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Two Policemen Are Dead Because the US Military Does Not Help Veterans
By now, you have probably heard about the two officers shot dead in Kissimmee, Florida, on Friday, August 18, 2017. Officer Matthew Baxter died at the scene; Sgt. Richard "Sam" Howard died the next day. At about 9:30 Friday night, Baxter approached Everett Glenn Miller and two other men. He called Howard as backup. The facts are uncertain at this point, but whatever happened next that night led to the death of the two officers. Everett Miller has been charged with their murders.
Just remember: Sometimes, the news has an agenda. Sometimes they get it wrong on purpose.
The officers were in an area "known for drug activity." Everett, however, was not a known criminal. In fact, he was not a criminal at all.
His crimes - the crimes that led to this tragic shooting - were: 1) being in the wrong place at the wrong time, 2) being mentally ill, and 3) being black.
Do you know why Everett was in what locals admit is a "seedy" part of town? Because he grew up there. He has friends and family who still live there. And so I ask you: What is the crime in that? Where is the crime in a black man visiting his friends?
If you were to believe the propaganda coming out against him, he was a lowly thug, trying to buy illegal drugs in the "black" part of town.
But Everett Glenn Miller isn't a thug. He is, in fact, a decorated war veteran. He is a retired Marine Master Gunnery Sergeant. He was deployed seven times. And because of his numerous deployments, he suffers from debilitating PTSD.
Of course, the media isn't using the photo of Sergeant Miller in his Marine dress uniform. They grabbed a photo from his Facebook page, one that made him seem like he was capable of gunning down cops in the street; far more like the "thug" the public wants him to be. After all, they tell you, no decent people kill police officers.
They may not want you to see that picture, but I do.
I will not allow anyone to mistake this veteran for a common criminal. I will not let the VA escape culpability on this. Not now. Not ever.
Can you imagine the toll seven deployments takes on a person? It was, sadly, too much for Everett to take; a couple of weeks ago, he was involuntarily committed to a mental institution. And despite his serious struggles with mental illness, he was released after 72 hours and his weapons, one of which he always carried with him, were returned to him.
Clearly, no one was there for this veteran. The VA is infamous for neglecting all veterans, but especially those veterans who suffer with mental illness. They clearly neglected Everett.
So I will say that yes, Everett killed those two officers. But I place the blame squarely on the shoulders of the VA and the local mental health community that utterly and completely let this veteran - this seven time war veteran - down. The same mental health community that probably could have prevented this shooting. The same mental health community that neglects and abandons so many vulnerable veterans.
The irony is not lost on Everett's friends. Around the Fourth of July, people place signs in their yards reminding others that fireworks can be triggering for veterans. Why, then, are the police not trained to identify and avoid those same triggers?
Why was Officer Matthew Baxter not trained to prevent this kind of tragedy? A tragedy that has played out numerous times before Everett's death - and one that will continue long after his death - if we do not face this challenge head on.
Everett's friends have reached out to others on Facebook, not only to try to make sense of this terrible tragedy, but also to ask for compassion for Everett. Nicole Harvey said this about her friend:
It breaks my heart that someone can put there life on the line for us as nation to feel safe and protected and we as people turn around and treat them so poorly with so much disrespect. I know that what he did was wrong and I'm not trying to justify it but, I believe if he would've gotten the help he was so desperately crying out for, this could have been prevented. So before you bash and belittle him, pray for him!
Amy Ingram had nothing but good memories of Everett from when they were in high school together:
I'm feeling a variety of emotions today because the man who killed the policemen in my hometown of Kissimmee was a silly, lighthearted boy who was my science lab partner in high school ... God be with all of us.
Yes, two officers are dead. Two officers that are a part of a police force that locals claim is as dirty as the day is long. No, they did not die "defending their country," they died while policing their community and because they triggered a vulnerable veteran.
Hopefully, some truth will see the light of day. Hopefully, the propaganda machine will not bury it under mounds of racist lies. Thankfully, Everett Glenn Miller is a decorated war veteran. Thankfully, he doesn't have a long rap sheet. Otherwise, his story, the epic tragedy that is his life, would be swept under the rug. Forgotten like so many other tragedies are forgotten.
We cannot forget how the military is responsible for breaking this man. They left him in pieces, unable to put himself back together again. And a horrible tragedy resulted from their negligence.