[ by Charles Cameron — one shooting spree (or two?) — one act of self-sacrifice ]
The question is: who gets top billing — Specialist Dennis
Welch Weichel (upper image above), who saved the life of a young Afghan girl boy, Zaiullah, throwing her him out of the path of an oncoming MWRAP, at the cost of his own life — or Staff Sergeant Robert Bales (lower image), who is alleged to have killed a dozen or more Afghans, men, women and children, in a shooting spree (or two)?
El Snarkistani gives us one answer at It’s Always Sunny in Kabul:
I do know that Good Morning America has already spent quite a bit of airtime on the Bales’ case, from his financial past, to his injuries, to more unfounded speculation about his mental health. Over several days.
Weichel? 34. Seconds.
Here’s a pop-psych rough cut on why that might be:
Media studies show that bad news far outweighs good news by as much as seventeen negative news reports for every one good news report. Why? The answer may lie in the work of evolutionary psychologists and neuroscientists. Humans seek out news of dramatic, negative events. These experts say that our brains evolved in a hunter-gatherer environment where anything novel or dramatic had to be attended to immediately for survival. So while we no longer defend ourselves against saber-toothed tigers, our brains have not caught up.
Look, I’m afraid I cannot judge SSG Bales, though my heart goes out to his victims, their families, his comrades, their families, and him and his family. That whole incident leaves me sad.
And I cannot judge SPC
Welch Weichel, either. I can and do admire him, and am grateful to him — and my heart goes out to his family, his comrades, the young girl boy whose life he saved, and her his family and friends.
In both men I see the human condition under pressure — its breaking points and possibilities.
You can read El Snarkistani’s piece, The Madness of SPC Weichel in full for more of the possibilities…