No sales taxes- no goods, and they certainly will not get any type of government aid anytime. See, evil aren't I.
    Sorry I just get tired of hearing some of the "stuff" they put out.

  5. I know what you mean, I have been too tired of it to even talk about it anymore and I have a hard time reading the headlines and such. The news plays to the right's idiocy so much. There is no society that is not a collective. And, we have been a socialist nation for some time, but the idea that we can have more expenses and less revenue coming in is just so ludicrous. They keep lowering taxes and thinking that they can still have nice roads and parks and cops out on the streets; they are so stupid. The poor idiots think that Reagan lowered taxes....

  6. Right on as they used to say.
    I may write a blog post about some of the ideas and what could happen from it.
    Did you see where a Rep. actually voted for the health care bill?
    No surprise in the Dems that voted NO.
    Even our pretty good long-term Dem. REP. Skelton voted no. Claimed in some circles it was abortion. In other instances claimed it was the costs. Poor guy is being threatened by Repubs for the first time in a long time.
    But now I have to decide just how good he really is. He may keep Repubs at bay but may lose progressives over this one.