The Boys At The Hood

soldier smoking

Source: (Butler Shaffer)

Yesterday’s killing of three other soldiers and then himself by an Iraq War veteran at Ft. Hood will doubtless produce an outpouring of explanations, most of them off the mark. The gun-control crowd will likely use it to plead their case, even though a report informs us that Ft. Hood is a “gun-free” facility (imagine a gun-free military installation!). If the other soldiers had been permitted to possess guns, I wonder how many lives would have been saved – if, indeed, the killer had undertaken his crime at all!

I also wonder how long it will take for otherwise intelligent minds to get to the underlying causes for violence in our world. Such an inquiry might lead a few to grasp that, in this instance at least, the military, not the guns, was the proximate cause of these killings. The military has long been an “attractor” for men and women of violent dispositions. That system will train its recruits in the skills of killing, provide them with the weapons to carry out their assigned tasks, and compensate them for their efforts.

There is speculation that this killer was being treated for a mental illness, and committed suicide at the end of his spree. If this is so, he will be one of the twenty-two military veterans who committed suicide yesterday. The U.S. government acknowledges that twenty-two military veterans – of wide-ranging ages and for reasons that vary from one veteran to another – commit suicide each day.

This fact may provide insight into what may be the greatest cost to militaristic thinking and behavior: the dispirited destruction of the inner life – the psyche and soul of the individual – which often generates mental illness and a propensity for suicide by those unable to live with what they have done with their lives. Militarism – in which some are trained to destroy the lives of designated “enemies” – inevitably ends up destroying those who engage in such behavior.

The Best of Butler Shaffer