31 August, 2006

Sickness of the Soul and the Community

Update: As usual, Lex says it all, and far better than my feeble scratches that only hinted at it.

It's worse than the headline, so I've included the whole thing here:

PARKLAND, Wash. -- The Pierce County Sheriff's Department is searching for five people who allegedly attacked a uniformed National Guardsmen walking along 138th Street in Parkland Tuesday afternoon.

The soldier was walking to a convenience store when a sport utility vehicle pulled up alongside him and the driver asked if he was in the military and if he had been in any action.

The driver then got out of the vehicle, displayed a gun and shouted insults at the victim. Four other suspects exited the vehicle and knocked the soldier down, punching and kicking him.

“And during the assault the suspects called him a baby killer. At that point they got into the car and drove off and left him on the side of the road,” Detective Ed Troyer with the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department told KIRO 7 Eyewitness News.

The suspects were driving a black Chevy Suburban-type SUV.

“This is something new for us, we have not had military people assaulted because they were in the military or somebody's opposition to a war or whatever,” Troyer said.

The driver is described as a white male, 25-30 years old, 5 feet 10 inches tall, heavy build, short blond hair, wearing a black T-shirt and jeans, and armed with a handgun.

The vehicle's passengers are described as white males, 20-25 years old. Some of the suspects wore red baseball hats and red sweatshirts during the attack.

The Pierce County Sheriff's Department is offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and charging of the individuals involved. Informants can call 253-591-5959, and callers will remain anonymous.


Besides the extreme fury and grief I feel at the idea of a soldier being physically assaulted for his service, I am taken aback at the idea of a gun-wielding "pacifist." What this tells me is actually deeply disturbing. It says that a group of 20-30 year olds have been thoroughly steeped not in a carefully-reasoned (if arguably misguided) philosophy of political pacifism, but instead in the idea that soldiers are somehow sub-human or deserving of violent treatment. That kind of twisted brain-washing that is completely devoid of thoughtful philosophy or rational considerations is frightening.

Here's why I say that: these men were not pacifist anti-war types, but merely thugs looking for a convenient target. Apparently there's a strong enough segment of their broader community detesting and dehumanizing soldiers that they felt a soldier would make a good target. That speaks volumes about not just them, but their neighbors as well.

I feel such a combination of grief, revulsion and anger [and fear] that I've run out of words...

[h/t Argghhh!]