This was one of the more contentious passages for me to write, but was also one of the prime reasons for writing this book.  People seem to have this prejudice about Dante’s Inferno that it was just some dumping ground for him to put all the people he hated.  So I was worried this would come across as me being some pacifist who glories in the problems soldiers face.

Well, the Inferno is not a dumping ground, it’s an optic into understanding why people suffer.  Call my a dilettante psychologist, but when I read the original passages on violence, my reaction was “this sounds EXACTLY like PTSD.”

Check out this video about an Iraq vet detailing a firefight he was in.  What I liked about this is it shows what moral agents soldiers are.  They are bound by duty, put in life and death situations most of us will never face, and yet they wonder if they did the right thing, either by pulling the trigger or by not pulling it.

“Put it in a shoebox and deal with it later.”  There is wisdom to this saying, and Dante has a special place in Purgatory for those who were too busy dealing with the problems of statecraft to really focus on salvation.  But at some point when you return, you gotta open the shoebox.  And as I wrote in Inferno Los Angeles, the real tragedy here is that we let so many slip through the cracks.