To understand a veteran returning from war is like trying to understand Albert Einstein’s scientific mind - nearly impossible. When the common civilian thinks of a military veteran, we automatically assume “trained soldier”: an individual skilled in the duties they perform and often in a class above the rest of us.
Like most Americans, I am proud of these men and women. What I am having trouble with is the complacency society has toward the murdering of U.S. civilians by those soldiers who return home to America. We hear of “post-traumatic stress” and, without understanding it, accept it.
Last month, in a grocery store parking lot, a friend of mine was shot and killed, and the suspect is a U.S. veteran. When the media first broke the story, the assailant was painted as a decorated war veteran while my civilian friend was painted as a common thug, exposing his criminal background and the sticker of a gun on the glass of his car, giving the immediate perception my friend deserved to die.
We later find the suspect was apparently involved in suspicious activity days before committing this act. Yet people still think his “defense” claim and veteran status justifies the taking of a civilian life. In my opinion, it doesn’t. He should have remembered he wasn’t on a battlefield, but in an American grocery store parking lot. He was trained to know better and to know the difference.
So, where do we place the blame, the civilian or the veteran? Would we accept a police officer killing an unarmed civilian? No, because they are trained to know the difference between a life-threatening situation and such is the same for the military. Obviously, extenuating circumstances exist in this particular incident, but it is occurring all over the country, where U.S. veterans are killing U.S. civilians, and the American public is accepting this as the new way of life.
The cost of war not only affects the soldier and their families, but also affects us civilians, too. Something needs to be done to address this issue.
Meadow Lands, PA
Cost of war