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Saturday, May 11, 2013
After hearing the testimony from ex-trooper Matthew Brannock about his encounter with a deputy sheriff who had just murdered his wife, I recognize that Brannock is experiencing many of the same feelings of guilt and shame that haunt many combat veterans (“Agee’s sentence hearing runs into second day,” May 8 news story).
It appears that the deputy/suspect had fire superiority over Brannock, who was wounded and had to hide to save his life. Now he feels ashamed, but he shouldn’t. If the encounter had lasted longer, the odds are that Brannock would have had the opportunity to prove himself a hero because he would have had to defend his life.
As a combat veteran of Vietnam, I can assure him that most soldiers awarded for moments of heroism had also experienced moments of being frozen with fear when overwhelmed by a superior enemy force. We were fortunate enough to live long enough to outlive that fear and have an opportunity to do something to help our fellow soldiers. Still, many live with the guilt of experiencing those moments of being frozen with fear.
Let’s hope that Trooper Brannock can shed his feelings of guilt and just be thankful that he is still alive for his family.
ROGER E. HARRIS
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