Friday, April 03, 2015

Survivors, serial killers & our pre-September-11 brains

   I've been spending a lot of time reading books lately -- and learning a lot from them too. 

     First I read a book by David J. Morris entitled "The Evil Hours: A Bibliography of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder" -- and my main takeaway from it was this:  People are more susceptible to PTSD if the way that they were traumatized involved an act of injustice.

     Knowing this, it came as no surprise to me the other day when I was wandering around the buildings and grounds of that massive VA hospital complex in San Francisco and got yelled at by a young Iraq vet who obviously had PTSD.  "Injustice!" he screamed.  "The Iraq war was unjust?  The whole freaking world is unjust!"  And that's the way this vet saw the world, post 9-11.

     However, this guy looked hauntingly like he might have been a young post-Vietnam-era vet, just stepped out of a time machine from the 1960s.  And there was certainly lots of injustice back in Vietnam too -- wherein only the poor jerks in the Mai Lai massacre got caught while all the higher-ups such as Henry Kissinger and various weapons manufacturers just made money on that Tonkin Gulf scam.

     Next I read Nicholas Carr's book, "The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains," all about how human beings think and how our brains' working structures are constantly being influenced by stuff in our environment.  Even learning to read has changed our brains.  Even clocks did that too.  And from this information, I concluded that hate changes our brains too.  Jesus was right.  Hate is a slippery slope.

     After that, I read Steven Gore's new murder-mystery, "Night is the Hunter".  Steven Gore's books always keep us on the edge of our seats -- and also teach us stuff about power and its ability to corrupt those who hold it as well.
    Then I read a book by murder-mystery author Chelsea Cain, who I had heard speak in her home town of Portland last week.  "Even as a child I was always on the look-out for dead bodies."  Boy, she should go off to Yemen right now -- where the U.S. and the Saudis are bombing women and children there like there was no tomorrow and charred corpses of babies are just lying around like driftwood on a beach.

      Cain mostly writes about serial killers.  And apparently, according to Carr's POV, serial killers' brains can get stuck in a groove where, "If you are a hammer, all the world looks like a nail."

     "I'm also always looking for good places to dump bodies," said Cain.  And apparently the American war machine is too!  She should try checking out Afghanistan or Libya or Gaza.  Lots of places for mass graves there for sure.

     Then I decided to take a break from books and watch some old seasons of "Survivor" on Roku.  And while watching a season that had been taped in June of 2001, I noticed that all the contestants were really friendly and sweet to each other.  Is that really what life was like before 9-11?  Season 23 of Survivor is far more merciless and cut-throat.  Or is it just that they cast more villains in the power roles?

     Have Americans become so much more immune to violence these days?  Have our brains simply stopped caring that over a million people in the Middle East have died directly or indirectly by our hands since 9-11?  Or that for every American killed in the 9-11 tragedy, approximately 40 innocent women and children have had their bodies burned, their heads blown off or their intestines spread out all over the sidewalk by American weapons, bullets, bombs and brains?

     The internet may have changed the way that our brains now physically function, but our so-called leaders' post-9-11 thinking has certainly changed our hearts into cold inhuman stone.

     In any case, please remember just this one thing during the 2015 Easter season:  Our American brains clearly have changed since September 11, 2001 -- and even though Christ has risen, Americans have sunk.