If you have been listening to right-wing pundit Glenn Beck's daily syndicated radio show on 740 AM KTRH in the mornings or watching his Fox News Channel TV show in the evenings, no doubt you have heard the sad tale of former Navy SEAL and Navy Cross recipient Marcus Luttrell.
The distinguished war hero and author of Lone Survivor: The Eyewitness Account of Operation Redwing and the Lost Heroes of SEAL Team 10 awoke on the morning of April 1 to the sound of a gunshot outside his family's Huntsville-area ranch home.
A group of men, ranging from 18 to 24 years of age, reportedly shot and killed his yellow Labrador at point blank range. If you have recently seen, and no doubt wept during, last winter's blockbuster doggie film "Marley & Me," you will no doubt be weeping softly soon.
The dog was not just a companion, but a rehab tool that the military had given him to aid in healing and recuperation from his injuries sustained while serving in Afghanistan. Luttrell was the lone survivor of a 2005 fire fight that left the rest of his SEAL team dead on the ground during an operation in the Kunar province. The skirmish also claimed the lives of soldiers on board a Chinook helicopter shot down in the area. The chopper had arrived on the scene to render aid to the SEALs. The details of the encounter with Taliban insurgents are muddled, but Luttrell recounted his experiences in his best-selling book.
His dog's name was Dasy. Her name was an acronym for some of Luttrell's fallen comrades. The Lab was like a daughter to the single Luttrell, who still has occasional surgeries for some of the injuries he sustained in battle.
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When Luttrell heard the shot, he stealthily made his way to the front gate where Dasy lay dead. He says the three young men were in a sedan laughing at their exploits. They were armed with a .357 Magnum revolver, and the former military man had two .9mm Berettas.
The men drove away from the scene and Luttrell initiated a high-speed chase in his truck through nearly four counties, eventually ending when Texas Rangers came to his aid near Onalaska. Michael John Edmonds II, 21, and Alfonzo Hernandez, 24, both of New Waverly have been charged with animal cruelty. The driver of the sedan was held on minor charges. The group is suspected of killing other dogs in the Huntsville area.
To hear Luttrell speak is heartbreaking. His 911 call has been released and just yesterday on Beck's radio show, the man broke down during a phone call with the host, who has taken a break from his usual "fire and brimstone" commentary on our nation's economic downfalls.
The restraint that Luttrell showed last week is near superhuman. SEALs are trained to be able to kill men in almost innumerable and astonishing ways. But Luttrell stayed in control.