No, veterans aren’t homicidal, suicidal maniacs!

Chris Hernandez, author, blogger and veteran of military service, has written a scathing denunciation of the most recent insinuation that veterans are somehow less stable or more dangerous than citizens in general, particularly when it comes to the risk of terrorism.  Here’s an excerpt.

NBC New York published an article on January 8th, two days after the Fort Lauderdale airport shooting. The article is headlined “Mental Health Effects of Serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.” … The clear inference is that simply serving in war causes mental problems, and some veterans are so distraught by the transition to civilian life that they carry out acts of unimaginable violence.

The only problem I have with NBC’s article is that it’s a load of absolute nonsense.

. . .

After examining each veteran mass shooter, I don’t see any reason to believe that their military service caused the shootings. In Dionisio Garza’s case his experience sure made him more deadly, but nothing suggests military service was a the proximate cause or even a contributing factor. The truth is, some veterans have mental problems unrelated to their service. Some are criminals. Some are just evil people. The fact that a veteran committed a crime doesn’t mean they committed it because of their military service, just like if a former professional athlete commits murder that doesn’t mean he committed murder because he was a professional athlete.

Besides that, the stats show that veterans are actually underrepresented among mass shooters. A 2014 FBI report on mass shootings counted 160 mass shooting incidents between 2000 and 2013. 93 of those shootings occurred between 2009 and 2013, the time frame included in NBC New York’s article. Only three of those 93 active shooters were military (assuming NBC’s reporting is accurate), and those three shooters never even deployed to a war zone. I found reports of one more veteran active shooter during the 2009-2013 time frame, which means vets comprised 4 of 93 shooters, just over 4%.

But America’s roughly 22 million veterans comprise just over 6% of our population. Which means vets are statistically less likely than civilians to carry out a mass shooting. Is NBC going to publish an article showing that civilians are the more dangerous threat?

. . .

Military service doesn’t make people insanely violent; if it did, 22 million veterans in America would be murdering a hell of a lot of people every day. People commit mass murder because they’re mentally ill or just plain evil. They don’t do it because they served in the military, went to war, or don’t like civilian life.

There’s more at the link.  Good stuff, and worth your time.  Use it to debunk the arguments of those who see veterans as more of a threat than an asset.

Peter (yes, I’m a veteran too!)


  1. Same-same with Vietnam veterans before Desert Storm. I'm still leery of the the "thank you for your service" comments. I think some of the people that say that have a next thought of, "I hope you don't stab me in the face, you crazy bastard". I cannot be responsible for their fear.

    RVN 1969

  2. Welcome home, USMC. I did a tour as well and I do recall those days well. Hollywood was a major offender as well(who would have thought?). Nam vets were generally depicted as crazy and ready to flip out at the drop of a hat engaging in all sorts of mayhem. That was crap then, and it still is today. If I remember right, Magnum PI was the first TV show to feature Nam vets as good guys. Now, of course, it seems to be fashionable to be one, hence the number of fakers out there.

  3. Jim:

    There was a research study 20-30 years ago, that found that Vietnam vets were more successful in civilian life than those who didn't go. I have a vague recollection that the study was initiated as a reaction to the Magnum PI effect on the public. There was some surprise at the findings/conclusions of the study.

  4. Damn! I knew I'd left something off my to-do list–"go slaughter innocent people".
    The media told me my arsenal of assault weapons, with their high-capacity magazines, cop-killer/armor-piercing bullets, and hundreds-of-rounds-per-second capability, would free themselves from the arms locker & their cases & go out & do it for me.
    We old vets just can't count on anything going right unless we do it ourselves, can we?
    Maybe tomorrow. I'm too worn out from clinging to my Bible & semiautomatic machine gun while yelling "Sieg Heil!" when Trump's name is mentioned on the news. I'm not as energetic as in my youth, when I was raping, pillaging, & killing babies for oil (and Bush/Cheney, of course).
    –Tennessee Budd

  5. Hey, Mr. Hernandez, don't you realize stereotyping and pigeonholing are crucial to the ethos of western culture? The very culture you "served" when on-duty?

    Pigeonholing works to keep citizens from "getting too intimate with" each other and from becoming too knowledgeable about the way others live within their own culture. It works by nurturing a culturally collective tendency to be too lazy to ever seriously make the effort to try to get to know another human being. And by appeasing overinflated egos via nurturing self-righteousness and biased judgmentalism.

    A definite "must" for the U.S. and for western cultures as a whole.

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