|Margaret Anderson and Benjamin Barnes|
The shooting death of Rainier National Park Ranger Margaret Anderson is a rare event in the Park Service, which makes it all the more awful and frightening. Parks are supposed to be wonderful, enjoyable, places, not killing fields. And my heart goes out to the children she left behind - children who will grow up without a mother.
But her killer, Benjamin Colton Barnes, is also a victim in this. He's a victim of a wasted, probably illegal, war we prosecuted in Iraq, which has killed and and damaged untold millions of lives. He came back from that war - like too many of our veterans, with post-traumatic-stress-syndrome and did not or could not get the proper treatment for it. It is quite clear from his actions prior to Anderson's murder that Barnes was psychologically damaged by that war. I feel sorry for him and our many other soldiers who bore the burden of that war while the rest of us went about our lives here in the United States.
The Iraq War - this phase of it, anyway - is over for the United States. But, over the next years, it will continue to claim many victims like Anderson and Barnes.