Taps for the Chattanooga Four


As I am someone  who loves his country and loves The Marine Corps, the news of the shootings in Chattanooga hit me hard. This is my family. I thought, as I usually do when something like this happens, of the relatives of those killed. I have lost close members of my family, sometimes unexpectedly, and it is horrible every time. I pray that those whose loved ones were murdered today will be surrounded by support and that they will find some measure of comfort in knowing that so many millions are mourning with them.

I take the killing of Marines personally. I hate all senseless killing and I hate to hear of American servicemembers’ deaths– but the death of Marines affects me in a special way. I hate war; that is no secret and I have been very public about my beliefs around the efficacy of my nation’s approach to dealing with radical Islam and with terrorism in general. I’ll be careful not to read social media over the next couple of days because I really don’t need to hear any of the “kill em all” reactions to the deaths of these four young Americans.

I have to work very hard not to go into revenge mode myself. I’ll admit that my when I first heard about the deaths, specifically after I’d seen the photographs of bullet holes through my Eagle, Globe, and Anchor, I wanted to go kill somebody– and I was a little disappointed that there was no culprit alive to kill. That’s not the man I want to be; I’m just being honest.

When I turned on the television it was to try to get some information about the Marines who were killed. To my knowledge, the names have not yet been released. Turning on the TV was probably a mistake in that I found myself feeling increasingly blood-boiled when the painted ladies behind the news desk started saying things like, “We are trying to determine if this was an act of domestic terrorism.” What?! After they said, “We are certainly all shocked that such a thing would happen,” I had to turn it off. If you are shocked that a radicalized Islamic youth would walk into a place where there are American servicemembers and kill them, you are a dumbass. I’m shocked that it doesn’t happen more often!

I’ve thought a lot about the term “terrorism” and how it’s slung around. If you look it up, the meaning is quite subjective based on who you are and what you believe. Our nation has been hoodwinked into declaring war on a tactic (terrorism). Wars end when one side beats the other and the leaders of the two sides sit down and sign a treaty. The people who get unimaginably wealthy off of war were really smart (and evil) when they started this war in perpetuity. I first realized this when I was sitting with an M16 in my hand and staring out into the Iraqi desert.

We’ve given our enemies a 100-years’ recruiting tool better than anything they could have bought with the cowboy diplomacy of The United States over the past several years. We’ve romped through Muslim countries killing thousands of innocent civilians and calling them “collateral damage.” Imagine if the shoe was on the other foot. Think, right now, of three children in your family or children of your friends. Now imagine if these kids were to be killed by a county that we had not attacked or invaded. What would you want to do in response? Exactly. We simply cannot kill enough Muslims to make them stop hating us. That is never going to work.

All Muslims are not terrorists of course anymore than all Christians are. More innocent death has occurred throughout history under the banner of the Cross than under the Star and Crescent. If you care about the lives of our servicemembers as I do, you’ll think twice before unleashing your bloodlust around the water cooler tomorrow.

I honor the sacrifice of these four who were willing to give all for our nation. I pray for their families and yes, I pray for the family of the shooter too. Mostly I pray for peace and that people will stop quoting scripture to justify war or “prove” its inevitability. We actually can move beyond war as a means of resolving conflict; if we don’t, it won’t really matter which side you were on because it will be the end of us all.

See y’all tomorrow.

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