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The Buddhist Shooter

It wasn't the Navy. It wasn't the guns. It wasn't Buddhism.

by
Charlie Martin

Bio

September 17, 2013 - 4:01 pm
fudo_myoo

Fudo Myou (不 動 明 王 “The Immovable”)

After being burned a few, make that several, times, I’ve learned two rules that always apply to the news about something like the recent shootings at the Naval Research Labs:

  1. First reports are always wrong.
  2. In case of doubt, refer to Rule 1.

So, let’s review the things we know aren’t true that were reported:

  • It was a single shooter, not three.
  • He didn’t have an AR-15 or any sort of “assault weapon.”
  • He didn’t steal an ID, he had a valid ID.
  • He didn’t get a general discharge, and his military discipline problems weren’t major. They also happened mostly in the last couple of years.

There are some things that are being pretty reliably reported now, too:

  • He took refuges (read “converted”) and attended a Thai Buddhist temple in Fort Worth.
  • He had a history of oddly random instances of anger.
  • He was apparently very intelligent (he learned Thai from hanging around with Thai people watching Thai TV. This is not easy.)
  • He was being treated by the VA for emotional problems, including “hearing voices.”

Now, here’s what the Mayo Clinic says about the symptoms of paranoid schizophrenia:

Signs and symptoms of paranoid schizophrenia may include:

  • Auditory hallucinations, such as hearing voices
  • Delusions, such as believing a co-worker wants to poison you
  • Anxiety
  • Anger
  • Emotional distance
  • Violence
  • Argumentativeness
  • Self-important or condescending manner
  • Suicidal thoughts and behavior

With paranoid schizophrenia, you’re less likely to be affected by mood problems or problems with thinking, concentration and attention.

Key symptoms

Delusions and hallucinations are the symptoms that make paranoid schizophrenia most distinct from other types of schizophrenia.

  • Delusions. In paranoid schizophrenia, a common delusion is that you’re being singled out for harm. For instance, you may believe that the government is monitoring every move you make or that a co-worker is poisoning your lunch. You may also have delusions of grandeur — the belief that you can fly, that you’re famous or that you have a relationship with a famous person, for example. You hold on to these false beliefs despite evidence to the contrary. Delusions can result in aggression or violence if you believe you must act in self-defense against those who want to harm you.
  • Auditory hallucinations. An auditory hallucination is the perception of sound — usually voices — that no one else hears. The sounds may be a single voice or many voices. These voices may talk either to you or to each other. The voices are usually unpleasant. They may make ongoing criticisms of what you’re thinking or doing, or make cruel comments about your real or imagined faults. Voices may also command you to do things that can be harmful to yourself or to others. When you have paranoid schizophrenia, these voices seem real. You may talk to or shout at the voices.

Look, it looks pretty classic. As far as the Buddhist thing goes, the priest at the local temple says now he thinks the guy was just looking for a Thai girlfriend. But anyone who has practiced in any Buddhist group is also aware that a fair number of birds with broken wings come in, hoping meditation will help them.

Sometimes it does.

Charlie Martin writes on science, health, culture and technology for PJ Media. Follow his 13 week diet and exercise experiment on Facebook and at PJ Lifestyle

Comments are closed.

Top Rated Comments   
this has got to be a first, a buddhist mass murderer. aaaahhhhhmmmmmm.

what's next, a foreign born muslim-christian president w/o legit credentials?

there is no way this guy should have gotten a 'secret' clearance. I guess as far as checking out people's backgrounds go, the new u.s. security philosophy must be 'in for a penny, in for a pound'.

how can anybody seriously look at our most transparent, chameleon prez. evar, and then still question how this unknown nut got a security badge? is it too much to understand that traitors to our country have put a totally unknown entity w/ his finger on the button that could destroy the entire world? and then, as if to add insult to injury, anybody who dares question the childlike forgeries these criminals have presented as real, are vilified, called horrible names and automatically have their arguments dismissed as crazy. forgeries are what they are. funny how nobody dares take a hard look at them, even w/ computer experts claiming them to be easily proven forgeries.

this is very circular thinking. a real nutcase and an obvious forger get validated, while skeptical American's asking relevant questions are labeled as crazy. bizarro-world - no doubt.

wonder how many terror cells already exist here w/ wmd's in place just waiting orders from ???? they have been slipping across our purposely porous southern border now for at least 5 years, and its obvious our alphabetical gov. agencies aren't doing their jobs of protecting us anymore.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
Someone who believes in Muslim-Christian equivalence is hardly qualified to judge the intelligence of someone who points out such an egregious error.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
It was "affirmative action" making Blacks and Muslims almost untouchable at both Fort Hood and the Washington Naval Yard and at (other places to be announced in the future).

The main problem which Fort Hood and the Navy Yard have revealed, more
like even further revealed, is "affirmative action". If I had acted like
Captain Hasan when I was in the Army I would have been tossed out on my
rear, not promoted to Major. If I had been booted out with a general
discharge and on top of it got arrested twice for shooting up apartments
and cars, like Alexus, and had called police because I was hearing voices coming from the walls and people were sending vibrations though my body, I can not even imagine ever getting, and keeping, any kind of civilian job with the Army or Navy or any agency of the government or with a government contractor. Of course, I'm not Black and I'm not Muslim so nobody would be pushed by "affirmative action"/"diversity is our greatest strength" quotas to hire and keep me.


In the news "Six weeks before he killed 12 people at the Washington Navy Yard, Aaron Alexis called police to his hotel room in Rhode Island and said he was hearing voices in the closet and wanted to move to a Navy hotel, police
said Tuesday. A Newport, Rhode Island police sergeant reported Navy
Yard shooter Aaron Alexis to naval station police last month after the
suspect told cops he was “hearing voices” through his hotel room wall
and that three people were following him and sending vibrations into his
body, according to a police report obtained by FoxNews.com…The sergeant
wrote in the report that based on what Alexis told him, “I made contact with on-duty Naval Station Police [officer name redacted.]”The Naval Station Police official told the sergeant “they would follow up on this subject” and determine if Alexis was, in fact, a naval base contractor.


So it looks like 6 weeks ago Rhode Island police warned the Washington
Navy Yard that Alexis was basically "nuts" and they did absolutely
nothing about it, probably because of "Affirmative action" and fears of being called "racist" and getting into trouble with higher ups.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (76)
All Comments   (76)
Sort: Newest Oldest Top Rated
People are the same everywhere, but ideas are not: there is a difference. When Buddhists engage in mass murder, it contradicts their religion; when Christians engage in mass murder, it contradicts their religion; when Moslems engage in mass murder, they do Allah’s work.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
I think that if the shooter went to the Buddha for refuge, believed the Four Noble Truths and was trying to practice the Noble Eightfold Path, then he was a Buddhist. An unsuccessful one, as it turns out.

If he was just trying to pick up Thai girls, or if the voices in his head told him to visit the temple, then he wasn't a Buddhist. He was just crazy.

Either way, I try to imagine what it was like to be him. What I imagine is a lot of suffering. It's sad that hearing the Dharma didn't prevent him from doing what he did. But the Dharma isn't magic - it's a lesson. You have to be able to hear it correctly, understand it correctly, and apply it to your life. I'm not sure a schizophrenic is capable of doing any of that.

I'll be interested to hear more about this guy's relationship with the Thai Buddhists. I'll also try not to invoke the True Scotsman Fallacy.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
He got an Honorable Discharge because that was the path of least resistance for his commanding officer. With an Honorable Discharge, his previously granted Secret Clearance stays intact for ten years, though normally it lapses into an inactive status after two years. UNLESS his chain of command took extra steps to invalidate the clearance upon his discharge, he retained his original clearance. Again, the chain of command followed the path of least resistance.

When I was a commander, I took the extra steps on any soldier for whom I didn't have a "warm fuzzy" so that they wouldn't leave the service with a security clearance. I also made every effort to get the bad apples a General Discharge if I otherwise couldn't get them an Other Than Honorable Discharge. It was a pain, but that's what commanders are supposed to do.

Follow-up clearance investigations on a valid, though inactive security clearance, are mostly pro-forma. It would pretty much take something serious like a felony conviction to flag the clearance, especially so close to his discharge.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
When I became a Navy Medical Officer years ago, I was assigned to the USS Georgetown (AGTR-2), a so-called "spy ship" and sister to the USS Pueblo and USS Liberty. I received a "Secret" clearance, which entitled me to have coffee in the wardroom, to read the sign on the door of the workspaces, and to lean on the rail to watch the tourist boats go by, announcing to all the world where our next deployment would be -- information that the XO refused to tell me, because it was "Top Secret" and I wasn't cleared to know. Such was my introduction to the underlying mindlessness of security clearances.
Obviously, things have not improved over the years -- in fact they appear to have grown even more brainless, if that be possible. Now, one can apparently get a "Secret" clearance if one has no criminal record -- actually, a record of convictions, since he had a couple gun-related incidents. Hearing voices is not disqualifying (at least for an IT specialist).

One more disturbing quirk yet to be explained: if Alexis intended some mysterious revenge against the military, and we know he had knowledge of Navy routines, why did he launch his attack against a cafeteria geedunk at 0820, a time when Navy personnel would all be at morning quarters? Note that there were no active service members among the dead and injured. Why go to all that trouble to smuggle a shotgun onto a (supposedly) high-security Naval base, in order to shoot a bunch of civilians, when similar civilian targets were available on any street in DC?
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
It almost sounds like the guy needed an old-fashioned "Section 8" or whatever they call it these days.

When I joined the Army thirty-odd years ago, I do not remember having a psychiatric evaluation along with my medical exam. I did some paper tests, but I think they were mostly for aptitude. Do they even do psych screenings anymore? Bradley Manning and Major Hasan would seem to be proof that they don't.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
Charlie - I think you need to edit the opening a bit.

You state "So, let’s review the things we know aren’t true that were reported:" But what you actually list is "What we now know to be true over what was first reported."
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
The man did a crazy thing. All sorts of people do such things. They might be hard-wired to exploded. Schizophrenia, if this is the case here, can develop in the 20s or 30s. Or, he might not have been hard-wired but in the end couldn't cope with the circumstances of his life. He chose a very destructive way to express that, if so, one designed to draw maximum attention. Lots of people need lots of attention, apparently, and are willing to cause ruination to get it. But his case sounds like paranoid schizophrenia.

As far as everybody jumping in Charlie, or some folks, I don't quite 'get' this. I really like Charlie, but that's just me.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
Larry, I'm in 100% agreement. I'm not late to the party and I've felt comfortable contributing my two cents on and off for years. Liked the old format much better.

I read the column as did you. The gist of what I'm getting from some of these comments is inane, reflexive, and verging on ugly. Almost like a false flag operation in the comments section.

What better way to alienate an audience from the give and take of thoughtful discourse than to have it cluttered up with stereotypically angry 'conservatives' who set the standard for the true and good. What better way to diminish the perceived worth of this forum than to have it cluttered up with the 'party line' no matter what the topic. What better way to attack Conservatism itself?

Persons reduced to so hollow a state as to care about anything I've said over the years would have an unambiguous understanding of where I stand on issues. But why would anyone bother when they can make boldfaced assumptions about my naivete? If such a person were, instead, to READ this column as presented, they would be less inclined to consider my background, prior knowledge or conservative bona fides.

A toast to the false flag trolls. Saying so long to Pj's until, I dunno, after Halloween, at least.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
I've noticed more trolls here at PJMEDIA and also at Via Meadia. Given their persistence I don't think it is paranoid or schizoid to wonder if they are being paid. But not necessarily - ideological possession can release a lot of energy. Some are not false flag, just putting way too much energy into pushing against the ideological bent of the site in question. Others look like false flag to me because they try to introduce gratuitous nastiness like the ones on this thread. I agree seems time to give politics and particularly comments a rest.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
I hear you. I see comments that are just plain nasty. I have a bias for Martin, as he has been nice to me personally. But I also see Charlie as someone that has written many thought-provoking pieces. So I don't get it. I also wish to take a break from PJM. I also wish to take a break from politics. I am disappointed in the politics here, and in the US, and have also seen on FB (I'm now off it altogether) how Israeli conservatives go after one another. Maybe Comments sections are to be avoided altogether?
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
Just for future reference, could somebody come up with a precise definition for 'troll'?

Otherwise, I might be led to believe it means someone who posts an opinion someone else doesn't like.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
Okay, I'll stay ON THIS ONE THREAD until it's done. RT, you can be infuriating (and enlightening) but you aren't a troll. Your intellect wouldn't allow that. Doesn't have anything to do w/ reasoned disagreement. I don't even think Charlie wants you to 'shut up.' See you in November ( to, 'See you in Sep tem berrr).
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
Thanks. I'm going to check the TV Guide and see what's on the
microwave tonight. See you in November.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
Terence, I had the same thought about "false flag trolls" looking at these comments last night. Maybe the topic of gun control brought out the people who are paid to troll. If so they did succeed in disrupting an important discussion and distracting from a solid article. I suppose as always the most effective response is to ignore them.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
Thanks. See you in November.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
I have tried to use reason with you and you refuse, apparently in the name of Buddha's implicit advice, not to discuss problems of the type that I have raised. So, I tried mocking you and your failed to catch the intent. Now you remind me of a young Catholic friend who claimed that those Catholics (e.g., some popes or conquistadores) who have "sinned" (to put it mildly), i.e., have killed in the name or their religon or, at least, those believing they were acting within the parameters of Catholicism, who have unleashed brutality, those Catholics are not, well, "real" Catholics. In general terms, my young friend denied Catholicity to any Catholic who acts destructively at the time of so acting. Conclusion: No Catholic has ever acted brutally qua Catholic. I remained unconvinced. What does this have to do with your defense of Buddhism re Alexis?

Me thinks that thou protest too much. You have played amateur psychologist (or are you professionally trained?) to show that, if Alexis has realized such shootings (and apparently he has), then he cannot have done so as a Buddhist, i.e., as someone acting within the framework of Buddhist doctrine. Your argument seems plausible, but it makes you sound like my young Catholic friend. Why cannot a person, now immune to suffering (not just pain), commit violence? I will illustrate this with a question derived from my first encounter with Chinese Buddhism.

My parents were in China of the 1920s into the 30s. They returned with many artefacts. One was a beautiful bronze statue of a very fat Buddha (Chinese looking, not Indian in appearance) meditating in a seated position with a slight smile of peace. (My mother always said that the Buddha was meditating on his belly-button. Is that a possible Buddhist technique?) That statue bothered me. Why? China has long been a land of hunger. At the time of my parents residency multitudes of Chinese were close to starving and were given to that habit of hacking eachother to death. This is not hearsay info for me as my mother showed me hundreds of photos she took of the a barbarity that makes Alexis' acts appear as those of charity (i.e., a quick death). Yes, at times Buddhists were involved!!!! In fact, a killer inmmne to suffering could well hack away with success and live to hack again another day. In that way he could obtain food in order to get fat during Buddhist meditation.

You see, Charlie, that fat self-satisfied peace of the Buddha (naturally only in statue form) disturbed me. And I meditated literally hours on that fat bellied smile of peace and did not like what I saw. And what did I see? I saw indifference as an ingredient of peace!!! In short, the indifference to the suffering going on right under Buddha's bronze nose, led me to sense an indifference-ism in Buddhist perfection. Freedom from suffering is, well, liberation from suffering per se (even from suffering from the suffering that one causes) and that, as many a Zen infused Samurai knew, enables perfection for the acts of hacking (and the Samurais used swords to a perfection).

Your explaing away of any "real" Buddhism on the part of Alexis as some sort of mental disease reminds me of that fat Buddha of my youth. Alexis was probably mentally ill. But mental illness does not per se remove the power of self-responsiblity, e.g., knowing the difference between right and wrong. Maybe Alexis, in his insanity, saw himself as a Samurai warrior who wanted to prove himself. I am exaggerating here, inspired by your attempts of finding disculpation of Buddha. I will accept your exclusion from Buddhism of acts of killing if only you can explain me why my bronze Buddha was so excessively fat while others were starving. That bronze Buddha was liberated from suffering, no? Finally, I sense, and no more than that, a sort of worrisome suffering on you part should you allow Alexis to have been a "real" Buddhist (just as my young Catholic friend could find no sin in a "real" Catholic). Why was Buddha so fat? That is the question!
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
Not to argue with you or your mom, but I think your fat Buddha statue wasn't "the Buddha," i.e. Shakyamuni - but rather "a buddha" - specifically, Budai (or Po Tai), a character from Chinese folklore. Look him up.

More importantly, it was just a statue. The historical Shakyamuni was a man. Nobody knows what he looked like, but given that he was an ascetic monk I'd say he probably wasn't fat and jolly. I'm pretty sure his nose wasn't bronze. And I don't think anybody ever rubbed his belly for luck. And as someone whose avowed mission was to liberate others from suffering, I'm pretty sure he wasn't indifferent.

If I judged Christianity solely by how its imagery makes me feel, without knowing what the imagery symbolizes, I'd be horrified. What is the Church, anyway? Some kind of sado-masochistic cult that glorifies the torture and death of some poor man and the grief of his mother?
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
Sorry - last paragraph was incomplete.

I meant to say that I know the images of Christ's crucifixion and Mary's tears mean very positive things to many Christians. Similarly, the fat, jolly image of Budai means something very positive to many Chinese and Japanese Buddhists - as does the (usually) slender, graceful figure of Shakyamuni.

30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
Just in case it hasn't already been said, the vast majority of schizophrenics are never involved in any sort of violence nor harm to any other persons.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
The vast majority of landmines are never involved in any sort of violence nor harm to any persons.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
I'm sure you're right. But how miserable is their experience with the mental health system? How long does it take before they are effectively helped, how many are effectively helped, how many are made worse or disengage from the system before getting better?
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
You guys kill me. He was a WACKJOB. We just found out for sure yesterday.
It happens in POST OFFICES and car lots and school yards and God knows where else.

Maybe they find out something about him, maybe not. First assumptions should always revolve around terrorism, always. Seems like this was a guy who went buggie. Maybe he did call for jihad or something. We'll find out.
But, honestly, you guys don't know jack sh*t about this yet.

I don't know why everybody's jumping on Charlie's frame. I've had differences of opinion, differences of perspective with him. But hell, this is a straightforward piece. You guys need a breather or a stiff drink.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
"I don't know why everybody's jumping on Charlie's frame."

You must not have seen the times he unsubtly implied Christianity had something to do with the Holocaust, and simultaneously inveighed that Bhuddism's purpose is to reduce suffering--as if it has any track record of that to speak of.

He's not a dim bulb, but there are clearly topics about which he crowbars his clock line.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
It appears from all the evidence that the shooter was slowly becoming a danger to himself and others. The minor infractions in the Navy were the start of symptoms. The anger issues were another symptom that things were getting worse. Then there are the gun incidents. The Road Island police report is shocking and a clear indicator that this armed man was paranoid and delusional and a danger to others. What isn't shocking is the lack of any standard for medical professionals or police to gauge when to arrest and evaluate/treat someone for being a danger due to mental illness. This "until he/she actually commits a crime or actually threatens harm, we can't do anything" stance is more politically correct plain stupidity. Instead of more gun control what is needed is better mental illness detection, control and detention if necessary, and treatment. Let's have a national dialogue on that!
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
The shoots out somebodies tires out because they were mocking him, can't remember doing it, gets a walk by promising not to do it again.
I think shooting out somebodies tires during a blackout merits at leas a few extra questions if not 30 days of observation at the local fun factory.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
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