However, conditioning that overrides such a powerful, innate resistance to killing has enormous potential for psychological backlash. Every warrior society has a “purification ritual” to help the returning warrior deal with his guilt of killing and to reassure him that what he did in combat was good for society. In primitive tribes, this generally involves ritual bathing, ritual separation, and a ceremony embracing the warrior back into the tribe. Modern Western rituals traditionally involve long separation while marching or sailing home and then parades, monuments, and the unconditional acceptance of society and family once back home. After Vietnam, the purification ritual failed. Returning American veterans were attacked and condemned, which resulted in about a million cases of PTSD.
With the advent of interactive “point-and-shoot” video games, there is significant concern that society is aping military conditioning, but without the vital safeguard of discipline. There is strong evidence to indicate that the indiscriminate civilian application of combat conditioning techniques as entertainment may be a key factor in worldwide, skyrocketing violent crime rates.
As stated above, in a traumatic event, the midbrain takes control. Afterwards, it appears that a neural “shortcut” to the midbrain is created that mobilizes the body for survival in response to any “cue” associated with the traumatic incident. Physiological responses such as increased heart rate, respiration, and perspiration will occur for even the slightest of reasons and sometimes for no discernible reason whatsoever.