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We believe Dr. Shay is onto something in raising awareness in Moral Injury, but we think he has the causal relationship backwards. In Dr. Shay's model, "something happens to you," and that makes you feel you or life is without worth, the universe is an immoral place, etc. Based on our research with US Marines (TECOM Resilience Research Project), and an agentic theory of human beings, we understand it to be the reverse. Marines can narrate how they make moral judgements about themselves as leaders, parents, spouses, etc. and then because of their decision, develop attendant complications. In the first model, military members are passive subjects, affected by forces/circumstances; in the second model members are agents, actively trying to navigate the complex contexts of their lives.

This is a meaningful difference. If self-judgments in the wider context of living (or which moral injury in response to the battlefield is a subset) is the star--if the members are the causal agents, how we help prepare--support and assist them as they make meaning of their lives, is very different than what we shoudl do if members are passive victims of events.