Why are there more women in nursing homes than men? Is testosterone a slow poison? Or is it the male personality that kills us off so much earlier than women? Perhaps a combination of both. Surely there have been some medical studies into this but I haven’t read any.
Further, I wonder if there is a higher percentage of angry men in the demographic of ex-military? Of growing concern lately is PTSD, which has decimated many returning military men, often preventing their return to ‘normalcy’ back home. Of course, the military historically denied that PTSD even existed, causing many men into shameful withdrawal from life as well as suicide. Even today, many veterans are in denial that their battle experiences are the cause of their quirky behaviors and violent anger home-side.
Here’s a psychology masters thesis waiting to be written: Are military veterans in general more angry than the general male population? An yet-to be written doctoral dissertation might ask, Were those who seek a military career already more angry before joining or did the anger arise from their military service?
Why do I ask these questions? Well, in the past few weeks, I have dabbled around in right-wing blogs- quite an unpleasant adventure. Although I went in to try to understand those at this location on the political spectrum , it soon became apparent that I was an ‘enemy.’ I use the term, enemy, in the context of the military. When it became clear that I dwell on the left-side of the political center, I became a target of their anger. Curiously [this the topic of this post] those who frequent these blogs all boast of their former military service. It is not unlike a virtual VFW Post gathering.
Their hostility to my ‘intrusion’ quickly rose to anger. Here’s the extremely strange thing about these men- I was summarily dismissed as a unworthy human being. It went beyond anger to vilification as if I really were the enemy during their mortal combat mission. The usual set of insults were thrown at me like turd brain and shithead. But then, when I didn’t seem to react to that line of insults, a much deeper anger welled up inside of them. Two of them wanted to fight me, face to face, man-to-man. One even listed his physical attributes to scare me.
Then came the deepest anger. Yesterday one of the ex-military told me, “You don’t deserve to hang out with decent people.” Whatever that means. Yet, here’s the most strange statement of all, one that makes you sit up and notice: You are a complete piece of shit, and I would take back the protections I provided for you if I could. He suggests that, while he was in the military ‘protecting me,’ he wishes that he could take back that protection and expose me to a foreign military attack.
Is this normal? Are these bloggers typical of that demographic? Why are they so filled with anger and hate when they return home? Or were they that way before they enlisted? That’s my question- which came first?
This of course brings up the responsibilities of the military in general, and the Pentagon’s Joint Chiefs of Staff in particular.What are they doing about this? Surely they must be aware of the difficulties that men face when they leave active duty and attempt to blend into society once more. What kind of services, training re-education do they offer for the returning military men? Or is there none? Do we just ‘dump’ them back into society and hope that they can handle it? Do we assume that a person who experiences the horrors of the battlefield can naturally, automatically meld back into society without any debriefing, any mental health services?
Then, there arises an additional problem atop all of this. What if the general public back home disregards their efforts as meaningless in a war that ought not have been fought? Like Vietnam or Iraq. Then, I would suppose, the anger felt by these military men would increase exponentially. With over 140,000 men [and women] in active war theaters at the present time, the potential for even more stressed-out, angry and violent returning veterans increases significantly. Will they just be pushed under the carpet like we did for the Vietnam vets? Or will there be some meaningful effort by our congressmen to help them return to a more-normal life? Don’t bet on congressional action.
PSTD and emotional maladjustment syndrome carry on long after the bullets have stopped firing. Then begins the war within.