When the ugly truth breaks through - which it rarely does - it's like a slap across the face.
Yesterday, slapped across the face.
Then slapped again.
And then again.
As I read.
A friend pointed me to an op-ed buried on page 12 of the most recent edition of the CCBC Connection, the student newspaper of the Community College of Baltimore County (CCBC).
It was written by Charles Whittington, Jr. - who is identified as a student majoring in "general studies" at the college and an Iraq war vet.
The title of the article - War is a Drug.
The unvarnished truth.
Killing to get high.
The joy of slitting someone's throat.
Every word jumps off the page.
Right there - in black and white - on page 12 of the student newspaper of the Community College of Baltimore County.
"Over in Iraq and Afghanistan killing becomes a habit, a way of life, a drug to me and to other soldiers like me who need to feel like we can survive off of it," Whittington wrote. "It is something that I do not just want, but something I really need so I can feel like myself."
"Killing a man and looking into his eyes, I see his soul draining from his body - I am taking away his life for the harm he has caused me, my family, my country."
"Killing is a drug to me and has been ever since the first time I have killed someone. At first, it was weird and felt wrong, but by the time of the third and fourth killing it feels so natural. It feels like I could do this for the rest of my life and it makes me happy."
"There are several addictions in war, but this one is mine," Whittington admits. "This is what I was trained to do and now I cannot get rid of it - it will be with me for the rest of my life and hurts me that I cannot go back to war and kill again, because I would love too."
The brutal reality.
It feels so good.
It makes me happy.
To kill the rag heads.
"When I stick my blade through his stomach or his ribs or slice his throat it's a feeling that I cannot explain, but feels so good to me, and I become addicted to seeing and acting out this act of hate, and violence against the rag heads that hurt our country. Terrorists will have nowhere to hide because there are hundreds of thousands of soldiers like me who feel like me and want their revenge as well."
Hope Davis, a spokesperson for CCBC, said that other students and other Iraq veterans on campus expressed concern about the content and graphic nature of the Whittington article.
Davis said that in response, the school has taken some measures to ensure the safety of Whittington, the students and the campus community.
But she said she couldn't get specific because of privacy concerns.
Davis wouldn't say whether the school administration met with Whittington to discuss the matter.
She did say that Whittington is still a student at the school.
Whittington could not be reached for comment.