Summary: Here is a Veteran’s Day story, posted early so people can think about this before the big day. It describes how we treat veterans on the other 364 days. We often regard vets with PTSD as broken toys, whose slide into the gutter is ignored. Or, if noticed, then treated with contempt.
2004 – Damigo joined the Marine Corps at 18. He did two tours in Iraq, including participation in the fighting at Fallujah, as a light armored vehicle driver (MOS 031).
After his first tour, he tried to commit suicide, but a friend intervened, according to San Diego County court records.
October 2007 – Court records show that Damigo fell apart on leave after his second tour. He fell into a spiral of substance abuse to cope with PTSD (paranoia and flashbacks) and the loss of 3 friends in Iraq. He said that he felt “betrayed by the government.” But the big betrayal was in his future.
November 2007 – A few days after the anniversary of a friend’s combat death, he was drinking. He then went for a walk with a gun he had received two days before as a gift. He saw a La Mesa cab driver who he thought was Iraqi, put a gun to his head, and robbed the man of $43, records. Nathan’s mother said that a psychologist who worked with Nathan reported that the crime was a flashback in which Nathan went into combat mode.
How many oddities are there in this story?
First, Damigo was sentenced to six years in prison and served five years – for stealing $43. Forty-three dollars, no violence (although threatening with a gun) by a first-time offender. That’s extraordinary. There are criminals who committed horrific crimes in California who served less than five years in prison.
Second, this act is obviously that of someone mentally ill. Our response to him was “it sucks to be you.” Damigo was treated by America like an expended round of ammo. We will spend almost two trillion dollars on the F-35 program, but will not spend the relatively tiny sums for mental health care to help people like Damigo from sliding from the battlefield into the gutter.
in HBO’S 2010 PTSD documentary “Wartorn 1861-2010“, Damigo expressed remorse, telling CNN that he “flipped out on the guy.” The video shows that in a few months he transformed into an older and broken man.
The rest of the source
While in prison, a fellow inmate gave him a copy of former KKK leader David Duke’s autobiography: My Awakening: A Path to Racial Understanding. This put him on a fateful road to finding new meaning for his life.
2014 – He was released from prison and enrolled at the California State University Stanislaus. He learned about and was impressed by the French nativist movement Bloc Identitaire. Damigo found YouTube videos by Angelo Gage, another Iraq veteran who struggled with severe PTSD – and became a white nationalist. Damigo commented on Gage’s videos and they became friends. Damigo eventually assisted Gage in creating the National Youth Front. He eventually became its Vice Chairman or Director (accounts vary).
March 2016 – Damigo founded the white supremacist organization Identity Evropa.
15 April 2017 – Left and Right riot in Berkeley, California.
A young woman (model, porn star) of many names – best known as Louise Rosealma – said she traveled to Berkeley “determined to bring back 100 Nazi scalps” (from her now-deleted Facebook page). She wore one glove on her right hand; it looks like a sap glove (weighted knuckles, illegal in California if metal). Photos show her carrying a bottle, like those thrown into the crowd by rioters. Damigo hits her. A blurry video shows he apparently about the throw a bottle before he hits her. The very-PC Berkeley police decline to prosecute him.
Journalists describe her as an innocent victimized. She gave an interview to CBS in which no tough questions were asked about her Facebook post, her mask, her odd glove, or any bottle-throwing (see below). She said was “on the sideline taking pictures” until repeatedly attacked by a gang of men who “were trying to crack my skull” and “were trying to hurt her as much as they could”. Oddly, she walked away without a scratch. More details about the incident here.
Damigo hits Louise Rosealma. She holdis a bottle by the neck, ready for throwing. Click to enlarge.
Activists call for his expulsion from Cal State University Stanislau, but its administration refuses.
August 2017 – He resigned as head of Identity Evropa.
2 January 2019 – He filed for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy.
Violence by the Left and Right
Antifa is larger and more violent than these white nationalist groups (at least, so far). It receives gentle treatment from journalists and the government. Damigo shows how vast forces are mustered against white nationalist groups – and their leaders. This guarantees that any successful far-right group will be totally alienated from our politics, and probably willing and able to effectively use violence.
For more about Nathan Damigo
- His bio at the Southern Poverty Law Center.
- Shane Bower interviews him for Mother Jones.
- Wikipedia entry for Identity Evropa.
For more about vets with PTSD
“From PTSD to Prison: Why Veterans Become Criminals” by at the Daily Beast – “How the system fails them, and the new prison dorms that could help them get back on track.”
National Center for PTSD of the Veterans’ Administration – Roughly 15% of vets develop some form of PTSD, a number constant from Vietnam to the WOT.
Invisible Wounds of War – a typically magisterial study by RAND (2008). Based on data from 2007. Of course, their recommendations were largely ignored.
“Among OEF/OIF veterans, rates of PTSD, major depression, and probable TBI are relatively high, particularly when compared with the general U.S. civilian population. …Effective treatments documented in the scientific literature – evidence-based care – are available for PTSD and major depression. Delivery of such care to all veterans with PTSD or major depression would pay for itself within two years, or even save money, by improving productivity and reducing medical and mortality costs. Such care may also be a cost-effective way to retain a ready and healthy military force for the future. However, to ensure that this care is delivered requires system-level changes across the Department of Defense, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and the U.S. health care system.”
For More Information
If you found this post of use, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. Also see all posts about the far-right, about the far-left, about political violence, about ways to reform America politics, and especially these…
- Violence, the inevitable consequence of political extremism.
- The Right began the current cycle of political violence in America.
- What are the odds of violence from the Right in America?
- Fear the rise of political violence in America. We can still stop it.
- About Steve Crowder’s horrifying exposé of Antifa’s violence.
- Political violence is as American as apple pie.
Books about PTSD
I have not read these. They look authoritative and interesting. Please post reviews and other book recommendations in the comments.
Treating PTSD in Military Personnel, Second Edition: A Clinical Handbook, edited by Bret A. Moore and Walter E. Penk (2019).
Fields of Combat: Understanding PTSD among Veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan by Erin P. Finley, an Asst Prof of Medicine and Psychiatry at the University of Texas Health Science Center – San Antonio. She is also a Research Investigator in the Veterans Evidence-Based Research Dissemination and Implementation Center (VERDICT) at the South Texas Veterans Health Care System. Bio here.