That guy - 2015-12-12 I'm not even considering following that link.
Nominal - 2015-12-11 Don't want to shit on what the guy did, but I don't understand wanting to relive that part of your past like that.
Imagine a 9/11 first responder. A hero no doubt. But then to take them in 2050 and honor them in a ceremony where they present to them an exact replica of the equipment they used to dig through rubble to find bodies? Then seeing how much better they could find practice dummies using modern equipment?
fedex - 2015-12-11 because guns are much cooler than rubble-digging body-finding gear
EvilHomer - 2015-12-12 "I don't understand wanting to relive that part of your past like that."
I hope you don't read this as me being hostile, because I don't intend it that way, but: that is why he was a soldier, and you were not.
I guess it's one of those things that you either "get" or "don't get"; if you do not have Sgt Gundy's active type of mindset already, then it can be difficult to explain. Col Grossman (video game critic and author of "Killology") has been discussed here on poeTV before, and while I've often been critical of his Sheepdog/Sheep theory, I do think it holds some merit, particularly insofar as it explains the mindset of warriors versus the mindset of civilians. Whether something like this strikes you as perfectly natural (even cool!), or outlandish and bizarre, depends largely upon your emotional disposition and how society has trained you up.
FatFatuousNation - 2015-12-12 Up to one out of five soldiers returning from the Iraq war developed clinical PTSD, and undoubtedly an even larger share developed subclinical PTSD during their visit to Persia.
The events in Iraq that demarcated their transition into having PTSD are likely not ones these soldiers fondly remember. They're likely not going to mount an M-16 on their mantelpiece.
Perhaps they weren't real Sheepdogs, given they obviously didn't thrive in the environment of a morally ambiguous war wherein their squadmates were getting blown up by IED's? Perhaps they were Sheep who mistakenly join the army, and that's why they're now traumatized, instead of itching to shoot some more terrorists? That would be a no true Scotsman fallacy.
The reality, of course, is there is a wide spectrum of schematic perceptions of violence and loss. You don't just "get it" or not. When a person encounters violence, they'll fall somewhere on the spectrum of utter trauma to full immunity, depending on their schemata (the way in which their brain naturally simplifies / classifies / narrates the world and events around them).
Grossman of Killology has a decidedly simple view of the world, with his good and his evil, his sheep and his sheepdogs and his wolves. Those are the schematic perceptions that incline him toward violence, and grandpa sniper probably has similar schematic perceptions. Both of them would, after participating in a war, mount a gun on their mantelpiece. Soldiers without those perceptions wouldn't.
I think that's a more empathetic take on why a person would or wouldn't enjoy the gift of a gun after a war.
Raggamuffin - 2015-12-12 War is a funny thing. It's the worst thing that humankind can bring into the world. At the same time, it's kinda cool and exciting. Soldiers live with that duality every day of their lives.
EvilHomer - 2015-12-12 All very valid points, Mr FatFatuous, but there is a huge difference between "reliving traumatic events", and firing off a few rounds at the range. I work at a PTSD clinic, and many of our clients continue to enjoy shooting as a hobby! While there are certainly some individuals who might not like to receive an M-16 as a present, they are actually rarer than you might think, and for most patients, their issues manifest in other ways.
I'd also like to point out that by your fifth paragraph, you essentially concede to Grossman's point of view! In your words, Grossman and Sgt Grundy have "schematic perceptions that incline (them) towards violence" i.e. they are what Grossman terms "sheepdogs". You also point out that not all soldiers have been properly inclined towards violence before being deployed - well, yes, that is in fact a major theme within Col Grossman's work: exploring the ways in which military and law enforcement professionals can train non-killers to adopt the mindset necessary to carry out their duties. For example, you state the following: "perhaps they were Sheep who mistakenly join the army" - well, in Grossman's view, most people who enlist in the military ARE sheep, his argument being that it takes rigorous training at a place like Fort Benning (or at least a couple hours playing video games) to mold them into sheepdogs.
Finally, unless I have misunderstood your objections, I think that you may be misinformed about the root causes of PTSD. PTSD is not simply the result of "feeling guilty" or "being unequipped to handle traumatic events"; it is actually a very complicated spectrum of anxiety disorders, with numerous risk factors involved - only some of which are directly psychological, and only some of these in turn are related to a person's ethical or intellectual willingness to engage in violence (genetics and neuorchemical makeup play a much more significant role). While there was once a time when people assumed "shell shock" was the result of bad training and/or a failure on the part of one's ethical mindset, modern research has shown that this is not the case. You may abhor combat and not be affected by it in the least; or you may thrive in combat, yet never be able to "come down" from the state of elevated anxiety you felt on the battlefield, for no better reason than you happen to have a deficiency of cortisol. /--- In other words, PTSD is independent of schemata; stress-disorders can manifest, or fail to manifest, whether one is a wolf, sheep, or sheepdog. ---/
FatFatuousNation - 2015-12-12 I was urging a more nuanced / more empirically grounded approach to understanding the varying reactions to violence. It boils down to schemata. If sheepdogs are defined as people who believe in good versus evil, have a high sense of self-efficacy, and have nationalist or religious sentiment, then of course sheep dogs exist. However, these sheepdogs might also have high empathy, rendering them vulnerable to seeing dead or suffering civilians around them, or an educated model of foreign policy, demoralizing them. People are people, and I don't think attempting to fit them into the boxes of sheep, sheepdogs, or wolves is doing us any favors. What might actually benefit us is understanding more about schemata, a necessary concept in order to really understand one another, especially people who are much different than us.
You've stated that PTSD is independent of schemata, and that it may sometimes simply be the result of cortisol deficiency. This runs contrary to my sources, and I'm skeptical that any manifestation of the PTSD is understood deeply enough to be pinned down purely hormonal causes. What we do know is that some people are devastated by traumatic events, often for a decade or more, while other people bounce right back. The distinguishing characteristics of these groups have been studied and identified, and they are indeed related to schemata, specifically an "optimistic explanatory style," as well as having certain coping behaviors like cultivating social support. Undoubtedly biological factors like intrinsic personality characteristics factor in the development of or the immunity from PTSD, but my sources indicate that schemata and coping styles appear to trump biological factors in this case. I'd be curious if you could point me to a study indicating otherwise.
Anyway, I had PTSD. Wasn't much fun; glad you're helping people out of that scary place. I'm sure you're versed in it, but I'd say making real connections with friends is the most important thing toward recovery, followed by meditation, followed by formal therapy, with long term medication the least useful (though sometimes necessary) thing.
SJWFeels - 2015-12-12 Some combat veterans have a very difficult time living with the fact that they had to take someone else's life during wartime. This is the first thing that flashed through my mind when they handed the veteran a rifle in this clip. Since the vet chose to go to the shooting range with a tv crew, presumably he knew something having to do with shooting was going to happen and he was comfortable with that part of his legacy. Still, we like to talk a lot about "trigger warnings" these days. I hope everyone involved contemplated that before handing this gentleman his tool of war during his twilight years.
Nominal - 2015-12-12 Okay, NOW I take offense, to EH and Murg's idea that civilians can't possibly fathom anything and should just hold all military action in aloof sacrosanct like Chris Kyle says.
My grandfather was at Anzio during WWII, an action where multiple American divisions were driven straight back to the sea and nearly wiped out. Over twice the casualties of Omaha beach.
He never wanted to talk about the war. Never displayed any memorabilia. He was happy going right back to civilian life and treated war as the horror it is. Never owned a gun. Never wanted one.
To me watching this clip is like presenting an Omaha beach survivor with a replica landing craft to drive around an obstacle course. Except worse since the landing craft isn't the instrument that directly takes someone's life.
EvilHomer - 2015-12-12 Well, no, I think you misunderstand, and I am sorry if I offended you. When I say that "you do not understand because you have never been in the military", I am not attempting to marginalize your experiences, or the experiences of veterans who do not like to relive the past. Rather, I am saying that your problem here, lies in assuming that your own perception of your grandfather's experience is normal, and expressing incredulity that another veteran might accept such a gift.
As a civilian, I am assuming you don't know too much about the military (I could be wrong, please correct me if I am). You've got a certain mindset already, and you presumably have only one strong frame of reference - your grandfather - with which to understand the lives of veterans. This lack of experience skews your perception, and makes it difficult for you to understand Sgt Grundy, however well-meaning or intelligent you may be.
Another thing I'd like to say is that, while I obviously don't know your grandfather personally, he was not necessarily all that different from Mr Grundy. Many veterans, particularly older ones, do not surround themselves with military accouterments or reminders of their past; they keep their uniform in the attic, they don't talk about the war, etc. For some, this may be because they had a few very bad experiences and do not wish to relive the pain; for others, it may be that they've simply lived a long and fruitful life, one in which the military is now a distant footnote. The reasons for silence are as numerous as veterans themselves. What's more, even when a veteran does not speak to their family about their service, that doesn't mean they'd be unwilling to open up around other veterans. On the contrary, not talking to your family about your military experience is EXTREMELY common, regardless of how you feel about your time in service - if for no reason, than that they know their non-military loved ones would never be able to understand what they went through.
For all we know, Sgt Grundy is just like your grandfather in everyday life. Sgt Grundy might not have any military memorabilia at home, he might not own any guns, and may have never once spoken to his family about his experiences. And yet here he is, sixty-plus years later, with members of his Other Family (the military) being offered a pretty amazing honor by one of the Army's most prestigious training units - of course he'll take the rifle!!! Heck, for all we know, your grandfather, given a similar opportunity, probably would have done the same.
Doc Victor - 2015-12-12 I really hate to be the guy here only writing shit about military related issues, but POETV is a microcosmic example of how the above discussion works...
The bonding between men-of-arms is something that is totally unique. Just because grandad is a nice guy who never talked about the war to you, doesn't mean he didn't occasionally limp down to the VFW and chuckle about the old days with his buddies. Kind of what Homer said, kind of not though.
Most of the vocal members of this site haven't served, and come from one of several generations that has become increasingly more and more averse to military service. Occasionally someone listens (as someone did to me, recently) but the amount of effort necessary to explain concepts that seem simple to people that have lived them to those who haven't is totally disproportionate. In other words, we realize you don't get it, and that's ok.
However, not being able to understand how pops here is proud of having wasted some nazis, NAZIS for gods sake the most stock villains out there, with a precision rifle, and is honored to have the next generation of those who practice a craft that obviously means a lot to him pay him some respect, is just the sign that you are a dickhead and need to crawl out of your little bubble and descend back to reality, you reprehensible liberal thugs, you.
FatFatuousNation - 2015-12-12 The bonding between men-of-arms is interesting, but it's not unique. It's the feeling of subsumption into a greater whole, and it can also be found in sports fandom, primitive forms of dancing (raves are a modern equivalent), and resulting from certain drugs. This is elaborated upon in The Righteous Mind by Haidt.
Nazi soldiers weren't vile. They were human beings, with friends and families and dreams, who were put in an environment that encouraged violence toward an outgroup, and this had been unquestionably established by the Stanford prison and Milgram experiments. It's helpful to demonize members of an outgroup you intend to shoot, but it doesn't reflect reality.
That said, I of course believe grandpa sniper did a great thing, if his shooting Nazi soldiers helped end the war. It's just a sadder, more complicated thing than merely ending the lives of "vile" members of one's perceived outgroup. If I were put into a position wherein I had to shoot people, I would envy your ability to demonize the outgroup. Relishing in saving Jewish lives is fine, and if that's what makes grandpa sniper tear up I'm totally with him, but relishing in shooting "vile" Nazis is the same substance as the Nazi atrocities themselves. I don't think that's reprehensible liberalism; I think that's just the truth.
Doc Victor - 2015-12-12 Are you the philosophy 100 TA at GRCC? Yeeeeaahhh, I thought so. Sorry I never turned in that term paper.
And no, going to a rave is not like being in the army.
That guy - 2015-12-12 Doc, you're acting like half the site tried to crawl up your ass about this, instead of just discussing.
Come back to us.
Spaceman Africa - 2015-12-12 Being in a rave is pretty much the same thing as serving. PLUR should be the new army motto.
Doc Victor - 2015-12-13 Yes; that was a little crass of me.