Monday, May 15, 2006

Army Releases Autistic Teen

This is why everyone who values freedom and democracy should support journalists.

An 18-year-old Portland man with autism, whose recruitment renewed questions about Army practices, was released Tuesday from his enlistment contract.

Jared Guinther signed up for one of the Army's most dangerous jobs, cavalry scout, after being heavily recruited. He passed medical and other examinations. He was scheduled to leave for basic training in August.

The Army announced Tuesday that it decided he didn't meet enrollment criteria, two days after The Oregonian newspaper reported his parents' objections.

Note: Military recruiters knew that Jared Guinther was autistic before his enrollment was final, but signed him to a contract anyway. The Army says they did not know about Guinther's medical condition until after enrollment was complete, but they are liars. Brenda Guinther, Jared's mom, told the recruiter that her son was autistic and begged him to review his school and medical records so he would see Jared should be released. Nothing doing.

It was not until a local newspaper published an article about this scandal that the Army set Jared Guinther free. If not for that newspaper's decision that this was an important story that the public had a right to know about, an 18-year-old who has been autistic all his life would shortly have been on his way to basic training.

If you don't believe in and support the media's right to do its job even when the results embarrass government officials, then you don't believe in and support a free press.

No comments: