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Road Rage Incident At Camp Pendleton Grabs National Headlines (Video)

Screen shot from road rage video.

A road rage incident caught on video at Camp Pendleton is making national headlines - and raising some questions about the effectiveness of mental health care provided to troops returning from combat.

First, some background: A female Marine who'd been paralyzed from the waist down shot video of a Marine sergeant verbally attacking her (and her caregiver brother) after a fender bender on base. In the video, the sergeant screams expletives, physically threatens the injured Marine's brother, and kicks the vehicle in which they're sitting.

The assault lasts three minutes.


Road Rage Incident on Camp Pendleton

A friend of the injured female Marine sent the video to San Diego television station 10News, who discovered the Marine sergeant is a Purple Heart recipient. Friends of the Marine sergeant say he suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder.

Indeed, a psychologist interviewed by 10News named Dr. Michael Mantell told the TV station that based on the video, he suspects the Marine sergeant has “intermittent explosive disorder" and possibly PTSD:

"PTSD is never a defense or an excuse... [But] it may be an explanation."

Camp Pendleton officials told 10News the Marine sergeant was cited for communicating a threat:

"This individual's behavior does not meet the standards that are expected of our Marines and it has received the attention of senior base staff."

A friend with whom I watched the video said, "I just feel sorry for everyone involved." It makes me wonder how many other service members are filled with such anger after experiencing combat, but aren't getting the mental health care they need to deal with that anger.

What are YOUR thoughts on this video? Have your say in our comments section!


Avatar for user 'CaliforniaDefender'

CaliforniaDefender | April 3, 2013 at 1:17 p.m. ― 2 years ago

This incident makes a good case for confining Marines to base who are returning from combat. Marines who have been turned into living weapons are clearly unsuited for reintroduction to the civilian world.

PTSD is a terrible thing, but it is no excuse for endangering the public or civilian police.

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Avatar for user 'Missionaccomplished'

Missionaccomplished | April 3, 2013 at 2:29 p.m. ― 2 years ago

Sheeesh! No kidding. The potential danger. Thanks a lot, W!

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Avatar for user 'CaliforniaDefender'

CaliforniaDefender | April 3, 2013 at 5:02 p.m. ― 2 years ago

Well, to be fair it wasn't all W. Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, and Wolfowitz were the true conspirators. Blame must also be placed with Obama and Hillary Clinton who have done nothing but blow smoke to keep Bush policy firmly in place.

The consequences of unjustified foreign wars are extensive and far reaching. Even to the roads of San Diego.

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Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | April 3, 2013 at 7:11 p.m. ― 2 years ago

A clear double standard. If this was anyone other than a young marine, the people outside the car would have forcefully restrained this guy instead of gently telling him to calm down.

In fact, this very article and those quoted in it are clearly treading lightly because of who this guy is, and we can't offend the military, can we?

If this WASN'T a marine, people would be calling for he arrest.

Certain people in our society are able to get away with so much more than others are.

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Avatar for user 'georgesands'

georgesands | April 3, 2013 at 8:38 p.m. ― 2 years ago

The problem is marines think this is acceptable behavior, they only do something if the media calls them out. Marines are not the hero's we think they are, look at all the rapes at Pendleton, they need to be investigated but San Diego DA likes to ignore rapes by marines.

What is going on with our military is why there is are so many other problems in society because when these guys get out they have been taught tactics and also then cry PTSD like this marine.

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Avatar for user 'sc1986'

sc1986 | April 4, 2013 at 1:54 p.m. ― 2 years ago

I do not know where to begin. Frankly the ignorant statements and blind generalizations made by all of the previous posters are downright offensive. How dare you slander the honorable service of thousands of Marines. How quick the public is to divorce itself from any responsibility when their civilian elected leadership asks the military to go in harms way! We are a self-serving society now but I will always be proud of those who volunteered to serve their nation. Take a trip to the Wounded Warrior Battalion, you can see how "certain people in our society are able to get away with so much more." If anything Marines are held to a stricter code than civilians and are punished accordingly when they stray from the right path. Please educate yourselves before you make such broad damning statements.

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Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | April 4, 2013 at 2:43 p.m. ― 2 years ago

sc1986, my post was not to be a blanket statement saying everyone in the military is a hot-head like this guy, and if it was at all implied then that is my mistake because I don't believe that.

In fact, the victims in this incident were themselves military (at least one of them was) according to the story.

My point is that the actions of a group often reflect their leadership, and the military leadership comes across as one that allows their own to be sacred cows above the law, free to behave however they wish without the same consequences civilians face.

A large part of this is because the military has their own internal justice system in which people are frequently given a hand-slap for something a non-military person would serve years in prison for.

There are many heroes in our country - be they military heroes who have fought overseas or local heroes who have given their time and money to help the disadvantaged. Nobody is "better" than anyone else just because they have served in the military, and there should not be two sets of rules and two sets of courts for each that are so lop-sided.

It seems as if military leadership enforces this "untouchable" mentality into their recruits.

This may be very helpful in giving them confidence on the battlefield, but it is dangerous when they are put back into civil society with this "I'm untouchable, I can do whatever I want" attitude.

The government who sends these men and women into harm’s way should also be providing a programs for them to re-enter society by de-activating this hostility and the entitlement behavior.

You wrote:
"How quick the public is to divorce itself from any responsibility when their civilian elected leadership asks the military to go in harm’s way!"

Trust me, as a civilian, I hold the scum-feeding politicians who orchestrated the Iraq War at the same level as the guy kicking and screaming in this video and I also hold them responsible for UNNECESSARILY sending these men and women into harm’s way and then not giving them proper re-entry psychological assistance upon returning.

It's shameful.

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Avatar for user 'sc1986'

sc1986 | April 4, 2013 at 3:47 p.m. ― 2 years ago

A) I am not claiming that those that serve in the military are better than anyone else. They are not, however, as claimed by posters on this article rapists or uncontrollable maniacs. In fact I would argue the opposite of what you claim. If this was a video of a random civilian it would not elicit any response. Slap the Marine title on there and “whoa” this one incident is indicative of pervasive mental instability in our military.

B) You grossly mischaracterize the Uniform Code of Military Justice when you say that members of the military are treated less severely. If you actually read the articles under which a service member can be charged you will see that they cover many more offenses that are not normally covered under federal or state law, ie adultery, conduct unbecoming. Furthermore, since the UCMJ is considered federal law, service members can be prosecuted twice, once under the UCMJ and again under state law and it is not double jeopardy under the separate sovereign doctrines. So yes there are two separate courts, and those in the military are prosecuted under both unlike civilians.

C) There is extensive training, including physical and mental evaluations, which Marines returning from even non-combat deployments undergo. These are spaced out, prior to returning, immediately upon return and then spaced out in several months from there. So again your response shows that you have not even made a basic attempt at trying to confirm any truth in your assumptions. You can research programs such as the “Back in the Saddle” Training, or post deployment and pre-deployment health assessments if you would like.

D) Marines have not been in Iraq for several years. The vast majority have been deployed in Afghanistan, a conflict that had broad bi-partisan and international support.

Lastly, you write “It seems as if military leadership enforces this "untouchable" mentality into their recruits. This may be very helpful in giving them confidence on the battlefield, but it is dangerous when they are put back into civil society with this "I'm untouchable, I can do whatever I want" attitude.”

Coming back from a combat environment enforces the exact opposite response. Marines have seen their brothers and sisters die or get injured in gruesome ways. They know that they are not untouchable more than your average 21 year old. If anything they celebrate the gift of life and the relationships they have with others.

You can continue to perpetuate myths about service members, but I hope that you ask some critical questions about your current beliefs pertaining to these subjects.

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Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | April 4, 2013 at 4:38 p.m. ― 2 years ago

sc1986, thanks for the well thought out response. You make good points, some of which I agree and some not.

I am not trying to perpetuate myths, I am simply giving my own opinions on the matter.

I'm not nor have I ever been in the military, I do have some acquaintances who are and it seems to me that many still struggle to acclimate back into civil society which is why I suggested there is more we can do to make the transition a little smoother. It would benefit the soldiers as well as the civilians.

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Avatar for user 'Anon11'

Anon11 | April 4, 2013 at 5:32 p.m. ― 2 years ago


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Avatar for user 'Really123'

Really123 | April 5, 2013 at 7:42 a.m. ― 2 years ago

First we train our youth to be killing machines, then we subject them to incredibly stressful and dangerous environments where they may be killed at any moment, then we dump them off into our society. It's irresponsible to sit here and comment "support our troops" as if anyone who recognizes this issue is somehow anti-troops. I'm frankly sick of it.

I know a special ops marine who is on steriods and can kill you in a heartbeat. He has anger issues and has a very short fuse. He is a disaster waiting to happen... Some of these guys are weaponized, and are not "just struggling" with PTSD. There is a big issue here, what do we do with these people WE have done this to?

I don't know the specifics of the marine in this incident, but his behaivor is greatly unbecoming and should be prosecuted. If the Marines are held to a higher standard then prove it. Otherwise keep your divisive and flag waving comments to yourself becasue I'm not buying it.

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Avatar for user 'vwall2007'

vwall2007 | April 5, 2013 at 5:23 p.m. ― 2 years ago

I believe this soldier needs some serious mental health help (ie., like a lock up in a mental hospital for awhile) But, still, dude, you are so in trouble! Maybe even should be med boarded out of the military....

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