A CNN Wire Staff story about the Wisconsin Sikh Temple shooting began: “An Army veteran.”
An Associated Press story in the Daily Journal Wednesday said: “Police say gunman Wade Michael Page, a 40-year-old Army veteran, … “
Judging from that, it might be just as proper to say, “Tom MacCallum, a 72-year-old Army veteran, was arrested for speeding 45 miles per hour in a 35 mile per hour speed zone. He was known to have driven a vehicle while serving in the Army.”
The Page man involved in the Sikh shooting was discharged from the Army in 1998, which was some 14 years ago. The Army is not involved in what he has done since his discharge. Nor is it responsible for any of my actions since my discharge.
The fact he used guns doesn’t mean his Army service influenced his actions. His being a veteran has no bearing on his actions.
It is time to stop demonizing the word “veteran” every time a veteran is involved in something. There is more to a person’s life than one aspect of it. When weapons are involved in a crime, I suppose people look for prior military service. I would venture to guess most gun owners today have no prior military service.
When veterans serving today come home, we should welcome them with respect and honor, not fear generated by headlines because one out of millions of veterans has behaved badly. The general population does not have as good a reputation for behavior per person as do military veterans.
“Army veteran” is a service for which many of us are proud. We don’t like for it to be used to insinuate that it is a general characteristic for someone gone mad.