RANGER AGAINST WAR: Anger Management 101 <

Friday, January 09, 2009

Anger Management 101

--Charles Barsotti

Don't talk to me for about a week
I'm sorry it just hurts to explain

There's something going on that makes my guts ache
I got guilt I got fear I got regret
I'm just a panic stricken waste I'm such a jerk

--I'm Free Now
, Morphine

There are three distinguishing adjectives for describing a combat arms soldier -- hostile, agile and mobile.

are the qualities needed to complete the mission. Only three things: shoot, move and communicate. Being hostile and being a shooter is usually equated with anger. In our society, anger and destruction are also sanctioned impulses for boys, unlike say, fear or compassion. (We're not talking extreme West Coast here.) Hence G.I. Joe and Tonka trucks. Barney ("I Love You") and the like are still considered pretty fey.

So Ranger finds himself as a fully aged adult male wavering between a non-emotional state and anger. If he is feeling really emotional, the anger may become rage. He is writing about this because several people have pointed his anger out to him recently. It must be the residue of New Year's good cheer.

Aggression and anger are lauded in the military arena, but not so much in the civilian, outside of cutthroat boardrooms. He is not alone in his anger; he and many of his fellow angry veterans could fill a stadium or two. Anger and rage -- combine these and you have a Ranger.

Rangers are selected and trained to be violent. We are promoted and rewarded with medals for our hostile nature, and ejected from active service without decompression or deprogramming, and expected to become loving, feeling beings. Well, I'm not, and I'm tired of being apologetic for that fact.

Society acts dumbfounded when the Ft. Carson, Colorado, veterans showed a spike in their rates of murder and other violent crimes (
A Focus on Violence by Returning GI's.) All vets came by their attitudes honestly so why harass them for their honest reaction, which is often rage and hostility? This is not to exonerate criminals for their crimes, but reintegration does not just happen, and the psychiatric community is often clueless, and certainly underfunded.

If society doesn't want to deal with and accept this, then let's develop a new class of Terminators, a true warrior class a la the Greek concept, separate from society.

Until then you have a lot of Rangers, and they are not always able to channelize their anger once back in any productive manner.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Range, BTW, nice radio interview last nite. There IS a middle ground, though; how 'bout "anti-basic training", where those who've been programmed to kill can learn the opposite before they get out? I think that's as good an idea as the idea now going around that's advocating a creation of the US. Dept. of Peace.

Friday, January 9, 2009 at 6:01:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

still, to this day, i'm glad that, for the most part we haven't progressed to "thought crimes."

too many times i find myself thinking of exactly how i would take that dumb son of a bitch in my face apart with minimum effort producing maximum damage.

age, and a much calmer attitude have set in. i'm calmer now. there was a time, while recovering from wounds in san diego, i used my crutches to absolutely beat the crap out of an asshole who was dissing my unit. as he was being loaded in the ambulance i shouted "be sure to tell them it was a cripple that kicked your dumb ass."

calmer. nicer. mellowed with age.

Friday, January 9, 2009 at 7:16:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

Thanks, the radio thing was a pleasure and we hope to do it again. It was much too short.

It's my personal belief that once you walk down certain roads you'll never get the dirt off your boots.Deprogramming would not accomplish much unless they actually brainwashed us-that'll never happen b/c they want our vote.

Friday, January 9, 2009 at 7:46:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

If i ever meet you face to face i'll tell you a wheelchair story about myself.

I always thought crutches would be a great way to carry PE as a device. Also a single shot weapon could be fabricated from the aluminum crutch.

I hope you started your attack with a crutch in the crotch. Indeed we are both sooo muck milder now.RIGHT!


Friday, January 9, 2009 at 7:50:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

the beginning of that (i was using the lofstrand's crutches which are shaped like a cop's nightstick but on steriods) was a double chop down onto the collar bone, which broke bilaterally. once that was accomplished the rest was easy.

Friday, January 9, 2009 at 9:35:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Ghost Dansing said...


Friday, January 9, 2009 at 9:57:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...


Though I cannot approve violence, yet I like that you are a gentle brute. I'm sure he had it coming, ahem. . .

Ghost Dansing,

You intrigue me -- you always find compelling lyrics. This Enya was perfect.

Saturday, January 10, 2009 at 12:03:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

i can't say he had it coming. he was out of line, but i was most certainly wrapped way to tight for civilization (fuck, at that point of my life i was wrapped way to tight for the war zone a lot of the time).

he had the bad luck to catch me in one of those "wired on" moments, and the bad sense to not pick up on the many danger signals i was putting out.

still though, it was probably more of my fault and my instigation than his.

Saturday, January 10, 2009 at 1:37:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

Fuck em if they can't take a joke.!
I hear what you're saying- should we extend this concept to divorces or should we just hang fire? jim

Saturday, January 10, 2009 at 10:20:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

I'll bet you went for the collar bone because you're trained to go for the sub clavian artery with a knife. My guess is that in your craziness you were actually trying to kill him.Just a wild guess!!

Saturday, January 10, 2009 at 10:26:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger Ghost Dansing said...

is using your crutches to run away a sound tactic?

Saturday, January 10, 2009 at 10:45:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...


I have read about those "wired on" moments soldiers have, sometimes described as a "buzz" coming off of them. Best to leave well enough alone at those moments.

Saturday, January 10, 2009 at 11:58:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger FDChief said...

Hey, I was a flower-sniffing medic, and I can tell you that after 22 years and five years into retirement, a placid homebody of a daddy that if I had been stupid enough to apply for a concealed carry permit the jackass who pulled up beside me and started to chew me out for weaving through traffic (important safety tip, dildos: slower traffic KEEP RIGHT...) would have never pulled away from that stoplight. Luckily I am smart enough to know better than to go out in public armed. So I smiled and flipped him off and gunned it when the light turned green.

When you think about it, this has been something that has followed GIs around since the first Roman vets settled down to farm tomatoes in Gaul. The difference, I think, is that we've become more sheepish and less goatlike. Go off on some a-hole who desperately needed it 200 or 500 or 1,000 years ago and you weren't likely to have to worry about anyone except his kinfolk. Now we're an indoors-pet wort of society; we're LESS likely to fight, less likely to go to war, less likely to KNOW anger, violence and war than almost any time in our history.

So the problem is in your surroundings rather than in your head, really.

Saturday, January 10, 2009 at 5:40:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger FDChief said...

That said, anger is likely to be a problem for the angry in our society.

I watch young men and boys in public school get hammered down for acting, well, like young men. Angry, hotheaded, impulsive.

As I said, we're in indoorsy kind of society. Rough, hard outdoors men can run into trouble because we're all supposed to sit up straight, play nice, share and say please and thank you.

Saturday, January 10, 2009 at 5:44:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...


Although I have a lot of anger and violence pent up in my being I do not act in a violent manner b/c this is too dangerous. I feel that my worst reaction is when I decide that I need to cross the line. Anger never dictates the transition to violence - it's always a distinct choice, and I really hate going there. But I can.

If I'm angry, I choose to back down. And I always look at their throat where I would rip it open. I don;t like resorting to violence, but it is always there as an option. BTW: I won't carry a gun on my person, either.


Saturday, January 10, 2009 at 7:03:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

Our school system teaches young men very early that women are in charge. jim

Sunday, January 11, 2009 at 1:22:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Old Bogus said...

". . . because we're all supposed to sit up straight, play nice, share and say please and thank you." And this is bad? Sounds like civilization.

It is Fort Carson, Colorado, not "Carson City".

Sunday, January 11, 2009 at 2:20:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...

Old Bogus,

Thank you -- Ft. Carson, outside of Colorado City. Duly noted.

Sunday, January 11, 2009 at 2:42:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Old Bogus said...

No, Fort Carson is outside Colorado Springs. In case of a geography test! :)

Sunday, January 11, 2009 at 3:11:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...

Thanks, Old Bogus. I am delighted with our many sharp readers, who have corrected on many occasions.

And I am in agreement with your earlier comment on men curbing their more brute instinct as being part of the thing we call civilization.

It also makes me consider why so many women do like the bad boys. It makes sense that we are equally hardwired to expect/anticipate the behaviors which are also in men.
So, just as these men express wishing to be "manly" (which could be chilvalric, rather than brute), sadly, women find some attraction in the brute.

I do think men can retain their masculinity without sacrificing care and courtesy and all the other things that would allow for communion with another.

Sunday, January 11, 2009 at 5:10:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

Any tactic that works is a good tactic.
Ted Bundy used to pose as a cripple .

Monday, January 12, 2009 at 10:36:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

old bogus,
Does it sound like civilization? To me it sounds like....fill in the blank.
I'm confused-did we say that Ft. Carson was in CC? If so i'm gonna discipline a fact checker-that's me btw.:) jim

Monday, January 12, 2009 at 10:40:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous sheerahkahn said...

Our school system teaches young men very early that women are in charge. jim"

Hence our society's catch phrases such as

1: "If mama not happy, nobody is going to be happy."

2: For husbands, "there is happiness in obedience."

3: "When she smiles, she wins, and when you frown, she wins. When you smile, she still wins, so you might as well smile and enjoy yourself, cause she's gonna win no matter what you do."

The thing about happiness is the willingness to surrender my ego, let go of my irritations and petty pet peeves, and just enjoy the company of a woman who of all the men in the world she could've had, she choose me.

Makes me kind of egotistical if you get my meaning.

btw, Lisa, I'm still working on that statement of yours...it seems that it has opened a...hmm, bout to say pandora's box of implications, but I can not, for the life of me, call the truth a pandora's box...I'll call it an interesting trail to follow and to ponder.
I hope to have something up this week about it.

Monday, January 12, 2009 at 12:24:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...


I shall look forward to following the trail you blaze.

Re. your comments here, surrender of the ego is the key to happiness, but the possession of a strong and healthy ego is prerequisite, yes?

Monday, January 12, 2009 at 5:48:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...

Old Bogus,

Ft Carson, outside of Colorado Springs! I'll get it right... (This is what comes of trying to eat, talk on the phone and type at once.)

Monday, January 12, 2009 at 6:02:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Publius said...

Numerous studies of Vietnam veterans reveal that the percentage of violent crimes committed by veterans, whether they be rangers, infantrymen, truck drivers or clerks, is lower than that of the non-veteran population. This indicates that the overwhelming majority of combat veterans understand that the thing about being sanctioned by the state to employ violence is that the state expects that certain rules be followed, among them that the violence only be employed in accordance with the state's rules.

We all know the cultural—read manly man—constraints against seeking help if/when we need it. We also know that the military system isn't sympathetic to those who need help. And we've all had our stupid barroom encounters. So I've got a lot of sympathy for the guys who have a hard time adjusting. But I've gotta say, I've got a hard time separating William Calley and his merry band of warriors from the guy who takes out his wife back in the world. And I know that the guy who loses himself in booze or drugs or who flies off the handle all of the time just can't be trusted.

Personally, I'll take Cool Hand Luke rather than Rambo at my six every time. Rage is rarely helpful in soldiering or in any other endeavor.

I'm also with MB WRT "thought crimes." If there were such an offense, I'd have been put away long ago. I hate lots of people.

Monday, January 12, 2009 at 9:08:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

Our disconnect is that yoy believe in happiness.I personally don't resonate in that vibe. We are gtd the pursuit of happiness- nobody ever cared if I was happy in my adult life. All that was req'd is that I work , provide and produce and then spend.
I don't care if Mama is happy- that's a personal problem!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009 at 10:45:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous sheerahkahn said...

"I don't care if Mama is happy- that's a personal problem!"

Oh boy.
I take it you duck and weave a lot during the day?

I don't know about you, Jim but for me it's a lot easier to live in a house of quiet accord than in a pit with a tiger who wants to have my liver for dinner.

Just say'n.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009 at 11:56:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...


There are them that are peaceful lovers, and others who thrive on dissension. Jim works his disinterested posture by only seeing people when he wants to. He is the puppeteer, but of course, then you've got a closet of puppets.

It is all nice and controlled, though, once one has learned how to pull their strings.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009 at 3:28:00 PM GMT-5  

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