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Nirek On September - 1 - 2014

Maybe there is something wrong with me but I’m sure there is something wrong with Officer Wilson. I dislike making judgement of others. In this case I have to find fault with what transpired that day in Ferguson. Leaving Michael lying there in the street for 4.5 hours just adds to the feeling that the police don’t care about the people they are supposed to protect and serve.  

Are the FPD covering up something? Why is there not a police report ? There are reports for everything they do but not one for this shooting?



Written by Nirek

Proud progressive Vietnam Vet against WAR! Can't stomach chickenhawks.

34 Responses so far.

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  1. ausmth says:

    Excellent post Nirek! I lucked out and didn’t have to go there. A Nam vet friend of mine told me I didn’t miss much. From his tone of voice he was saying “glad you did miss it”.
    Death and destruction all around us. Violence being glorified in video and music cultures. State run murder by death penalty. Abortion if a child isn’t convenient. War just to feed the ego or the military industrial complex. Death all around us. Wouldn’t it be nice to have life all around us? I will welcome my first great grandchild into the world in November. I would hope that she gets to experience a world that values life more than our world does now. I was invited to speak at several of my students memorial services. Like Michael Brown they were victims of violence. Some at the hands of others and some by their own choices. It’s a task no teacher should ever have to do! I am reminded of the old song from our era, “give peace a chance”. I hope we try it soon!
    Keep up the excellent writing Nirek! I look forward to more!

    • Nirek says:

      Thank you Ausmth, I wish no one ever had to go to war, ever again.
      I agree, lets “give peace a chance”.

      Thanks for the encouragement.

  2. MurphTheSurf3 says:

    I read this a while back…

    On Killing: The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society.

    by Lt. Col. Dave Grossman. Back Bay Books: Little, Brown, [1995, hb] rev. ed. 2009. 377 pp., pb, ISBN 978-0-316-04093-8

    During WWI and WWII research (done after WWII when concerns about kill rates were voiced in the permanent military establishment that arose from the ashes of that war to face the Cold War), the compunction against killing occurred a lot in close combat situations, including aerial dogfights where pilots could see each other. It did not prevail with killing at a distance by artillery or bombing from airplanes.

    Grossman spent years researching the innate resistance to killing and efforts to overcome it by armies throughout history--previously a taboo topic. After WWII, this became a topic of great significance. He tells of desensitization, operant conditioning, and psychotropic drugs that raised to 90 percent the proportion of U.S. troops who shot to kill in Vietnam.

    The cost of this was high. The high incidence of PTSD among our three million Vietnam veterans follows disinhibition compounded by unprecedented unit instability and rapid return home from the front. He also points to loss of support at home for the war.

    Given your experience….and previous posts here this makes sense.

    • Nirek says:

      Murph,As I said in the article, I called in artillery and mortars killing many of the enemy. That also bothers me but they were not as close as the guy who was shooting at me. I could see him clearly and see his eyes. That makes it more personal.
      My citation gave me credit for over seventy kills from the artillery and mortars. I could not see their eyes or even them without the “starlight scope”.

    • SearingTruth says:

      Thank you so much for introducing this most fundamental, but ignored, flaw of war gentle friend MurphTheSurf3.

      How do we teach our children that murder is wrong, and then send them to war where they are taught that, just for a time, murder is right?

      “Let us teach the children according to their own passions, not our own. This will, assuredly, nurture all intellect.”

      A Future of the Brave

      • Nirek says:

        ST, I think we should teach our children that “killing” is wrong. Self defense is a possible excuse that can be acceptable. Or in defense of another person.

        • SearingTruth says:

          I hope we already do that gentle friend Nirek. Defense is not offense.

          As your truth illustrates.

          “I did not fear the problems.

          I feared the plan.”

          A Future of the Brave

      • MurphTheSurf3 says:

        How do we teach our children that murder is wrong, and then send them to war where they are taught that, just for a time, murder is right?

        Right on the mark.

        I do not doubt that war is sometimes the last ditch effort in defense of a greater peace, but so often it is the result of error, greed, power hunger, meglomania and we subvert our young as instruments of our will.

        Look at what is happening in the middle east right now.

        • SearingTruth says:

          A well spoken truth gentle friend MurphTheSurf3.

          That is why I have always urged individuals to think for themselves.

          “How tragic that any human would think they needed any leader, other than themselves.

          And that once again, they believed that leader commanded them to kill.”

          A Future of the Brave

        • choicelady says:

          The flip side is that when we teach a generation -- be it Vietnam or the Gulf -- that murder is right, we infect the whole of that generation whether they realize it or not. I knew so many chickenhawks during Vietnam who promoted the deaths of ‘gooks’ and ‘commies’ but who themselves never let go of their long-stemmed wine glasses to do any of it in person. They were infected but never killed anyone.

          It is both personal as in Nirek’s experience and impersonal as in Cheney’s and all the prowar NON enlisted people. War makes it easier not to care, and it doesn’t matter who you are when the war is on.

          • Nirek says:

            CL, cheney and bush are responsible for thousands of lives being lost , both American and “enemy”. They just used soldiers as their weapons.

  3. James Michael Brodie says:

    As always, Nirek, very sobering. What you did in Vietnam was more about “protect and serve” than what took place in the “seek and destroy” policing effort in Missouri.

    So many of us have recounted so many distastful encounters with the police as to where they numb the senses. You don’t feel any more. You just know…

    So glad Justice is involved.

    BTW, did you see the Megyn Kelly interview with the minister from Ferguson — where she tried to brow beat him into condemning Al Sharpton?

    She is still trying to justify six bullets.

    • Nirek says:

      Thanks Brodie.
      I did not see that interview. However there is no justifying six bullets or even one when it comes to an unarmed teen.
      By the way, I like the Rev!

      • MurphTheSurf3 says:

        Just left you a comment in reply to your post. The system does not notify you if get a comment to a post but it does when you get a reply to a comment. So heads up. Powerful post. It struck a chord and I went looking for the bell it rang.

      • James Michael Brodie says:

        Same here. I recall that the same folks who dislike Al and Jesse today were not all that crazy about Martin back then…

        • Nirek says:

          MLK and Rosa Parks are two of my favorite people in our history.
          Another person I admire greatly is my Senator Bernie Sanders here in Vermont. History will show that he is a good man.

  4. monicaangela says:

    Excellent article Nirek!

    I love the way you connected current events with an incident that took place in your life. I agree with you, I do not believe the officer in Ferguson felt quite as conscientious as you about the taking of a life. I, of course, can not be sure about this, but just from reading about the case in Ferguson and seeing how the officer there has not cooperated as far as explaining his actions leads me to believe he realized he did something that could have been avoided.

    I do not believe what you did could have been avoided. When we go into the military, we are trained. Our training continually covers the fact that one day we may be asked to take a life in order to save our own or the lives of others in our unit. We were trained in hand to hand combat, the use of the M-16, the use of the M-16 with bayonet in close combat. We went to the range for target practice and were given rankings, marksman, sharpshooter, etc. I spoke with many soldiers who recounted their days on the range, recounted how naive they were, and how even then they never really thought they would ever have to use the training they were receiving, and if they did, they didn’t expect to have to use it in close quarters.

    I can say this to you regarding this article, and your conscious attempt to make sense of what has occurred in your life. One of your first sentences explains it all. “I was ordered to go outside the perimeter and set up a listening post facing the Cambodian border.” Ordered to…..that is what should remain in your mind. You did not do this because you were anxious to take another life, you were carrying out orders, and if you had not carried out those orders you would have been court martialed. If you had not returned fire when fired upon, you may not be here to tell what happened or to regret what happened. I’m sure the soldier who gave his life for his country would probably be feeling the same as you do now. I guess we can say in war there are no victors, there are only those whose destiny does not require the ending of their lives during their time in service.

    Continue to talk about this incident, it is good therapy for you. The silence is really the damaging part, and I would strongly encourage you to talk to people that you trust about it. And if that isn’t possible, then you need to figure out who you can begin to trust with this delicate emotion that will remain with you probably for the rest of your life; however, you do not have to remember the incident with guilt. My parents used to tell me and my siblings when my brother lost his life in Vietnam that we all have a designated beginning and end to our lives. It isn’t the beginning or the end that counts, it is what we do in the interim that is important. I personally believe that once created, we can never be distinguished, we just transition to a new form of being. You shouldn’t just sit on this, you are doing the right thing by writing about it. You can’t and shouldn’t just try to make it go away. It won’t go away. Learn to accept the fact that you were under obligation, you were trained to do what you did, and many times when we have training, we learn to react quickly in order to preserve our lives and the lives of others. That is what you did, always remember that.

    • Nirek says:

      Monica, your parents were wise. Intellectually I know it was not anything I change. My conscience keeps the action I took to save my own life and my fellow soldiers was my training actually working. It still is with me, part of me.

      I have come to understand what you say is true about getting it out, talking to someone about it. My son has said for a long time that I should write about my time in Vietnam. My first article here was my first time writing about the war. If anyone missed it, this is the link to it.


      A shameless plug for my article.
      Monica you got a lot of wisdom from your folks.

      • monicaangela says:

        I am so happy to hear that you have this matter somewhat under control. Thank you for complimenting the wisdom of my parents, they were two wise persons during their time on this earth. There were eight of us children, and my parents did their best to impart the knowledge they gained during their lifetime. They did not want us to make the mistakes they did. They wanted us to know of their accomplishments as well as their failings, so that maybe what they told us would help us avoid the bad and improve upon the good.

        Your article, the one you think you are shamelessly plugging is a very good article. I read it when you first wrote it and was happy for what you accomplished with your very first article, it was very good. Keep writing, keep talking, keep living the wonderful life you appear to be living, the life I read in your articles, and in your comments. Enjoy your family and friends, and your opportunity to continue a life that in that instance you talk about could have been taken from you. Know that you have purpose and that your task on this earth isn’t done. Just talking about this incident can help many who are living with similar incidents they have experienced and are maybe wondering how they continue to live with and cope with the thought. You have done a wonderful job here, I’m sure your thoughts will be a benefit to others.

  5. Kalima says:

    Thank you for your article, Nirek, and to answer your question about Wilson. No, I don’t believe that his remorse will be that sincere, he’s too busy hiding behind his disgraceful supporters who tell him that he did the right thing as they try to cover up his crime.

    The way you still feel about your close shave with death in Vietnam, is what a normal person would feel. My WW2 Normandy veteran father once said, “You really have no choice. You don’t have the luxury of hesitation. You either kill or be killed”. That was your experience too, and the fact that you still often think of it, speaks to the human being that you are. A man of conscience and remorse.

    Wilson had a choice, and he chose to take the life of an unarmed teenager.


  6. SearingTruth says:

    This has left me sobbing. Gentle friend Nirek, it was not your fault. You had a choice with no just answer, kill or be killed. As did the man you opposed. And as NirekJunior says, look at all the good that has come from your existence.

    Guilt lies with those who placed both of you there, in a situation where humanity could simply not prevail.

    The murder of Michael Brown, as you said, is a completely different circumstance. The officer clearly had a choice, to contain his anger, or kill.

    “My saunter began in the garden, just a few misplaced parts there. I couldn’t really tell what they were, so I just walked through the broken door to the front room.

    And there it was. That head. As a misplaced ornament upon the armchair. And then looking down I saw the infants body and my knees slightly buckled. I had seen much horror, the body parts of children were a daily chore, but these bodies were just a little too intact. I could tell where the neck used to attach both.

    And since then I cannot be human.

    For I had fired the rocket that destroyed them.

    For the good of all humankind.”

    A Future of the Brave

  7. NirekJunior says:

    You did what you had to do dad. Of course you feel bad, that’s part of what makes you the good person you are. If you hadn’t acted in that moment I wouldn’t be here, my sister wouldn’t be here, and your grandkids wouldn’t be here. You didn’t ask to be put in that situation, but acted in self defense/self preservation. The blame and guilt belong with those who start wars. Love you :)

  8. Dbos says:

    War is terrible killing some one never leaves ; you are are a human being in the best sense of the word.

    • Nirek says:

      Thanks Dbos, very nice of you to say that. I hope nobody ever has to go to war again. But I do know they will. Trouble is most of those who will go to war will be young people who are part of the middle class or poor. Never do the rich send their children off to fight in war.

      • SearingTruth says:

        Indeed gentle friend Nirek.

        That’s why the Draft was ended. Too many children of the rich were suffering and dying.

        So the government devised a system that almost guaranteed only the middle class and poor would pay the ultimate price.

        While the rich danced on their graves.

        “And for the voiceless it was a march, to death.”

        A Future of the Brave

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