Every time I read, view, or hear the latest attempt to portray Nidal Malik Hasan as a “loner” or “victim of racism” or “psychotic” – or (this may be my favorite) someone suffering from something called “PRE-traumatic stress disorder,” I am torn between the desire to scream or laugh. My internal conflict increases when I hear Chicago Mayor Daley suggest the problem is that Americans love guns too much.
And then there’s the granddaddy of all recent rhetorical absurdities when Army Chief of Staff, Gen. George Casey uttered the incredibly clueless thought: “What happened at Fort Hood was a tragedy, but I believe it would be an even greater tragedy if our diversity becomes a casualty here.”
Can someone explain to me how the death of 14 (one of the victims was pregnant) can be trumped by the importance of a particular political agenda? The General should include a very real apology in his resignation letter.
It would be funny if not for the fact that it is all so dangerously sad. As I take it all in, it’s like the ghost of Groucho Marx is sitting on one of my shoulders making me smile at the outrageousness of such comments with his famous, “Who are you going to believe? Me? Or your own eyes?” This is all balanced by the difficult to ignore presence of the ghost of Gen. George S. Patton, who sits on the other shoulder and regularly fills that ear (this would be the right ear, by the way – in every sense of that word) with words I am not completely able to translate in this column.
Psychologists use the term “denial” to describe a way some people interpret reality. This manifests itself in denying something ever actually happened, or that it happened but it wasn’t to big of a deal (the “isolated event” approach), or even in something called “projection” which admits that something has indeed happened, but deflects blame and responsibility. We are a nation in official and pervasive denial.