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OK, this guy is a total nutcase, of the Tim McVeigh type. He claimed to be a demolitions expert - he was a truck driver. He claimed to be a sniper - he shot expert once. He claimed to be a Green Beret - he was a truck driver!

He was stationed at Fort Ord and Fort Lewis, the two army posts I at which I was stationed during my years in the army. Suppose I ever met him? Nope, he was a truck driver in an engineering battalion. M.I. geeks don't associate with anyone whose GT score is below 100.

Glad they caught this jackass, but it's too bad he was military. McVeigh did enough damage, and the string of spouse killings is no ray of light either.

So, here's a discussion question (not an invitation to a flame war) - Does the military attract violent men, do men become violent from being in the military, or is the correlation not statistically significant and the media is blowing it out of proportion? Discuss.


( 14 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 24th, 2002 06:03 pm (UTC)
I doubt there is any real correlation between being in the military and being violent. For every "naturally" violent type who gets pumped up by being involved there's another who learns to control himself because of military discipline.

Nor, in my opinion, is it a question of violence but of criminality. I'm not convinced that the two are related. Give me a legal cause and I'm enormously violent. But although I have a long mental list of people who I think deserve killing I respect the law and will let them live out their miserable lives even tho I could easily dispatch them without consequence.

Oct. 25th, 2002 06:25 am (UTC)
Violence/agression vs criminality - good point. I also think the military helps many people learn to control and focus. Some people should not be allowed anywhere near a weapon, regardless of their background and training. This jackass's military background, in my mind, is completely irrelevent to his actions.

And, doesn't Texas still have a "He needed killing" law? :-)
Oct. 24th, 2002 06:32 pm (UTC)
My brother was in the Army for six years as a satellite tech, and he was there because he was bright. Others go into it because they're extremely patriotic or simply because they crave excitement or order or something else that is a very good trait if properly directed. And the military directs it.

But from what my brother was telling me, there's a significant portion of people in the military who are there because it's a last resort. Some of them the military turns around, and that's also a good thing. But some of them it doesn't, and they do the same things in the military that they would be doing out in the general population. Except now they've got access to weapons and training and a psychological license to kill that they wouldn't have had otherwise.

Oct. 25th, 2002 11:01 am (UTC)
It's true, from what I've seen, that a lot of folks join the military from desperation. Those who join with a plan and stick to it are greatly enriched by the time invested. Those who are as aimless in the military as they were before, you can imagine they don't improve much.

One thing the military also fosters, from my experience, is to take the easiest path. It's really easy to reenlist and stay in, being mediocre (or all you can be), because getting out means you lose your safety net. It was scary as hell when I got out, no job offers, just hope. But it was the best thing to do for me, personally. I could have stayed in, made another pay grade, and be at 14 years now, looking at the downhill run to retirement. And I'd be miserable and end up 38 when I got out, trying to find work in an increasingly agist work force.

The psychological license to kill you mention is one thing that hasn't gotten much attention, but is interesting. When we went to the range, the targets had no faces and no identity. We had only a few minutes to knock down as many man-shaped silhouettes as possible. Some have theorized that this intentional dehumanizing of the enemy, while required to overcome any non-sociopath's innate distaste at killing, can be a trigger for some people who are not quite stable.
Oct. 24th, 2002 08:13 pm (UTC)
I know a few extremely violent people who were turned around by the military. It taught them discipline and helped them with their anger. I think the military is a great thing. If it were up to me, we'd all have to serve some time for citizenship and voting rights. Is that too Heinlein of me?
Oct. 25th, 2002 06:23 am (UTC)
One of my friends has a theory that we need a National Usefulness Test as a prerequisite to voting. If you can't prove you have any value to others, your vote doesn't count. One of the requirements would be, "If you can't name your current congressmen, you aren't allowed to choose the new ones."

Military service is, of course, another piece of the NUT.
Oct. 25th, 2002 03:00 pm (UTC)
I think that it could go as far as everyone must serve at some sort of Federal Service Position (a Service that the government should actually be providing). That way even a handicapped person could serve and get citizenship as a federal court clerk or something.

Thje NUT sounds like a good idea too, though.
Oct. 24th, 2002 08:54 pm (UTC)
Honestly, I think the military attracks all types of people. However, I don't think it makes you violent, that is what happens when one cannot discipline themselves. As far this jerk and his so called sniper/expert qualification, I'd like to know what the weather was like when he qualified! I qualified in the middle of a nasty hail storm at Ft. Leonard Wood and got sharp shooter, hmm to think what normal weather could be...
Oct. 25th, 2002 06:28 am (UTC)
Lost in the Woods
My last range was an indoor pistol range at Goodfellow AFB, with rifles on concrete floors. Bad juju.

But, my first M16 range was also at FLW, in rain and freezing sleet, with my glasses fogging up and falling down my nose. I'm lucky I hit a single silhouette, but somehow ended up qualifying.

I usually qualified sharpshooter the remaining 12 years I was in.

For some reason, I didn't think you were old enough to have served. Wonder why, with an obvious 80s-reference username... My mind must work in mysterious ways.
Oct. 25th, 2002 07:39 am (UTC)
Re: Lost in the Woods
Oh, I'm old enough alright, though I still look the age you thought of what you were thinking. *god bless good genes* I didn't get to stay but 2 months past basic. I couldn't get a security clearance thanks to my ex being from mexico. they tried to offer my an mos that didn't need clearance but i refused to drive a big @ss truck. i guess in the end it was all for the best, it was definately an experience i will never forget. did i mention i was part of the first co-ed dorms at ol' Leonard Wood? *hope they tossed that idea out* i don't think the guys got to be "all" that they could due to some of the girls...
Oct. 25th, 2002 08:08 am (UTC)
Re: Lost in the Woods
There were no women training at Leonard Wood when I went there, but the supply sergeant started out looking like a troll and ended up the object of much drooling desire by the end of 2 months.
Oct. 25th, 2002 10:08 am (UTC)
Oh, I can't resist.

You ever notice how everyone you ever seem to meet at a Soldier Of Fortune convention or a Vietnam Vets convention or hanging out at the Wall in DC always seems to be SF or a SEAL or a Marine Sniper, etc. etc.? The "P.X. Ranger" mentality. Penis envy, in other words.

As for this guy, I'd agree: The fact that he was at one time in the Army does not make him a soldier any more than working for Microsoft makes you a computer genius or a captain of industry. Anyone can be in the Army. Soldiering is a state of mind - something this schlub apparently lost some time ago.

Get over the military connection, you liberal media talking heads, and stop blaming the military for his problems. Chances are he had these mental deficiencies all his life anyways. And stop causing traffic jams outside the gates of Fort Lewis with your satellite dish vans. Traffic is bad enough in the Northwest without you.
Oct. 25th, 2002 03:15 pm (UTC)
The thing I find interesting about this latest fellow, as well as some of the other "Military boys gone bad", is that it seems to me like it doesn't have so much with them being violent or going bad BECAUSE of the military training, but that they NEVER had a good integration with the military to BEGIN with. A lot of them have bad service records, dishonorable discharges, etc. These guys were bad to begin with. The government just gave them enough training to make them dangerous.
Oct. 25th, 2002 05:31 pm (UTC)
Also, like was mentioned: a lot of these no-goodniks end up in the Army, but can't hang and get out. Thing is, they've already got basic training and they know the business end of a rifle.

Or how about the good old days (probably about the time that this wacko was in the Army) where the choice was to go to jail for your offenses - or join the military? What a great way to ensure quality military.
( 14 comments — Leave a comment )