Over the last 24-hours a story has spread like wildfire through the young adult cancer community. An article in the San Antonio Express-News describes the abysmal accommodations of 21-year-old Airman Basic Joseph Weston, who was diagnosed with cancer three weeks into boot camp, and his struggles to obtain medical dismissal and medical retirement.
I recently wrote a post entitled The Nice Cancer Bloggers, describing how I wish readers would don the boxing gloves in comment sections of cancer blogs instead of being so nice all the time. WELL HERE IT IS! I ache for this patient’s struggle, but I truly appreciate the dialogue that this article has sparked. In the comment section following the article, opinions are stated without worrying about offending other readers who are cancer patients. Have a read. I promise you will get fired up too.
So who is the bad guy here? The soldier? Uncle Sam? I believe it is the reporter, Sig Chirstenson, whose wrenching story is riddled with holes and one-sided information. Nothing is as black and white as he makes it out to be. We don’t know what the soldier’s other options are and what the military protocol and precedent is for these instances. The writer does a disservice to the soldier by framing his story as a heart tugging, impassioned cry for help, instead of showing this as an issue of policy mayhem and a need for real problem solving.
This outrageous story incites a call to action; a stronger story from a larger news outlet that can do some real investigative reporting.
What is your take on this story? How do you view the reporter, the soldier, and the military’s position? Do you agree that the reporter paints a biased picture and that he sensationalizes a story that is so horrific it needs no added drama (the lightening bolts?)