The Last Text on Thursday, July 16

On Thursday, July 16 Caroline Dove was texting with her boyfriend Lance Corporal Skip Wells. They were discussing the angst of being apart for five months, but they had a reunion planned for next week. She was coming for a visit.

They had met as students at Georgia Southern University. Their common passion was history, uniting them as a couple.

She was still in Georgia, and he was at the U.S. Naval Reserve Center on Amnicola Highway in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Then he texted “ACTIVE SHOOTER”. This was his last message to Caroline.

She texted him over the day without a response. It was an agonizing day for Caroline, but it was a mutual friend who gave her the tragic news of Skip’s murder on Friday.

Lance Corporal Skip Wells was 21 years of age. He graduated from boot camp on May 9, 2014. He was continuing his family’s military tradition.

Caroline is an enlisted Marine as well who will be entering boot camp later this summer. Her resolve is steadfast:

“Seeing as this has happened on our soil it has encouraged me to want this even more and I actually want to live out my life as a Marine and be able to do it for him because I know that’s what he wanted me to do.”

Three other Marines were murdered with Skip on that tragic Thursday in Chattanooga, Tennessee: Staff Sergeant David Wyatt, Gunnery Sergeant Thomas J Sullivan, and Sergeant Carson Holmquist.

Carson Holmquist, David Wyatt, Thomas Sullivan and Skip Wells Photo: AP/ Enterprise Pictures / The Telegraph
Carson Holmquist, David Wyatt, Thomas Sullivan and Skip Wells Photo: AP/ Enterprise Pictures / The Telegraph

Staff Sergeant David Wyatt from Arkansas entered the service in 2004 and served in Afghanistan and Iraq. He leaves behind his wife Lorri, his son and daughter.

Gunnery Sergeant Thomas J Sullivan from Massachusetts entered the service in 1997 and served two tours in Iraq where he valiantly earned Purple Hearts for wounds received on each tour. He leaves behind his parents Jerry and Betty; an older brother Joseph, a veteran; and his sister Dianne.

Sergeant Carson Holmquist from Wisconsin entered the service in 2009 and served two tours in Afghanistan. His parents Tom and Susan were told of their son’s death at 7 pm Thursday. He leaves behind his wife Jasmine and a two-year old son.

Three were wounded in the attack: a Marine recruiter has been released from the hospital and is recovering. Police Officer Dennis Pedigo is recovering.


Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Randall Smith of Ohio, 26, who was seriously wounded, died early Saturday morning, July 18th. He leaves behind his wife Angie and three daughters.

It is of note that on Thursday James Holmes was found guilty by a jury on all 165 counts. On July 20, 2012 he killed 12 people and wounded 70 others at an Aurora, Colorado Theatre when it was showing the Dark Knight Rises.

Terrorism is one of those words laden with political and emotional layers. Were the murders of the four Marines an act of terrorism?

The debate on this act will continue for some time. The tragic reality is that 4 Marines and a Navy Petty Officer are dead.

The families and friends are grieving for their lost loved ones. However this senseless and brutal attack is classified, the solemn reality is that on this planet traversing the cosmos lives are ended with extreme prejudice each day by those who regard human life as no worse than stepping on an ant.

Unfortunately, we can expect to see more of this type of brazen disregard for human life. It is a sad commentary on our society that the names of these heinous perpetrators are always present while the victims like Christina Taylor Green, Sharidyn Svebakk-Bøhn, Allison Griffor, Jessica Redfield and many other victims are lost in the digital accumulation of minutia.

Seeing the face of the perpetrator on every media outlet is no comfort to the grieving or to the rational and sane among us. The face of evil and its mark has been with us ever since Cain murdered his brother Abel outside the Gates of Eden. The blood of the innocents still cries from the ground for justice.

Perhaps the face of evil is easier to tolerate than the faces of the innocents, the victims. For me it is sickening to see the face of the murderer who took human life without a morsel of remorse.

The taking of a human life is a tragedy which should reverberate to the very core of every person. How is it in your community today?

I‘ll See You Again Lyrics Westlife


G. D. Williams © 2015

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When Is An Act Of Violence An Act Of Terrorism?

When does an act of violence become an act of terrorism? It’s a conversation that emerged after the mass shooting last month in Charleston and it was debated for months after Army Maj. Nidal Hassan killed 13 people and wounded 32 others when he opened fire at Fort Hood in 2009.

The word terrorism is a tricky one, says Robin Lakoff, a linguist at the University of California, Berkeley, who has studied the language of war. That’s because, she says, “terrorism itself, whatever that is” lives in a place between crime and war.

“Although acts of war, acts of crime and acts of terror can look very much alike on the surface, they have very different motives, very different reasons for being, and I think that’s why people are confused,” she says. “They look alike on the surface; they’re different underneath.”

Does Chattanooga shooter fit the ‘lone wolf’ terrorist pattern? (+video)

In the digital age, there is no question that social media has extended the reach of groups like Islamic State and made it easier for disaffected individuals to not only become radicalized but research terrorist tools and tactics. But the “lone wolf,” homegrown terrorist emerged as a particular American threat long before 9/11 – even before Theodore Kaczynski began his campaign as the Unabomber in 1978, experts say.

The use of the word terrorism today often grips Americans with images of radical Islam – foreign “others” motivated by virulent anti-American jihadism. But incidents such as Thursday’s shooting also may be rooted in cultural factors closer to home, some experts believe, whether or not those factors turn out to have been exploited by an outside terrorist group.

The Geography of Terrorism

Of the 17,958 people who died in terrorist attacks in 2013, 82 percent were in one of five countries: Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nigeria, and Syria. That’s one finding from this year’s Global Terrorism Index report, published by the Institute for Economics and Peace. The report is based on data from the University of Maryland’s Global Terrorism Database, which has information on more than 125,000 terrorist attacks between 1970 and 2013.

The report found a 61-percent jump in terrorism fatalities between 2012 and 2013. “Over the same period,” the authors wrote, “the number of countries that experienced more than 50 [terrorism-related] deaths rose from 15 to 24″—an indication that the problem of terrorism was getting both more fatal and more widespread a year before ISIS declared a new caliphate.

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