If you watched the evening news a week ago, you may recall the sensational story of a distraught Marine who died in a murderous shootout with police. Anti-war writers and Latino activists have turned the cop-killer, Lance Cpl. Andres Raya, into a martyr. Don’t believe the hype.
Network and cable TV shows repeatedly broadcast video and photo stills of Raya’s Jan. 9 bloody gun battle in a Ceres, Calif., liquor store. Mental health experts immediately blamed post-traumatic stress disorder. Ignoring the cold-blooded murder of one of the ambushed police officers who was lured to his death, international headlines instead trumpeted the supposedly traumatized Raya:
Teenage War Veteran Committed Suicide ‘By Cop’
Marine ‘Committed Suicide by Cop to Avoid Iraq Return’
Kin of Marine Who Shot Policemen Ask if He Is a Casualty of War
Young Camp Pendleton Marine who shot officers did not want to go back to Iraq.
A far-left website, San Francisco Bay Area Indymedia.org, posted a complaint that the California Legislature – which lowered its flags to honor slain cop Sgt. Howard Stevenson – was showing “no consideration [for the] young man whose life was ruined by military service.”
The only elements missing in the bleeding-heart coverage of Raya’s story were the soundtrack to “Platoon” and a bulk order of Kleenex. There’s just one thing wrong with the sympathetic spin about the anti-war Marine. It’s all dead wrong.
But contrary to the impression left by initial media reports, Raya had never seen combat. And he was not headed back to Iraq. He had been transferred to a new unit scheduled for deployment to Okinawa. “During our investigation, we found he wasn’t due to go back to Iraq, never faced combat situations and never even fired his gun,” Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Deputy Jason Woodman said.
Raya was high on cocaine at the time of the ambush, according to police reports. He was reportedly affiliated with the prison gang Nuestra Familia. Investigators found photos of Raya wearing gang colors and a shopping list in his bedroom safe that included body armor, assault rifles and ammunition. Authorities also discovered a video showing Raya smoking what appears to be marijuana and making gang sign gestures. The tape showed desecrated pieces of the American flag laid on a gymnasium floor to spell out expletives directed at President Bush.
© 2005 Creators Syndicate, Inc.