Describing the phenomenon of violence among military veterans as “warrior killings,” Morris said these men fit into a pattern of “rambunctious” underachievers in school who join the military and find trouble with their superior officers. They go off to war and are exposed to high levels of violence, then return home and develop a drug habit, in part to cope with the trauma of war. The result is a series of violent incidents and financial troubles, then, high, drunk and out of control, an altercation with another soldier that leads to a death.
“It is impossible to say for sure what drove these young men to commit murder, but the idea that combat exposure and post-traumatic stress could be contributing factors makes sense if you look at war for what it is at the grunt level: murder that has been sanctioned by the government,” Morris wrote. “The simple fact is that war poisons some men’s souls, and we aren’t doing our veterans any favors by pretending that war is only about honor and service and sacrifice and by insisting that PTSD is completely unrelated to the problem of postwar violence. It’s not only morally irresponsible, it’s scientifically inaccurate,” he added.
America has a toxic mix of guns and anger, with a risk for impulsive gun-related violence increasing when anger, depression or substance abuse is added to the equation, as the Dallas Morning news reported. Further, as one forensic psychologist noted, there is an “anger mismanagement” problem among violent offenders such as mass killers, “pathological anger, rage, resentment and embitterment.” Cognitive behavior therapy is one means, along with other programs and counseling services to help impulsively angry young people with antisocial behavior manage stress and control their emotional responses, and prevent them from taking up guns. Further, domestic violence is the canary in the coal mine for mass shootings, as 54 percent of mass shootings between 2009 and 2016 involved family or domestic violence.