Why? Because the post-traumatic disorder being experienced by Iraq and Afghanistan veterans is real. Combat, especially in wars with unclear goals, inadequate planning, lack of resources, and hopeless re-integration back into society, f**** with people’s minds, and it’s not their fault. And we argue it would be counterproductive to jail him because the treatment for such trauma in US prisons is woeful. Tens of thousands of veterans currently languish in American jails, forgotten and unaided.
They didn’t ask to go to war, and many US service people are simply desperate refugees from poverty and unemployment anyway.
In a civilised society, this man should be diverted into intensive psychological care and properly rehabilitated. At least given the opportunity to be rehabilitated. He is clearly suffering from trauma in his current life, not just when serving.
The quality of mercy is measured by how we treat those who think, say or do things we would find unconscionable, but whose responsibility is diminished by their mental state.
When that mental state is directly related to their efforts on behalf of the rest of us, for which they are inadequately rewarded, then we should be doubly careful in how we respond when they go off the rails.
The issues raised in the case apply equally to Australia, the United Kingdom, and many other countries …
From Raw Story:
An Alabama man is asking a judge for mercy after pleading guilty to hiring a Ku Klux Klan (KKK) hitman to murder his black neighbor.
Defense attorneys for Allen Wayne Morgan told U.S. District Judge Karon Bowdre that their client — a veteran of over 175 combat missions in Iraq who struggled with post traumatic stress disorder, depression, and drug addiction — should not spend more than five years in prison. Judge Bowdre referred the matter to a government expert, who will review the report on Morgan’s mental health submitted by the defense.
On August 29, 2013, Federal Bureau of Investigation agents arrested Morgan at an Econo Lodge in Oxford, Alabama. He thought he was speaking with the KKK hitman he had hired to kill his neighbor, Clifford Maurice Mosley, a black man he believed had raped his wife.
He allegedly told an undercover agent that “I want this man hung from a tree like he is an animal. I want his penis cut off and I want him cut. You’re a hunting man right? I want him hung from a tree and gutted.”
Morgan is also alleged to have told the agent that he had recently confronted Mosley outside his house, firing several shots in his direction, but that he did not intend to kill him that day because there would be witnesses. He also said that he was certain Mosley had raped his wife, because when confronted, he did not attempt to stand his ground or reason with him.
He planned to check himself into a Veterans Administration hospital in order to provide himself with an alibi.
After being taken into custody, Morgan confessed to having tried to hire the hitman.
The previous year, Morgan had been profiled in a Birmingham News piece on Iraq veterans dealing with post traumatic stress disorder and depression via music.
“During times of my deepest abuse, I would try to cancel myself out chemically,” he said. “But even if we’re just jamming, it’s like time stands still. I’m not saying like all of my problems go away. But for that little bit of a moment, everything is OK. If it can make me feel like that, I know it can make others feel like that.”
He also said that when unexpected people arrive at his house, “I usually pull out a gun and run them off.”
[Image via Flickr, Creative Commons Licensed]
Read more of what we have to say on the appalling treatment of Veterans here: https://wellthisiswhatithink.wordpress.com/2014/02/08/the-country-who-failed-its-vets/