On the way home from Montclair, I stopped to get my car washed in La Verne, and ran into Robert Demerjian, a former classmate of mine (a year or two younger, I guess, maybe 3.) He was the valedictorian of his class. He was studying medicine at UCI, but quit and is now going to PCC with an emphasis in engineering. He might change again, he says, and go into dentistry. Because he's lazy, so he tells me, and it's easier to become a dentist. Lazy lazy lazy. Stuff comes way too easy for him and he's not interested in research. These super-intelligent folks, like Robert--not having been challenged by others for most of their youth--if they don't find writing early on, must begin to feel that nothing will satisfy them. Robert looks like he is having a good time... all smiles and very personable, but clearly more intelligent than the majority of the people at the car wash today. I wonder if he fears that he will never find anything that he enjoys that he can do for his whole life. I think this might be a pattern among the very intelligent. Robert is mostly a man of ideas, but if he has nowhere to voice these ideas, he would feel very lost.
I don't know what I'm talking about.
A report on All Things Considered goes over different people who knew/know these soldiers who abused these Iraqi prisoners. Things like "I can't imagine that he would doing anything like this." "She was such a kind-hearted girl." "He would never hurt a fly." "He was always a good person." I think, perhaps, that it is time that we realize that it is not necessarily our country that is at fault for producing such criminals. I don't think it is the fault of their parents or teachers. The blame, in my opinion, belongs with the culture of our military. Our militaries seek to make animals out of the children we give them. Our militaries try to make our sons and daughters into killing machines who do not feel empathy in the same way other humans do. So little Johnny and little Susie may have left Maryland or Virginia or Ohio with a good heart and an honest outlook, but after a few weeks in boot camp, you can bet little Johnny and little Susie were as tough as nails. I am not saying that military training shouldn't harden civilians into fighters, but once we train them, what is it that we expect from them. We teach them to kill and torture and brutalize. Why should we expect anything less than that when they are released back into the world.