Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Case of autistic Marine brings recruiting problems to the forefront

Here is an incredibly sad article from the Los Angeles Times about a young man with high-functioning autism who was recruited into the Marines. Not surprisingly, he didn't quite understand the rules, being yelled at constantly by his drill instructors, and all the other matters faced by a new recruit at boot camp. So, he simply decided to leave to go home (to a group home where he had been living when he signed up) but didn't make it out the gate. When his drill instructors finally learned he had autism, instead of having him evaluated for discharge, they simply eased up on him; so he could get through boot camp successfully.

He did get through the eleven-week program (somehow). He was then sent to Camp Pendleton for infantry training. Shortly thereafter, he was arrested for desertion and another crime. That was one year ago. That's right: He has been in the brig at Camp Pendleton for one year. He is also facing another charge, FRAUDULENT ENLISTMENT. The young man is under a conservatorship and cannot legally enter into a contract by himself. A motion to dismiss the charges against him on the ground that he didn't have the legal capacity to enlist was denied. Another hearing in this matter is scheduled for July 27th.

PLEASE pass on this post to everyone else you know who might want to help this young man. Also send it to your Representative and Senators.


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