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Friday, December 21, 2012
Saturday, December 15, 2012
U.S. Mass Shootings since Columbine:
1. April 1999 - Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado
2. July 1999 -Atlanta, Georgia
3. September 1999 - Fort Worth, Texas
4. October 2002 - Washington DC
5. August 2003 - Chicago, Illinois
6. November 2004 - Birchwood, Wisconsin
7. March 2005 - Brookfield, Wisconsin
8. October 2006 - Nickel Mines, Pennsylvania
9. April 2007 - Virginia Tech - Blacksburg, Virginia
10. August 2007 - Delaware State University - Dover, Delaware
11. September 2007 - Delaware State University - Dover, Delaware
12. December 2007 - Omaha, Nebraska
13. December 2007 - Carnation, Washington
14. February 2008 - Chicago, Illinois
15. February 2008 - Northern Illinois University - DeKalb, Illinois
16. July 2008 – South Mountain Community College - Phoenix, Arizona
17. September 2008 - Alger, Washington
18. October 2008 - University of Central Arkansas - Conway, Arkansas
19. December 2008 - Covina, California
20. March 2009 - Several towns in Alabama
21. March 2009 - North Carolina
22. March 2009 - Santa Clara, California
23. April 2009 – Hampton University, Virginia
24. April 2009 - Binghamton, New York
25. July 2009 - Texas Southern University - Houston, Texas
26. November 2009 - Fort Hood - Killeen, Texas
27. February 2010 – University of Alabama - Tuscaloosa, Alabama
28. January 2011 - Tucson, Arizona (Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords)
29. July 2012 - Aurora, Colorado
30. August 2012 - Oak Creek, Wisconsin
31. December 2012 - Sandy Hook Elementary - Newtown, Connecticut
A friend of mine, who happens to be Italian, reminded me that mass murder seems to be an “American” phenomenon. Terrorism is rampant in other parts of the world while the U.S. remains, fortunately and relatively, untouched. Mass shootings like the one yesterday in Connecticut appear to be primarily an American phenomenon. Incidents like the horrible one that took place at Sandy Hook Elementary are not strictly an American problem, but the majority of mass murderers HAVE BEEN AMERICAN, WHITE-MALE AMERICANS.
Why do mass murders happen and why have there been so many recently? Murder, in which a single person is usually killed, is normally executed by someone the victim knows and based on emotion, routinely hate, revenge, or anger. Mass murder is a different animal and, compared to murder, which is on the decline, is on the rise in the United States. White, middle-class, males are also reported to be the most frequent perpetrators demographically speaking. However, why are the vast majority of perpetrators white males?
The individuals committing these horrific crimes, those who "go postal" and arbitrarily, it may seem, kill many individuals in a single incident, are sometimes "psychotic", delusional, believing the people they pursue are "out to get them". But many times, the shooter, the weapon of choice being large caliber, automatic or semi-automatic weapons, is described to be "a nice guy", "someone I would never believe could do something like this", or other after-the-fact perception by family, friends, neighbors, and co-workers. What could drive a seemly nice, normal, individual to kill indiscriminately as was apparently the case on December 14th, 2012?
I believe, as does my friend, that it has to do, at least partially, with the culturally ingrained inability to show or channel emotions in a healthy manner. Many men in this country are taught from an early age "big boys don't cry" and told "shut up or I'll give you something to cry about". Sound familiar guys?
The proliferation of and addiction to violent video games and movies most likely contribute to the problem. When a boy grows up watching violent movies and playing games where they indiscriminately "blow people away" with high-powered automatic weapons surely desensitizes those vulnerable young minds. I was interviewed by Kansas City's ABC News affiliate KMBC's Diane Cho last year on the subject of video game and computer addictions, telling her that ten percent of those individuals will become addicted. When an individual spends hours upon hours, day after day, in an alternate universe where people are targets and the value of life meaningless, what else could it lead to in an already vulnerable mind?
Another problem we are seeing has to do with the fact the white, American, males are many times not taken seriously, unprotected against harassment, bigotry, racism, discrimination, and retaliation. There is a name for that phenomena and it is called "reverse discrimination". When a person has been exposed to injustice, be it at school, in the workplace, on the internet, and elsewhere, and NOBODY CARES - MUCH LESS LISTENS, the frustration builds and builds until, unless they are extremely RESILIENT, they almost literally explode, sometimes killing themselves and, on rare occasions, others, sometimes many others.
Oddly enough, I can relate to how these individuals, mass murderers, feel, having recently experienced multiple aversive events in my own life. Having pleaded for help from administrators, state and federal regulatory agencies, state and national-level elected officials, and dozens of attorneys, not a single one cared enough to sit down with me to find out what actually happened. Sadly enough, if I was not white and male, and was a minority instead - a woman, Muslim, person from another country, homosexual, or other more well known "protected categories", I would likely have had officials and lawyers rushing to my aid. However, because I am only a disabled-veteran (both protected categories at the institution where the incidents took place) and a white male in particular, I have been ignored. You cannot imagine how demeaning and frustrating it is to not just lose a career, but to know that not a single person cares enough to assist me, likely because I happen to be both Caucasian and male.
Fortunately, I am able to separate the all too common thoughts of retribution synonymous with victimization as anomalies rather than guideposts, thanks to the resilience skills I have been able to build and maintain over the years. I am human and have suffered severely at the hands of others over the past few years, and have even had fleeting bizarre thoughts involving those who have done me harm. That is normal. What is not normal is for a person to believe that thoughts such as those are true and to be acted upon. The ability to see a thought as a thought and not a directive, is a skill that a "less resilient " individual unfortunately has not developed.
What it boils down to is resilience, skills inherited to a certain extent, but mostly learned over the course of life. If you have built resilience skills, the ability to see right from wrong in difficult situations, acting in accordance with societal standards, values, mores and the like instead of aggressively, you are in the majority. Rather than believing the thought "I have been wronged, I need to take action against that person", a resilient person can see the thought as just a thought and can choose to act in accordance with their and/or society's values instead.
I have talked and written about resilience and values at length recently on The CombatCounselor Channel, www.YouTube.com/CombatCounselor, and elsewhere in this blog, The CombatCounselor Chronicle. Resilience skills and well-defined, positive values are core to a healthy personality and frame of mind, skills obviously lacking in many people, particularly people like the young man who killed 20 innocent children and several adult strangers yesterday in Newtown, Connecticut
I am currently researching a book on this phenomenon, a book that will follow the life of one individual as he struggles with abuse, harassment, humiliation, discrimination, and retaliation, leading to a conclusion that will surprise many readers, being fiction and based on real events. I do not want to spoil the ending, but I can tell you that I will be interviewing one or more of the very few white, male, mass murderers who have remained alive to tell their story.
My thoughts and prayers are with the community, families, and friends of the victims of this senseless tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary. I wish I could tell you something of this nature will never happen again, but unfortunately, the stresses we are facing as a nation and as individuals makes a recurrence of events like the one at Sandy Hook inevitable.
There have been 40 mass shootings since the Columbine tragedy on April 20, 1999, 31 in the United States, that is an average of nearly 3 each year.
There have been 13 mass shootings in the U.S. in 2012 alone!
StayPresent - BeResilient - StayTheCourse
CombatCounselor ... OUT!
Tuesday, December 11, 2012
PETITION TO PRESIDENT OBAMA - END THE NEGATIVE STIGMAS AGAINST PTSD AND MENTAL HEALTH TREATMENT IN THE MILITARY BEFORE ONE MORE HERO COMMITS SUICIDE!
PETITION TO PRESIDENT OBAMA - END THE NEGATIVE STIGMAS AGAINST PTSD AND MENTAL HEALTH TREATMENT IN THE MILITARY BEFORE ONE MORE HERO COMMITS SUICIDE!
You can read my recent article on this issue elsewhere in The CombatCounselor Chronicle if you require additional information:http://combatcounselor.blogspot.com/2012/12/article-stigmas-killing-american-heroes.html
PLEASE SIGN MY PETITION TO THE PRESIDENT! We need 150 signatures JUST TO GET THE PETITION SEEN ON THE WHITE HOUSE WEBSITE and 25,000 signatures before January 10th, 2013 ... THAT'S ONLY 30 DAYS ... in order for President Obama to take action.
PLEASE CLICK THE LINK AND CREATE AN ACCOUNT (It's easy - only email address, first and last name), then return to The White House site and SIGN THIS PETITION!
"On average, 1 military member and 18 Veterans commit suicide each day and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a significant factor in many of those deaths. The negative stigma surrounding PTSD and military mental health treatment exist because military members are hesitant to seek treatment from military practitioners, fearing the loss of their career and/or security clearance. We need leaders who are willing to give our men and women in uniform the confidentiality they need when seeking treatment for their problems, be it PTSD, depression, anxiety, or other disorder. We need leaders who are going to do the right thing and end the negative stigmas against PTSD and seeking mental health treatment in the military now, today, before one more American hero dies by his or her own hand!"
PLEASE SEND TO EVERY VETERAN, MILITARY MEMBER, AND AMERICAN PATRIOT YOU KNOW ... 25,000 SIGNATURES IN 30 DAYS ... LET'S DO IT!
Please click on this link and SIGN THE PETITION NOW!
Thursday, December 6, 2012
Key Words: anxiety, depression, disorder, help4vetsptsd, hero, heroes, killing, leaders, media, military, post-traumatic, ptsd, stigma, stigmas, stress, suicide, values, veterans, vets
Wednesday, December 5, 2012
Monday, November 26, 2012
Acting with selflessness, integrity, empathy, altruism, and compassion, rather than giving in to negative and unhelpful thoughts, is much more fruitful and positive. If you have practiced mindful meditation long enough and listened to the things I have taught you in previous episodes, when faced with a challenging thought or emotion, a scary or unpleasant physical sensation, or a difficult, or even traumatic situation, you can take a deep breath, focus on the present moment, see things as they really are, THEN act with selflessness, integrity, empathy, altruism, and compassion, or in accordance with your values, you have an alternative way to react to anxiety, depression, and other crippling problems.
Monday, November 5, 2012
You either do not read the comments to your posts or do not care enough to acknowledge those who take the time to do so. I am not apple polisher like many of those kissing your hind end, hoping to gain some sort of a sense of importance or belongingness to the Dyer "in" group.
We met at Mary Hoyt's retirement party early last decade, having a wonderful, intelligent conversation on the rear deck. You seemed to be kind and sincere when you told me to "keep in touch", which I tried to do, even stopping by your protests of Planned Parenthood on Colorado Avenue in Colorado Springs where you acted as if you had never seen me before. I have even written, commenting on your work and asking you to "say hello to Mary", whom I lost contact with after moving to Kansas City in 2008.
In any event, you continue to inspire me and others with your words, but your actions conflict with the words that spew so effortlessly from your mind. I am also a writer, clinician, and philosopher of sorts with several thousand followers on Twitter, a popular blog, and YouTube channel with a respectable 37,000+ visits over the past year...not viral by any stretch, but fairly popular nonetheless.
I could use a mentor to help me become a better person and author, but have found over the years that people only mentor others when there is something in it for them. As you know, humans are naturally selfish if they have no clear ideals, values to guide them. I am not saying that you are selfish or anything of the sort. I am just pointing out that you have become separated from your flock, your followers, your fans, and that is a sad. It makes your words much less powerful or inspirational.
My values are clear - selflessness...loyalty...integrity...compassion...excellence...dignity...respect - and I act in accordance with them as often as possible. When I tell someone something, like "keep in touch", I mean it and happily respond if they chose to reach out in the future. I just wanted to share my experience, emotions, feelings with you as professionally and honestly as possible. That is just the way I am.
You will not hear from me again, I have more important things and people to spend my time on. I wish you the best in life and your future.
StayPresent; BeResilient; StayTheCourse
StayPresent; BeResilient; and StayTheCourse are trademarks of CombatCounselor and 3rd Wave Media Group - 2012 - All Rights Reserved
Sunday, November 4, 2012
I read an article in the November 5th issue of Air Force Times. I am starting to ask myself why I pay to read this rag because the stories are becoming more and more idiotic! The story claims that "PTSD May Cause Back Pain"... as Tina Fay and Amy Poeller would say ... REALLY!
Correlation does not infer causation. Just because a large number of troops with back pain HAPPEN TO ALSO HAVE PTSD does not mean the two are connected! That is like saying that drinking water will kill you because 99.9% of those who die (everyone at some point) drank water every day of their life! A near perfect correlation, a ridiculous inference.
Military (Air Force) Times should use the space taken up by articles like that and dedicate it to a series with the goal of educating their military readers and the public on the negative stigmas associated with PTSD and seeking treatment for it and other mental health issues in the military and VA systems.
Currently, 6,900 Military and Veterans, on average, kill themselves, COMMIT SUICIDE, each year. Eliminate the negative stigmas ... reduce the suicide rate significantly!
People comfortable seeking and receiving mental health care are FAR LESS LIKELY to resort to suicide. It has been said that "suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem". They should do some good and use the space in their paper for something useful...or just leave the space empty...it would do less harm than filling it with that kind of crap!
HELP END THE NEGATIVE STIGMAS ASSOCIATED WITH PTSD AND MILITARY MENTAL HEALTH TREATMENT BEFORE ONE MORE AMERICAN HERO DIES BY HIS OR HER OWN HAND!
Chris Sorrentino, LtCol, USAF (Ret)
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Monday, October 22, 2012