Saturday, November 28, 2009

From Gentle Man to Killer

Jessie Bratcher was found "guilty except insane" for killing the man who fathered a child with his girl friend while Bratcher served in Iraq.

See the moving story by Kim Murphy in today's Los Angeles Times:,0,6298478.story

As a child, Bratcher had gone hunting with his grandfather but never wanted to do the killing. "He just didn't want to see anything die," recalls the grandfather.

As a new infantryman in Iraq, "he refused to open fire on what he believed an an inknown target in the village of Tarjil," reports Murphy.

Later when an investigation was launched into killing in Tarjil that day, he was seen as a "snitch."

Then he watched a close friend crushed to death in a Humvee accident--and stopped caring.

According to Murphy's article, on later patrols in Iraq he'd say "I'll shoot 'em. I'll kill 'em."

Bratcher came home to Oregon, had problems, and was finally declared 100% disabled with PTSD.

When he found out his girlfriend's pregnancy was not his own child, he immediately found and shot Jose Ceja Medina, the child's father.

From his jail cell, he blamed his military training.

First they work to dehumanize you, he said.

"Then... they want to dehumanize the people you're fighting, the enemy.... they've pretty much altered your value of human life. And then you come back home."

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