Friday, July 20, 2007

KILLITARY: Are America's Armed Forces Creating Serial Killers and Mass Murderers?

This article in no way is meant to suggest that all miltary members will become serial killers or mass murderers. It does point out a serious problem with what is happening in our armed forces and seeks a solution to help the brave men and women on their return back home.

According to the July 30, 2007 issue of The Nation magazine, damning photos of a U.S. Soldier using a spoon to literally scoop out the brains of a dead Iraqi and pretending to eat the gray matter were recently acquired.

Of course, everyone is appropriately appalled and make all claims of disgust and finger-wagging. Research shows, however, that such unacceptable behavior happens more often than the United States military wants you to know.

When it comes to training killing machines, the military really does create "an Army of one."

The list of serial killers and mass murderers who have spent time in the military is astounding.


Full Metal Jacket's proud support of UT Tower sniper Charles Whitman's marksmanship notwithstanding, you just aren't going to hear a whole lot about the training ground of killers that are bred to slaughter, maim, and torture and then dumped on our streets upon their return.

Here are just a few of the more memorable individuals who received the best training in the United States military and returned to prowl our country's streets and commit terrorist attacks of a different nature:

Charles Whitman - former Marine sniper who killed his wife, mother, and then proceeded to the University of Texas Tower and picked off sixteen people using his sniping skills.

Dean Corll - former Army man and serial killer known as the "Candy Man" who killed at least 27 young boys and buried them in a storage facility in Houston, Texas.

David Berkowitz AKA "The Son of Sam" - New York serial killer and former Army vet who shot and killed at least six people during the 1970s.

Jeffrey Dahmer - former Army vet and Milwaukee cannibal who murdered at least sixteen young boys and men. He performed experiments on some of the victims and ate others.

Timothy McVeigh (pictured above) - Former Gulf War Army vet responsible for the Oklahoma City bombing.

According to The Nation article, written by Chris Hedges and Laila Al-Arian, the brain scooping soldier found his exploits hilarious:

"Take a picture of me and this motherfucker," a soldier who had been in Sergeant Mejía's squad said as he put his arm around the corpse. Sergeant Mejía recalls that the shroud covering the body fell away, revealing that the young man was wearing only his pants. There was a bullet hole in his chest.

"Damn, they really fucked you up, didn't they?" the soldier laughed.

The scene, Sergeant Mejía said, was witnessed by the dead man's brothers and cousins.
How does a seemingly normal, everyday, All-American soldier turn into a brain scooping cell phone camera posing beast?

It's all about the training.

In 2000, CPT Pete Kilner presented his paper, Military Leaders’ Obligation to Justify Killing in War, before the Joint Services Conference on Professional Ethics in Washington D.C. He was there to present his thesis that "the methods that the military currently uses to train and execute combat operations enable soldiers to kill the enemy effectively, but they leave the soldiers liable to post-combat psychological trauma caused by guilt."

Kilner's paper discussed how the military's training changed drastically after World War II. A survey determined that only 25% of all soldiers during the war actually fired their weapons. The main reason cited was that soldiers were more afraid to kill another human being than to be killed.

Needless to say, such mentality does not benefit the military's main objective: kill the enemy. As a result, a new methodology of training was introduced. Military leaders began to stress the banality of the targets.

One way to achieve this was with pop-up targets on marksmanship ranges. "They enable soldiers to overcome their aversion to killing by conditioning them to act spontaneously to conditions that are combat-like yet morally benign," according to Kilner.

Other methods, known as "killology," included shooting at cabbages filled with ketchup to resemble exploding heads and marching to chants of "Kill, kill, kill!"

Soldiers were not shooting at specific human beings. Instead, they were killing people that wanted to kill them. Training methods became less personal.

Apparently, the change in methodology was effective. By the Korean War the percentage of troops that fired their weapons rose to 55%, while by Vietnam it had sky-rocketed to 90%.

Where do we stand today in the Iraq War?

According to the San Francisco Chronicle's Vicki Haddock in a 2006 article entitled The Science of Creating Killers, U.S. soldiers' killing efficiency and coping mechanisms have only "improved."

Haddock spoke with one American soldier on what it took to kill another human being:

21-year-old West Texas Army Pvt. Steven Green described shooting a man who refused to stop at an Iraqi checkpoint: "It was like nothing. Over here, killing people is like squashing an ant. I mean, you kill somebody, and it's like, 'All right, let's go get some pizza,'" he told the military newspaper Stars & Stripes. "I mean, I thought killing somebody would be this life-changing experience. And then I did it, and I was like, 'All right, whatever.'"

Green was eventually discharged from the military due to a "personality disorder." He was also charged with the rape of a teenage Iraqi girl and the slaughter of her entire family, including a five-year old girl.

Haddock spotlighted another soldier and his conditioning:

(T)op Marine sniper Jack Coughlin writes from Iraq: "So far in this war I had fired six shots and had six kills -- exactly the right ratio. I considered the ill-trained, poorly led soldiers of Iraq to be hamburger in my scope, practically begging me to kill them, and I was more than ready to grant their wish."

Such mentality leads to instances such as the Vietnamese Mai Lai massacre where more than 500 unarmed civilians, including women and children, were slaughtered by American soldiers, to the 2005 Haditha massacre in Iraq where 24 unarmed civilians, including women and children, were also slaughtered by U.S. troops.

But what happens when these trained killers retire, leave, are discharged from the military? Does the military provide a delousing of the mind? Do they attempt to purge the death training from their young impressionable brains?

According to Kilner:

(W)hen soldiers kill because of military training that has effectively undermined their moral autonomy--they conduct their personal moral deliberation of their actions only after the fact. If they are unable to justify what they have done, they often suffer guilt and psychological trauma.
Many soldiers suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, others commit suicide, and still others go on murderous rampages.

According to Kilner, the United States military is doing absolutely nothing to help soldiers deal with the psychological effects of the murderous training. They merely pat them on the back, thank them for a job well done, and pull up the next impressionable young man or woman and stick them in the meat grinder.

To deal with the problem, Kilner suggests justification "because, at least some killing in war is morally justifiable, military leaders have a duty to understand that justification, to train their soldiers to kill only when it is justified, and to explain to their soldiers why it is justified." In other words, if you give a soldier a supposedly legitimate reason to kill another human being, such as self-defense, it may be easier for the soldier to cope with the outcome of his actions.

That seems a bit simplistic, especially when soldiers are firing randomly at civilians because they believe everyone in Iraq is a "terrorist." Unfortunately, killing, whether justifable or not, is going to warp the killer's mind in some fashion, and probably to an unrecoverable point.

America should start to see the effects of the Iraq war veterans' killing sprees here in the United States very soon. Most serial killers tend to be in their mid 20s to mid 30s.

The newest crop of Charles Whitmans and Jeffrey Dahmers should be prowling our streets any day now -- and for many years to come.

Here Are a Few More Not So Good Men:

All served in the military. All went on to become serial killers, mass murderers, or assassins. Others were already killers who became even worse after their time in the service.

Of course, the number who become serial killers or mass murderers compared to the rest of the hundreds of thousands of troops who do not is minimal. But isn't one serial killer one too many?

John Allen Muhammad ("The Beltway Sniper"), Arthur Shawcross, Lee Harvey Oswald, Randy Kraft, Dennis Rader ("BTK"), Howard Unruh, Robert Lee Yates, Gary Heidnik, Charles Cullen, Charles Ng, Henry Louis Wallace, Julian Knight, Courtney Mathews & David Housler, Daryl Keith Holton, Wayne Adam Ford, Richard Marc Evonitz, etc.

This list is by no means comprehensive and does not include military personnel who murdered their families, loved ones, or friends upon their return from training to kill or war.

This article in no way is meant to suggest that all miltary members will become serial killers or mass murderers. It does point out a serious problem with what is happening in our armed forces and seeks a solution to help the brave men and women on their return back home.

37 comments:

Mike Schuler said...

Robert Lee Yates was a killer before he joined the military and became a helicopter pilot. He just liked to kill people. Military training probably doesn't help when somebody already likes to kill people, but I just wanted to point out that the vast majority of people who serve our country in the military do not become serial killers because of their military training, and the militarily trained who do become serial killers probably would have become serial killers anyway.

Jennifer said...

Well said in the comment above.

The military draws all kinds - at the extremes, you have the recruits who find that war and violence go against their moral principles and who leave the service (sometimes 'illegally'); you have others who seem to 'come alive' in a wartime environment and may even let their wartime experiences affect how they conduct themselves in their civilian lives (in often very violent ways).

I think it's very important to point out that not all members of the military are violent (not that you were suggesting this), nor do all services and sectors of the military advocate violent tactics (such as the units preparing for direct combat). The military in fact often encourages its members to help their communities, put others first, give selflessly, etc. Not that any of this excuses the behavior of those who turn their wartime experiences into opportunities to hone and perfect their violent instincts, even upon leaving the military, but I think it's important to keep the issue in fair perspective.

Corey Mitchell said...

Hello Mike and Jennifer,

Sorry, you got to see an unfinished version that did not include this disclaimer:

This article in no way is meant to suggest that all miltary members will become serial killers or mass murderers. It does point out a serious problem with what is happening in our armed forces and seeks a solution to help the brave men and women on their return back home.

It is a truly complex subject that would take more than 1,500 words on a blog to do any justice.

The main point of the piece is not to disparage the men and women who train and fight, but rather to point out to the military leaders that more needs to be done to handle the psychological damage that can be wrought.

Obviously, the overwhelming majority of soldiers would not engage in such activity in combat or at home. Unfortunately, there are some that do.

I took out a quote from Julian Knight who said, after he massacred several civilians, "They taught me to kill, so I killed." If we can help one person cut from this cloth to not go down the wrong path than that can only be a positive for everyone.

Ron Franscell said...

And now, since last week, you have the example of a sniper-trained National Guardsman in Cheyenne Wyoming who killed his soon-to-be-estranged wife with a single headshot through the door of an Old Chicago restaurant with a high-powered rifle. Not a serial killer or a mass murderer, but someone who used his training to kill an "enemy."

(Disclaimer: I earned my sharpshooter ribbon as an Annapolis midshipman, but I still haven't killed anyone except in my fiction.)

Cari said...

I do not agree with the general premise of this article. We live in a day and age when few people are willing to take responsibility for their actions. Pointing a finger at the military because of the relatively few veterans who commit horrible crimes is not the answer. Some people are just evil --- some people simply had mental problems before they joined the military --- and some people are just idiots -- and were idiots before they joined the military. (Case in point -- the brain-scooping young man. I'd be willing to bet that this young man has a history of disregarding common human decency).

Again, in this day and age we have kids who are so depraved that they will rape and kill and torture, without any thought for the human beings involved. There are too many to list all of them here, but I'm thinking of the boys who raped and tortured the mother and son for which there was a blog article here -- and I'm thinking of the boys who killed a supposed friend because they decided they didn't like her.

Too many have a sense of entitlement today --- that they can do whatever they want without any consequence. And until society begins to address that attitude, it doesn't matter whether these kids join the military or not --- they will kill to get what they want.

Corey Mitchell said...

Hi Cari,

The genral premise of the article is that certain people in the military are exposed to atrocities that the average person is not and, unfortunately, enough of them are negatively affected by their experiences. The military should take extra steps to prepare our returning soldiers back into civilian world so we can help avoid similar situations.

Of course, this article does not presuppose that the military is the sole cause of these few killers, but it does not ignore the fact that it can and has played a part in shaping the thoughts and behaviors these people have exhibited.

Don't forget, too, these are just the most extreme examples of killers. There are too many military spousal murders, family killings, and suicides to include in this article. And when the military murder rate back home is nearly double that of the civilian rate on a percentage basis, something is wrong.

Cari said...

"but it does not ignore the fact that it can and has played a part in shaping the thoughts and behaviors these people have exhibited."

And what part did their upbringing play in shaping their thoughts and behaviors? What part of these thoughts and behaviors were they born with? What part of these thoughts and behaviors were perhaps shaped by trauma during childhood? How many of these killers actually saw combat duty?

My husband served in the military and was in combat during the first Gulf War. He was in the infantry rifle corps -- and an excellent shot. His father served in the military for 35 years -- including service in WWII, the Korean war and four tours of duty in Vietnam as a helicopter pilot. They both witnessed man's inhumanity to man --- but they didn't come home and start murdering people one day. They served their time and went home and went on with their lives.

My point is --- again --- that these killers were predisposed to killing --- and they would have killed whether they joined the military or not.

Kathryn Casey said...

Perhaps the military trains them, Corey, but I've got to agree with Cari that the impulses are there. In my first book, The Rapist's Wife, the sexual predator, James Bergstrom, joins the Navy and goes out on a nuclear sub for months at a time. He, however, had been fantasizing about rape and bondage since adolescence.

Now, where I do fault the military, is that when Bergstrom was still in the service and arrested, he confessed to their psychiatrists. Their reaction: They gave him an honorable discharge if he'd leave Washington State and return to TX. He did, and attacked 35 women in the Houston area, raping 5, over a period of 2 years, along with abusing his wife.

Corey Mitchell said...

Hi Cari,

Obviously, not every military member becomes a serial killer. That's what the disclaimer states in the beginning and the end of the article. But it's reminiscent to the term "going postal," which is a widely accepted, yet, misused phrase. I agree that several of the people who became serial killers more may have been inclined to become killers before they joined the military. I do also believe that the military has to take a much closer look at how it handles vets upon their return into the real world whether they faced combat or not.

I also have several family members through multiple generations with dozens of years of combat service. I ran this past the ones who are still alive and they agreed that more aftercare needs to be implemented to help eliminate the ones that may come out of their ordeals with problems.

Thank you for your insights.

Corey Mitchell said...

Hi Kathryn,

I agree with you that with many of these guys the impulse may be have already been there, however, I find it difficult to ignore that the training brings out the bloodlust to an even higher level for some of these guys. And as CPT Kilner stated, if you don't teach justification for killing to these soldiers they end up not understanding the consequences of their actions later on and may suffer serious psychological damage.

And, as you point out, the aftercare of soldiers is of the utmost importance. The situations like that in your book cannot just be overlooked by the authorities.

Thanks, Kathryn.

Katie said...

Corey,

I find all of this information to be extremely alarming, and I agree with you. I don't see how people can argue that military training doesn't produce killers. That's what it's designed to do. What do people think the military is for? To protect our country, yes, and in doing so, killing for it. It's really as simple as that. My father fought in Vietnam. To this day, I can't get him to open up about it. I asked him once, when I was fifteen, on Veteran's Day. We were in the car and I said: "Dad, did you ever kill anyone while you were over there?" The pause after that seemed liked ten years before he turned me with dispondency in his eyes and said: "I don't really know. I know I must have, I know I did....I know I fired....I saw a lot of things. I don't really know." He didn't want to tell me, or admit it. He used to have horrible night terrors where he would wake up and hide by the door with a baseball bat because he was convinced that someone was trying to get in and assault his family. He is proud of his service, and proud of his country, and it took him awhile to feel that way because when he came back from the War there was no support at all for him, and that the public treated soldiers very cruelly. He wasn't told that what he did was justified. So: This is not about supporting the Military or not, nor is it supposed to be some sort of patriotic slam against the US. It is simply factual: our Military teaches people how to kill and be killed. Simple. And once you learn something it is absorbed by your whole self. Just like the saying "old habits die hard?" The reason that they do is because you are psychologically tied to a pattern of behavior. These people may have had pre-dispositions toward killing, which were enhanced, but there are others that don't show any sign of that in their lives who go into Military Service and are forever changed by it. How could you not be? Not all of them kill, but a lot of them do, and you can't ignore that.

Anonymous said...

This is statistically meaningless. What percentage of the general public includes killers? How does that compare with the miliary subset?

Until the early 70s, we had a draft. Virtually every U.S. male did military service. When that many people serve, you get a high NUMBER with ANY given trait.

Corey Mitchell said...

Hi anon --- this is not a statistical breakdown. That would require a 50-page analysis which won't fit here. Though it is definitely something worth exploring in much further detail.

One recent study from North Carolina showed that military members were twice as likely to kill their children as civilian parents.

The draft does not account for several of the names on the list such as Timothy McVeigh, John Muhammad, Wayne Adam Ford, Richard Marc Evonitz, etc.

Of course the draft is going to increase the numbers -- but again, isn't one person one too many? Don't you believe every method possible should be used by the military to care for their men and women once they are done with them? CPT Kilner does and he makes a strong argument as to why we should better care for our soldiers.

Corey Mitchell said...

Hi Katie,

I am truly sorry to hear about the pain and suffering your father has endured since his return. I hope he is doing better these days.

Thank you for recognizing that this piece is not a slam on the military, but rather a spotlight on a serious problem our military has with some of its members, methodology, and aftercare.

necrolagnia said...

It's true not all people who enter military service directly kill people or become serial killers. I have a relative in the Air Force who makes cluster bombs. As far as I know he has never killed anyone (maybe the bombs used have.)
Perhaps violent military training doesnt always create serial killers, but it seems to serve as a catalyst for some folks with violent inclinations toward murder to engage in such behaviour with impunity.
Most of us in post draft era America are never taught to kill.
Isnt the FBI definition of a serial killer someone who kills 3 or more poeple over an extended period? That describes many US Soldiers.
Does it all break down to whether or not people enjoyed the acts of killing, because obviously many soldiers do, or whether or not they are killing because they have been given sanction to.

Kathryn Casey said...

Hey Necrolagnia,

My impression isn't that soldiers enjoy killing. The vast majority are following orders and they kill out of a sense of duty to their country. Often they're under fire and acting in self-defense.

There are more components to the FBI definition of a serial killer, including that the murders are done for sexual gratification.

jd chandler said...

Interesting post and interesting comments. I served in the Army during Peacetime, so I never had combat experience, but during Basic Training I reached a psychological point where I could have killed someone.

Up to that point I hadn't believed that I could kill. Now I know that I can. I had never fantasized about killing someone, but if I had the Army would have taught me a way (and a mindset) that could make those fantasies real.

We don't do enough to help our Vets come home and live productive and healthy civilian lives. Shame on US.

necrolagnia said...

I agree most soldiers are following orders, and are often under fire and must return fire. I'd like to think nearly all people do not or would not enjoy killing. Many soldiers enlist as a job (or were in the past drafted). Recruiters often choose children from less wealthy families to attempt to enlist.

Visonary, missionary and gain motivated serial killers, and mass murderers, arent usually sexually motivated.

Michelle Gray said...

Timothy McVeigh actually dropped out of the military because he couldn't cut it. He had joined Special Forces and then left right after doing a 5-mile hike with a rucksack on his back. It jad proved to be too difficult for him.

Corey Mitchell said...

McVeigh dropped out after more than 3 1/2 years service. According to Wikipedia, "He was a decorated veteran of the United States Army, having served in the Gulf War, where he was awarded a Bronze Star Medal. He had been a top scoring gunner with the 25mm cannon of the light-armored Bradley Fighting Vehicles used by the U.S. 1st Infantry Division to which he was assigned. He served at Fort Riley, Kansas, before Operation Desert Storm. His superiors and friends thought of him as a model soldier."

By the time he dropped out in 1991 when he attempted to join the green Berets he was in poor physical and mental shape.

Also from Wikipedia: "Before he left the Army he had emotional difficulties, and he cried during an appointment with his commanding officer."

Kathryn Casey said...

There are theories about control and power serial killers getting a sexual charge out of murder, even if rape isn't part of their MO. Roy Hazelwood theorized decades ago that they relive the killings during later sexual encounters, heightening enjoyment. I believe our fellow ICB blogger Pat Brown disagrees with this, but above we were talking about the FBI definition.

From JD's comment above, it appears he had some doubt that he could kill entering the military. I have a friend who teaches at West Point and I called and asked him about this. He tells me that's not unusual with new recruits.

Michelle Gray said...

Corey,

Ah yes, grasshopper. But I just completed an interview with Jon Hersley, the FBI's lead case agent on the Oklahoma City bombing (shameless plug: which will appear at Crime Rant in the next couple of weeks or so, home to fellow In Cold Bloggers, Gregg Olsen & M. William Phelps). Jon was the individual who was in charge of the government’s case against McVeigh and also testified before the grand jury, leading to McVeigh's indictment. Jon told me that McVeigh did indeed quit, and for the reasons stated. And he quit before he even got his test scores back. If he had stayed to receive his scores he would have flunked out anyway.

McVeigh's military training SHOULD have led him to be able to control himself.

McVeigh's actions had nothing to do with his military service. And the same applies to his accomplice, Terry Nichols. McViegh blew up a building, and Nichols chose to help, because that is the kind of people that they are at heart, killers of innocents. While the military may train people to kill, these men are no reflection on a soldier, at least in my mind. They are abjurations.

Corey Mitchell said...

Hi Michelle,

Your earlier post made it sound as if McVeigh's only venture into the military was a failed attempt at becoming a Green Beret. Just wanted to set the record straight that he had more than three years service as well as extensive combat time during the Gulf War.

I am looking forward to your interview with Jon Hersley.

As for your statement that "McVeigh's actions had nothing to do with his military service," I would caution against dismissing it altogether. I agree with katie's assessment that those who may have had a predisposition to murder only had it enhanced during their time in the service.

Corey Mitchell said...

Hi JD,

That is fascinating information about your basic training. How long did it take before you realized you could kill someone?

Thanks for sharing your background with us.

Corey Mitchell said...

Hi Kathryn,

Kilner's article goes into some interesting information about the reluctance of most pre-1947 soldiers to kill other humans, even the enemy. He even stated that during the Civil War it was rare for more than 5% of the soldiers to actually fire their guns. Apparently, many of the soldiers were faking work whenever their superiors were watching them whether it was stuffing muskets or even faking firing their weapons.

Pretty amazing that it jumped from 5% in the Civil War to 90% by Vietnam.

necrolagnia said...

Kathryn Casey said...
There are theories about control and power serial killers getting a sexual charge out of murder, even if rape isn't part of their MO.

I agree most killers get a sexual rush from killing.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7FD1jHueZZc

there are some overtly sexual phrases in this video

Michelle Gray said...

Hey Corey,

Yeah, you're right. My comment did make it sound that way. My brain and keystrokes aren't always in sync :) Sorry about that!

Kathryn Casey said...

That is interesting, Corey.

Necro: I'm assuming you're talking about serial killers, not killers in general. Serial killers are out there, more than we'd like to believe, and they're horribly prolific, but the majority of killers are spouses, robbers, bar fighters, disgruntled neighbors, etc., not guys like Watts.

Pablo said...

Don't forget, too, these are just the most extreme examples of killers. There are too many military spousal murders, family killings, and suicides to include in this article. And when the military murder rate back home is nearly double that of the civilian rate on a percentage basis, something is wrong.

Is that claim supported by data? You've listed 20+ veterans gone violent in civilian life. Those incidents span a time frame in which many millions of people have been through the military. I'd venture a guess that the percentage would be statistically insignificant, and I'd be interested to see what it is in relation to the general population.

A piece that purports to identify causation is hollow without that data.

Corey Mitchell said...

Hello Pablo,

The information on military vs. civilian murder rates comes from the Department of Defense's own 2001 report to Donald Rumsfeld entitled "Defense Task Force on Domestic Violence."

In addition to the lopsided murder ratio, the report also states that the there was a more than 5:1 ratio of domestic abuse in military families over civilian families. Many police authorities, on and off base, agree that these numbers are far too low. They believe that family members are afraid to report abuse because it may hurt their spouse's standing in the military.

And this during what was considered to be a relatively peaceful time.

Harriett & John Semander said...

Just for the record, serial killer Coral Watts' father was in the U.S. service, but his parents divorced while he was young. I don't believe Watts himself ever served in the military, but he was a Golden Glove boxer for a while. My daughter Elena was slugged on the side of the head before she was strangled. Can we say the same about boxing and wrestling?? If it wasn't for the referee, I'm sure the fighters would kill each other in the ring!

Pablo said...

Corey, I searched that report, which can be found here.

http://web.archive.org/web/20010602161556
/www.dtic.mil/domesticviolence/Report.pdf

[I inserted a line break in the link so as not to trash your formatting, you'll need to remove that.]

A search for the term "murder" returns no results. A search for the term "civilian" returns 125 results. I've reviewed them all, and none of them address a comparison between civilian killing vs. military.

The term "death" (or "deaths") appears 3 times. Again, none of them related to your contention.

Would you be so kind as to cite the portion of this report that leads you to make the statement in question? It appears not to exist, and as I mentioned earlier, if you don't have that piece of data, your piece is groundless. And frankly, this is a nasty assertion to make without evidence.

Corey Mitchell said...

Hello Pablo,

You are correct. I mixed and matched the various reports I had been studying and mistakenly cited the DoD's report. I confused it with Marcia Herman-Giddens's report based on a study of two North Carolina counties where children from military families...are twice as likely to be killed by their parents or other caregivers than other children statewide."

I apologize for the incorrect statement. Thank you for pointing it out.

Pablo said...

Thank you for noting the mistake, Corey. But that doesn't support your piece at all. First, the sample size is far too small to be significant. Second, it says "killed by their parent" not "killed by their servicemember parent". Needless to say, especially in wartime with extended deployments, the stresses on the entire family are enormous, and stressed out people will snap more often than those who are not. This does not correlate military training with murder. As the piece you links says "The study's findings were shared with officers at the state's military bases over the past two years, but no one can fully explain the reasons behind them, Herman-Giddens said."

This post is an unfounded smear, and I say that as someone who is combat trained and has never had an inclination to go kill anyone, nor do I know anyone who has.

And an aside, in response to JD Chandler's comment:
Up to that point I hadn't believed that I could kill. Now I know that I can.

The vast majority of us can and will, given the right circumstances. Imagine you walk into your child's bedroom, and you see a lunatic with a raised knife, ready to drive it into your little one's chest. You have a loaded 45 in your hand.

What happens? 98 times out of 100, the lunatic is getting shot. And in the other two, the rest of us are asking "Why didn't you shoot the lunatic?"

Corey Mitchell said...

Hello Pablo,

As long as the military authorities refuse to cooperate and provide actual statistics about abuse and homicide of its own we will never get the complete picture of military-related violence.

As Dr. Stephanie Mines has stated, "The denial within the military of the epidemic of domestic violence and its impact on children is illustrated by the attempt to report a decrease in domestic violence statistics. However, Kate Summers, Director of Services at the Miles Foundation, says that the Department of Defense simply changed their methods of counting. The Miles Foundation is perhaps the only organization providing real help to military families dealing with abuse, and in return the Department of Defense describes them as "unpatriotic."

Corey Mitchell said...

As far as being "statiscally insignificant" here is an anology. Their are several millions of cars driven by people every year. There are only several thousands of people killed by drunk drivers each year. Shall we simply ignore the anomalies? Of course not. Organizations such as MADD are set up to address the problem. PSAs are produced and aired frequently on television about the problem.

Why should we ignore issues of violence by military members who return home and hurt or kill innocent victims? Isn't one unnecessary death worth preventing? I guess it doesn't merit any further investigation because the number is so small.

Julian Knight, who was in the Australian military returned to slaughter seven innocent victims said upon his arrest about the military: "They trained me to kill so I killed." Now, sure, you can point out a myriad of factors about how he grew up, his psychological state of mind before he entered the military, how many Twinkies he ate that day, but when asked to explain why, he did not elect to mention any of those factors -- instead he spoke of his military training.

The 2002 Fort Bragg murders are another example of the horrible effects of not dealing with the psychological effects of training. But again, since there were only seven women murdered I guess we should not bother looking into the matter.

My theory is simple and mirrors CPT Kilner's paper: The military trains people to kill; the military fails to explain justification to its soldiers; as a result, several soldiers return home with serious psychological problems based on their training and their combat experience; a small portion of these people end up snapping and killing large numbers of people. Subsequently, why not force the military to take even freater efforts at implementing better aftercare programs to prevent a few deaths. What is wrong with wanting to help save a few soldiers who may be teetering over the edge? What is wrong with wanting to save spouses and children from abuse, or worse, murder? What is an appropriate number of deaths before we must take action to put an end to this problem?

Even if the percentage of military murders were LESS than the number of civilian murders shouldn't the military continue to provide aftercare services to limit even those?

Again, one death is one too many.

Pablo said...

As long as the military authorities refuse to cooperate and provide actual statistics about abuse and homicide of its own we will never get the complete picture of military-related violence.

So that justifies you creating conclusions out of facts you don't have? The military isn't responsible for providing you with such figures, as they're not responsible for tracking the criminality of people who aren't in the military, such as veterans. And if you want figures on the people in the military, you need only look into UCMJ proceedings where such things are prosecuted.

And didn't you just wrongly cite a DoD report as the source of your data? Now you want to blame them for not giving you the data?

As Dr. Stephanie Mines has stated, "The denial within the military of the epidemic of domestic violence and its impact on children is illustrated by the attempt to report a decrease in domestic violence statistics.

"Domestic violence and it's impact on children" is not "the military creating serial killers and mass murderers.". If you want to tell that story, find the stats and tell it. If you want to tell this story, find the stats and tell it. You haven't done either. You've just made this up out of whole cloth, and now you're looking for excuses to justify having done so.

You should correct and retract this. There is no factual basis for it.

The Miles Foundation is perhaps the only organization providing real help to military families dealing with abuse, and in return the Department of Defense describes them as "unpatriotic."

Reread the piece on Herman-Giddens and you'll see that the primary organization helping military families deal with abuse is the military.

"They had somewhat assumed that because of all of their programs, and they do have a lot, that their rate would be lower," Herman-Giddens said. "I know it was a surprise to them."

Every branch of the service has a huge social services structure. You have no idea what you're talking about.