Having recently seen the excellent movie “American Sniper,” Herndon disability lawyer Doug Landau was reminded of his federal case for another American sniper.
In the Virginia veteran’s case, Landau’s young client had been trained by the military to be deadly in shooting at targets at a range of several hundred yards. This young man proved lethal to targets in Bosnia and Herzegovina in the Slavic civil wars.
However, as a “reward” for his valor and expertise, this young man was sent, without any meaningful re-training, to be part of the “peacekeeping mission” in Rwanda, Africa.
More tragically, although Landau’s client was given a blue helmet and United Nations uniform, he was not allowed to take his long-range sniper’s rifle. When the Hutus and the Tutsis were hacking each other with machetes and mutilating and killing each other with primitive weapons, this young man’s assignment was to put the body parts together, make reports, and have the remaining family members identify the corpses.
He told his lawyer, “Mr. Landau, if I had my sniper’s rifle, I could have prevented thousands of deaths, mutilations, and genocide.” Instead of being able to prevent harm by taking out a few of the ringleaders, this young soldier basically lost his mind in very short time. When he came back to the States, he did harmful things to his wife and young child, and was desperately in need of help.
Doug Landau was able to file a Federal disability case on this soldier’s behalf. When they came before Administrative Law Judge, Landau was able to prove that his client was unable to hold down a job, despite his young age, education, training, and otherwise excellent physical health.
“Basically, while my client was in superb physical shape from his armed forces training, mentally he was a mess. He desperately needed psychological and medical attention, and as a result of winning the case, was able to go to Morgantown, West Virginia and get the services of the VA Hospital doctors.”
This young brave soldier is now back home, and re-integrating into society. However, training a soldier to be basically a “lethal weapon,” and then putting him in a peacekeeping mission with no training, was a recipe for disaster.