Last week the military honored the best of the best, as the individual branches of the armed forces named their Soldier/Sailor/Airman/Marine/Coast Guardsman of the Year. And to my surprise (and my shame at being surprised), two of these distinguished five hail from Massachusetts.
Coast Guard Aviation Maintenance Technician Third Class Gregory Gibbons of Chelmsford, MA was honored for his role in saving six people in a storm off Alaska. The Coast Guard was rescuing people off a freighter when one of their own helicopters was driven into the sea by the storm.
And Marine Sergeant Daniel Cotnoir of Lawrence, MA, was singled out for his work in helping recover and identify the bodies of Americans killed in Iraq.
In the account at Cotnoir’s home town paper (not available online), they mention that one of his more difficult assignments was the recovery of four civilian contractors who were killed in Fallujah and whose bodies were left hanging from a bridge. Readers may recall that incident lit up the blogosphere when prominent liberal blogger Markos “Kos” Zuniga called them mercenaries and said “screw them,” then tried desperately to remove every trace of his saying it when he realized just how badly he’d stepped in it.
So, Massachusetts can be proud of its sons and daughters who are serving their nation, as emblemized by the two cited above. But does it truly honor them? How does it respect these people who are willing and able to take up arms to defend our nation?
David Bardfield (rank unknown) is an Army Reservist. As such, he’s been trained in the safe use of several weapons, and carries a sidearm at the least when he’s on duty. But when he went to the Brookline Police Department for permission to have a handgun in his home, he was denied.
Apparently, when he was a teenager, he was with a group of kids and one of them (not him) pointed a loaded BB gun at a car. The police took all the kids — including Bardfield — to the station and had their parents come and pick them up. No charges were filed and he only had his name mentioned in passing in a report, but in the People’s Democratic Republic of Brookline (home of former governor and Democratic nominee for president Michael Stanley Dukakis), that grave offense against the public is enough to disqualify him from exercising his constitutional rights.
Way to Support The Troops, Massachusetts. You don’t deserve the kind of men and women who call you home.