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Missive #152

Sebastian Junger, the bestselling author of War and The Perfect Storm, takes a critical look at post-traumatic stress disorder and the many challenges today’s returning veterans face in modern society.
There are ancient tribal human behaviors-loyalty, inter-reliance, cooperation-that flare up in communities during times of turmoil and suffering. These are the very same behaviors that typify good soldiering and foster a sense of belonging among troops, whether they’re fighting on the front lines or engaged in non-combat activities away from the action. Drawing from history, psychology, and anthropology, bestselling author Sebastian Junger This is a short book and a easy read. It was good enough that I will probably read some of his other books.shows us just how at odds the structure of modern society is with our tribal instincts, arguing that the difficulties many veterans face upon returning home from war do not stem entirely from the trauma they’ve suffered, but also from the individualist societies they must reintegrate into.
A 2011 study by the Canadian Forces and Statistics Canada reveals that 78 percent of military suicides from 1972 to the end of 2006 involved veterans. Though these numbers present an implicit call to action, the government is only just taking steps now to address the problems veterans face when they return home. But can the government ever truly eliminate the challenges faced by returning veterans? Or is the problem deeper, woven into the very fabric of our modern existence? Perhaps our circumstances are not so bleak, and simply understanding that beneath our modern guises we all belong to one tribe or another would help us face not just the problems of our nation but of our individual lives as well.
Well-researched and compellingly written, this timely look at how veterans react to coming home will reconceive our approach to veteran’s affairs and help us to repair our current social dynamic. — Book promo @ goodreads.com

Only the one quote.

The vast majority of traumatized vets are not faking their symptoms, however. They return from wars that are safer than those their fathers and grandfathers fought, and yet far greater numbers of them wind up alienated and depressed. This is true even for people who didn’t experience combat. In other words, the problem doesn’t seem to be trauma on the battlefield so much as reentry into society. And vets are not alone in this. It’s common knowledge in the Peace Corps that as stressful as life in a developing country can be, returning to a modern country can be far harder. One study found that one in four Peace Corps volunteers reported experiencing significant depression after their return home, and that figure more than doubled for people who had been evacuated from their host country during wartime or some other kind of emergency.

I have entered winter here in southeastern Arizona. It began on 30 October with the low temperature for the day slipping below 40°. So far it has not gone below freezing with the lowest temperature being just above 33. If the weather guessers are right it will warm up again starting tomorrow morning and it will be back in the 40s and 50s for the low for the next 10 days.

Nothing much going on with Erik and I. We are still doing walks but I have cut them down by about a third. I’m having pain in my right knee that I think is patellar tendonitis, a condition characterized by inflammation of your patellar tendon. More inflammation issues which I’m fighting because of the psoriasis flares but it keeps showing up in other guises.

1 thought on “Missive #152”

  1. I get that same feeling in my left knee sometimes when riding. It is something I felt back in 1976 toward the end of my cross-country bicycle trip … or when the weather gets colder.

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