Saturday, April 17, 2010

Deaths and discharges

Jesse Charles Huff walked up to the VA Medical Center yesterday wearing Army fatigues and battling pain from his Iraq war wounds and a recent bout with depression.
The 27-year-old Dayton man had entered the center's emergency room about 1a.m. yesterday and requested some sort of treatment. But Huff did not get that treatment, police said, and about 5:45 a.m., he reappeared at the center's entrance, put a military-style rifle to his head and twice pulled the trigger.

The above is from Lucas Sullivan and Margo Rutledge Kissell's "Iraq vet kills self outside hospital" (Columbus Dispatch). WHIO TV reports that authorities on the scene were convinced that Jesse Huff's backpack must contain a bomb so they called in the bomb squad which sent in a robot that destroyed the backpack . . . filled with personal items and no bomb. They also note that the shooting took place at six a.m. Friday and, five hours prior, Jesse Huff was in the center's emergency room attempting to receive treatment. Oxycodone (prescribed) was discovered in his van.

Meanwhile CNN reports that Marc Hall entered into a plea agreement to avoid court-martial and has now been discharged with an "other than honorable discharge" and that Hall "will lose military and veterans benefits and be reduced to the lowest enlisted grade (E1) in the Army. "
Marc Hall is the soldier who served in Iraq and had finished his time with the military when he was stop lossed. His 'crime' was recording a song entitled "Stop Loss." Lara Jakes (AP) quotes his civilian attorney, Gespass, stating, "The song was a way for him to sort of vent. He was, I think, less and less happy about the idea even of having a weapon and using it."

Threat? Marc's plea agreement has him stating he threatened people and that the threats went beyond the song. Reality: If a member of the US military threatens to kill other soldiers and brass, the US military doesn't do a plea agreement. They toss your ass behind bars and they go overboard on it because they want to send a message. The fact that they allowed Marc to enter a plea agreement means they did not have proof of any threats.

There is an alternative to that? The alternative is that the military command needs a huge shake up because the brass is so inept that they just released a man who threatened multiple members of the military. Were that the case, a number of higher ups would need to be relieved of duty immediately. So take your pick.

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oh boy it never ends