We've all heard the speculation about Major Nidal Hasan's terrorist motives for going on a shooting rampage in Fort Hood. I have no idea what his true motives were, but I know that his racial and religious profile jumps to the top of almost every story about him.
Imagine my surprise, then, when flipping through a copy of the Yale Alumni Magazine I came to an article about a Yale School of Medicine psych resident arrested in New Haven in September for amassing an arsenal of guns and weapons, including two illegal assault weapons and a sniper rifle. Like Hasan, Robert Remington worked with veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder. He reportedly called himself the Savior of Death and yelled publicly that he wanted "to kill everyone."
Robert Remington is a pale-faced American who "grew up in the West." He donated over $1,000 to Ron Paul's Campaign, but there's not a whisper of his race or religion in the few local news articles written about his arrest.
Could it be that there is something about the steady exposure to stories of the horror of war that twists the psyche? Alternatively, could it be that certain twisted psyches are so attracted by these stories that they enter this field of work?
How many other psychiatrists who work with vets with PTSD are amassing arsenals of illegal assault weapons?
Maybe the true source of violence among us is not the color of our skin or the name of our religion but the stories that shape our minds. Alas, those stories are so much more difficult to detect or blame than a foreign-sounding name.