by DAVID AXE
Our own Kevin Knodell penned the following post, then decided he didn’t want to publish it. He felt the message was too personal for public consumption. But Kyle and I argued otherwise, and Kevin relented. So consider this a post published under duress. Here’s Kevin:
First Lieutenant Brian Bradshaw was killed in Afghanistan on June 25, the same day Michael Jackson died. With the King of Pop’s passing dominating the headlines, no one much noticed Bradshaw’s death, at first. Then Bradshaw’s family began extolling their soldier’s sacrifice, and Fox News and CBS News (posted above) eventually ran with it.
Bradshaw attended Pacific Lutheran University, where I am a student with strong connections to the Army ROTC program. I didn’t know him — he commissioned the year before I enrolled — but I knew of him, and even met him once. His death has strongly affected the cadets, as well as the training cadre and graduates. I see the faces of friends and mentors when I watch the CBS spot.
Michael Jackson’s death was newsworthy, but it overshadowed the recent deaths of more than a dozen American and British soldiers in Afghanistan. The dead soldiers’ families got to hear every day about their countrymen’s “despair” over the “Jackson tragedy.” Many Brits and Americans know all the bizarre details of Jackson’s death, but words like “Helmand” and “Kandahar” don’t even register.
More journalists should go to Afghanistan. Local T.V. stations and newspapers should request embeds with their local National Guard units. We need to hear about soldiers like Bradshaw all the time.
I’m not saying that entertainment isn’t news, or that the war always trumps the economy and other issues. But on this point I’m firm: Americans, and the people of every nation fighting abroad, need to pay closer attention. Soldiers can’t simply change the channel to something more pleasant, and less dangerous, than war. The public shouldn’t change the channel, either.