Massachusetts Cop Forum banner


3953 Views 30 Replies 22 Participants Last post by  BartA1
Before you read this article, let me go on record and say that I am 100% against this author and the contents of the article. I just want everyone to know the trash that is out there.

From the editorial section of the UMass Newspaper "The Collegian,":

"Pat Tillman is not a hero: He got what was coming to him

By Rene Gonzalez
April 28, 2004

When the death of Pat Tillman occurred, I turned to my friend who was watching the news with me and said, "How much you want to bet they start talking about him as a 'hero' in about two hours?" Of course, my friend did not want to make that bet. He'd lose. In this self-critical incapable nation, nothing but a knee-jerk "He's a hero" response is to be expected.

I've been mystified at the absolute nonsense of being in "awe" of Tillman's "sacrifice" that has been the American response. Mystified, but not surprised. True, it's not everyday that you forgo a $3.6 million contract for joining the military. And, not just the regular army, but the elite Army Rangers. You know he was a real Rambo, who wanted to be in the "real" thick of things. I could tell he was that type of macho guy, from his scowling, beefy face on the CNN pictures. Well, he got his wish. Even Rambo got shot in the third movie, but in real life, you die as a result of being shot. They should call Pat Tillman's army life "Rambo 4: Rambo Attempts to Strike Back at His Former Rambo 3 Taliban Friends, and Gets Killed."

But, does that make him a hero? I guess it's a matter of perspective. For people in the United States, who seem to be unable to admit the stupidity of both the Afghanistan and Iraqi wars, such a trade-off in life standards (if not expectancy) is nothing short of heroic. Obviously, the man must be made of "stronger stuff" to have had decided to "serve" his country rather than take from it. It's the old JFK exhortation to citizen service to the nation, and it seems to strike an emotional chord. So, it's understandable why Americans automatically knee-jerk into hero worship.

However, in my neighborhood in Puerto Rico, Tillman would have been called a "pendejo," an idiot. Tillman, in the absurd belief that he was defending or serving his all-powerful country from a seventh-rate, Third World nation devastated by the previous conflicts it had endured, decided to give up a comfortable life to place himself in a combat situation that cost him his life. This was not "Ramon or Tyrone," who joined the military out of financial necessity, or to have a chance at education. This was a "G.I. Joe" guy who got what was coming to him. That was not heroism, it was prophetic idiocy.

Tillman, probably acting out his nationalist-patriotic fantasies forged in years of exposure to Clint Eastwood and Rambo movies, decided to insert himself into a conflict he didn't need to insert himself into. It wasn't like he was defending the East coast from an invasion of a foreign power. THAT would have been heroic and laudable. What he did was make himself useful to a foreign invading army, and he paid for it. It's hard to say I have any sympathy for his death because I don't feel like his "service" was necessary. He wasn't defending me, nor was he defending the Afghani people. He was acting out his macho, patriotic crap and I guess someone with a bigger gun did him in.

Perhaps it's the old, dreamy American thought process that forces them to put sports greats and "larger than life" sacrificial lambs on the pedestal of heroism, no matter what they've done. After all, the American nation has no other role to play but to be the cheerleaders of the home team; a sad role to have to play during conflicts that suffer from severe legitimacy and credibility problems.

Matters are a little clearer for those living outside the American borders. Tillman got himself killed in a country other than his own without having been forced to go over to that country to kill its people. After all, whether we like them or not, the Taliban is more Afghani than we are. Their resistance is more legitimate than our invasion, regardless of the fact that our social values are probably more enlightened than theirs. For that, he shouldn't be hailed as a hero, he should be used as a poster boy for the dangerous consequences of too much "America is #1," frat boy, propaganda bull. It might just make a regular man irrationally drop $3.6 million to go fight in a conflict that was anything but "self-defense." The same could be said of the unusual belief of 50 percent of the American nation that thinks Saddam Hussein was behind Sept. 11. One must indeed stand in awe of the amazing success of the American propaganda machine. It works wonders.

Al-Qaeda won't be defeated in Afghanistan, even if we did kill all their operatives there. Only through careful and logical changing of the underlying conditions that allow for the ideology to foster will Al-Qaeda be defeated. Ask the Israelis if 50 years of blunt force have eradicated the Palestinian resistance. For that reason, Tillman's service, along with that of thousands of American soldiers, has been wrongly utilized. He did die in vain, because in the years to come, we will realize the irrationality of the War on Terror and the American reaction to Sept. 11. The sad part is that we won't realize it before we send more people like Pat Tillman over to their deaths.

Rene Gonzalez is a UMass graduate student."

Is this Rene Gonzalez for REAL???
See less See more
Not open for further replies.
1 - 1 of 31 Posts
UMass student hiding after death threats
Friday, April 30, 2004
[email protected]

AMHERST - A University of Massachusetts student is in hiding after reportedly receiving death threats stemming from a column he wrote in Wednesday's Daily Collegian.

Rene L. Gonzalez's column in the campus newspaper portrayed former National Football League player Pat Tillman, killed in battle last week, as "an idiot" for leaving football to join the Army Rangers.

Gonzalez's column said Tillman was not a hero but a fool for joining the elite Rangers and, consequently, getting shot and killed April 22 in Afghanistan.

The column has sparked a national outcry and triggered sharp criticism, including from the Massachusetts Senate, the university's president and the campus community.

Yesterday, in a brief e-mail to a television reporter from CBS affiliate WBZ-TV in Boston, Gonzalez, 25, apologized to Tillman's family, but declined to be interviewed. Gonzalez has also not responded to The Republican's requests for comment.

"I felt that his celebrity had been a factor in American society calling him a 'hero,' and I felt American society had arrived at that conclusion without much thinking, but rather as some sort of patriotic 'knee-jerk' into hero worship," Gonzalez wrote in the e-mail. "That was my point. I did it (admittedly) in such an insensitive way, that the article was not worth publishing."

Dan Lamothe, the Collegian's managing editor, said yesterday that Gonzalez told the paper's staff that he had received death threats Wednesday night. The staff has not heard from Gonzalez since.

Amherst Police Lt. Scott P. Livingstone said a member of Gonzalez's family talked to officers yesterday about the threats, but did not file a formal complaint.

The state Senate yesterday approved a resolution of condemnation, with one member, Sen. Robert Hedlund, R-Weymouth, calling Gonzalez a "nitwit."

University President Jack M. Wilson called Gonzalez's opinion column "a disgusting, arrogant and intellectually immature attack on a human being who died in service to his country."

"We are fortunate that so many people like Pat Tillman have made the sacrifices necessary to protect the free speech rights of Mr. Gonzalez, myself and our fellow citizens," said Wilson yesterday in his prepared statement.

The University's Student Government Association President, Jared Nokes, has also called for the resignation of Gonzalez from his position in the Office of African, Latino, Asian, and Native American Affairs at the Amherst campus. That office is funded primarily by the association.

Safety Pat Tillman turned down a $3.6 million contract playing with the Arizona Cardinals in 2002 to enlist with the Army. Tillman was promoted posthumously from specialist to corporal.

Gonzalez, a graduate student studying for a doctorate in political science, denounced Tillman in his column, which ran next to another student-written column praising Tillman as a hero.

Gonzalez's piece likened Tillman to a romantic Rambo.

"They should call Pat Tillman's army life "Rambo 4: Rambo Attempts to Strike Back at his former Rambo 3 Taliban Friends, and Gets Killed," wrote Gonzalez.

Americans, he wrote, can't admit the "stupidity of the Afghanistan and Iraqi wars."

"This was a "G.I. Joe" guy who got what was coming to him. That was not heroism, it was prophetic idiocy," Gonzalez wrote.

Gonzalez's small family home at The Hollow in Amherst was silent yesterday, with duct tape covering the house number in an apparent effort to deter the media. No one was home.

Gonzalez's next-door neighbor, Mary Rives, characterized him as a liberal and active student politician, with "politically progressive" views. He had been active in the campaign to stop bomb testing on Vieques Island in the family's native Puerto Rico, she said.

Gonzalez is also a musician whose at-home jam sessions with his father and brother often caught her attention, Rives said.

"I can't defend the lack of consideration he gave (the Tillman family). I would have preferred (Gonzalez) deliver his message in a more sensitive way," said Rives.

But the right to free speech is paramount, she said. The national furor over Gonzalez's column is really a reflection of the often blindly pro-military attitude adopted by Americans after the Sept. 11 attacks, she noted.

The Collegian newsroom was flooded with calls and Internet postings yesterday. So many people were accessing the server that it shut down, said Lamothe and Sports Editor Andrew S. Merritt.

"We've been getting hate mail in the sports (e-mail) account," he said.

Merritt and the paper's editorial board wrote a response to the brouhaha in yesterday's edition.

While the paper, which is financially independent of the university system, may not endorse Gonzalez's views, its pages remain a place for students to express their constitutional right to free speech, said the editorial.

Material from the Associated Press was used in this story.
See less See more
1 - 1 of 31 Posts
Not open for further replies.