Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Leaping to Conclusions on Fort Hood

In the wake of the shootings at Fort Hood last week, President Barack Obama urged the nation not to "jump to conclusions." However, two local doctors have ignored the President's admonition and rushed to explain that Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan committed these heinous acts because he is a -- stressed out psychiatrist.

In words that would be difficult to caricature, Dr. Alina Suris, clinical director of mental-health trauma services at Dallas VA Medical Center explained that Maj. Hasan's murder of 13 people may have resulted from "vicarious trauma" caused by too much caring for the people he had been counseling: "When dealing with trauma at that level of severity every day, it can be overwhelming," she said. "You can become traumatized because you care about people."

Dr. Alan Podawiltz, chairman of the Department of Psychiatry at North Texas State University, concurred with that assessment, suggesting, according to the article, that a psychiatrist listening to patients might require intensive counseling to the same degree as those who actually experienced the traumas of war. He further explained that some questions will have to be answered before we can figure out why the shooter did it: "Does he have some other mental illness that was not treated? We don’t know. Were there other conflicts? Did he have a substance-abuse problem? Was he a victim of prejudice?"

While Dr. Podawiltz busied himself wondering whether the murderer was a "victim of prejudice," those not jumping to such conclusions were coming across a mountain of evidence suggesting more simple causation: he is a radical Islamic terrorist. Admittedly, these psychiatrists spoke before some of what we now know about the shooter became public. However, one can still wonder, why did these doctors go on the record with these kinds of nonsensical speculations without having in their possession any facts related to the case?

Having largely rejected the dogmas of ancient divines, modern westerners largely look for the meaning of life in the words of our therapeutic leaders. Any time of crisis or change is accompanied by calls for help from counsellors. However, there is much reason to believe that this group is largely not worthy of such trust. The examples of these doctors almost caricatures a reality that is far more common than some would care to realize: while psychology impresses itself upon us as "social science," it in fact often offers nothing more than either the ideological prejudices of the practitioner dressed up in either academic or popular therapeutic lingo or a credulous counsellor generalizing out of his own therapeutic experience.

The doctors who rationalized these theories to reporters before any facts were known should be embarrassed. One wonders if they are?

2 Comments:

Anonymous Cynthia said...

I thought they had good reason to say it was because he was a Muslim. You do't think they were jumping to conclusions about that do you? (she said sarcastically)

12:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just so much psycho-babble. All this does is try to make the shooter the victim. The fact that he has been charged with 13 counts of premeditated murder with other charges pending should quickly put that to rest. This is Islam--not secondary post traumatic stress disorder or any other bogus diagnosis. Wake up America!

Freedom's Voice

12:29 PM  

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