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Misplaced Blame?

By Liz Brown

 A CNN anchor recently made a comment indicting former veterans-turned police officers in the Baltimore riots.

"I love our nation’s veterans," stated Brooke Baldwin, "but some of them are coming back from war, they don’t know the communities, and they are ready to do battle.”

So it seems veterans are to blame for the unrest in Baltimore.

I would like to know who she is taking about. Which veterans has she met and sat down with, hopefully at length, to learn they're ready to "do battle"? And what, exactly, does that mean? Are these veterans poised and spring-loaded to commit violence at any opportunity? Are they so damaged from war, they can't stop themselves from fighting after they come home? Does it mean they possess no self-restraint, whether personally or in a professional capacity as police officers?

I don't know any of the answers because Ms. Baldwin's words were as vague as they were broad. She has since apologized for disparaging our veterans on national television. (CNN had 1,001,000 total viewers that day, according to TV by the Numbers.) But I don't care for her apology, and I won't quote it.

I will quote author Fay Weldon: “One must be careful with words. Words turn probabilities into facts and by sheer force of definition translate tendencies into habits.”

Ms. Baldwin's apology can't call back the defamatory idea she unleashed, and that bothers me. My husband served in the United States Navy for 12 years as a Naval Special Warfare Operator. He was trained and equipped by our government to fight and kill if this country required. Once separating, honorably, from the SEAL Teams this past August, he began hunting for a new job.

The local or state police was a serious option we considered. Not because my husband needs to carry a gun during the work day, not because he craves conflict, and not because he constantly simmers in violence. So why be a cop? He missed the brotherhood of the SEAL Teams and thought joining the force could provide a new community. His skill with stress management, quick decision-making, and communication in a team environment could have been an asset. He has a passion for challenges and problem solving.

But thank goodness he didn't join. As just another unstable, damaged veteran, he probably would have started a riot. Or so some say.