It's hard to believe stuff like this still happens in America, the nation that is supposed to be so freedom-loving, so example-setting, and the big melting pot! A 19-year old Army Private who was beaten by one soldier and threatened by another after they learned he is gay has been discharged. Private Kyle Lawson (pictured to the left) was punched in the face by a fellow member of a training unit at Fort Huachuca at an off-post party in October after a friend let it slip that Lawson was gay. Of course Private Zaccharias Pierre, the soldier accused of hitting Private Lawson, has used the excuse that Lawson was coming on to him. Private Zacharias Pierre was charged with felony aggravated assault - a charge that draws an average 3 1/2 years in prison upon conviction in Arizona, more if a judge finds the crime was hate-based. And I only hope the judge does indeed find Pierre to be in violation of a hate-based crime. The military should also be doing the same thing, but using military regulations officials at Fort Huachuca took control of the case, dropping the charges laid by Sierra Vista police. They have refused to say if any appropriate action has been taken to hold his attacker accountable but media reports indicate that Pierre has received only a slap on the wrist - the withdrawal of a weekend pass. The US military needs to make an example of Pierre and any others who commit such crimes! Private Lawson left the military with an honorable discharge, and even military police doubt there was any provocation on Lawson's part.
Here is a man who was serving his country. A man that gave up everything to be a good soldier, and he was not abused by any enemy, but by a fellow officer! “The command at Fort Huachuca owes Private Lawson, Congress and the public an explanation about why an anti-gay attack appears to have gone unpunished," said C. Dixon Osburn, executive director of Servicemembers Legal Defense Network. " Congress and the Pentagon must repeal ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ immediately and impose strict penalties against those who engage in any form of harassment. If America is fighting for democracy abroad, it must abide by those same principles at home." The US needs to lead not only with words, but with example!