What the hell does that really mean?

The punditry experts shrilled on today about the latest Fort Hood shooting.  Having decades of experience with soldiers, naturally, I too shrilled on, but luckily for y’all, I confined mine to an email to a friend.  Okay, so the PTSD diagnosis seems to loom large in many of the conversations and yes, I believe PTSD exists, in that many people face difficulties coping with traumatic events and sometimes these difficulties become long-term, incapacitating and professional help might help.   Being highly skeptical of much that passes for medical certainty amongst the mental health community, lets just say, perhaps building a strong personal support network of family, friends, clergy to turn to in times of trouble might be just as good….. maybe even better.

Alas, we live in a world where we to turn to professionals and experts for everything.  I’ll refer back to a G. Murphy Donovan article, The Psychobabble Bubble :

“Psychiatry and psychology are omniscient when it comes to diagnosis, but incapable of professional restraint or anticipating the unintended consequences of indulgence and quackery. Psych practitioners often plead for equality with other medical specialties and then do their damnedest to court ridicule. Credibility is earned, not assumed, in any discipline. Good intentions are a weak tea.”

From there, it’s time to  follow GMD’s link to one of his favorite writers, Theodore Dalrymple and his article, Everyone on the Couch.  Mr Dalrymple states:

“The word “unhappy” is an implicit call to self-examination; the word “depressed” is, at least nowadays, a call to the doctor. It is no coincidence that the age of the DSM should coincide with a tenth of the population’s taking antidepressants—drugs that, for the most part, are placebos when not outright harmful. None of this excludes the possibility, of course, that some diagnoses will run afoul of pressure-group politics by the time the DSM-6 comes out.”

Here’s a review from last year in The Economist on the DSM-5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition), By the book worth reading, which states:

“Grief. Indulgence. Unhealthy habits. All, it seems, may be classified as mental derangement, and treated as such. And the sets of symptoms described by the DSM are often common. More than one American child in ten has been diagnosed, using the DSM’s definition, with ADHD—and about two-thirds of those so diagnosed are now prescribed drugs.”

I’m not going to dismiss PTSD, because I do believe traumatic events can incapacitate people or cause obstacles to leading a happy, productive life.  Most assuredly some traumas for some people are harder to cope with.  I’ve had a few that were challenging   in my life, so I am not suggesting people avoid seeking professional help, if they feel that is in their best interests.  Unlike the experts, I believe in thinking for myself and I follow my own battle plan for dealing with trauma – back up and regroup, then fight on.  It’s really the only way to take that hill or move mountains.  In the words of a dear friend of mine, a devout Roman Catholic, “God does not give us more crosses than we can bear!”  That is how I choose to live my life, free of antidepressants, alcohol – fighting on.  I don’t believe in insurmountable obstacles.  I cry, I whine, then I drive on.  Life is measured and I want to treasure as much of mine as possible.  Take that as my inexpert opinion.

Sometimes official statements stick with me and I’ll think about them for days, weeks, sometimes even years later, I’ll remember them and ponder, “what the hell does that even really mean?” or I’ll have a witch moment and channel that expert on all things, HRC, and think, “what difference, at this point, does it make”.  In the end, the shooter in this mass murder (not tragedy) is dead, that’s a fact.  Here’s another fact, military officials rushed to assure us that the shooter had psychiatric problems and had been seeing an Army psychiatrist.  Anyone who took solace from that answer needs his/her head examined is what I was thinking today.  Let me ponder that, a Fort Hood psychiatrist, of the same pond from whence MAJ Nidal Hasan swam, the self-same pond that ignored his radicalized views, yes that assurance from officialdom was uttered yesterday.  And, what was MAJ Hasan’s job, this radical nut who waged jihad against American soldiers on American soil?  Oh, yes, he was a psychiatrist who treated soldiers for PTSD and other mental health issues….  Yes, don’t’ think, just accept that this latest shooter had been seen by “mental health professionals”, all the appropriate career-saving dots have been checked in this chain of command.  Rest easy, don’t question, The shooter’s dead, we will never know what he was thinking, no career-ending negligence in sight, the news cycle will move on faster than the grieving families can bury their dead and after all, “what difference, at this point, does it make?”  The shooter had mental health issues and was being seen by an Army psychiatrist at Fort Hood….



Filed under Culture Wars, General Interest, Military, Politics, The Media

11 responses to “What the hell does that really mean?

  1. Kinnison

    It used to be, in most armies in the world, that officers routinely carried sidearms. It was the norm, part of the uniform, both field and dress. It used to be in the U.S. military that officers were encouraged to purchase and carry their own personal sidearms if they so desired, so long as they were caliber-compatible with military issue weapons. People do not object to seeing policemen with sidearms, why not military personnel? After WWII millions of American combat veterans came home, many of them with what we would now describe as “PTSD”. They didn’t go crazy and shoot masses of people, even though they could go down to the local hardware or gun store and buy any gun they wanted across the counter with no paperwork, or even mail-order one. Our problem is not our PTSD, our problem is a broken society.

  2. Kinnison, You made a strong case and I’ll reconsider my disagreement with the weapons on post issue. I’ll agree with you wholeheartedly that we have a broken society though and therein lies my hesitation about firearms on post – we are not George Washington’s army and often I find myself ashamed that the lame leaders of today are what passes for his standard-bearers. The serious alcohol problem in the Army gets lip service, nothing more and that would not have been tolerated by George Washington. After more than a decade of deployments, especially Afghanistan, I would think it’s a safe bet that there’s a growing drug problem in our military again. I talk to kids all the time who have deployed 4 and 5 times – often to both, Iraq and Afghanistan for year stints at a time. The family situation is worse too – the usual family problems that accompany high op-tempo units.

    Anyways. Obama is working to silence forces for good and what used to be a prime source for soldiers to seek help with problems – Christian and Jewish Army chaplains. In their stead, only Islamic-sensitive or straight up Islamic chaplains will have a voice now and who knows what they will preach – it sure won’t be Christ’s message of faith, hope and love.

    In light of these looming crises in the Army, I don’t see how throwing guns into this brewing cauldron will help matters. First, we need to work to rebuild the American character and once that’s done then I would support open carry of sidearms on post or anywhere else in public in America. Guns aren’t the issue – it’s a collapse of American character.

  3. JK

    It would appear Kinnison’s time in service (likely, maybe) overlapped mine. Mine in uniform at any rate.

    But your post LibertyBelle put me in mind of another, from as it happens, guess who?


  4. JK

    Usually I avoid posting any link I’ve commented on. Be that as it may:


    (I do watch ‘some’ PBS – the Koch Brothers sponsor NOVA for instance, occasionally FRONTLINE. … Hope Obama’s NSA BOLO issuers don’t note this comment.)


    • Oh JK, I wanted to smack an acquaintance upside the head when she went on and on telling me she knew she had Restless Leg Syndrome upon the arrival of those stupid commercials on TV. She also has the bladder problem too, thanks to the commercial with the waterpipe figures informing her of such. Yes, people are that stupid. Why would sensible people drug toddlers (particularly boys) for being active, curious and rambunctious – all based on dubious “experts” and even more dubious “studies”? I’ll stick to Jeff Foxworthy…… what’s your sign? In the mental health arena, let’s be honest, way too many people want excuses, so they can be lazy duds and apply for disability benefits.

  5. Oh and David is usually right on the money in his observations!

    • JK

      (kinda re-phrased – just suggesting LibertyBelle – “David was pretty close” or somesuch. He is a Brit afterall … & only made Corporal as I understand.)

      Jeff Foxwothyisms only go so far … in the [recently] present case it also appears “what’s your sign?” being honest wanting to be all applying, needing excuses and being a lazy “dud” very apparently …

      Oh well, … I think I’d best go off-line … go to sleep ( a solid eight hours) … (or) … do my best under supervision. Be that as it may.

      • I am not sure what you mean JK, I wrote “you too”, ’cause you’re usually right on the money in you observations also, in addition a treasure at fact-finding……… I, ahhh, don’t pay close enough attention to commercials, using that time for bathroom breaks………. thankfully, not being afflected as yet with the “oily flatulence”, which you related….then again, no worries I don’t take that medication, lol.

  6. JK

    Good concert as if you “Country Girl” would be interested in this “old stuff.”

    • I only knew Rod Stewart as a solo artist and I have always been a fan. This concert was in 1972…….. I was, ummm, 12 years old. Mostly though, I listen to country and classical music

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