Moral Low Ground

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Alabama Gun Repairman’s Anti-Veterans Day Message Sparks National Outrage

(ABC 33/40 screen grab)

(ABC 33/40 screen grab)

An Alabama gun repairman has raised eyebrows and ire across America after posting a controversial Facebook message in which he opined that veterans are “not heroes.”

Michael Schuette, whose wife owns Outlaw Gun Repair and Hydrographing in Anniston, has received widespread condemnation and, reportedly, numerous death threats after posting a message that deeply offended many veterans across a nation which honored their service and sacrifice on Tuesday.

“For my yearly Veterans Day speech, to all veterans, you are not heroes,” wrote Schuette. “You got paid to learn how to fight and kill for profit. You served your leader. You followed the rules and made it out of whatever country you terrorized alive.”

“You got a check and a holiday,” Schuette continued. “You never fought for any of my freedoms! You fought for corporate interests…You never sacrificed for this country…You did so for your government owners…You did nothing for American citizens…You wanna meet heroes? Well, shake hands with civilian EMTs, nurses, firefighters, lawyers and anyone in the ACLU…Please feel free to add some more heroes below but Veterans are you not American heroes.”

Unsurprisingly, Schuette’s post quickly went viral in a nation steeped in martial reverence. Military supporters sent him more than 1,400 emails, 200 text messages and hundreds of voicemails, many of them angry, some allegedly containing death threats.

“I’ve dealt with over 20 death threats of me and my family, my wife, my two daughters,” Schuette told WIAT.

Outrage was intense in Anniston, home of Anniston Army Depot and Fort McClellan.

“My dad was a Vietnam veteran. My son’s in the US Army,” local Chris Hamett told WIAT. “I got a cousin is in the US Army and I don’t understand why you would want say something like that on Veterans’ Day of all. It makes me mad. It just makes me mad. It really does.”

Schuette, whose grandfather and stepfather served in the military, has since removed his offensive post and apologized to anyone he may have hurt.

“I’ve spent the last 12 hours on the phone with veterans all across the nation who have called me, let me know their feelings and told me their stories,” he told ABC 33/40. “I am very humbled. I am very apologetic. I have taken down the post.”

“I did not mean for it to get out,” Schuette said of his post. “My anger was misplaced. I am angry at the machine that sends out children to war senselessly,” he added.

Schuette’s message — that was is a racket which benefits a privileged elite at the cost of those who fight it and their innocent victims — is not new, and has even been embraced by some of the most decorated veterans throughout US history. The most famous of these, Marine Corps Major General Smedley Butler, a two-time recipient of the nation’s highest military honor, the Congressional Medal of Honor, delivered a major speech titled “War Is a Racket” throughout the 1930s. An excerpt:

War is just a racket… It is conducted for the benefit of the very few at the expense of the masses… The flag follows the dollar and the soldiers follow the flag. I wouldn’t go to war again as I have done to protect some lousy investment of the bankers. There are only two things we should fight for. One is the defense of our homes and the other is the Bill of Rights. War for any other reason is simply a racket.

I spent 33 years and four months in active military service as a member of this country’s most agile military force, the Marine Corps… and during that period, I spent most of my time being a high class muscle-man for Big Business, for Wall Street and for the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer; a gangster for capitalism.

Veterans and their supporters repeatedly said that although Schuette has the freedom to post his remarks, targeting those who they claim fought and died for his freedom to do so is highly disrespectful. Schuette seemed to get the message.

“I do understand my comment was very harsh. I sometimes say controversial things but I’ve never had anything like this,” he told Alabama.com. “I took my anger out on the victims of the whole thing. I’m mad at the system that puts our kids out there to die.”

Schuette told Alabama.com he plans on quitting his job at Outlaw Gun Repair and Hydrographing in a bid to avoid harming his wife’s business.

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One Comment

  1. David MacKAYNovember 19, 2014 at 1:45 pmReply

    Shuetts Free Speech was more a sneer at veterans and the military.
    How do you take back a sneer?
    Consequently Mr. Schuette is going through a deserved “free Speech experience”. The kind that sets the speaker “Free to move, Free to change careers, and free to just “get the hell out of Doge”
    Remember before you ever hit enter…
    “Best be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.”

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