If you haven’t seen Dunkirk or Hacksaw Ridge yet, bookmark this blog and watch both movies. Both films deal with decisive events during WWII – the Battle of Dunkirk, long considered an Allied defeat, and the battle to take “Hacksaw Ridge,” a stronghold of the Japanese in Okinawa. Both movies depict the bloody realities of war, death and destruction, and both tackle the effects of PTSD.
In Dunkirk, we are presented with a petrified Cillian Murphy, who doesn’t want to return to the battlefield. In Hacksaw Ridge, we meet Hugo Weaving’s Tom Doss, a violent alcoholic who lost his best friends in the Great War. For every cranky old man (Gran Torino) and dead-on-the-inside soldier (The Hurt Locker), we are presented with scores of firms depicting PTSD victims as angry, violent men.
Don’t believe me?
The Deer Hunter. Born on the Fourth of July. Platoon. The Bourne Supremacy. Taxi Driver. First Blood. The Hunted.
Americans love movies featuring angry, violent men doing angry, violent things while still at war, or while dealing with the effects of it. There is a common misconception that a soldier can only develop PTSD after he or she returns home, but that’s not true: simply experiencing one act of intense trauma can be enough.
And the truth is, there is a link between PTSD and violent behavior; it’s just not the link that everyone thinks it is. See, PTSD doesn’t make you violent. Statistically speaking, soldiers are no more likely (indeed, they may even be less likely) to commit acts of violence when they get home. The link I’m referring to has to do with the effects PTSD has on its victims: increased depression, the inability to move past the event, constant nightmares (leading to sleep deprivation), hyperarousal, perceived threats, and so on.
These symptoms can sometimes be a part of what’s called a dissociative state, wherein the victim doesn’t realize that he or she has lashed out violently, because he or she believes that his or her life is in danger. Sometimes, they manifest together, and the person feels lost or hopeless, leading to erratic behaviors. At the end of the day, every person’s case is different, and I feel it’s my job – and my honor – to defend those who put their lives on the line defending us.
Drew Cochran, Attorney at Law is my criminal defense firm in Annapolis. If you have been charged with a violent crime, I want to help you. Please call 410.777.8103, or fill out this contact form, and schedule a free consultation with me.
When I’m on your side, you’re never alone. Just remember: Keep Calm – and Call Drew.