Media breathless about 6 years Sikh shooter did in the military 14 years ago...
Everytime a shooting goes on, the media immediately looks for some sort of military angle. Never mind the fact that one's military service has absolutely nothing to do with the shooting. And now the media is repeatedly trumpeting the six years that Wade Michael Page did in the military back in the 1990's.
Take for instance this piece from Christian Science Monitor:
Wade Michael Page, who officials say shot and killed six people in a shooting at a Sikh temple Sunday in Wisconsin, was a decorated Army veteran psychological warfare specialist and white supremacist who has been watched with concern by anti-hate groups for more than 10 years.
A member of a racist skinhead punk band, Mr. Page, who was killed in a shootout with police, had also tried to make purchases from the National Alliance, a neo-Nazi organization, according to Heidi Beirich, director of the the Intelligence Program at the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC).
"We've been tracking him for more than a decade," says Ms. Beirich.
The SPLC has long warned of the dangerous ties between white supremacist groups and the US military. "We know there have been a lot of white supremacists in the military," Beirich adds.
Now, if you read just that, wouldn't you assume that this was some sort of skinhead punk who was engaged in this stuff during the military, or was radicalized during his time in the Army? Only one significant problem with that theory; he explicitly stated in an interview that he didn't get involved in Skinhead type stuff until fully two years after he received his bad-conduct discharge.
OK, so how about those military awards he received....Medal of Honor? Silver Star? Nope, he received Army Commendation Medals and the parachutist badge. Now, nothing wrong with getting a ARCOM, but when you think of a decorated veteran, is your first thought "I wonder if he got an ARCOM for service?"
But that "Psychological Operations" training seems kind of scary. Except that's only part of the story:
Page joined the Army in 1992 and was discharged in 1998, according to a U.S. defense official who spoke under condition of anonymity. He was a repairman for the Hawk missile system before switching jobs to become one of the Army's psychological operations specialists.
And just how scary is this PSYOPS MOS anyway?
Psychological Operations Soldiers use persuasion to influence perceptions and encourage desired behavior. The cornerstone of PSYOP is truth, credibly presented to convince a foreign audience to cease resistance or take actions favorable to friendly forces. During Desert Storm, the effective use of PSYOP was a combat multiplier that directly contributed to the surrender of thousands of Iraqi Soldiers. It is clear its effectiveness saved countless coalition and Iraqi lives.
OK, so let's review. A horrible person commits an absolutely evil deed. He was seemingly part of a racist movement that needs to be thoroughly eradicated. But how does that tie into his military career? It doesn't. Nothing he learned in the military in any way shaped this horrific deed. And he was thrown out of the military 14 years ago, even years before his admitted enlistment in racist causes. How on earth is his military service the centerpiece of every story from the media that Drudge is trumpeting with each new development?
I fail to see any connection other than that this is yet another way to prejudice people against veterans. Tell me I am wrong....
Shouldn't we instead be focused on our fellow citizens that were killed?
How have any of these John Rambo fantasies played out for the media? How many Special Forces guys have gone on a rampage like this? None. They called Jeffery MacDonald the “Green Beret” doctor who killed his family at Fort Bragg decades ago, but he wasn’t special forces, he was a doctor assigned to the unit.
My favorite was Benjamin Colton Barnes (notice the scary three names) who was supposed to have been trained in awesome survival skills and was on the run after he murdered a Park Ranger in Mount Rainier National Park earlier this year. We warned how legendary his skillz were and they found him dead shirtless in the frozen northwest face down in a creek. Those are mad survival skillz.
John Muhammed, the DC sniper, was characterized as an Army trained marksman, but he was a mechanic who saw an M16 once every year when he had to go through marksmanship training and qualify.
Then there’s Tim McVeigh, their favorite. He was a Bradley gunner, and nothing he did that day in Oklahoma had anything to do with what he learned in the military, unless I missed the class on making a truck bomb sometime in my 11 years in a Bradley.