In The News
Can You Be Grateful For Your Husband's Life if He Murdered Others?
When you love a soldier, you hold your breath. If you are religious, you pray. Please, first, let him come home. Let him come home with no catastrophic injuries. And please, let him return to us with a whole mind, too. You jump every time the phone rings or a car approaches your house. Every night when the window of notification closes, you have a break...if not from the fear that harm might come to your loved one at least from the weight of the waiting. Then, you wake up, grateful, that no knock on the door has brought bad news.
What you never expect, is the notification that your husband has been involved in an incident. That he has perpetrated an incident. That he is accused of killing... no... murdering 16 civilians.
Other mothers, fathers, wives, husbands, sisters, brothers, sons, and daughters are now grieving in the way you feared you might and your husband is the cause of this tragedy.
The blog that you kept as a journal of your feelings, as a time capsule for your children, as a method of sharing the experience with family, as a way to connect with other military spouses in the same situation, will now be picked apart in the court of public opinion for signs that your husband was, depending on the reader's perspective, a ticking time bomb of PTSD or a psychopath.
Most bloggers worry about the possible hurt feelings, lost job prospects, and other repercussions of their public writing. And military spouses worry about operational security and their spouses' career advancement, too.
But few ever imagine what they write could be used as evidence in their husband's court martial for murder.
Karilyn Bales, the wife of Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales who is accused of murdering 16 civilians in Afghanistan, is now experiencing this nightmare scenario.
The life they had built together is over. Whatever charges are filed, whatever verdict is reached, their lives will never be the same. Her husband not only killed innocent civilians that day, he killed the future their family had planned.
She may wonder, is she even allowed to feel bad about that? After all, 16 people are dead by her husband's rifle and he is still alive. And to whom would she say it, anyway?
I cannot imagine the devastating pain of the Afghani people who lost their loved ones... or the isolation this Army wife sister is now feeling. I hope, no matter what her husband did for whatever inexcusable reason, that the Army is taking care of this wife.
[ Home Page Photo credit: Spc. Ryan Hallock, 28th Public Affairs/U.S. Army]
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