They feel alone as they return home from serving in the war zone, to where that “other person” they used to be, once lived. They are asked, “Is everything all right?” “Thank you for your service.” “Great being back, huh?” But they feel like the words are being asked of some other person that’s lost deep inside of them.

Their families don’t understand their constant excessive apprehension for their safety and overly protective, guarding nature. They want to tell their family members so much of all the things that are on their mind but they know friends and family cannot understand where they have never been and the world they have just come from.

They think now and then about those who will not be coming home and those who have been so badly scarred. After a deep sigh of relief that they returned home safely, there is still the unrelenting thoughts of the loss that others have suffered and it feels like it is all part of them.

Time does exist for them, but very differently. Counting their sleeping and waking moments measure it, and the numbness in between that is frustratingly difficult to remember or even care about. It is a welcome escape to seek out a dark room of seclusion and isolation, or a vacant open field, or talk to an old pet – or a too familiar weapon. They cared for the weapon and the weapon cared for them. As time goes on it becomes less a weapon that others see it to be and more the one friend that will never let them down. It is that something, somewhere, or someone to listen to them, that will understand them during one of their overwhelming moods that explodes out of nowhere from the most insignificant of things said, seen, or done.

They can wash away any and all moods or feelings of frustration, anger, and confusion, with an instant of destructiveness, wildness, or a last option.

They search for anything they can do or consume to provide them that past adrenaline rush, and the welcome relief it brings masking the hollow pain of emptiness they feel. All that happened while they were in the war zone was worked out. No matter what it was, it was just handled in some way, and it was done, finished, because they were not alone.

Here, they are alone in a crowd. Here, they cannot even hear the music others hear. Here, the humor that others understand, they don’t care about. Here, what others touch they cannot feel. Here, the affection that others show, they reject. They know that something is gone that was once part of them, but now they can only touch the emptiness and loss that has taken the place of what was back there. Here, at their own home they sense they do not belong.

There are two paths they see ahead of them as they return. A path that has been born of conflict that is ever narrowing that leads them to only a quick resolution. Or a path of understanding that widens with time. The sooner they realize they are not alone and that their actions and feelings are not unique to only them, the sooner they will realize “they belong home.”


Dr. Robert R. Rail is recognized internationally as one of the foremost experts on terrorism recognition and violent behavior avoidance. He has taught his “understanding body language” techniques and methods to people from more than 60 countries.

As a consultant to the United Nations in the Balkans and Iraq, Dr. Rail was responsible for designing curriculum and instructing elite police officers from 56 nations who have been deployed in Bosnia, Kosovo, Iraq, Jordan, Asia, and Africa. He was also named as a physical confrontation advisor and resource training provider to select personnel of NATO and OSCE (Organization for Security & Co-Operation in Europe).

Dr. Rail was a resident instructor at the Specialized Advanced Training Unit of the High Institute of Baghdad Police College, and was awarded a second doctorate degree for his exceptional abilities as an international instructor.  He has received numerous other awards for his work in the international community.

Dr. Rail has an outstanding background of over a quarter of a century of both martial arts knowledge and “on the street” law enforcement experience. He is an internationally respected and acclaimed master instructor. Through all his classes, lectures, presentations and even casual contacts, he displays a constant flow of encouragement, enthusiasm, and instructional humor.

Dr. Rail is a frequent contributor to television and radio programs, and periodicals.  He conducts both training and consulting services for universities and corporations worldwide.

He is the author of five books: The Unspoken Dialogue; Defense Without Damage; Custodial Cuffing & Restraint; Reactive Handcuffing Tactics; and Surviving the International War Zone.