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Indy Bay News
by wsws (reposted)
Saturday Dec 30th, 2006 10:24 AM
A 29-year-old ex-soldier who had served 12 months in Afghanistan, upset over orders to deploy to Iraq, was shot to death December 26 after a night-long standoff at a house in Maryland. James E. Dean was notified earlier this month to report to Fort Benning, Georgia, on January 14, 2007, for service in Iraq.
On the evening of Christmas Day, Dean barricaded himself inside his father’s home in rural Leonardstown, about 50 miles southwest of Washington, D.C., near the Chesapeake Bay. Although armed with several weapons, he took no hostages and was apparently a danger only to himself, threatening to commit suicide rather than report for military duty.
Dean had been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder after he returned from Afghanistan in 2005, where he had won awards for service, good conduct and marksmanship as a sergeant leading an infantry unit. He was reportedly suffering from depression and had become dependent on anti-depressant medication.
Since his discharge from the military, Dean had been seeing a Veterans Affairs psychologist and struggling with his combat-related problems, while making progress in his personal life. He got a job as a heating and cooling installer and mechanic and was well regarded by his co-workers. In July 2005, he met his future wife Muriel, marrying her four months ago. This Christmas would have been their first as a married couple.
The letter recalling him to military service he still had an Army Reserve commitment apparently sent Dean over the edge. He had already stopped seeing his psychologist, his wife said, and after the letter, began drinking heavily and flying into rages. He told her he was going crazy, she told the Washington Post, and that no one knew how bad war was. His last words as he left the house on Christmas were “The next time you see me, it’s going to be in a body bag.”