Thursday, May 18, 2006

Sending Autistic Kids to War

This one is tough to write about, mostly because it's just impossible to think of without screaming out loud and annoying the neighbors. I'll recount it as simply as I can without tearing my hair out...

Army recruiters in the Portland, Oregon area are so desperate to meet their quotas that they picked up 18-year-old Jared Guinther. Jared was receptive their pitch because he thought that the recruiters were his friends, and he has trouble making friends. He has trouble communicating and making friends because he is autistic.

At the time Jared was first approached a few months back, he wasn't even aware that there was a war going on in Iraq. His parents had to explain it to him when he told them about his new friends and how he was going to join the Army.

Mr. and Mrs. Guinther didn't think much of Jared's desire to sign-up, but assured themselves that the Army wouldn't take an autistic kid. Boy, were they wrong. Not only did they accept Jared, but they signed him on to be a cavalry scout - one of the most dangerous assignments available, and a sure death sentence for a kid who thinks it's all a video game, not to mention the other soldiers whose back he's supposed to have.

Because of the publicity, it now looks like Jared will be released from his contract. One small victory for sanity.

Military rules are supposed to prohibit enlisting anyone with a mental disorder that interferes with school or employment. Supposed to... A family in Ohio reports that its mentally ill son was signed up... There's more. There will be more.

Read more about this at

Tags: , , , , ,

No comments:

Post a Comment

Twitter Feed