Skip to comments.The Ft. Hood Killer - Guilty But Not Evil
Posted on 11/08/2009 6:11:23 PM PST by Protect the Bill of Rights
The measure of a civilization is how it treats those who have hurt it.
Major Nidal Malik Hasan was not a bad person. He was even possibly a good person. But he was a very sick person who did a terrible thing.
If you are someone who disagrees with that, then I would suggest you stop reading now.
If however you do agree with me, in addition to being as upset as I was by the Ft. Hood killings -- which were evil acts -- youd be as curious as I was and am to understand how and why and when Major Hasan did what he did and what if anything we can learn to prevent this from ever happening again.
My first presupposition is that nobody is born bad, but everybody is born vulnerable. By that I mean that I dont believe that anyone is born evil unless of course you believe in such a thing as the Devil incarnate. However, I think that you will agree that everyone is born vulnerable in that we are all unable to take care of ourselves at birth and must accept whatever parenting or care giving is provided us.
Next I must add a disclaimer that what follows is empirically based on thirty years as a practicing psychiatrist and psychotherapist. It has been verified by formerly enlisted and senior officers from the Armed Forces, but has not been validated by any research or double blinded studies.
How did it happen?
Central to nearly all the people I have treated or spoken with who suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (in preparation of my book, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder for Dummies) is the fear of re-traumatization and their efforts at any and all costs to avoid it often results in the symptoms they develop.
Soldiers enter basic training as loosey goosey enlistees who are then broken down and built back up into fighting machines devoted to fulfilling a mission and the well-being of their fellow soldiers. Imagine those recruits as a green rattling Ford pickup truck that cant take a corner safely, being torn down and rebuilt into a turbo-charged Porsche that can handle any curve thrown at it and you get an idea of what the process is like.
After they finish basic training, its pretty heady, adrenaline driven stuff that can make soldiers feel nearly superhuman. Add to that the notion that they are going to fight evil and they can feel like a band of superheroes out to rid the world of villains.
Even Hollywood has jumped on this metaphor with the popular Transformer movies where rattling cars and trucks are broken down and reconfigured and rebuilt into monsters of good and evil. Get the idea?
But then they hit the reality of war face on or rather it hits them in the face. In the process they see horrors and create collateral damage no training can fully prepare you for. Imagine being ordered to run over a young child who will not get out of the way and you cant swerve to avoid them because of the mine-laden side of the road and hearing the thump of their body as they hit the bottom of your Humvee. Or imagine following orders to take out a sniper nest in a house in a village and then entering it, only to discover a dog, a grandpa, a mother, and two children shredded or incinerated by you.
What happens to you when all your training for war runs head on into the debasement of humanity that you perpetrate in waging it?
The trauma cuts you to your core. The horrors that you see and the horrors that you caused wont leave you alone. You dont tell anyone else, because you think theyre handling it better than you . You are just weak and missing the right stuff that your fellow soldiers have.
Although you never fully get over that trauma that rips you to the center of your being, as in human being, your training is good enough to enable you to get past it through the days and weeks and possibly even the tour of duty you are on. However the damage is done and the crack in the porcelain of what was once your soul remains.
You dont let the world know about it and you do everything you can to not feel that fragility. But even though you dont think about it, you believe that if you were re-traumatized that crack would cause you to shatter from the inside out and like Humpty Dumpty, all the kings horses and all the kings medics would never be able to put you back together again.
So you live your life avoiding anything that might re-traumatize you. You numb yourself with alcohol or drugs; you withdraw from family matters especially the yelling of your spouse and young children. Every now and then a car backfires or something catches you by surprise and you jump out of your skin, because you had temporarily relaxed your guard and that temporarily removed the paper thin veneer protective graft above your crack. Its like someone pouring acid in an open cut, except this cut is in your mind.
If you are put in a situation in which you feel you will be re-traumatized, you can go into a state of near panic, in which you resort to your most basic fight or flight instincts.
We cant know for sure, but I believe that the threat of deployment of Major Hasan to first hand have to go into combat and witness and even support Americans killing Muslims was just too much. Previously traumatized by hearing the stories of too many soldiers with PTSD and too many soldiers telling tales of killing Muslims (who he increasingly felt a kinship too) and their families, the fear of now going and perpetrating it firsthand may have proved too much, caused him to panic, and react to that panic by perpetrating the killings he did.
Why did it happen?
Have you ever passed a cut tree and seen all the exposed rings? Each of those rings represents a year in the life of that tree. Some of those rings may look thick and healthy indicating and good year; some may look very thin indicating a drought; some may look darkened indicating a forest fire that the tree survived; some may look nearly rotted indicating some fungal or insect infestation. In your minds eye you can also imagine that those years will have a lot to do with the eventual health of that tree and its overall resilience.
Trees are not the only living creatures that develop from the inside out. Imagine your brain as actually having three brains. Like the rings of a tree layered one upon the other, imagine your human (neomammalian) upper brain is layered upon your paleomammalian middle brain is layered upon your most primitive reptilian lower brain.
Now imagine figuratively that a recruits brain and loosey gooseyness is due to their three brains being loosely wired together. Then imagine that during basic training, those loose wires are stretched and even broken. But then those three brain are built up in to a tightly wired machine specialized for waging war.
When a highly trained, tightly wired and molded for war brain suddenly runs face into horrors perpetrated upon you and that you perpetrate on others, soldiers show that they are not Transformers, but rather, that they are too human an animal.
When did it happen?
In the face of that, your three brains lose the way they are wired and coupled to each other. But being used to being tightly coupled they will spontaneously recouple, but this time with a new mission. This new mission is to avoid re-traumatization at all costs.
And perhaps that was the mission that Major Hasan was on and that he fulfilled with his bloody massacre. Because lets face it, he may have killed and traumatized many others, but he avoided the re-traumatization that being deployed might have caused.
Oh my gosh! Could you just imagine what would happen if for one whole day everybody had to say it like it is! No spin, just the truth.
I don’t go along with this psychobabble - he was, is, and will be evil ...
Just got an email from Newsmax - Nidal went to the same Mosque in VA as 2 of the 9/11 hijackers.
Of course, that doesn’t necessarily mean that Nidal knew them, but to me it says that he was getting the same radical teaching.
Home grown terrorism .. the latest scourge to be foisted upon America. But .. our PC attitude will get a lot more people killed.
I GUESS THAT HE WAS TRAUMATIZED AND NOW DESERVES A PURPLE HEART AND THE POLICE ACTED STUPIDLY.
Hell, I can't imagine why anyone wouldn't stop reading this thing once they read the title and the 'Psychology Today' part.
It’s crap like this that makes us distrust shrinks.
Can you imagine what they would say if a white man shot that many people in a mosque? He would be the “face of evil.”
He was going to be in the rear with the gear. He wasn't going to "witness" anything. As Sarah says, bogus.
Ok Mark, cool, then lets' hang him when he has recovered. Gives all the dead and wounded families closure. Right, Mark?
The PC back flips continue.....
You know that a member of the Saudi royal family owns 5.7% of the parent company of FOX? And that this block of shares is all that's keeping Murdoch in control?
I don’t know how anyone can jump to a conclusion that Hasan is insane- even before the individual is even interrogated.
It would seem a lot more prudent to assume that he is instead part of a larger conspiracy- until its proven otherwise.
The left does not believe in evil. (Conservatism excepted).
Evil walks the Earth in many forms. Evil will never be defeated until we look it in the eye, call it for what it is and then destroy it.
Give me a f-—ing break idiot. (not the poster but the writer).
Islam IS evil...
Let me guess - this genius probably also believes that Stalin and Hitler were merely “misunderstood”...
I’m with you. I call BS!