• The rest is silence—for now

When Staff Sergeant Robert Bales was identified as the NCO who shot and stabbed to death 17 Afghani civilians, woman and children included, a curious thing happened—or didn’t: no one described him as a silent, distant brooder.

“Robert Bales was a positive person who always had a smile on his face,” an army officer told a public radio reporter. Bales’s high school principal told the New York Times he was “one of those kids you remember, a real extrovert.” The Times profile went so far as to call Bales “gregarious,” and so did the profile in the Los Angeles Times, where a pal from Bales’s home town in Ohio asserted, “I want people to know there is no way the guy I knew did this. You don’t go from being a local hero to a monster.”