[Homestead] ...'political attack' on girlfriend

Jerry W. Shepperd shepperd at austincc.edu
Fri Oct 29 18:18:08 EDT 2004


At 04:02 PM 10/29/04, Rob wrote:

>I BEG YOUR PARDON! Say what? I have violent tendencies because I served my 
>country?
>There are a hell of lot of people in uniform and damn few actually carry 
>weapons. These days while occupying a country after we invaded it are a 
>bit different but that's not what you said in that blanket statement.


Most people in the military live their lives in the same way as civilians 
live theirs, as someone who gets up every morning and goes to a 
job.  People join the military for a number of reasons, and very few of the 
reasons involve combat.  Even during Viet Nam, there were 10 times the 
number of military personnel in non-combatant roles than the number 
fighting in Southeast Asia, and the ratio is even greater 
today.  Currently, there are approximately 160,000 military men and women 
in Iraq.  There are approximately 1,400,000 active duty men and women in 
the military, with another 1,300,000 reserve and National Guard military 
personnel -- almost 17 noncombatant military to one combatant.  Most serve 
in jobs where a weapon would be as out of place as it would be in most 
civilian jobs.

I don't have the data to "prove" this assumption, so may be completely 
wrong, but there are good reasons to expect that the percentage of people 
with violent tendencies in the military is approximately the same as the 
percentage of people with violent tendencies in the general population, 
holding constant age and gender.  One of the screening tests used for the 
military is one that shows sociopathic or violent tendencies, and those who 
score high are rejected.  Also, most civilian violence is situational and 
involves stress, alcohol, and/or drugs.  The newspaper article didn't say, 
but it is likely that the young Marine recruit who tried to stab his 
girlfriend may have been under a great deal of stress or using alcohol or 
drugs.

On a side, but related note, the research on violence and alcohol use shows 
that non-aggressive individuals become more aggressive when drinking, while 
aggressive individuals become less aggressive when drinking.

Jerry S.




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