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Apie karo veteranus, savižudybės ir visuomenę

Sebastian Junger: Our lonely society makes it hard to come home from war. Around 10 percent of the US military is actively engaged in combat, 10 percent or under. They're shooting at people, killing people, getting shot at, seeing their friends get killed. It's incredibly traumatic. But it's only about 10 percent of our military. But about half of our military has filed for some kind of PTSD compensation from the government. And suicide doesn't even fit into this in a very logical way. We've all heard the tragic statistic of 22 vets a day, on average, in this country, killing themselves. Most people don't realize that the majority of those suicides are veterans of the Vietnam War, that generation, and their decision to take their own lives actually might not be related to the war they fought 50 years earlier. In fact, there's no statistical connection between combat and suicide. If you're in the military and you're in a lot of combat, you're no more likely to kill yourself than if you weren't… We know that if you take a lab rat and traumatize it and put it in a cage by itself, you can maintain its trauma symptoms almost indefinitely. And if you take that same lab rat and put it in a cage with other rats, after a couple of weeks, it's pretty much OK… And maybe what determines the rate of long-term PTSD isn't what happened out there, but the kind of society you come back to. And maybe if you come back to a close, cohesive, tribal society, you can get over trauma pretty quickly. And if you come back to an alienating, modern society, you might remain traumatized your entire life. In other words, maybe the problem isn't them, the vets; maybe the problem is us.