Soldier Crosses the Line

When those in authority let the rush of power overtake them, it is time for them to be relieved of duty. Whether they are a soldier in Iraq, a policeman or a politician, they still have to obey the law and respect others’ rights. Those that disregard these rules cause more harm than good.

I firmly support American troops. I have always been a staunch ally of the police. I actually do still believe that most politicians want to serve the public well. In every profession, there are the few miscreants who drag everyone else down into the muck with them. No matter how much we believe in a cause, these individuals cannot be overlooked or simply swept away. They must be called to account for their words and deeds.

That is what I am going to do right now. In the June 15 issue of Newsweek, there was an article titled, “Love is a Battlefield: For Some Soldiers, There’s No Place Like Combat.” From its title, it is clear this article discussed the gung-ho nature of some soldiers — the ones we need fighting for us on the front lines; the ones who enjoy the fight and want to be there.

My issue is not with them. My issue is with one in particular and his misguided, and I believe, certifiable statements. His name is Staff Sgt. Shaun McBride and he needs help.

Discussing his love of being in a warzone, McBride, a street-racing enthusiast, said he even liked driving more in Iraq. “(There, you) do whatever you want on the road. You own the road…You can go into people’s houses without being invited in. It’s like you own the house.”

I was floored by that statement and by the reporter’s cavalier attitude to what this lunatic just told him. The reporter states in the next sentence that McBride is a “soldier’s soldier.” I do not agree with that at all. That is merely a continuation of the age-old “boys will be boys” attitude, with a shake of the head and a smile as one child beats another one down.

Now, I readily admit I am no expert. I have never served in the military. I have only on a few occasions been faced with the threat of possible death. Perhaps if I had more of these experiences, my perspective would be altered. I am a just a citizen like the more than 95 percent of us who are not active in the military.

Usually, I am all for the military. I believe they have one of the toughest jobs there is and they do it well. I appreciate their efforts to protect my freedom and allow me to continue to write articles such as this one. But, I also believe that when someone crosses a line, they should be put back in their place.

When someone begins to feel and act like they own your house, where does that end exactly? Do they own your wife, too? Do they own your daughter? Do they own you?

McBride can own the road all he wants, but he is not the boss in my home. I don’t care how big his rifle is. This is my house. This is my wife. These are my children. You mess with them and we are going to have an issue. The consequences to myself will be the least of my concerns.

The military is trying to “win the hearts and minds” of the people of Iraq. I do not see soldiers such as McBride as being an asset in that cause. His comments certainly are detrimental to it.

Some people may wonder why the Iraqis turned on us. We were, after all, their liberators from a repressive regime. I loved that we toppled Saddam. He deserved it. But, immediately after the victory and even now, soldiers like McBride caused, and continue to cause, harm — not only to the people of Iraq, but to all of us.

I cannot believe there is anyone who can honestly say if a man with a large rifle came into their  house, acting like he owned the place, they would be okay with that and not want him out. Not just out of your house, but out of your country. People would rise up and fight — thus, an insurgency is born.

If people believe you are acting in their best interests, they will respond with undertanding and respect. If people believe you are out to cause them harm, they will respond with fear and violence. Coming in to a country, or a house, as the case may be, to clean it up is one thing — coming in to clean it out is an entirely new deal.

Edited by Bre Bivens and Rikki Miller — Thank you for your help!


17 responses to “Soldier Crosses the Line

  1. Georgia Auckly

    Dear John,

    In all fields, there are some who belong there and others who would be better off working somewhere else. I have a nephew who when he received a care package from home, would share the candy with the little children in Iraq. I’m sure they’ll remember that an American soldier was kind to them. He was in the Marines. Now he is studying to be a police officer and a good one he will be I am sure!

    • VanPelt's Vantage

      Dear Georgia,

      I am in complete accord with you. I believe your nephew is a fine, upstanding young man (I think I have met him on a few occasions). My only concern is with Sgt. McBride and my belief that his service should be concluded at this time. Thank you and have a wonderful day.


      John VanPelt

  2. Tayci Berry(:

    Mr, VanPelt,
    For awhile now i have wanted to be a U.S. Marine. I think that the thought of being a part of something is larger than yourself, is incredible. That is my dream, and when i turn eighteen, i will pursue it.
    This man has me feeling embarrassed to say that dream.
    He is taking advantage of his powers, and putting us all in danger. Eventually these Iraqis are going to get sick of being treated like they are owned. And they are going to(possibly) start fighting back. I know not every U.S. solider is as arrogant as this man, but just the thought that this man is fighting for our country, makes us all look like him. Its upsetting. It really is.

    –>tayci brii.

    • VanPelt's Vantage


      I think it is wonderful that you wish to serve your country in the armed forces. If that is what you desire, go for it. You would be an asset to whichever branch you choose. I will worry about you, but I worry about you all anyway.

      Don’t ever be embarrassed to state your dream. There is no profession in which you cannot find some bad eggs. I am a teacher and there have been plenty of teachers who have embarrassed us all. While this upsets me as well, it will never diminish my pride in being a teacher.

      As I stated in my article, the majority of soldiers do their jobs well and serve their country honorably. I believe Sgt. McBride has served his country honorably during his career. My only real point is that it is time for him to stand down.

      Thank you, Tayci. I wish you all the best in your future endeavors. Godspeed.


      John VanPelt

      • Great answer to the youngster. It’s important to realize dreams and you gave her advice she should take to heart.

        The military does more than just participating in “war games”. They empower the people that join their ranks, teach them skills above and beyond combat.

        Don’t let one jerk discourage you.

        • Vantage Point Productions

          Thanks, Tim. She is a wonderful person with an alpha personality. She will definitely make for a fine military leader someday, if that’s what she desires.


  3. bobby rabinowitz

    i agree he needs to be put back in his place and ya we do more harm than good. and ya if someone came into my house wit a rifle im sure i would go down and grab one of my guns and shoot the dumb ace. sorry for the language

    • VanPelt's Vantage


      By no means do I advocate violence, unless the situation leaves no other option. I just wanted to make that clear. But, like you, if someone comes in my home to cause my family harm, I am going to fight back using whatever means necessary. I would try other tactics prior to resorting to violence, but sometimes, there is no choice.

      Also, don’t worry about the language. You said “ace;” I don’t have a problem with that word! LOL.

      Take care and thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts! It is much appreciated by me, Bobby!


      John VP

  4. I think Mr. McBride’s military tour is done. He needs to get counseling.

    I think the problem is systematic however, and should not be wholly the blame of this one individual, he’s only responsible for what he says and does, part of which the system instilled in him.

    • VanPelt's Vantage


      You are so right about that. I completely agree that much of his attitude is a natural outgrowth of his training.

      An analogy would be like the players getting fired up talking about “crushing” their opponents before a football game. I’m sure soldiers have to get pumped up before going into battle.

      Maybe this all ocmes back to context again. He was being interviewed while at home with his wife, while waiting for his FIFTH tour of duty to begin. It would be different if he was being interviewed in the middle of a firefight.

      Back to the football analogy, McBride is like a player on steroids. He can’t stop the anger; he can’t shut off the adrenaline. He can’t handle down time because the chemicals are coursing through his veins. He is in desperate need of an antidote!

      Thanks for your insightful comments, Tim. They always further my thinking.


      John VP

  5. it was an astonishing article!! i loved it beginning to end!!! keep writing ur site is officially added to my favorites!!

    • VanPelt's Vantage


      Thank you so much. I am so happy you enjoyed the article. It is an honor to be in your favorites! Take care. You are a great editor!


      John VP

  6. “McBride can own the road all he wants, but he is not the boss in my home. I don’t care how big his rifle is. This is my house. This is my wife. These are my children.”

    I believe its god’s house, children, and other belongings. but i understand what you mean. your articles are so great, i will keep following you.

    • VanPelt's Vantage


      I understand what you are saying. We are all God’s children. I just meant right here, right now, if someone came bursting through my door with a gun, taking over my home, how would I respond to that?

      I am glad you like my articles and wish to follow my blog. That is what I am here for, after all. It is great to have such a bright young man interested in what I have to say.

      Take care,

      John VP

  7. No problem! I loved it and I totally agree… one should misuse their power.

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