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Brutal Honesty
May 4, 2004 9:20 AM   Subscribe

Pat Tillman's memorial ceremony was going as planned: John McCain spoke, American flags waved, the Army and the NFL stood together, all mourning their lost colleague. It was going as planned until Pat's brother spoke: "Pat isn't with God,'' he said. "He's f -- ing dead. He wasn't religious. So thank you for your thoughts, but he's f -- ing dead.''
posted by falconred (115 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
"I told you that you would die in your sins, for unless you believe that I am he you will die in your sins." -John 8:24
posted by aaronshaf at 9:30 AM on May 4, 2004


Now THAT'S a eugoogly.
posted by Robot Johnny at 9:32 AM on May 4, 2004


Wow! They sure didn't show that on the news yesterday.

I was very sad to see no-talent ass-clown Jim Rome speaking at the ceremony. Not to put words in Tillman's mouth, but he must have been rolling over in his grave.
posted by vito90 at 9:35 AM on May 4, 2004


I've always wanted to say something like that at a funeral. I know people have their coping mechanisms, but seeing religious funerals organised for non-religious people pisses me right off.
posted by reklaw at 9:35 AM on May 4, 2004


I had just come here to post that. What a breath of fresh air. . .
posted by Danf at 9:36 AM on May 4, 2004


eugoogly? Sounds like a new service from google.
posted by milnak at 9:38 AM on May 4, 2004


That's pretty refreshing (if not very polite). I hate how people always drag up these religious platitudes without bothering to check what the deceased's religious beliefs actually were.
posted by widdershins at 9:40 AM on May 4, 2004


No, no. His brother got it wrong. Heaven needed another angel, so God took Pat.
posted by Mayor Curley at 9:40 AM on May 4, 2004


San Dimas highschool football rules!
posted by xmutex at 9:43 AM on May 4, 2004


I watched bits and pieces of this on Sports Center last night while my SO was waiting for baseball scores and the brother in question was also drinking a beer during his speech. Which I thought was pretty cool.

I also applaud the guy's honesty in not letting his brother's death get turned into a "God called him home to die for his country" schlock-fest.
posted by jennyb at 9:44 AM on May 4, 2004


Wow.

Pat Tillman's dead and - in this case - the "only the good die young" saying seems to apply pretty aptly. But his brother's still alive, and he has guts.
posted by troutfishing at 9:47 AM on May 4, 2004


seeing religious funerals organised for non-religious people pisses me right off.

If someone's f--in' dead, who's the funeral for?

Not that I think that some real remarks like this aren't appropriate.
posted by namespan at 9:50 AM on May 4, 2004


As much as I'd like to say something like that on occasion, I know that there are people in my family who use religion as a coping mechanism. I wouldn't pull that out from under them only to offer my steely rationalism as a replacement.

But I'll raise a pint of Guinness for Pat and thank his brother for letting me know who he really was.
posted by 2sheets at 9:51 AM on May 4, 2004


I caught bits and pieces of the cermony yesterday as well while I was hooking up a wireless network for some friends. I would have never known that Pat wasn't a religious guy without reading this today. So, I'll second what 2sheets said above. Thanks to his brother for some additional insight.
posted by rglasmann at 9:55 AM on May 4, 2004


I think times of grief, in the case of certain more stable families, may be the best time to push away the religion and acknowledge that he's gone so we can compensate with genuine love and admiration instead of holding it back somewhat with mind games about how he's not really gone and we'll see him later.
posted by abcde at 9:59 AM on May 4, 2004


"What a breath of fresh air. . ."

Seriously. Id like to shake his hand.

Reminds me of a funeral I went to for a guy who was not religious. Somehow, there was a preacher there officiating, and half way through the sermon (all his friends were visibly upset at the preacher), his mom walked up and asked the preacher to sit down, said he wouldnt have wanted this. The rest of the funeral was run by his friends and family telling stories about his life. It was very brave, moving, extremely meaningful.

I think ill write it into my will that there will be no religious mumbojumbo at my funeral.
posted by fillsthepews at 10:02 AM on May 4, 2004


I hate how people always drag up these religious platitudes without bothering to check what the deceased's religious beliefs actually were.

I always figure the content of funerals and memorials will reflect the sensibilities of the surviving immediate next-of-kin. If they are religious, fine, the dead are past caring anyway. If they are not, well, watch out...
posted by y2karl at 10:03 AM on May 4, 2004


So, he was a real person, and not just a one-dimensional symbol du jour? That whole article is great. Thanks.
posted by whatnot at 10:03 AM on May 4, 2004


Thanks to falconred for the link...it gives me some insight into the real Pat Tillman, and it seems he is the kind of person I would liked to have known.

Unlike our own aaronshaf, who has taken this opportunity to gloat in a most un-Christian manner.
posted by malocchio at 10:04 AM on May 4, 2004


It doesn't matter if he wasn't religious, God was on the clock and heaven drafted him. Then he was traded to the Giants.
posted by Stan Chin at 10:07 AM on May 4, 2004


Great link. I certainly didn't see that in the paper, which is a shame, because the brother and the story about dressing in drag and the dog tags are what made it a story, a story about a human being, and not some meaningless ceremony, co-opted in the name of creating a lesson, an icon, or a religious or political point.
posted by livii at 10:10 AM on May 4, 2004


y2karl: "I always figure the content of funerals and memorials will reflect the sensibilities of the surviving immediate next-of-kin."

not always ...

Many celebrities and politicians were among the approximately 3,000 people who came out in his hometown Monday ...

i caught some of his dad's speech on the news, and it was also slightly off-kilter, something like "I don't know what the Rangers motto was, but Pat probably took it to the limit. I'll look it up later. He did things that way. He always enjoyed it."

kind of interesting story, but i can't imagine why everyone cares so much. i suppose he represents everything America wants its soldiers to be, but being dead makes almost everybody look better.
posted by mrgrimm at 10:16 AM on May 4, 2004


Jesus. I'm not religious in the least but I couldn't possibly imagine doing something like that. I suppose I'm a traditionalist or something, but I wouldn't use a funeral as the best place to point that out. Seems like an editorial by the brother after the fact would have been what I expected.

aaronshaf, is that supposed to mean god hated Pat for denying him and killed Pat because of it, and you're happy things worked out this way? Please explain to me that you're not saying that. Please.
posted by mathowie at 10:16 AM on May 4, 2004


Best. Eulogy. Ever.
posted by angry modem at 10:19 AM on May 4, 2004


"I told you that you would die in your sins, for unless you believe that I am he you will die in your sins." -John 8:24

The wages of sin are death, but the salary of virtue is the same, and the wicked get Sundays off.
posted by mr_roboto at 10:20 AM on May 4, 2004


I know you smoke, I know you drink that brew
I just can't abide a sinner like you
God can't either, that's why I know it to be true that
Jesus loves me--but he can't stand you. - Austin Lounge Lizards
posted by SteveInMaine at 10:23 AM on May 4, 2004


Go brother!

The wages of sin are death...

Yeah, but after taxes, it's just kind of a tired feeling.
posted by dejah420 at 10:24 AM on May 4, 2004


mathowie: He could be saying that the people who claim he's in heaven are wrong by their own belief system, so even if the Bible was right, they're still being dishonest bastards.
posted by abcde at 10:25 AM on May 4, 2004


Wow, the article is superb and demonstrates just what an amazing guy he really was. It sucks that it took his death to bring him to national attention.

His brother was right to speak out and tell people to holster their religious bromides though. Its inappropriate to saddle the living or the dead with your religious beliefs. Inappropriate and highly disrespectful.

I know lots of people are horrified that he would have the gall to say what he did but he has more right than anyone else to speak for his brother.

The more I've learned about Pat Tillman, the more of a sense of loss I feel. He was a true patriot, a thinking warrior and his loss will continue to be felt for years to come.
posted by fenriq at 10:28 AM on May 4, 2004


Thanks for this link -- I was extremely sceptical of the coverage of this story (another Jessica Lynch-type story designed to create a hero) but the straightforward honesty of his brother at the funeral sets this apart. It humanized Tillman, and made his death much more tragic than any canned faux-religious-politcal-football packaging the Washington media handlers were trying to push. It makes me very sorry to know such a man is gone.

I'll be raising a toast to his memory this Friday -- I encourage others to do so as well.
posted by mooncrow at 10:33 AM on May 4, 2004


This does certainly upset the stereotype of the "all American boy" who, even if he enjoys some wine and women, still believes in God and talks about the day he got saved.

Atheism, after all, is supposed to be the province of liberal coastal elitists, not all-American sports and military heros.
posted by deanc at 10:33 AM on May 4, 2004


I'm not sure the brother's point was to make Tillman's religious beliefs known to the world. In my opinion, his statement was meant to reflect the fact that he had a lost a brother, and others had lost a friend, and he would not allow any amount of fervor, religious, political, or otherwise, minimize the fact that a young man is dead.

That's the point here. It's not about a hero, or a Christian, or any other label you can assign to the man post-humously. It's about the capacity for war (or fate, or whatever) to rob us of individuals as expectional as Mr. Tillman. Requiescat in pace.
posted by mmcg at 10:37 AM on May 4, 2004


Well, I'm stunned.

Count me in with Matt. I mean, dang, that wouldn't have been that much different from me going up there and saying the poor man was going to hell.

I do have to agree that if the deceased isn't religious that people should just shut up and not talk about them being with God or whatnot-just talk about their life and stuff.

aaronshaf, is that supposed to mean god hated Pat for denying him and killed Pat because of it

Matt, that's not what the verse means. God doesn't go around looking for unbelievers to smite. Jesus came to save the world, not condemn it.
posted by konolia at 10:41 AM on May 4, 2004


[prostrates self before the altar of Dejah]
posted by clever sheep at 10:43 AM on May 4, 2004


Not to sound cold, but is there a transcript of the services available anywhere? I would imagine the portions broadcast on national TV would be available somewhere, or, is that not part of the information culture just yet?
posted by mmcg at 10:47 AM on May 4, 2004


mmcg, that may be what you take from it but I take it as his brother standing up for his beliefs (and maybe sharing some of his grief).

It is wrong to lay your beliefs on the dead. You disrespect his memory and his life by trying to take him under your religious wing without him being able to say that he doesn't want to b there. His brother stood up for him like a brother should.
posted by fenriq at 10:51 AM on May 4, 2004


The Washington Post's account. It sounds like a singular service for a singular person.
posted by coelecanth at 10:54 AM on May 4, 2004


What livii and others have said. I think Tillman would have been a good member here, and it's a shame that Tillman, and Jessica Lynch, etc, have to be turned into cardboard "hero" cutouts--it doesn't serve us well.

Meanwhile Ted Rall's in trouble for his Tillman cartoon.
posted by amberglow at 11:01 AM on May 4, 2004


Reading the dimensionalizing of Tillman, thinking about him as an actual person, to me not only makes fools out of those who would define him as a one-dimensional hero, but those who have made him out to be a one-dimensional idiot.
posted by kokogiak at 11:01 AM on May 4, 2004


Count me in with Matt. I mean, dang, that wouldn't have been that much different from me going up there and saying the poor man was going to hell.

It's the difference between correct and incorrect. Also, the difference between what Tillman believed and what he apparently didn't believe.

Also, I see no indication that Pat Tillman was any kind of hero. Sounds more like a blood-thirsty bastard who was willing to take a pay cut if it meant he could hurt people for real.
posted by Hildago at 11:04 AM on May 4, 2004


I'm with matt and 2sheets on this one.

I know that there are people in my family who use religion as a coping mechanism. I wouldn't pull that out from under them only to offer my steely rationalism as a replacement.

Exactly. I don't have a problem with people believing or not believing anything they want, but it wasn't the time or place.

On preview: Good to see Ted Rall is still a jerk. But he's not as bad as this guy.

I'm sure there's plenty of right-wingers using his death as a recruitment tool or as pro-war propoganda, but the fact remains that Tillman did what he did for reasons that are truly known only by Tillman himself. But now, as often happens when someone dies young and noteworthy, people are falling over themselves to see how the tragedy can be turned to their own political ends.

Sounds more like a blood-thirsty bastard who was willing to take a pay cut if it meant he could hurt people for real.

Or maybe just someone who sacrificed an easy life to do what he thought he had to do. I may disagree, but I admire the resolve. Assuming ugly motivations like that is disrespectful and just flat-out wrong and I'm surprised to hear it from you, Hildago.
posted by jonmc at 11:09 AM on May 4, 2004


Hildago, that's about the most cynical and nasty and kneejerky thing I've seen all year. Did you read the article, have you been paying attention?
posted by fenriq at 11:13 AM on May 4, 2004


mathowie> I wouldn't use a funeral as the best place to point that out.

His funeral sounds like it was hijacked. His family sounds like they came close to hijacking it back. More power to them.
posted by snarfodox at 11:16 AM on May 4, 2004


Yes, it's cynical and nasty, and disrespectful, but it's my opinion and I said that's what it was. You wouldn't believe how little regard I have for people willingly kill other people, whether they're famous or not.
posted by Hildago at 11:17 AM on May 4, 2004


I probably wouldn't have been so blunt at a funeral, but I can understand the brother's frustration. I have been at funerals where people just go on and on about how great a Christian/Jew/Muslim/Hindu the person was and neglect the deceased as an actual human. I went to one of an elderly man who was one of the sweetest, kindest, and most entertaining person most of us had known. I could think of dozens of stories about him which would have been appropriate and I didn't even know him that well. The speeches made, though? Not a word about any of that. Just about how much he studied the Torah. I can't imagine how pissed off I would have been if he had been my brother, killed in his prime, and a nonbeliever to boot.
posted by callmejay at 11:23 AM on May 4, 2004


I wouldn't use a funeral as the best place to point that out.

I suspect that the brother was probably finding the religious aspect unbearable and had to say something about it. I imagine for someone mourning a brother who wasn't religious, a religious funeral could be like adding insult to injury. Also, grief often overrides tact. I also don't think that the "coping mechanism" argument holds much water, unless Tillman's parents are religious and were there, since I think the family's wishes should take precedence. On the one hand, if the memorial service was arranged by people outside the family, then I guess the family doesn't have much say, but on the other hand, I think it's pretty insensitive to bring religion into a memorial service for an atheist, especially if the family who are present are also atheist. On preview, what snarfodox said.
posted by biscotti at 11:23 AM on May 4, 2004


Sounds more like a blood-thirsty bastard who was willing to take a pay cut if it meant he could hurt people for real.

You say this as if being allowed to kill was his only motivation for joining the military. Do you know this for a fact? Can you cite a source?
posted by whatnot at 11:28 AM on May 4, 2004


It's funny how people here think we should respect the religious preferences of the living at a funeral for someone who wasn't religious. Does that mean you would respect the non-religious preferences of the living at a funeral for someone who was devoutly religious, too? Or does it only cut one way?

Co-opting a funeral is despicable. It should be a time for the family and close friends of the deceased to remember who he was, not what a bunch of people who barely, if ever, heard of the guy before he died would like him to have been.
posted by GhostintheMachine at 11:29 AM on May 4, 2004


God doesn't go around looking for unbelievers to smite.

He doesn't need to since he outsourced that job to Jesus.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 11:33 AM on May 4, 2004


it's my opinion and I said that's what it was

Yeah, well, your opinion is wrong, bucko!
posted by rocketman at 11:34 AM on May 4, 2004


Although I agree that this story and the service both humanize Pat Tillman, why do we assume that his brother was frustrated that the funeral was religious in nature? Rather, perhaps he was frustrated that his brother was not so religious and was genuinely upset about Pat's future prospects.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 11:35 AM on May 4, 2004


jonmc> I know that there are people in my family who use religion as a coping mechanism. I wouldn't pull that out from under them only to offer my steely rationalism as a replacement.

I seriously doubt that anyone's faith has been shaken apart by that speech. Nobody's “use of religion as a coping mechanism” has been “pulled out from under them”. At worst there are now some people who think that the comments were rude and inappropriate. In any case, if people insist upon a public ceremony it is entirely appropriate that this man's belief system (or lack thereof) be represented. In my opinion it's also entirely appropriate that his family should be allowed to say whatever they want.
posted by snarfodox at 11:43 AM on May 4, 2004


His brother was right to speak out and tell people to holster their religious bromides though. Its inappropriate to saddle the living or the dead with your religious beliefs. Inappropriate and highly disrespectful.

A year or two ago, there was an accident involving my local transit company and an out of town family. The end result was the family losing their two year old in the accident.

Almost immediately following the accident, the now-obligatory memorial site sprang up: teddy bears, flowers, candles, poems etc.. As well, 2 very large and very prominent crosses were erected (one painstakingly crafted out of what appears to be cedar 4x4s).

The family is South Asian (Sri Lankan I believe) and as far as I know are not Christians. It makes me angry everytime I see that cross (twice a day during the week) that somebody "appropriated" the toddler's death with little or no regard to the parent's religion and/or believes. But I'm sure that whoever planted that cross is positive they have saved a child's soul by taking that action
posted by smcniven at 11:48 AM on May 4, 2004


Another human dead in a senseless war. He may have killed. He was killed. One wonders at the uniforms clothing the dead, rotting away, under the cleansing soil.
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 11:50 AM on May 4, 2004


monju_bosatsu, probably because it's too complicated. If Pat wasn't a religious man, then it's quite likely neither is his bro [rather than the opposite].
posted by dabitch at 11:55 AM on May 4, 2004


Hidalgo - "You wouldn't believe how little regard I have for people willingly kill other people,..."

So does that apply to people who kill (and possibly die) in the honest belief that by so doing they are saving the lives of other people? Leave aside the issue of whether the soldier in question is factually correct in that belief, after all you didn't call him a dupe - you called him a blood-thirsty bastard. Does your rule apply also to a police officer who deliberately shoots a criminal in defense of himself or innocent bystanders? I'm a pretty peaceable guy myself, but if a batch of gangsters was trying to kill a member of my family and my only way to stop them was to shoot them - I'd pull the trigger in a heartbeat. Does that mean that I'm a blood-thirsty bastard too?

Mind you, I'm not saying that the U.S effort in Afghanistan really was protecting more innocent lives than it took. I am saying that decent, honorable men and women could believe that was the case and give their lives accordingly. If you demonize those who disagree with your viewpoint, then you're contributing to the sort of mindset that often leads to wars in the first place.
posted by tdismukes at 11:59 AM on May 4, 2004


It's funny how people here think we should respect the religious preferences of the living at a funeral for someone who wasn't religious. Does that mean you would respect the non-religious preferences of the living at a funeral for someone who was devoutly religious, too? Or does it only cut one way?

Funerals are for the living. The dead guy obviously doesn't care about it, he's dead. Funerals/memorials are a way for the living to cope with death.

I do wonder what Tillman's wife thought, though. Everyone speaks of his parents and brother, but he was married, as well.
posted by SuzySmith at 11:59 AM on May 4, 2004


I can see where his brother's coming from. Interlopers come in and expressed what Tilman would've viewed as mumbo jumbo. They got called out for it. They got a much more gracious rebuke then they would've if say an Hindu expressed the belief that the deceased was going to be reincarnated as something good in the next life at the funeral of a fundamentalist Christian.

I don't believe there was malice behind any of it. Neither the offering of prayers nor the the calling out over offering the prayers. If anything it was a bit of thoughtlessness on both sides. In the case of a memorial I'm willing to cut more slack for the family than interlopers though. All of those A-list folks showing up have people whose job is making sure they don't make asses of themselves. They should've been tasked with the job to make sure any condolences were appropriate for the family and Pat.
posted by substrate at 12:01 PM on May 4, 2004


I'm with snarfodox et al.

I'd like to think that, if I were to die before my time, and if my death were turned into a political football, and my funeral a media event with sermonizing and religiosity, that someone who had been close to me would stand up and bluntly say "this is bullshit."

If you're going to have a funeral, remember the person for who he was, not who you want him to have been.

PS: for those who don't get it, "eugoogly" is a reference to the movie Zoolander (go see it).
posted by adamrice at 12:02 PM on May 4, 2004


callmejay, your comments do remind me of my own grandmother's wake, which after a rich full life of almost 90 years, was pretty much a 30 minute speech on how great jesus was. Many of the less-than-completely-devout catholics and myself in the family were kind of shocked that a man of the cloth basically used the event to evangelize to the people present.

I could see it being done as an attempt to help confused people coping with a good person dying, but it came off to a lot of us as a sales pitch from a guy that wanted to get a few more converts closer to being the leader on the caddilac board. After a minute or two of reflecting on her life, it was just all about the religion, which had nothing to do with death or her life in the slightest.

After reading the article, I can see why the brother said what he did. I was already really impressed with Tillman's sacrifice before, but reading about how thoughtful and quirky he was, I'm an even bigger fan and glad to hear he and his family are human, not some cookie-cutter jock-dies-in-the-middle-of-being-a-hero story.
posted by mathowie at 12:07 PM on May 4, 2004


Funerals are for the living. The dead guy obviously doesn't care about it, he's dead. Funerals/memorials are a way for the living to cope with death.

Suzy, aren't funerals also meant to honor and remember the person in question? If so, it seems odd to do so in a manner of which he or she wouldn't have approved. Having an overtly religious service for an atheist is like burying a lifelong vegan in a fur-lined casket. Sure, they're dead and probably won't protest much, but it's still disrespectful.
posted by purplemonkie at 12:15 PM on May 4, 2004


Sounds more like a blood-thirsty bastard who was willing to take a pay cut if it meant he could hurt people for real.

You've done an excellent job of making yourself sound uninformed and radically prejudiced.

My father was a Ranger. Are you suggesting I should be ashamed of my his blood thirst?
posted by mosch at 12:15 PM on May 4, 2004


After reading the article, I can see why the brother said what he did. I was already really impressed with Tillman's sacrifice before, but reading about how thoughtful and quirky he was, I'm an even bigger fan and glad to hear he and his family are human, not some cookie-cutter jock-dies-in-the-middle-of-being-a-hero story.

Amen. And whatever you may want to call him, depending upon your point-of-view, chickenhawk is not one of them.
posted by y2karl at 12:19 PM on May 4, 2004


You wouldn't believe how little regard I have for people willingly kill other people, whether they're famous or not.

I think that, under the right circumstances, everyone would be willing to kill someone else. Even you, Hildago.
posted by me & my monkey at 12:30 PM on May 4, 2004


Sounds more like a blood-thirsty bastard who was willing to take a pay cut if it meant he could hurt people for real.

If a foreign army was at our shores, and Tillman was saving you and your family from death/detention/torture/servitude you'd be on your knees thanking him for his sacrifice and physical abilities.

As it is, bullshit decisions by Tillman's superiors put him and other soldiers in a position where they are open to personal attacks on their character... but it is wrong to do so-- soldiers are sworn to protect your life, using all force ncessary, but they do not choose where and when to do this, that is up to politicians. You should thank them for being up to the challenge, but direct your anger towards the assholes who use them for selfish ends.
posted by chaz at 12:33 PM on May 4, 2004


"...under the right circumstances, everyone would be willing to kill someone else. Even you, Hildago."

I'd be willing to kill Hildago.

Or is that not what you're saying?

Kidding, of course.

Unless there's money involved.

Is there?

posted by mr_crash_davis at 12:37 PM on May 4, 2004


As soon as Tillman died, he was whisked off by the culture to serve the obligatory functions: to ennoble military service, to serve as an example for rich, entitled pro athletes, to prop up the collective ego of the nation, to show the world the honor and sacrifice a Christian nation is capable of.

I think Pat's brother just wanted to steal him back -- wanted him to be his brother again, and a human being. Well done.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 12:40 PM on May 4, 2004


...under the right circumstances, everyone would be willing to kill someone else. Even you, Hildago.

Depends. I've known people who wouldn't.

But none of them were people who'd fire off an angry, dismissive rant that cast aspersions upon the character of the dead. Someone who'd do that...I think he'd kill. Yeh.
posted by lodurr at 12:44 PM on May 4, 2004


Sorry, SuzySmith, that's a crock of shit. Turn it around and imagine a bunch of fanatical Moslems dancing and cheering over the grave of a dead Christian. According to your thinking, the Christian shouldn't care, he's dead, and their actions are fine because that's how they choose to "cope" with his death.

If the guy truly were an atheist (and non-religious does not necessarily equal atheist), you're showing complete and utter disrespect for him to bring up religion at his funeral. Keep your own fuckin' beliefs to yourself. When somebody tells me "he's in a better place" or "she's with loved ones gone before now" at a funeral for someone devout, I don't bring it upon myself to say "No, they're just plain dead. Learn to cope on your own without a damned crucifix for a crutch".

I just can't believe the utter idiocy of people of religion not understanding that there's a time and place for their faith, and the funeral of someone who doesn't share that faith ain't it. If you couldn't convert them while they were alive, give it a rest when they've died. Please.
posted by GhostintheMachine at 12:51 PM on May 4, 2004


Once again, Crash saves the day.
posted by deadcowdan at 12:52 PM on May 4, 2004


So does that apply to people who kill (and possibly die) in the honest belief that by so doing they are saving the lives of other people? Leave aside the issue of whether the soldier in question is factually correct in that belief, after all you didn't call him a dupe - you called him a blood-thirsty bastard. Does your rule apply also to a police officer who deliberately shoots a criminal in defense of himself or innocent bystanders? I'm a pretty peaceable guy myself, but if a batch of gangsters was trying to kill a member of my family and my only way to stop them was to shoot them - I'd pull the trigger in a heartbeat. Does that mean that I'm a blood-thirsty bastard too?

No. It means that you and I are just like the criminal or the gangster or the terrorist or the soldier who kills because HE, for whatever reason, believes that HIS violence alone is perfectly justified - that it is also necessary and right, that it is evil for a greater good. It means that separateness is the greatest illusion.

It means that a failure has occurred far down a long stream. It means that destroying those dams downstream and preventing their reconstruction will drain the swamp we find ourselves in. It means that climbing atop each other in our frantic attempts to flee the rising water just backs the swamp further.

Tillman, and the similar young men who swore allegiance ala Bin Laden or Hussein, chose his path as they chose theirs. Now he has been senselessly shoveled under the same hot earth as so many of them. All are followers. None are heroes. All are heartbreak.

Waste. For fools' errands.
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 1:00 PM on May 4, 2004


You wouldn't believe how little regard I have for people willingly kill other people

It's a bit unjust, I think, that people who write things like this get to enjoy the freedom and security we all have thanks to the heroic men and women who are willing to kill the bastards who want to take us all back to the Dark Ages.
posted by mw at 1:02 PM on May 4, 2004


I just heard Sinclair Broadcasting is cancelling it's 2 hour Sunday showing of "Tillman - Soldier of Jesus"
posted by CrazyJub at 1:17 PM on May 4, 2004


Wow, some excellent thoughts and comments amid the trollish outbursts of those who enjoy the freedom but don't want to accept the fact that people die in the defense of it.

Tillman, from all accounts I've read, was an intelligent, thoughtful and articulate man who was deeply affected by the 9/11 tragedy. He saw it as his duty to go the defense of his country.

Funny thing is that he almost certainly would be defending Hildago's right to express his beliefs as much as those protesting the war.

Bloodthirsty bastard is wrong. He wasn't bloodthirsty, he was a patriot who died while trying to right a terrible wrong inflicted on his country.

How anyone can find fault with that is beyond me but its your right to find fault. Its disrespectful but it is your right.

As for theoritical circumstances that could cause anyone to kill someone. Sure, its pretty easy to come up with some. I'm sure some would lay down their own life before taking another but would they be willing to sacrifice the lives of all of their loved ones as well? Those would have to be some mighty strong convictions and I don't think anyone can justifiably say what they would do with any certainty until they are in that situation and have to decide. The will to survive is very, very strong.
posted by fenriq at 1:18 PM on May 4, 2004


It means that you and I are just like the criminal or the gangster or the terrorist or the soldier who kills because HE, for whatever reason, believes that HIS violence alone is perfectly justified - that it is also necessary and right, that it is evil for a greater good.

I suspect that most criminals and gangsters think that their actions are morally wrong. They simply don't care. Terrorists and soldiers, on the other hand, may believe their actions are morally right. I'm not sure what you're saying, though - are you saying that it's never right to kill someone else? Are you saying that, throughout the long history of mankind, there's never been a justified use of deadly force? If you are, I suspect you won't find many people who agree with you.
posted by me & my monkey at 1:19 PM on May 4, 2004


"No. It means that you and I ... It means that separateness is the greatest illusion...It means that a failure has occurred far down a long stream. ... All are heartbreak...
Waste. For fools' errands.
"

f&m - That's actually a viewpoint that I have a lot of respect for, although I don't agree with all of it. It's an important aspect of the truth, I think, though not all of the truth. My point to Hidalgo was that his casual demonization of others is the kind of thinking which promotes that "illusion of separateness" and ultimately makes wars more likely.
posted by tdismukes at 1:26 PM on May 4, 2004


No. It means that you and I are just like the criminal or the gangster or the terrorist or the soldier who kills because HE, for whatever reason, believes that HIS violence alone is perfectly justified - that it is also necessary and right, that it is evil for a greater good. It means that separateness is the greatest illusion.

So, by that logic, the soldiers who liberated Auschwitz are no better than the soldiers who guarded it.

The idea that violence is never justified is as ludicrous and as dangerous as the idea that it is the only solution. Reasonable people can differ on when violence is neccessary, but to say that we should shrink completely from defending ourselves, or those who cannot is insane.

This is why Gandhi often said that if cowardice is the only alternative to violence,
it is better to fight. ~Martin Luther King, Jr

posted by jonmc at 1:27 PM on May 4, 2004


If I die and you come to my funeral, assume any prosetylyzing will be done at my prior request. But I am sure there will be plenty of funny stories to go with.

One reason I hate funerals in general is that there are so very darn many ways to piss people off or hurt them during them. Feelings are raw, and mourners are in a hypersensitive state. Two of the last several funerals I have been to have been -well, ya coulda sold tickets. The third one was dignified, moving, filled with wonderful memories, and in all was the kind of funeral that most of us would have loved to have for ourselves.

Why don't we just give everyone a pass here? This man's death was a tragedy. It was a public tragedy in one sense, because of the story behind it-but it was also a very private one.
posted by konolia at 2:01 PM on May 4, 2004


aaronshaf, don't you have mormons to save or something better to do?

foldy, just wanted to say thanks for that prose. damn.

when i die i don't want a single mention of god at my funeral. just someone holding a boombox playing the flaming lips "do you realize" or something.

the tradition in my family is funerals that preach faith, repentence and baptism. So my wife will have a hard time dealing with my family perhaps, and i with hers if the situation is reversed. that is why we are drafting very specific instructions.

cheers to his brother...i would hope someone would do that for me.
posted by th3ph17 at 2:11 PM on May 4, 2004


fold_and_mutilate, that was very good. Thank you.

I do not think humanity will ever change its killing ways, but sometimes it's wonderful to hear someone else say that we are violent misguided animals with basic language capacity, it creates a thread of understanding.
posted by adzuki at 2:13 PM on May 4, 2004


when i die i don't want a single mention of god at my funeral. just someone holding a boombox playing the flaming lips "do you realize" or something.

I think I'd want "Five Stop Mother Superior Rain" myself.
posted by jennyb at 2:26 PM on May 4, 2004


aaronshaf, don't you have mormons to save or something better to do?

nah, the piece of garbage is too busy trying to convert the homos
posted by GeekAnimator at 2:27 PM on May 4, 2004


th3ph17, I got married last fall and, though we had an ordained minister perform the ceremony, she was totally cool with us removing all mention of God from the ceremony.

adzuki, violent misguided animals? How so? Nature is violent, nature requires animals to kill one another for food, to create the food chain. We are, by our nature, violent because we had to kill to survive and thrive.

I'd like to hear you explain your point of view a little more clearly.
posted by fenriq at 2:37 PM on May 4, 2004


I think the other side of this is the persistent myth that "there are no atheists in foxholes." In other words, no other religious or ethical group is routinely denied recognition for their role in military service.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 3:32 PM on May 4, 2004


The real problem is that there is no socially acceptable secular funeral. This kind of thing needs to be promoted and the non-religious should make a sincere effort to let their religious relatives understand the importance of not being branded a jesus freak after they're dead and cannot defend themselves anymore.

His brother did the right thing and is showing us that 'merica is changing.

I attended an atheist's funeral years ago which was co-opted by her fundie parents. It was disgusting and wrong. I don't care what the pew warmers think, disprespecting the dead is hardly the proper thing to do. Another glaring example of the hypocrisy of the religious.
posted by skallas at 4:16 PM on May 4, 2004


skallas: The real problem is that there is no socially acceptable secular funeral.

The other side to this coin, is that atheism is neither a religion, lifestyle, or society, and therefore provides no basis for building a common funeral practice.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 4:31 PM on May 4, 2004


I'm happy to say that when I delivered my sister's eulogy, amidst religious expressions of grief, I pointed out that at best we did not know what her religious beliefs were, and in all probability a close guess would be agnostic. I implied, but did not spell out, that encouraging attendees to focus on Christian religious belief unambiguously meant visualizing my sister in hell, which I found rude at best.

Which is what I think aaronshaf may be saying.

It was a long time ago, and I was very upset, but I don't think I used any expletives. There's little more soul-crippling than the loss of a sibling or a child. I hope Pat's family will cope.
posted by mwhybark at 4:37 PM on May 4, 2004


fenriq adzuki, violent misguided animals? How so? Nature is violent, nature requires animals to kill one another for food, to create the food chain. We are, by our nature, violent because we had to kill to survive and thrive.

Not all animals are "required to kill".
There are plenty that do not. Nature has examples of symbiosis as well as of predation. But that is not relevant.

Humans have not, for a long time, lived in a state of nature as you invoke it, and although we are animals in a purely scientific, biological sense, semantically we draw a sharp distinction between humans and animals.

Each of us has a choice - to embrace a primal animal urge to violence, or to reject it.
The majority embrace it. But perhaps, just maybe, there is a slim hope that the majority is getting less overwhelming.
posted by yoz420 at 5:09 PM on May 4, 2004


Sorry, I'm still not going to give a pass to someone who signed up to kill other people for absolutely no good reason. You may decide to, based on what newspaper articles and television reports say about him, but none of us know the truth, so we're basing our opinions entirely on speculation. Your speculation derives from what you've been told, mine derives from what I have been told about what Army Rangers do, what I believe about the justifiability of the war, and what I believe about the ethics of killing. An ethical person in my belief would not have signed up to do what he signed up to do, at this time in history. I can't arrive at any other conclusion, or at least not without feeling like I've been manipulated into feeling that way. So, while the phrase "bloodthirsty bastard" might have been over the top, I'm going to continue expressing my disgust regarding people who kill other people out of a desire for money, glory, bloodlust, or even a misplaced sense of duty, either until I get tired of it, or some hero fails to protect me from the invading hordes of Iraqi civilians, and I lose my right to. Or crash kills me.
posted by Hildago at 5:12 PM on May 4, 2004


I'd like to think that, if I were to die before my time, and if my death were turned into a political football, and my funeral a media event with sermonizing and religiosity, that someone who had been close to me would stand up and bluntly say "this is bullshit."

i'm right there with you! anyone who knows me who shows up to my funeral and mentions religion is full of shit and clearly has no respect. i'll probably have to write it into my will that anyone who even brings up anything remotely religious should get pelted with paintballs but good.
posted by lia at 5:19 PM on May 4, 2004


atheism is neither a religion, lifestyle, or society, and therefore provides no basis for building a common funeral practice.

I'm not an atheist, but surely rememberance of a loved one's life by his family and friends would be enough to build a common funeral practice upon.
posted by pyramid termite at 6:01 PM on May 4, 2004


If anyone cares to join them, Hidalgo and Ted Rall will be pissing on Pat Tillman's grave this weekend.
posted by Frank Grimes at 6:55 PM on May 4, 2004


As an atheist, I'm going to be cremated. Then I will have the executor of the estate throw my ashes into the faces of all the people I don't like that are still alive.
posted by moonbiter at 7:16 PM on May 4, 2004


Hidalgo, your opinion is still wrong.
posted by rocketman at 7:19 PM on May 4, 2004


Hidalgo, no reason at all? How many Americans died on 9/11? I'd say that each and every one of them was a compelling reason for what Pat Tillman did.

You are free to feel as you do because of the blood of men and women who died so that you could express your beliefs. That is a fact.
posted by fenriq at 7:33 PM on May 4, 2004


Hildago, you still haven't answered whatnot's question:
"Sounds more like a blood-thirsty bastard who was willing to take a pay cut if it meant he could hurt people for real."

"You say this as if being allowed to kill was his only motivation for joining the military. Do you know this for a fact? Can you cite a source?"
<ad hominem>Perhaps you're projecting your own desires onto Tillman</ad hominem>
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 7:39 PM on May 4, 2004


So, Hildago, did he deserve it or not?
posted by darukaru at 8:08 PM on May 4, 2004


Sometimes certain MetaFilter threads turn very creepy.
posted by snarfodox at 8:08 PM on May 4, 2004


I'd like to think that, if I were to die before my time, and if my death were turned into a political football, and my funeral a media event with sermonizing and religiosity, that someone who had been close to me would stand up and bluntly say "this is bullshit."

How appropriate that at a funeral for a strong safety, the political football was intercepted...
posted by shecky57 at 8:14 PM on May 4, 2004


Sorry, I'm still not going to give a pass to someone who signed up to kill other people for absolutely no good reason...I'm going to continue expressing my disgust regarding people who kill other people out of... even a misplaced sense of duty

That's the crux of the statement, hildago -- who says what is misplaced?

Maybe Tillman couldn't wait to take out Saddam. Maybe Tillman may have thought Iraq was bullshit. Most days, I do. But Afghanistan seem pretty clearheaded to me, and specific conflicts aside, 9/11 meant some kind of military action would be necessary somewhere in the world. As far as I can tell, all we *really* know about Tillman's thoughts is that he signed up for military action somewhere, before our leaders started to look like they just wanted an excuse to invade Iraq.

I can allow that you might have a different threshold for violence than mine -- maybe 9/11 wasn't enough to justify Afghanistan for you, ok, fine. But you might want to tell us if there's a point on the spectrum between the spot jonmc so eloquently denuded and Afghanistan, because I don't see a lot of daylight there. Afghanistan was essentially harboring and supporting an enemy that had in fact attacked American soil by that time.
posted by namespan at 9:41 PM on May 4, 2004


I wrote secular. There's a difference between secularism and atheism.

The person I mentioned earlier just wanted to be cremated, her family met her half-way and then brought in the fundies. A good portion of the people at the funeral said "This is bullshit." So much for the "comforting lies" argument of religious funerals.

Not to mention "comforting lies" is morally fucked. Should Bush voters believe Saddam ordered 9/11 so they can feel good about voting for him or voting for him again in November?
posted by skallas at 9:56 PM on May 4, 2004


When it comes down to it we are all specifically responsible for our actions. "I was only following orders" has an unfortunate historic connotation. Tillman's death was tragic, but tragic in the same sense that any life lost is tragic. If we think the best way to solve the problems that cause others to attack us is to attack them and anyone remotely related to them we will never stop attacking people, or they us, it does not make us safer. I don't believe Tillman was a hero and I don't know if he was 'blood thirsty' but I also do not think the action of enlisting to fight a hastily put together war was the right thing to do. Keep in mind as of Sept 21 2001 the official line was not to topple the Taliban, none of us should serve leaders who are disingenuous.
Humans are creatures of conflict, but conflict and violence are not the same thing, and violence and war are not the same thing. Violence is usually carried out in the heat of passion (not always I know) while successful war requires cool headed calculation and the manipulation of emotions in others. Actually the history of war is comparatively short compared to the history of mankind (about 6000 years) so it could be said it is a learned response, and if it is a learned response it can be unlearned.
I hope Tilman's family heals well, and I wish we did not have to have these discussions. (but am glad we are able to)
posted by edgeways at 11:37 PM on May 4, 2004


1.
kind of interesting story, but i can't imagine why everyone cares so much. i suppose he represents everything America wants its soldiers to be, but being dead makes almost everybody look better.
posted by mrgrimm at 6:16 PM GMT on May 4


2.
The more I've learned about Pat Tillman, the more of a sense of loss I feel. He was a true patriot, a thinking warrior and his loss will continue to be felt for years to come.
posted by fenriq at 6:28 PM GMT on May 4


3.
Also, I see no indication that Pat Tillman was any kind of hero. Sounds more like a blood-thirsty bastard who was willing to take a pay cut if it meant he could hurt people for real.
posted by Hildago at 7:04 PM GMT on May 4



Between these three points of view 1) indifference, 2) fawning patriotism (shudder), 3) utter rejection of a violent person I guess I waver between number 1 and 3. I don't see Tillman as anything special, his loss is certainly less tragic than the children who have been killed in Iraq and Afghanistan to "protect us" as some have painted the war's objective. I also find it hard to believe that this guy who wanted to kill protect us wasn't somehow ethically defective.Apart from the obvious wanting to kill Afghanis because Saudi terrorists killed New Yorkers, his behavior in general, while some are casting it in a creative light, seems to have been typical of juvenile, obnoxious jock behavior.

Or as someone put it: SAN DIMAS HIGHSCHOOL FOOTBALL RULEZ!

So hang in there Hidalgo, you are not alone.
posted by sic at 1:50 AM on May 5, 2004


Remember me when I am dead
and simplify me when I'm dead...

Time's wrong-way telescope will show
a minute man ten years hence
and by distance simplified.

Through that lens see if I seem
substance or nothing: of the world
deserving mention or charitable oblivion,

not by momentary spleen
or love into decision hurled,
leisurely arrive at an opinion.

Remember me when I am dead
and simplify me when I'm dead.

-- Keith Douglas, who died in France 50 years ago next month.
posted by riviera at 3:30 AM on May 5, 2004


"Tillman talked about everything, with everyone. According to the speakers, he had read the Bible, the Koran, the Book of Mormon, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, and he underlined passages constantly. Garwood recalled how he'd mail articles to friends, highlighting certain parts and writing in the margins: 'Let's discuss.'" :D

sounds like he should have gotten a weblog!
posted by kliuless at 6:13 AM on May 5, 2004


In fact, there are secular forms of funeral out there. The American Humanist Association is a good place to contact for some examples.
posted by Sidhedevil at 9:37 AM on May 5, 2004


sic, fawning patriotism? WTF? The guy felt strongly enough to turn his back on a successful and highly lucrative professional sports career to do something he felt he had to do.

By your reasoning, anyone who chooses to join the military is mentally defective because they are succumbing to their "bloodlust"?

Have you examined any of the articles written about Pat Tillman? It certainly doesn't seem like it from your poorly supported fawning of Hildago.

I'm sure he'd be happy to know that he died trying to root out Osama bin Laden, the guy who put together the attacks, you do recall that he's the one we should have been hunting all along and not engaging in this ridiculous war in Iraq? Not killing Afghani's, not going after the Saudi's involved because hey, he isn't making policy here, he's following orders. And the orders say that the Saudi's have too much oil for us to piss off. Guess where that comes from? George Bush.

You're disrespect of a man who fought and died for what he believed to be right is appalling.

Do a little research on Pat Tillman, find out what the man was like before you besmirch his memory. No, its not patriotism, its giving someone with strong convictions the benefit of the doubt instead of calling him a bloodthirsty bastard.
posted by fenriq at 10:42 AM on May 5, 2004


Skallas: I wrote secular. There's a difference between secularism and atheism.

True, but I think that the same standard applies. One of the problems that contemporary non-religionists face is that we don't have a ritual structure for celebrating many of the important transitions in life and culture. With nothing in common but a big "none of the above", I see little ground on which a set of secular rituals can be based. By all means we can run our weddings and funerals based on the template from the book of common prayer removing all of the god-speak. But this strikes me as a bit like Vonnegut's humanist re-write of the Catholic mass, a work that is primarily mental masturbation with the exception of a rare gem of a passage. (With all due respect to Vonnegut, he admits that the humanist mass was done on a lark and does not claim for it to be that good. And for the record, the gem is "Let ashes sleep like ashes/ Let no light disturb their rest.")

Broadening the scope to secularists just makes the issue worse. Atheists, just set of stakeholders in secularism, have nothing in common other than the trivial position that there is no god and a desire to not have religious beliefs imposed on them. Adding religious secularists who work towards a strict separation between public and religious spheres just complicates the issue further. Religious secularists already have their ritual structures with centuries of tradition that they are happy to use in their own social circles.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 11:24 AM on May 5, 2004



The more I've learned about Pat Tillman, the more of a sense of loss I feel. He was a true patriot, a thinking warrior and his loss will continue to be felt for years to come.
posted by fenriq at 6:28 PM GMT on May 4


fawning patriotism machine.




Tillman, from all accounts I've read, was an intelligent, thoughtful and articulate man who was deeply affected by the 9/11 tragedy. He saw it as his duty to go the defense of his country.


war propaganda machine.




You are free to feel as you do because of the blood of men and women who died so that you could express your beliefs.

jingoism.
posted by sic at 12:19 PM on May 5, 2004


sic,

Apart from the obvious wanting to kill Afghanis because Saudi terrorists killed New Yorkers, his behavior in general, while some are casting it in a creative light, seems to have been typical of juvenile, obnoxious jock behavior.

Putrid narrow minded jump to conclusions traitor machine.

Your trolling isn't appreciated you prick.

Pot Calling the Kettle Black hypocrisy machine.

Look, you may be against the war, you may think that all soldiers are bloodthirsty child rapists who live to kill and drink blood. You'd be wrong but so what? You condemn a necessary evil of freedom. You deny that violence is necessary to secure peace.

How's this then, Pat Tillman was good decent and noble man. He loved his family, he loved his country, he thought about his role in society, he did what he felt was right. The fact that you disagree with his actions means nothing at all. He allowed his personal convictions to direct his actions. Not the misguided rantings of a pissant expatriot.

You want to disagree, that's fine but don't attack me or anyone else for caring that he died for his beliefs and for his country trying to right a wrong. I hate the fact that we're in a war in Iraq but I wholly support the rooting out and bringing to justice of those people responsible for the assault on this country.

Maybe if you still lived in America then your attitude would be different. Probably not because the intolerant are usually intolerant where ever they are.

But hey, you go right ahead disrespecting people who have died defending our freedoms and people who care about this country while you cast aspersions from abroad. I'm sure you're a big hit with Spaniards who hate America too.
posted by fenriq at 4:14 PM on May 5, 2004


you may think that all soldiers are bloodthirsty child rapists who live to kill and drink blood.

straw man.


Putrid narrow minded jump to conclusions traitor machine.

copycat.


But hey, you go right ahead disrespecting people who have died defending our freedoms and people who care about this country

more jingoism



I'm sure you're a big hit with Spaniards who hate America too.

running out of venom.



Pat Tillman was good decent and noble man. He loved his family, he loved his country, he thought about his role in society, he did what he felt was right.


fawning patriotism.

.
posted by sic at 1:38 PM on May 6, 2004


But hey, I am flattered that you took the time to scour through my previous posts to learn more about me!

cheers!
posted by sic at 1:44 PM on May 6, 2004


If by cheers, you mean, go to hell, then cheers to you too, you troll.
posted by fenriq at 10:35 PM on May 7, 2004


Jesus, what a baby.

Ok if you want to be taken seriously, why don't you explain to me how not thinking that Pat Tillman is a hero, and at times suspecting that he was merely a violent storm trooper makes me

1) A traitor
2) Intolerant
3) Hate America
4) A troll

Or for that matter how "violence is necessary to secure peace"? That, my friend, is as lurid as anything that George Bush has uttered in the past 4 years.


It seems to me, is that my real sin was daring to disagree with you.

My original post was not an attack on you, but rather a collection of three currents of thought on Tillman in this thread. Your comment, "the more I've learned about Pat Tillman, the more of a sense of loss I feel. He was a true patriot, a thinking warrior and his loss will continue to be felt for years to come." is just so over the top in its patriotic sentimentalism that I chose it to represent that particular line of thinking. It was criticism, sure, but not an attack. This is a debating forum you know.

I recognize that my second response was more ironic (and I mistakenly put "machine" after "fawning patriotism", which made it sound more obnoxious than intended). But you deserve it for your jingoistic responses to Hidalgo and myself and for your swallowing hook line and sinker of the war machine propaganda that is painting Tillman as some kind of all-american warrior-poet.

Not every soldier in every war is a hero. Not every war is fought to "defend my right to free speech". The current war on terror is a prime example of this. In fact, the war on terror has done just the opposite. The PATRIOT ACT has made a shambles of the Constitution; the absurd wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have destroyed any last vestiges of democratic high ground that the US may have had, if in fact it has had any since Vietnam.

It's unfortunate that you can't be more sophisticated in defending your points of view, especially since in other threads I've noticed that you tend to swing from the left. Just so you know calling someone a troll because you disagree with them is akin to violating Godwin's law.
posted by sic at 4:35 AM on May 8, 2004


so he was killed by us, and not fighting the enemy.

Now we've learned this stark, brain-numbing fact. His death was preventable. It was caused by a misunderstanding, American and Afghan troops getting confused in the dark chaos of the moment, reacting to nearby enemy fire and firing on each other. And Tillman going down. Good grief.
And then again maybe not. Afghan soldiers at the scene say there were no enemy forces. A mine exploded and in their fear soldiers started firing and Tillman died.

posted by amberglow at 9:33 PM on May 30, 2004


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