Posts Tagged ‘navy’

In addition to politics and history, I have an interest in true crime and criminal psychology:  shows like Law and Order, City Confidential, Deadly Women, John Douglas books etc.  Like everyone from my neck of the woods, I got mesmerized by the Casey Anthony saga.

Most murderers are young, stupid, previously violent, and all around failures.  But failure is a relative thing.   In an extremely unusual crime, a young Navy pilot on New Years melted down and killed three people as well as himself:   his roomate’s sister, as well as a guy they all met at a New Years party, in addition to the roommate, also a Navy pilot. Then he killed himself.  The killer’s name is John Robert Reeves.  I’ve been following the story pretty closely because it is so weird and out of character for this highly selected bunch.

So, as details emerge, there has been speculation the shooter may have been jealous over the sister.  This appears more and more likely.  He was apparently an avid member of an online discussion forum for Isuzu owners. This itself is not that weird; lots of people have hobbies like cars, sports, running, hiking, motorcycles, etc.  Everyone’s into facebook these days.  These online communities can be valuable things.  But a personality often emerges on these.  And this is especially true when a forum on something mundane–Apple computers, knitting, whatever–becomes the center of one’s social world.  Instead of talking Isuzus, he’s talking about how to spend lonely weekends, why people don’t like him, how to succeed with women (which he apparently never does), and pretty much everything under the sun.

From his writings, it’s clear that Reeves was, in a word, pathetic.  He is frequently mocked for being a virgin by his online “friends.”  With occasional shame, but more often resignation, he announces his general frustration with others, women, life in general.  There was even a (now creepy) post from last New Years about what he was going to do.  Like many school shooters, there were even half-joking suggestions he might go on a killing spree someday. A perusal of these forums reveals the keys to understanding this case: this Aspbergerish guy was unhappy and frustrated with life and particularly so with women and social situations.  He couldn’t succeed with women in spite of his superficial professional success.  So he was filled with resentment.  This is a bad combination, usually harmless, but obviously magnified to the point of murder-homicide by alcohol, guns, perceived disrespect by his love interest, and whatever other screws he had loose.

Reeves is somewhat reminiscent of the LA Fitness Shooter a few years ago, a man who also complained of his lack of success with women and was filled with rage and resentment, in spite of having a few bucks and being presentable.

I don’t have the answers. There are none.  There were always be a bell curve of social and sexual success, and there were always be some guys who just can’t get along socially and then become more and more resentful.  Most are harmless or harmful only to themselves.  Some learn from mistakes and figure things out.  Very few, thankfully, go on homicidal rages.  But of those that do, particularly in seemingly “random” rages, we can see that the multiplier effects of failure and resentment have a lot to do with it.

God help these poor families. Reeves’ family undoubtedly did not see this coming; he had all the indicia of a young man in the prime of his life.  And the victims, David and Karen Reis, were also all-American, very close, and well liked.  David Reis, to his and the family’s credit, died a hero trying to save her.  Sadly, Reeves’ toxic combination of alcohol, jealousy, and social awkwardness did them all in.

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The Soviet system privileged party officials, political correctness, and ideological rectitude above all, even military competence.  Commissars were placed alongside combat officers to ensure loyalty to party goals.  Big decisions were made in ridiculously bad ways because of ideological blinders and commitments that saw “class conflict” and the “wheel of history” where it was absent.

The US military more and more resembles its Soviet predecessor, right down to an inconclusive war of Afghan nation-building.  This week the Captain of the USS Enterprise was canned not for an accident or dereliction of duty or anything like that, but instead for making a raunchy video that poked some fun at the problems of integrating women on a combat ship, as well as other stresses of living with 5,000 other people for months on end.

The message to mid-level officers is clear:  be boring, be compliant, and never dare question the ideological goals of the anti-military powers that be regarding women and gays, whatever the cost.

Incidentally, has the military ever tried to measure the impact of women in the ranks?  I mean specifics:  the dollar cost, the cost in human lives, degraded performance, levels of fraternization, etc.  It seems a study like that will never be done.  The old guard has been drummed out.  The subtle impacts of special treatment are accommodated, ignored, or merely grumbled about in private.  And the actual negative impact of women on training and efficiency in units like fighter squadrons, military police, or combat engineers is deliberately ignored.

Who knew the America of 2010 would recreate the New Soviet Man of 1919 l. . . . and this after the spectacular implosion of the Soviet regime in 1991?

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Excellent Video of Russian Navy sorting out Somali Pirates.

America, before the left tried its damndest to destroy our military power with a web of unrealistic rules and regulations and anti-American indoctrination in the public schools, had the same style as these Russian sailors:  brash, contemptuous of the superficial, and willing to mistreat enemies of the human race the way they deserved.  That is the American way of General Patton, Theodore Roosevelt, and Andrew Jackson.

Now we have an entire cottage industry devoted to the world’s worst people at GITMO, even though in no previous war were enemy combatants allowed to interfere with the war effort by getting entangled in U.S. courts that were built and designed for loyal U.S. citizens.

America and Britain destroyed piracy in the late 17th and 18th Century by capturing and killing pirates wherever they were found.  Now we practice “catch and release.”  It’s sad that we have to take our cues from Russia to see how it’s supposed to be done.

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In the wake of the Cold War, the US military was cut dramatically. We went from a 750,000 man Army to one of about 475,000 today. The Navy and Air Force undertook similar cuts. We went from spending about 5.5% of GDP on the military to 3%. One consequence has been that the “all volunteer force” is stretched thin, has had to make due with relaxed recruiting standards, and there is a great deal of grumbling from senior commanders that the Iraq War and the repeated, lengthy deployments are killing recruiting and retention.

A larger military, both now and in the future, likely would be easier to recruit for and retain manpower, even during a time of war, than the present system. There is a reason for this paradox: such a military would allow greater time between deployments, greater flexibility when a surge of any kind is needed (including for contingencies in other theaters), and it would ease the strain on the battlefield through more overwhelming force whenever a large number of forces may be concentrated. Since one of the missions our troops will likely be called upon in the future is counterinsurgency, large numbers of skilled, trained, and well-rested infantry will be needed. The basic dynamics of this type of war are less technology and more manpower intensive than their counterparts. The U.S. had over 500,000 troops in Vietnam and the French had more than 400,000 in Algeria. We have now approximately 160,000 troops in Iraq. Since our goals in the wake of 9/11 have been so ambitious–indeed, overly ambitious and utopian in my opinion–Rumsfeld and Bush’s continuation of the “peace dividend” military and their failure to demand a larger military (particularly when support would have been high right after 9/11) has proven foolish indeed.

This is not just a matter of 20/20 hindsight. Their decision-making was truly warped. Who looks at the Soviet problems in Afghanistan and blames them on troop levels rather than on the Soviet penchant for “scorched earth” tactics and the inherent unpalatability of its ideology to the religious Afghan people? Who looks at a looming occupation and thinks gratitude will grease the wheels when governance and power are necessary? Who looks at a country the size of Iraq and thinks troop levels that are a fraction of the number of (per capita) police in the peaceful United States will get the job done? The combination of incompetence and ideological blindness is the root of the Bush administration’s failures in Iraq. Some hard-headedness, including about the size of the military, will be needed in the next administration. We should not, because present-day recruiting problems avoid planning for the next conflict in a way that is sustainable, avoids a draft, and allows the military to accomplish the mission.

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