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Old March 14, 2006, 06:51 PM   #26
Derius_T
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Glenn, I appriciate the subject. It has been something we have been struggling with recently as a family. We are all military in my family, as far back as there has been a military, as far as I have been told. Also several immediate family members in LEO work. We are all "used" to the lifestyle, so to speak, and have thoroughly accepted the possible violence involved in that life.

That said, my little brother, who has been raised in this type of family, and has eat, slept, and breathed soldering since he could walk, AND is one of the strongest young men I have ever known, is experiencing some issues after comming back from Iraq.....

To those that say it woudn't bother you one whit to take a life, are completely ignorant of the subject. Not hesitating TO DO IT if your kids are in danger is one thing. But dealing with it after the fact can be a very tough experience. For all you gung-ho tough guy types, I pray you never have to find out.

Thanks Glenn.......common sense is in short supply these days it seems.
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Old March 14, 2006, 07:14 PM   #27
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I don't want to ever have to take someone's life. What truly worries me is that I might take a liking to killing. That's why I would absolutely wait until the last moment. That's the main reason that I refuse to be in the military, I really don't want anything to with killing. I fully support our armed forces but that lifestyle isn't for me.
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Old March 14, 2006, 08:49 PM   #28
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I just finished "On Combat" by Grossman. I highly recommend it for helping to come to terms with what happens before, during, and after a stressful situation such as taking a life or simply being confronted by a bad guy. The lessons on 'tactical breathing' even helped me with the stress of public speaking.

Will read Grossman's book titled "On Killing" next.
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Old March 14, 2006, 10:47 PM   #29
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JakeMate, I've looked at Grossman's ON KILLING on Amazon and decided not to buy it.

In the 8 pages I read he referred to killing as a "destructive act", but never even suggested that killing could be a constructive act.


The point I tried to make in my post (#20) is that there are circumstances when killing is not only justified but necessary, constructive and moral.


As I mentioned there is no predicting how one will react in the event.


But that holds true as well for practising one's draw, presentation, aiming and shooting. After years of practise, one may still freeze and die as a result. But practise makes this outcome much less likely.


I believe that training that omits the morality of killing is deficient and that such training is also neccessary, although it may be more the responsibility of the individual.


The mention of "strong" or "tough" individuals doesn't convey what is meant by those terms. Could not a person be strong or tough, but yet undeveloped in the morality involved in his carrying a CCW or a weapon in war?

Wouldn't such a person actually be "weak" in that area, suffering from a form of confusion and confusion is never strength.


Why is killing a predator in self-defence wrong or immoral? And if such a killing is moral, why must one suffer torment over taking the life of another human being? Is that the mindset of a warrior?

Some level of upset may be understandable. But allowing such an experience to torment and even incapacitate one suggests that the person had not thought through the project he had undertaken.


Killing in war is, for me, a separate topic because the reason for that killing is, in a sense, impersonal. In war, too, I believe that one can work out one's morality in this area and if one cannot, then he should seek a way out of the situation.


I'm not trying to make light of killing or in any way to glorify it.

But characterising all killing as destructive is like calling all violence bad and equating the violence of the attacker with the violence of the defender. Killing, like violence is always unfortunate and sometimes very necessary.


I think that Ecclesiastes is correct that there is a time to love and a time to hate; a time for war and a time for peace. And if there is a time to hate and a time for war, then there is also a time to kill. I see nothing in Ecclesiastes about pathological remorse.



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Old March 15, 2006, 05:59 AM   #30
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I can't imagine ANY book or ANY specific psychological approach could be 100% effective in dealing with this type of situation. This isn't a "one size fits all" type of thing. LOTS of people come out of combat or gunfights and suffer very little emotional stress, while others are never able to get over it. Everyone reacts differently to situations like this and I believe the only thing one can do to prepare for such an event is to try and take an objective look at your typical reactions when confronted with the loss of life.

I had a friend once who was a complete emotional wreck for a month at the loss of his mother-in-law. I think that's a good indication that were he to have to take someone's life he might not fair well in the aftermath. Those of us that have been around for a while (okay..us OLD f@rts) probably have the advantage in this situation as we have more experiences with the loss of friends and loved ones to help us guage where we might stand on that emotional continuum.

I'm not sure this is something we can really change. I think it's just a part of our nature. It's easy to say "I wouldn't feel any grief over taking the life of someone that threatened my family", but it may not be realistic if your personal history indicates that you're the type that tends to have significant emotional reactions to life and death events you've encountered.
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Old March 15, 2006, 06:30 AM   #31
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Matis,
Quote:
Why is killing a predator in self-defence wrong or immoral? And if such a killing is moral, why must one suffer torment over taking the life of another human being? Is that the mindset of a warrior?
Its not immoral or wrong. Do unto other as you would have them do unto you. An eye for an eye. Either you or me. Why people get torn over protecting themselves I don't know. It does happen though. I will leave the door open for that possibility.

If we can't prepare in advance for how we are going to react to a shooting then "common sense" tells me that there is no preparation possible for it. So aside from understanding that one could have problems, what can be done in advance?
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Old March 15, 2006, 08:05 AM   #32
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"Matis,
Quote:
Why is killing a predator in self-defence wrong or immoral? And if such a killing is moral, why must one suffer torment over taking the life of another human being? Is that the mindset of a warrior?"





[b)"Its not immoral or wrong. Do unto other as you would have them do unto you. An eye for an eye. Either you or me. Why people get torn over protecting themselves I don't know. It does happen though. I will leave the door open for that possibility."[/b}


Threegun, absolutely it does happen and there is no way for me to be sure it wouldn't happen to me in such a situation. What I'm saying is that I perceive a lack of preparation for such an outcome and I'm trying to relate this lack to a general confusion about right and wrong and the decline of morals in society.



[B]"If we can't prepare in advance for how we are going to react to a shooting then "common sense" tells me that there is no preparation possible for it. So aside from understanding that one could have problems, what can be done in advance?[/b}



I believe that this is part of a much larger problem of moral confusion spreading in our society. Although there can certainly be no guarantees in dealing with complex creatures like humans, I think it behooves us to examine our own values and to press through in clarifying them.


I do not intend to condemn or denigrate anyone who might suffer pathological remorse after killing in self-defence. What I am saying is that there would be a lot less of this if we were clear about our own values.


There seems to be almost an expectation that a "decent person" would suffer this way and if he did not then his humanity can be called into question.


Imagine this scenario: Someone breaks in and threatens your 17 year old daughter with rape and worse. You manage to get to your gun and you kill him. You have saved your precious child from a horrible experience that might mark her for life. And you've saved her life.

The perp has a mother, siblings, etc. who now make excuses for him and try to indict your action. Is it really a mark of decency to give a damn about the perp or his family? Or does it indicate how far we have fallen in our understanding of life and values?


I can not even really be called a religious person, not in the sense that I am an observant Jew. But the more I look into this the more I respect Biblical values and the less I respect the seeming consensus that emerges from our current education/media/government/courts -- a consensus of experts whose expertise I find empty and transient.


Preparation for this goes a lot deeper than self-defense training. It requires making basic choices about values at the deepest level. Doing that plants one's feet on rock instead of the miasma of moral confusion I see all around me.


I'm attracted to what I learn about the warrior mindset. A warrior is someone who doesn't need to posture or act tough. He can be gentle, even tender. But when faced with the necessity, he is able to do whatever it takes to resolve the situation. And he doesn't second guess himself after the action is over.

This is an ideal to aim for. I'm certainly not saying that I am there. But how can you hit your target if you don't even aim? Or if you don't even know this is a worthwhile target?


It strikes me as odd that we would defend the 2nd amendment, go to the trouble and expense of arming ourselves and staying in practise. But with all that we slight the underlying philosophy that justifies all this effort.

Just doesn't make sense to me.


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Old March 15, 2006, 11:10 AM   #33
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Matis,

Quote:
There seems to be almost an expectation that a "decent person" would suffer this way and if he did not then his humanity can be called into question.
Wow, that was well said. In one of my posts I wrote that I don't have feelings for a badguy intent on hurting me. I don't care what others think about my humanity on this issue. In my heart, I know that unless left no other option, I would never knowingly harm another.
Quote:
I don't feel emotion towards a scumbag that A. I hate. B. tried to kill me C. forced me to become a killer of man D. gave no thought to my well being.
If one forces another to kill them, how can we expect the family that raised such a heathen to be any different mentally.
Quote:
The perp has a mother, siblings, etc. who now make excuses for him and try to indict your action.
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Old March 15, 2006, 01:25 PM   #34
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Threegun,

I'm sorry if I may have given the impression that I was criticizing your posts. Not at all; I agree with your reasonng and with what you wrote.

I simply wanted to get underneath what I perceive as the "right" attitude toward killing and you gave me an opening to do that.



I surely hope that all of this remains academic for you, for me and for all the rest of us.


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Old March 15, 2006, 02:13 PM   #35
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As far as a non-police or non-military person shooting and/or killing an attacker, it is my belief that the majority of "post shooting trauma" is a result of the stark, raving fear of being prosecuted and sent to prison by the state and sued by the thug you shot or his survivors.

A man or woman should be able to defend themselves and their family - and exert deadly force, if they have no other option - and not be put through months or years of legal, financial and emotional hell as a result, IMO. Unfortunately, that is not the case.

If an investigation were conducted and the shooting was found to be justifiable and the legal complications ended there, I believe most of the trauma the shooter goes through would also stop.

As far as military personnel killing in a war, my wife has a cousin whose son is a Marine and has served in Iraq. He was in a combat engineer batallion, and was their designated sniper (he is now an instructor, still in the Marines). In a non-bragging way, he told his parents about some of the events he experienced. It is obvious from his stories that he has killed alot of the enemy.

His parents seem more unsettled by this than he is. He seems well adjusted and at ease with his actions, and is not traumatized by what he has experienced at war.

Killing affects different people in different ways - perhaps some have coping mechanisms in place that others do not and therefore experience less negative ramifications as a result, whether they are military, police or just everyday citizens.
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Old March 15, 2006, 03:30 PM   #36
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Matis, I didn't think you critizied it. I just agree with what you said about morals and how society trys to push guilt when there is nothing to be guilty about. 100 percent dead on.
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Old March 15, 2006, 03:58 PM   #37
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Prior to Bosnia, where we saw some quite awful scenes of ethnic cleansing on an unparalleled scale and engaged a wide variety of quasi-enemy from criminal gangs to organised military forces, the British Army didn't have any form of post-tour counselling advice. It was a matter of 'tough it out'. Unfortunately the people who received the job of post-tour counselling were the Army Padre corps; I say unfortunately because many of them could not separate their religeon from the job at hand. Soldiers who had seen terrible things and had opened fire in desperate circumstances against organised opposing forces, wanted some simple practical help or simply to be left alone with their mates to sort it out over a large liquid volume of beer!

One might argue that getting incredibly drunk at the post-tour party, celebrating the lives of those men who were killed rather than mourning their demise, talking about what happened and getting some perspective on it, is much better than having a Padre talking to you - an event most guys despise with a passion!

Often, I think, it is the older soldiers, who have been through this numerous times in their careers that received practical assistance from their peers, are the most useful. Their methods have been handed down through generations of soldiers and are effective, though sometimes not 'warm and fluffy'.

On one patrol in Northern Ireland our multiple was caught in the blast radius of a culvert bomb (a home made device buried under the road in a drainage ditch); a couple of the guys were really badly hurt and the whole multiple shaken up by it. Inside the base the Company Sergeant Major took everyone to one side and turned us around - "we're going back out right now!" he ordered.

Not one of us at that moment wanted to go back out. Our confidence was shaken and our nerves torn apart. He led us back out to the operational area and we stayed out for several hours, doing a variety of operational tasks and regaining our confidence within the hour. He knew that if we stayed inside the base we would have been hopelessly torn apart by fears, thoughts and 'what ifs'.

In the post-combat moments, it is the sound leadership of these experienced men that is more useful than a brigade of PTSD counsellors.
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Old March 15, 2006, 06:34 PM   #38
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Preparing for the What If?

First - a hearty Thank You to Glenn for bringing this subject to our attention.

I had never thought about the possibility of preparing for the mental aftermath of a shooting - but why not? If contemplating dealing with Law Enforcement after a shooting is beneficial, then why would we not want to prepare for our own mental state [post shooting]?

As for me...? I know that I hesitate far too long before engaging. In "Live Fire Judgement Training" I was chastised more than once for waiting until (just after) the last moment to fire. But I would rather know in my own mind that shooting was the ONLY option left, than have any doubts about my actions afterwards. May or may not be the best "tactical" decision, and that is something that I will continue to work on.
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Old March 15, 2006, 06:50 PM   #39
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Thanks.

BTW - I first started to hear about this from combat veterans teaching tactical classes. I already knew of PTSD from the typical civilian trauma victim. Then I started to research the aftermath of shooting incidents. The effects may not appear moments after but later.

That's why the knowledge is useful, IMHO. Not to argue with anyone's combat experience but we know problems occur - that's an empirical fact and knowing about such is not a statement of being PC, weak, etc.

Deadly Force Encounters or In the Kill Zone were not written by folks who were weak or PC.

In fact, said combat veteran specifically mentioned that males tend to decompress using group bonding and alcohol. This led to continued alcohol abuse later. Pretty standard conditioning theory. Some folks don't want to admit to a stress vulnerability and that's a problem that leads to later problems.

Like I said, I'm just giving putting out what I thought was a useful topic and some good books.
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Old March 15, 2006, 07:08 PM   #40
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After the gun fight your psyche

Well, here I go, a newbie to this list. Done Nam, before that, Done Guatamala, cqb and successful use of issued ammunition both places. Too old for Desert Storm, anyone in the free fire zone that even looks like they have the ability to move agressively with or without visible means of attack dies. End of story. Remorse? Yeah, I choked once and a buddy paid for it. Never again!
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Old March 15, 2006, 11:12 PM   #41
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I think the majority of combat veterans suffer from PTSD in one form or another. During WW II and Korea it was called "shell shock". No one really knows how one will react from taking another's life. Pilots took many lives without seeing them "up close" as did artillerymen and mortarmen. Snipers took many lives "long distance" if you will, without putting a "face" on their targets. But when it becomes "up close and personal", when you see the dead person, search his body and find his personal belongings, photos of his family and realize you just killed someone's husband, father or son then it becomes "personal". Perhaps not at that moment but sometime when you're alone, maybe at night on guard or even sleeping but there will come a time, maybe years later but you're going to see that person's face again.

I knew men who truly enjoyed killing the enemy. I know it was a necessity of war and a means of survival but I did not enjoy it. When we arrived in Vietnam we were gung ho and ready to kill anything, vowing to never take any prisoners but my attitude quickly changed regardless of how much I hated the enemy. That was 40 years ago and it still bothers me that I personally took the lives of six people, one at the distance of only eight feet away and I can still see the expression on his face.



For what it's worth, I wish LBJ would have turned our AirForce loose and let them bomb Hanoi like our B-52's bombed Iraq in Desert Storm back in 91'. I think the outcome of the war would have been much different.
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Old March 16, 2006, 01:04 PM   #42
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Some people here have said some things that are not only completely ignorant, but just plain stupid as well. No need to mention names though. It is very easy to SAY killing another human would not affect you, especially if you were protecting yourself, or in war, but its another thing to have actually DONE IT, and have to live with it. I have seen some very strong dedicated soldiers weep like babies after having done their duty. There is no shame in it, and it doesn't make one weak. Anyone who thinks so is a moron.


My father once told me a story about vietnam. I may not get all the facts right, but I will give you the story as best I can.

He was sitting with some buddies in one of the small towns or cities. They were quite used to the local children milling around them, and often gave them little gifts, a little bit of food, money, ect. They felt really sorry for these hungry, dirty little kids. It seems as if the enemy saw how quickly the american soldiers accepted the kids, and in one instance, planted explosives on one of the children, sent the kid into a group of american soldiers. Several soldiers were killed or wounded right in front of my dad and his friends. A short time later, he was with the group again, and a kid came running up to them like the other one had. One of the young soldiers completely freaked out and shot the little kid. They found 2 american grenades on his body. They still all cried. It hurt every single one of the to the heart when they looked at this kid.

So they had no doubt saved lives, in war, but still could not escape the emotional problems that followed. Anyone out there who says they wouldn't be bothered is a complete idiot....


I didn't tell this story to bring up any terrible memories for our veterans on this board. If I did, I am truely and sincerely sorry. I just wanted to illustrate a point to these "kill 'em and care less types".....
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Old March 16, 2006, 01:48 PM   #43
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Derius_T,
Unfortunately in Vietnam children with bombs or grenades were commonplace and many American soldiers were forced to neutralize them just to protect themselves and their comrades. That without a doubt is one of the worst memories a warrior can be forced to live with. Just think of what our forces are dealing with everyday in Iraq with these car bombs and suicide bombers. It's enough dealing with the enemy but to have to worry about some idiot blowing himself up or driving a car full of explosives into a group of troops must really take it's toll. My hat is off to all our fighting men and women over there. I wish them all a safe and speedy return.
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Old March 16, 2006, 09:04 PM   #44
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I guess, Glenn, . . . I can only approach your post with some mixed emotions.

Yes, . . . PTSD is a real, existant, horrible problem at times, . . . and for that point alone, . . . your post is very much relevant.

But, . . . there is a little ditty that I have used to make peace with my military service, . . . and I will use it if I am ever forced to deal with taking another's life as a civilian.

"God grant to me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, . . . and the wisdom to know the difference."

What I did, . . . what I stood for, . . . what I accomplished as a sailor and as a soldier, . . . I cannot change, . . . at the time it was a good decision, . . . therefore it is a good decision today, . . . regardless of the opinions of anyone else.

Martyp's experience would be my worst nightmare: "Yeah, I choked once and a buddy paid for it."

Anyway, . . . thanks for raising the bar on awareness, . . . truly anyone carrying a concealed weapon or contemplating defending their domicile should give some thought to whether or not they are emotionally prepared for the consequences of doing such.

May God bless,
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Old March 16, 2006, 10:24 PM   #45
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This is a very interesting topic to me. I wish I could have gotten some of this
kind of feedback 35 years ago when I came home from Viet Nam.

I didn't do anything special in Viet Nam. I was a rifle Marine in a Marine
rifle company. A "grunt". We did the infantry thing. Daily recon patrols,
nightly ambushes, occasional long-range patrols. Basically, looking for the
enemy to engage in a firefight. Sometimes we found them, sometimes we didn't.

When I came home I was never treated harshly because I was a Viet Nam vet. I was never spit at, or yelled at or cursed. I spent a lot of time in the hospital, and when I got out, I went back to Viet Nam. I had to, my friends were over there, and I felt like I had deserted them when I left.

When I returned to CONUS the second time, I only had a few weeks until I was separated from active duty. I watched the news, I saw the protests, and I never wore my uniform off base. I didn't want to deal with it.

It was when I actually got "home" that I understood how it was going to
be. "Home" was my parents' house. That was the only place I had ever lived before I went into the Marine Corps. And that was where I learned the
bitter truth about the "war". Nobody gave a damn. Nobody. Not my
parents, not my friends, not my other relatives, NO DAMN BODY!!!!!

The fact that I had seen my good friends shot dead, or blown into pieces,
or that I had been wounded , just didn't matter to them. The war was a
distant thing to them, and they really didn't want to be bothered by the
gory details.

I hope to God that the troops coming back from Iraq get better support than we did. They deserve it. I think a little positive support from friends and
family might prevent some of the PTSD problems that are so prevalent in
veterans from previous wars.

If I've gotten too far off the topic of this post, administrators, just
delete it. But this is a subject that I have an intense interest in, and I
just wanted to put my two cents in.

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Old March 16, 2006, 11:01 PM   #46
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Welcome Home!

Walter,
Welcome home buddy. You're right, no one cared except those of us who were there. I know what you mean about leaving you're friends over there and for that reason I stayed for my second tour without coming home at all and that decision nearly cost me my life.

You were a "grunt" and that in itself was something special and you should be proud of that.

I was called a "baby killer" once in a bar after I mentioned that I was in Vietnam and it was many many years before I ever mentioned it again in public.

Our troops coming back from Iraq are indeed being treated much better then we were. At least by the general public but I'm not so sure about the treatment they're getting from the government that sent them there.

Hang in there pal. I've finally made peace with myself and the demons that have haunted me for the last 40 years since I left that Godforsaken place.

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Old March 17, 2006, 01:15 AM   #47
Dan M.
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Walter and riverrat (and any other vets out there),

You guys deserve and are owed as much honor as any American vet who served in either Gulf conflict, in Korea, WWII, or any wars fought by Americans on foreign soil or our own land, and that's a fact. It's a damn shame that ignorant people can't/couldn't understand what it means to serve our country the way that you and millions like you have done throughout our history. God bless both of you for your sacrifices, small or large, and I mean that from the bottom of my heart.
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Old March 17, 2006, 07:00 AM   #48
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Amen DAN.
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Old March 19, 2006, 05:10 AM   #49
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thanks for the excellent readin tips, Glenn!
My way is not to talk about it at all and keep a low profile. If you were justified the actual consequences can be hidden from you social contacts quite well. Keep it for yourself.
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Old March 19, 2006, 10:42 AM   #50
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I came home from Nam in 1966

and went on with my life. I was young with most of my life ahead of me. I had some problems with anger but then doesn't everybody! Nam came up frequently but I ignored the news, politics, and kept my feelings to myself. Other than some dreams and intrusive thoughts from my Nam experience I didn't think there was a problem.

Then my health went down hill. I couldn't work, couldn't do much anything but sit and think. That's when PTSD hit me. I didn't even know what was happening but there I was dealing with memories of Nam that I had put behind me a long, long time ago.

Moral to my story: Don't count your chickens till they hatch!
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