Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The Myth About Out of Control War Veterans

This is a tragic story, and one that will probably go to reinforce a lot of stereotypes left over from the Vietnam War.

Aside from being angry that this man shot and killed a park ranger, I'm wondering if this story will be held up as a warning to anyone who wants to hire or work with or engage a veteran of Iraq or Afghanistan. If so, what a terrible shame.

The consequences of this story are going to be far reaching, especially since we've been treated to such a ridiculous photo of Barnes, shirtless and holding what look like real weapons (probably fakes, but oh well). He is tattooed and out of his mind, and could very well have ended up like this working at Burger King. He appears to have been just another untreated veteran, but even with treatment, some people do not heal. Depicting him in this way is a fantastic media trick.

You can't build someone up and terrify the populace without going with the shirtless photos (his Department of the Army photo was probably too tame). I'm sure that there is a journalistic defense for showing Barnes flexing himself like a jackass, but, the truth is, he was no Rambo or super soldier. He was incapable of taking care of himself, and froze himself to death before he could be apprehended.

Anyway, the myths about the out of control, violent, freaked out Vietnam veteran were demolished years ago. There are many links, but this one will suffice.

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