A young Air Force airman is fighting for his life in Camden, N.J. He was shot on Independence Day by a crazed gunman who reportedly had a beef with the military and the U.S. government and "wanted to make a statement" on the Fourth of July. Have you heard about the plight of 22-year-old McGuire Air Force Base loadmaster Jonathan Schrieken? Probably not.
The shooting got no mention in The New York Times -- not even a squib in a back section (though the paper did see fit to put the shooting of a 7-year-old girl in Trenton on the front page).
Local media outlets have gathered a few news tidbits about the shooter, Matthew Marren, who killed himself after attacking Schrieken outside his Willingboro home. Schrieken roomed with a few other servicemen in the rented house. Schrieken did not know Marren. PhillyBurbs.com reported that a relative said Marren was "angry at the government and wanted to make a statement" on Independence Day. Authorities found two suicide notes that "were indicative of an individual suffering from mental-health problems."
A random act of insanity? Not so fast. There's more to the story. A reader whose son is the best friend of Senior Airman Schrieken wrote to Charles Johnson of the Little Green Footballs (littlegreenfootballs.com) blog with background details:
"My son's best friend, Jon, who's in the Air Force stationed in New Jersey at Fort Dix/McGuire Air Force Base, was shot by a crazed anti-military white guy on Independence Day and he remains in critical condition. He had been on leave here in Ohio and got back to his home off base and was unpacking stuff from his car when this 22-year-old guy walked up to him and asked him if he lived in the house. When Jon said yes, the guy said 'not any more' and shot him point-blank in the chest. He tried to shoot him again, but his gun jammed. Jonathan made it into the house. The guy then shot himself.
"Turns out the guy left a couple of suicide notes stating how much he hated the military and he wanted to go out making a statement, so he chose to make his statement on Independence Day trying to kill a soldier. We are very worried about our Airman . . . he's like a son to me. He's been to Iraq and Afghanistan on our behalf and then gets shot in his own driveway here in the U.S. by an anti-war, anti-American lunatic. This is gut wrenching."
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