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Publius / April 28, 2015

Vietnam Veteran to Rioters: Do Something With Your Lives

Some of the images coming from the Baltimore riots are reminiscent of a war zone, but contrary to some mainstream media news reports not everything is disheartening. In fact, Vietnam Veteran Robert Valentine, someone who’s been in an actual war zone, surprised many with a valiant act you’d expect from America’s bravest. Valentine situated himself between law enforcement and rioters, catching the attention of CNN. When asked to identify himself, he responded, “I’m just a soldier.” What he said next is a lesson for every rioter: “I did 30 years [in the service]. … I’ve seen more than all this. I’ve been through the riots already. This right here is not relevant. They need to have their butts at home. They need to be in their home units with their families studying and doing something with their [lives], not out here protesting… They do not respect this young man’s death. … I love my country, I love my city, and I’m an American. I’m not black, white, red, yellow, or nothing. I am American.”

On a related note, the turmoil that’s overcome Baltimore has also angered Freddie Gray’s own family. Richard Shipley, Freddie’s stepfather, said, “To see that it turned into all this violence and destruction, I am really appalled.” His mother added, “Don’t tear up the whole city just for him. That’s wrong.”

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