The Columbian Perpetuates the Myth of the “Deranged Veteran”

by lewwaters

Once again, as we approach another Independence Day celebration, we see the usual slate of fireworks haters writing letters to the editor, speaking before city council demanding the long held tradition of citizens using fireworks to celebrate the day be banned within the city.

As I have previously noted, such a ban is ill-advised and unenforceable, but that doesn’t stop the haters from trumping up their yearly hyperbole of Battle Zone, Armageddon and what have you.

That we are currently in a compromise worked out with the haters a few years ago is of no consequence to them as they now demand yet another compromise, a tactic of incremental compromises until they get their way and the responsible citizens lose their tradition.

As also noted before, responsible users are who will lose out, those few pinheads who opt to buy illegal firework already banned will just continue to buy them from the Indian Reservations, setting them off at will, ban or no ban.

We have seen warnings for years of scaring pets, burning down homes, injuries to children and more hype, even though the newspaper of record, the Columbian has reported the last two years in a row that incidents from fireworks have shown a decrease each year respectively.

But that isn’t good enough for the haters who continue to demand a full ban, many being recent transplants from other regions that came here to escape those regions and now strive to recreate the very region they fled.

Such is the case with a so-called conservative blogger and recent transplant from California who labels our tradition as “Loud, Proud and Obnoxious.” The description provided is,

“I’ve never been in a war zone but being in a war zone was the analogy that immediately came to my mind, being encircled by the continuous sound of canon-fire and having the windows on each side of our home brightly lighted (even with the shutters closed) with flash after flash from aerial fireworks explosions.”

That’s right, he has never been in a war zone, never served a day as a matter of fact, but feels he has a right to speak of what war is like.

Of late, a new twist has been added into the fray by the haters, right out of the Vietnam Days when we came home to chants and jeers, with Television shows lining up dramatizing the dangers of Vietnam Veterans, many falsely labeling us as “deranged” and so affected by serving in the war they opposed, we were a danger to not only ourselves, but to society in general.

It didn’t help to see the likes of now senior Senator from Massachusetts, John F’in Kerry (rumored to have served briefly in Vietnam) throwing into the mix his 1971 “testimony” before Congress,

“The country doesn’t know it yet, but it has created a monster, a monster in the form of millions of men who have been taught to deal and to trade in violence…..”

And now, we see similar claims, although not quite so strong as Kerry’s yet, coming from some who claim to be conservatives as they warn us of how fireworks trigger episodes in Veterans, primarily those of us with PTSD, which to one degree or another is just about every single one of us who stepped into harm’s way.

I went to the Vancouver City Council Meeting and testified, speaking out against using Veterans as tools to further erode people’s freedoms, saying we fought to protect and defend freedom, not be used as a means to take freedoms away.

City Council listened to an outpouring of support of our traditional use of fireworks and tabled the proposed bans for now, angering the haters greatly who cry they receive no representation for their demands.

Enter the Columbian, alternately known as either the “Hyena’s of Inkville” or “the unofficial newsletter of the Democratic Party.”

Even though the ban went down in defeat for now, they scoured Clark County and Vancouver, finding “one” veteran who claims his dislike of fireworks in their article, When fireworks stir memories of war.

Like many of the rest of us, fireworks do bother us, but we handle it. For me, the thought of people being denied any freedom based upon whether or not I like something bothers me a great deal more than the few days of boom, boom, bang, bang around the 4th of July.

The article goes on to quote 2 psychologists, neither of who indicate having served anywhere near a war zone themselves. One says,

“Most people who are veterans suffering from PTSD hate the Fourth of July. It’s highly stressful if they’re sensitive to the noise and light. Most have anxiety and panic.”

What that is based upon is unknown, but doesn’t represent a single Veteran I know.

The other states a little more realistic view with,

“What happens when the person is exposed to a loud noise or something that triggers a memory of the original event, it can make them re-experience it. Still, one shouldn’t assume that when they hear the sound they’ll be completely dysfunctional. They don’t have that level of distortion, usually. But it can be very stressful and unpleasant.”

Not considered is how stressful or unpleasant it is to know we are little more than tools for someone else’s agenda, after making our sacrifices to preserve and defend freedom and liberty.

As I have repeatedly said, I don’t care for fireworks. I don’t buy them nor do I set any off. Some make my skin crawl and others make my stomach drop to my knees, especially if I don’t realize it is about to be set off.

But fireworks alone are not what remind me of my time in Vietnam. Far from it.

Certain songs bring back memories. Seeing the so called Peace Sign reminds me of the lack of reception and negativity thrown towards us upon our return.

Hearing helicopters overhead reminds me as well.

Sudden loud noises affect me as well as does the backfiring of a car or even a 21 gun salute at a memorial service, given the squad firing the salute is often well behind or to the side of the audience and they fire with no warning.

Going to the cities display years ago brought me the worst experience I have had so far with fireworks, but no one calls for any of these or anything else that may trigger memories to be banned. No, only the fireworks the haters want banned.

They may not realize it, but when they make claims like “Most have anxiety and panic” or “it can be very stressful and unpleasant,” the logical leap from that is “the Veteran just may freak out and cause harm to himself or someone else.”

Is that far from Kerry’s words in 1971, “The country doesn’t know it yet, but it has created a monster, a monster in the form of millions of men who have been taught to deal and to trade in violence…..?”

We are not ticking time bombs. We are not monsters. We are people just like everybody else who saw our duty and performed it, at great sacrifice for some.

As I said above, I neither buy nor set off fireworks, so such a ban will have little effect on me personally. But stop using Veterans as tools to further your agendas. Come up with something else besides using us and trying to convince people and children we are damaged goods or that they must walk on eggshells when around us.

Shame on the Columbian for furthering this myth with their article.

13 Responses to “The Columbian Perpetuates the Myth of the “Deranged Veteran””

  1. Sounds like something that slimeball Wiram would write. Fricken pogue.


  2. ” For me, the thought of people being denied any freedom based upon whether or not I like something bothers me a great deal more than the few days of boom, boom, bang, bang around the 4th of July.”

    Lew, you’ve touched on one of the most important conservative principle in existence, in my opinion. It’s embedded in the very fabric of constitutional limits (and given lip service but ignored by the SCOTUS today) and It’s one that most liberals and many so-called conservatives can never understand.


  3. No way should we be looking at another regulation with any form of pacifism. Stop taking our freedom away should be the only motto and Stop regulating our attempt to acheive happiness should be the mantra!


  4. I agree Lew, but there are a significant number of people in town who think that “compromise” means you must agree with them. Some are unreasonable to the extreme, and will never relent until fireworks are banned.

    And it isn’t just fireworks. I have a neighbor who is raising hell with me for being so rude as to dare try and build a new shop in my yard. She thinks nail guns are exactly the same as fireworks, and even though I have a permit, and that I talked to her and her hubby for a year and a half before we started, she informed me at the top of her lungs that “all of the neighbors and all of her friends” think I am extremely rude for building anything.. I even gave them their own set of the plans to study and they had no comments at all. Until I started building. Now she has harangued me over the fence twice and is out recruiting neighbors to bitch at me too. There is no compromise with her, she thinks I should tear the building down and never build it at all.

    That’s about how this fireworks thing goes every time. There is to be no compromise, the people who bitch about it will settle for nothing short of an all out ban, and then they will move on to find something new to bitch about. Maybe outdoor BBQs will be the next thing banned.


  5. Lew, what you have hit upon is one of the largest reasons veterans, and especially younger vets are having problems finding jobs. One only has to read the Columbian or The Oregonian and see Ms. Murray or some PHD from the VA spouting all the stats on how poorly we veterans are doing.

    This in turn scares off any employer that may want to take a chance on a vet, because who wants to worry if a loud noise goes off, or a tense situation arises that their employee may go “Postal”. So our compatriots are marked unfortunately with a scarlet V, in an area that is not as friendly to vets as other areas in the country, and they suffer.

    I’m sure Ms. Murray and the VA eggheads think they are doing us a favor by bringing this to the forefront, but in reality they are salting the fields, and burning the bridges of vet employment.


  6. Yes Phillip, it is a holdover from past days. They have changed it slightly now. Instead of calling us deranged, they want to look upon us a hapless victims that they must keep at an arms length.

    I went more in depth years ago in another post Veterans, Warriors and Heroes, not Victims

    Bob, I do feel for you. That is why I have said time and again I will never be part of a homeowners association. Too many think their view should prevail and everything should be how they want it. Seeing that some who consider themselves “conservative” pushing this just boggles my mind, too.

    Too damn many busybodies!!


  7. Lew – To you and Bob’s point, I’d say I see that both at the board of clark county commissioner and vancouver city council meetings. the same basic people, the same basic personal agenda, the SAME people being ignored for the same commentary they uttter meeting after meeting. Ever notice that?


  8. You folks really need to get over all of this misplaced anger. Liberals aren’t attempting to take anything away from you, we are simply being considerate. The extreme noise and flashes bother a lot more than simply combat veterans. They bother animals at large, and do read damage to many.
    Is this the type of person that you wish to come across as? Uncaring, unsympathetic, and without empathy? I think not.
    Fireworks and BBQ’s are banned in many parts of the country, including W. Texas, which is staunchly conservative. They should be banned, as they are much too risky, dangerous, and damaging, especially in drought stricken areas.
    I cannot speak for people complaining about someone building onto their home, that simply sounds like a bitchy neighbor, and she needs to get over it.
    In addition, the reference to John Kerry was factually incorrect and way over the top. He was and always will be, a war hero, with the medals to prove it.
    Please, have some compassion, and move on to something more important.


  9. If you wish to make a point about flashes and noise bothering people, then do so.


    Does it not occur to you that bleeding hearts and do gooders stepping in to make everyone else act as they wish bothers many people too?

    Kerry is a fucking traitor. I have double to time both he and Al Gore spent in Vietnam combined! I was one who dug into his background in 2004 and discovered his fabricated war antics and self imposed “injuries” that he fraudulently obtained Purple Hearts for. As a “doctor,” surely you can explain 3 Purple Hearts in less 3 months and not one single night in a hospital.

    I was still on active duty when he went before congress with his pack of lies.

    That he traveled to Paris on his own, met with communist representatives of North Vietnam and came back to advocate their position alone makes him a traitor.

    But, if you can’t handle a little noise an are afraid of fireworks, maybe you need to put on big boy pants.

    Compassion? You think continuing the myth that we are demented and deranged people ready to explode at any given moment over fireworks, which I have yet to hear one that sounds like an AK-47 of Chicom SKS, is compassion?

    Go spit on somebody else.


  10. Well “Dr.”, nice to hear from you, and you bring me great joy this Sunday afternoon with the knowledge that you don’t get to make the decisions about my Freedom either. I heat my house with a woodstove in the winter too, and that’s still legal as well, despite what the chimney fanatics would have people believe. I cook red meat on red hot cast iron fired with mesquite charcoal, and for the Fourth of July I smoked a whole hawg leg with mesquite charcoal and wood chunks for smoke, and heard nothing but begging from my neighbors to share some samples.

    I assure you, you have come to the wrong place to try and re-start any conversation concerning John F’n Kerry (D. Viet.). And before you tell us all about your collection of Hanoi Jane’s movies, you should know we ain’t real fonda that traitorous communist bitch here either.

    Tell ya what Doc, let me make you an offer you should not refuse: I won’t advise you about medicine, or whatever it is you claim to be a “Dr.” of, and you spare me the frickin’ lectures on how to be a Veteran.



  11. Mr. Koski Exhibit A?


  12. Just a small NOTE here, but related distraction though.

    The columbian’s main site has been down for almost 12 hours how. I mean the MAIN website. Seems they are working on transitioning (comment from twitter) from one provider to another and by the show of the site being down, it has not gone well.
    You can still access their mobile web platform by just about any browser (I tried 3, though NOT internet explorer) at OR they will be posting local news to their facebook page until this situation is resolved. And they are saying via twitter there is no timetable when it will be back up.
    Now back to the Vietnam Vet discussion….



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