Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Memorial Day Veteran Shootings Part of Much Larger Problem

There were another two veteran shootings Memorial Day weekend although they didn't get much attention in the national news, nor were there many if any stories that mentioned both of them together; instead, as usual they reported them as isolated incidents without making much if any attempt to find out if they're part of a larger trend. They did get much more attention in local news outlets.

They actually happened on Tuesday the day after Memorial Day but one of them wasn't much more than an hour after midnight and more often than not when that happens the media refers to it as late the night before. However that case involved someone that was clearly intoxicated and he was drinking on Memorial Day into the next morning and the other incident almost certainly resulted from activities during Memorial Day weekend.

I remember the first time I heard about an enormous number of reports of returning veterans killing at home or killing each other while they were still in combat; And I had no idea what the source was talking about. I doubted if this was much of a problem since I had never heard it before, yet this source said it as if it was a given and fairly widely known. I didn't think much of it until shortly after that I saw another story that was similar.

It wasn't until later when it was more widely reported, for a little while anyway, and I started looking into some additional stories on my own (A few more recent stories are listed below plus several links to much longer lists of murders or other crimes below) that I realized what was going on. When I first heard of large numbers of veteran shootings I still thought that the traditional media was reasonably reliable, at least the more liberal segments of it.

Since then I have learned that there are plenty of alternative media outlets, including some that do a much better job covering the news on any given subject. Unfortunately even most of those are also reluctant to report on the large number of veteran shootings that have been going on for decades including many that took place during the Vietnam War; but some of them do better and occasionally even the mainstream media reports on them, at least for a little while, including one occasion when the New York Times and Washington Post reported on the war come home a few years ago.

When this happened there was an enormous amount of outrage by supporters of the military, and more important the troops. This included a lot of appeals to emotion and propaganda including some from so-called experts. One of the things they claimed was that the shootings were being exaggerated; in some cases this was true, it isn't uncommon for people to jump to extremes suddenly. Unfortunately not all of them were exaggeration.

There was an enormous amount of discussion about blaming the veterans and making them all seem like violent criminals, which wasn't what most rational critics were attempting to do, although it probably seemed that way. Unfortunately there was little discussion about if their training was partly responsible and even less about holding people higher up the command chain for their activities including sending soldiers to war based on lies.

What is rarely mentioned is that the most common victims of many of these shootings are the families of veterans, other veterans, cops that are occasionally shot by veterans, although it is more common for them to shoot and kill the veterans, and the veterans themselves.

It also included some rational reviews but the best of these didn't get nearly as much attention. The following two stories include some of the arguments that are often used to try to glorify veterans, even when they're implicated in crimes, without actually addressing the roots causes.

Police identify airman as suspect in fatal ND Wal-Mart shooting, motive unknown 05/26/2015

Police have identified a 21-year-old airman as the gunman in a deadly shooting Tuesday at the Wal-Mart in south Grand Forks, but are still unsure what prompted his actions.

Marcell Travon Willis, originally from Springfield, Tenn., fatally shot one Wal-Mart employee and injured another before turning the gun on himself early Tuesday.

He was on active duty at Grand Forks Air Force Base. Base officials declined to release any information on Willis -- including his rank and how long he had been stationed at the base -- saying a news release will be available Wednesday. Complete article

2 dead, including shooter, after gunshots at Grand Forks ND Walmart 05/26/2015

Police in Grand Forks Search for Motive in Deadly ND Wal-Mart Shooting 05/27/2015

Police: 2 people in gunman's car before fatal ND Wal-Mart shooting 05/27/2015

Family of Willis shocked by ND Wal-Mart shooting 05/28/2015

Police aren't confident about finding motive for Grand Forks ND Wal-Mart shooting 05/29/2015

2 people who rode with ND Wal-Mart gunman unaware of plan, police say 05/27/2015 Zimmel did not reveal what ties the passengers had to Willis. He said authorities were treating them as witnesses, not suspects.

Wal-Mart adds extra private security and public at both Grand Forks stores 06/02/2015

Wal-Mart shooter legally drunk when he killed store cashier 06/03/2015

Police digging into details behind ND Wal-Mart shooting 06/04/2015 "Here you have a 21-year-old who is apparently, according to friends and family, a generally happy individual," Zimmel said. "He's starting off military life, recent promotion. He's proud of that; his family's proud of him; he's just been home, and one night this happens. The challenge is how do you make this make sense."

The police are now aware that he was intoxicated when this happened and it was late at night; there is a strong possibility that the two passengers knew something about what he was doing the night before, yet they don't even discuss this, at least with the public. Also they don't mention whether or not these two people are also from the Air Force Base. Marcell Travon Willis was from out of state and had just returned from home with his girlfriend who was from North Dakota. There is bound to be some speculation that the people with him were either from the Air Force Base or associated with his girlfriend.

They were slow to admit the shooter was an Airman when this story first broke; initially they admitted that one of the people involved was an Airman but wouldn't say whether he was a victim or shooter. The Air Force is more aware than most how much of a public relations problem this could cause; I would think that if the two people weren't from the Air Base they would be quick to say so. It is virtually guaranteed that they know more than they're letting on, for now but as with most investigations it will take time before they disclose it and many people might not be paying attention when they do.

Feedback from Facebook doesn't provide much if any more information about this case but it does include some comments from people familiar with the military who claim that they often intimidate people who ask for help with their emotional problems. This shouldn't be surprising to anyone familiar with their indoctrination practices starting with boot camp where they put recruits through hazing practices that are designed to teach them to obey orders without question.

According to Stars and Stripes Airman shooting part of trend in military suicides; they cite several examples of past problems at the Grand Forks AFB. However when previously searching for shootings and murders in the military this wasn't one of the biggest trouble spots. Fort Hood in Texas and a base in Colorado were among the ones with the biggest problems and there were more in several other parts of the country.

The other high profile incident during Memorial weekend involved a politician that won the republican nomination for State Senate:

Decorated Iraq veteran and aspiring politician arrested in triple-homicide in Washington State 06/01/2015

An Iraq War veteran and failed political candidate was arrested on three counts of first degree murder on Saturday in Washington state.

Roy Murry, 30, was seriously wounded in Iraq and subsequently won the bronze star for valour. He now stands accused of shooting three people to death and torching their home to destroy the evidence.

The victims were Murry's father-in-law Terry Canfield, 59, his wife Lisa Canfield, 52, and Lisa's son John Constable, 23. Terry Canfield was a long-serving lieutenant in the local fire department. ....

After returning from Iraq, Murry turned to politics. He secured the Republican nomination in a state senate race in 2011, but ultimately lost the election.

He has since had multiple run-ins with law enforcement, according to Mr Knezovich, who commended Murry for his military service in the same press conference where he announced the charges against him.

"Mr Murry, by all accounts of people we've talked with, is a hero," he said. "He served with great valour in Iraq and was severely wounded".

Murry was awarded the bronze star after a firefight in which he continued to continued to return fire on the enemy despite being seriously wounded in an ambush. Complete article

Records: Wife suspected war vet husband of killing relatives 06/01/2015

In this case, and some others, they try to portray him as being a hero without denying that he almost certainly was involved in the killing of his in-laws. In most cases they report these incidents as isolated and rare, then quickly forget about them; however there have been enough people that have compiled enough stories about these instances and even some statistical studies, although some of them have conflicting results, to raise doubts about how rare they are. A close look at some of these reports indicates that there are almost certainly well over four or five hundred incidents where veterans are arrested for murder each year, in addition to incidents where they commit suicide or are killed by police.

The coverage on the traditional media about veterans and Memorial Day has turned into almost non-stop propaganda about how heroic they are and how they died "fighting for freedom."

The problem is that this isn't true at all; they joined the military and were taught to blindly obey orders and then they were sent to wars based primarily on lies. The war in Iraq wasn't about 9/11 or weapons of mass destruction that weren't there; it was based on lies.

But veterans start out their training by going through boot camp training which, as I explained in several posts including Philip Zimbardo, Lucifer Effect, Stanford Prison Experiment and Eli Roth’s Milgram/Obedience experiment much more extensive than most people realize research that was designed to indoctrinate recruits into believing what they're told without question, even though they claim it was designed to do the opposite.

This is followed up with non-stop propaganda about how the veterans who obey orders without question are automatically considered heroes even though tey often don't do much if anything daring, they're backed up by and enormously powerful military fighting people with much less technology or numbers, and the wars they fight are based on lies.

On top of that the people that refuse to go along with these lies are often referred to as cowards, even though they take more risk, since they're up against a powerful propaganda machine.

This makes things awkward when one report of veterans killing their family members or each other after another turns up; but the way they handle this is by reporting these stories only in low profile ways while the propaganda is repeated over and over again, so that most people don't know how much of a problem this is.

The result is that many of the most important political decisions are based on lies and we continue to fight wars based on lies and they also contribute to unnecessary violence at home as well.

There may be more people close to the military that are aware of this problem but many of them might hesitate to draw too much attention to it for fear of retaliation, thanks in part to the hype glorifying veterans and the intimidating environment within the military that starts with boot camp and escalates later where everyone is encouraged to go along with the program even when it is based on an enormous amount of false beliefs and contradictions.

Many of the victims of these crimes are family members or other veterans so it is in their best interest to address the problem rationally not by sweeping it under the rug.

It is also in their best interest to acknowledge that their leaders aren't sending them to war for the protection of the majority; instead they send them to war primarily for the benefit of campaign contributes, including energy companies. Many veterans come from poor areas that are often the target of pollution; but instead of defending them from the polluters they defend the polluters from accountability. They also often join the military because of lack of other economic opportunities, which are a result of the elites shipping their jobs overseas. This ensures that there will be more recruits willing to fight wars based on lies; but when they're not glorifying veterans they're often abandoning them without adequate employment after leaving the military or health care including mental health.

The people that advocate for peace, like Michael Moore, are often doing a far better job representing the best interests of veterans than the politicians that glorify them on Veterans and Memorial Days but abandon them the rest of the year.

In response to the shooting in Washington State the VA said PTSD doesn't lead to violent behavior (06/04/2015) in most cases I'm sure they're right but there are \far too many of these incidents to deny there is a problem her.

In States with high murder rates have larger veteran populations I reviewed some of the statistical results of murder rates compared to veteran populations as well as a statistical study by the Bureau of Justice Statistics which starts out by sayi8ng that veterans are half as likely as non-veterans to be in jail; however when looking at the details within the report and at other sources it quickly becomes apparent that these results are misleading. Even veterans in the United States are incarcerated at much higher rates than other developed countries and the main reason why other people are incarcerated at higher rates is the drug war and because the highest crime rates are abandoned inner cities, while the military primarily recruits from rural areas with much lower murder rates. If comparisons are done with veterans compared to the same areas that they're recruited from it doesn't look nearly so well and becomes apparent that they're having a higher violent crime problem than non-veterans including research based in the Colorado area, which has high recruitment rates and low murder rates except for returning veterans.

Teach a soldier to kill and he just might reviews some of the training and child abuse that often precedes boot cap training making people more violent and provides a long list of additional veterans that have been charged with murder or in some cases either killed themselves or were killed by police before they could be tried.

Murderers Who Have Served in the U.S. Military: A Database provides a list of some of the highest profile murderers with over 275 names and it only covers a fraction of all murders.

Additional List of Veteran murders often of other veterans and other crimes

Detailed study confirms high suicide rate among recent veterans 01/14/2015 This is one of many studies that come to the same conclusion; researchers are much more reluctant to do statistical research on rates of murder by troubled veterans but it is clear that there are a lot more than most people would care to admit.

In addition to having problems with violent veterans there are also a lot of problems with police that are also trained to respond to problems with violence including many veterans. As I reported in several previous posts including, Politicians increase crime; Grass roots efforts reduce crime; Politicians steal the credit, other method are far more effective at reducing crime, especially when they involve finding and addressing the root causes of crime before they escalate to violence. The most important things include preventing child abuse, providing a good education and an economic system that benefits all, not just campaign contributors.

Several other incidents happened shortly before or after Memorial day that received far less attention including the following:

Retired Air Force major arrested in realtor attacks 06/09/2015

Michelle O’Keefe, Raymond Lee Jennings: ‘Dateline NBC’ Investigates The Blue Mustang Parking Lot Death Of California College Student 05/24/2015

After acquittal of Michael Brelo, Cleveland braces for another cop's trial 05/24/2015

Cleveland Cop Michael Brelo Arrested 4 Days After Being Acquitted in 2012 Shooting of Unarmed Couple 06/04/2015

Fellow military members and friends defend soldier involved in Hinesville Ga. homicide 06/07/2015

Army veteran identified as shooter in Murray Utah murders-suicide 06/09/2015

Failed Marine arrested over brutal quadruple murder 05/22/2015

Officer and Iraq veteran explains how restraint prevailed in apprehending murder suspect 05/07/2015

Former marine tased to death by police in upstate New York 06/01/2015

Fugitive ex-Los Angeles Police Department officer and Marine caught in Mexico 05/27/2015

Police officer-in-training and Former Marine with PTSD arrested for strangling woman 01/04/2015

More veterans killed by police this year but some survived 12/29/2014

Colorado veteran arrested for online cop threats 12/24/2014

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