This article from The New York Times focuses on a particular criminal ex-cop. But reference is made to many other defendants involved in this particular crime, of “feigning mental illness” and invoking the 9-11 attacks as a source of psychological scarring. These crimes did not take place in a vacuum. They occurred in a social context where the defendants, many sworn officers, believed they could get away with it, and likely saw themselves as damaged and entitled.
The experience of trauma and even the development of a diagnosis such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder does not correlate with a person being damaged or disabled. Trauma is part of the human condition, and in most cases the victims adjust, move on, and support themselves and their families – at times with the help of some therapy. Men and women have gone to war, and returned to productive civilian lives. A bureaucracy of entitlement for compensation and pensions based upon ones experiences, rather than one’s actual impairment, did not exist.
Only in recent years have we observed an emergence of a trauma industry, where both individuals and clinicians all too frequently appear to correlate an unfortunate experience or experiences with damage. The ability to obtain compensation likely has driven this process and outcome.
Those who die in performing their jobs or who sustain serious injury warrant eternal respect and honor. What of those who ride on the coat-tails of dramatic news, and do their sometimes unpleasant and highly stressful jobs? Has the human condition and the nature of trauma and war changed fundamentally in the past couple decades to explain or justify the increased level of diagnoses and compensation for trauma-related experiences?
The article reflects some who were caught. In the culture of cynical entitlement that appears to be reflected in the article, what remains unrecognized? Does one really believe that this case and the Long Island Railroad abuses cover and resolve the core issues?
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