The first time I saw someone slit his wrists, I was on the edge of a barracks bed about three feet away from the slow ooze of dark red blood. I was an Army draftee, June 1969, nearing the end of day one of basic training. I don’t remember his name. He was a soft looking guy with dark stubbles on his head and hallowed eyes that made him look unhealthy. His face went a ghoulish pale right in front of me.
The three sergeants who had been screaming at us for the past hour descended on the victim like hungry raptors. They took the razor, put a white t-shirt around his wrists—both were cut– and carried him out in seconds, as if they’d done this before. That’s what I remember best—that it was pro forma. This is war. Some of you will die. For what? We never got to that part.