Angry Young Men

Angry Young Men

When I first came to the US, I was thinking about joining the military. I thought that I should just sign up.After living in the US for a few years, I started realizing that not everyone who signed up for the military got all the benefits that were promised. One of the things I found most alarming was that many of the homeless people wandering the streets were… Veterans!

I am a “unique” person. When I say I am “unique”, I mean if someone comes up to me and begs me some money, I start a conversation with them, trying to find out why they are homeless and why I should give them my money. I was surprised to see how intelligent some of these “homeless” “street people” are. I am wondering, if these people can have an intelligent conversation, why are they homeless? Why cant they get a job and support themselves?

It is so sad. That most of these people are veterans. Of couse you know I want to save the world, and I want to help these people. These brave people who went to fight for their country . But most of them return from the war as broken souls. They look like they are all “there”, but they are broken into little pieces of what they used to be. They are like a shadow of their former selves. They wander the streets , with cardboard signs, advertising their ailments and begging for spare change.
And they are Angry.
Angry at the Government

They have so much anger inside. Why would they have so much anger? Why are they angry at the government? Why are they angry at society? Why are they angry at everyone around them? Why are they angry at People? So much anger. All this energy just wasted in anger. All this energy just wasted.
Just wasted.
So much anger.
So much pain.

They no longer trust the government. They no longer trust anyone around them. They are taken from war in the Middle East and just thrown back into society. Just thrown back into civilian world.

These broken human beings are now expected to function like complete people once again.
There minds are not completely there. They can hold an intelligent conversation, but they still cannot just blend right back into civilian world. Their mind is not in the state where they can go out, get a job, claim their benefits, get back on their feet, become once again a loyal contributor to society.

So they just wander the streets. They just wander aimlessly. They limp through the streets with broken bones. Broken souls. And beg.
Why cant a person who can have an intelligent conversation:
Go to the homeless shelter?
Take a bath?
Get a job?
Get back on their feet?
It seems like such a simple thing to do. It seems so easy to you and me.

Wait, I’m not done yet. I’ve got to tell you about the other extreme behavior I have discovered. Not all of the veterans are aimlessly wandering the streets. Some of them seem to be in their right mind and seem to claim their rightful place in society. But something is still wrong. They are still angry. Many of these men, not only no longer trust the government, their anger turns to hatred! This strong hatred for the Government, for the legal system. The legal system does not exist for them. They disregard laws, rules, anything in their way. Laws are nonexistent for them. They have no more respect for morals, or values anymore. They are all singing the same song, “I’ve got to get MINE!”

They are all about survival. They are back in the jungle once more. The Vietnam jungle. Or they are in the desert. The Iraqi desert. And they flip into survival mode. They must obey the law of the jungle. Kill or be Killed! And they will crush and kill anything that stands in their way. The same survival tactics they used in the military they use now in the civilian world. It is all a battlefield to them. They must fight. They channel all their anger and focus on fighting. Because that is what they were trained to do. These trained killers were brought directly from war and thrown back into civilian world.

But we in civilian land just see them as dysfunctional members of the society who have no respect for the law. We were not there in the jungle or the desert. We don’t know what they went through. Some of us don’t care. We don’t know why they are so angry and so full of hatred.
And these angry young men, turn into Bitter Old Men.
But Wait! All hope is not lost! There are some people who want to help them. And I am one of those people. OK so what is the next step?
What do I do?

I still wonder though. What is it that happened in the jungle or in the desert that changed fine, brave young men, some only 17 years old, so excited to fight for their country. What caused them to change into dysfunctional, angry, men filled with hatred and no longer of one sound mind, who now roam the streets or just take the law into their own hands. And what can we do to help them?


Esther said…
Interesting topic Nichole. I have realized myself that many of the people we see homeless around us are always very intelligent people. As you said makes us think, what is wrong? Good job girlie!
Nichole McGhie said…
Thank you Esther. I was so moved by all that I saw I just had to write about it.

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