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US soldier commits suicide in Indiana movie theater

US soldier commits suicide in Indiana movie theater

WSWS
October 20, 2009

A National Guard soldier home on a 15-day leave from the war in Afghanistan committed suicide in a Muncie, Indiana, movie theater October 12. Jacob W. Sexton, a 21-year-old from rural Farmland, Indiana, shot himself in the head, approximately 20 minutes into the violent comedy Zombieland, with friends and siblings sitting around him. The suicide underscores once again the psychological damage done to soldiers charged with carrying out the brutal colonial occupations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Sexton’s death came as a shock to his family and military cohorts, who told the Muncie Star Press they had not seen any symptoms of suicidal behavior or post-traumatic stress disorder. Yet the young man’s behavior before the film showing revealed that the war’s violence was on his mind. When asked by the theater manager for identification proving the group was of age to see the movie, Sexton reportedly snapped at him, “I shot 18 people and you want to see my identification?”

Sexton’s father, Jeffrey Sexton, told the Associated Press, “We just need to watch these boys and the girls coming back home. Something’s just not right. Too much is happening.”

Like many active-duty military members, Sexton had served multiple tours in both Middle East occupations. After serving one tour of duty in Iraq, where he drove Humvees, he volunteered for another tour in Afghanistan. There he was a member of Alpha Company, Second Battalion, in the 151st Infantry Regiment, a unit that responds to attacks on military installations and convoys in the Kabul area.

According to the Star Press, Sexton was in a firefight his first week in Afghanistan and witnessed others during his time there. The area around Kabul is the scene of intense fighting that has resulted in high coalition casualties and untold numbers of deaths and injuries of Afghans. Sexton doubtless experienced the constant threat of violence in Iraq, as well, where Humvee drivers are at constant risk of injury and death from IEDs planted in the road.
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