Thursday, August 26, 2004

Tragic

From the Sun-Sentinel:

HOLLYWOOD — Maddened by rage and grief over his son’s death in Iraq, a father vented his fury with gas and a blowtorch Wednesday, setting fire to the van of the three Marines who came to his door to tell him of his loss.

Carlos Luis Arredondo severely burned himself in the blaze, which occurred on his 44th birthday.

Arredondo was listed in serious but guarded condition at the burn unit at Jackson Memorial Hospital’s Ryder Trauma Center in Miami. He had second-degree burns over 50 percent of his body, police said.

Marine Corps officials said it was unclear whether Arredondo’s rage was directed at the military or simply unfocused anger over his son’s death. But relatives often lash out at the men who bring word of a war casualty, said Maj. Scott Mack, supervisor of the team that visited Arredondo.

“It’s an absolute natural reaction,” Mack said, for parents to blame the messengers of death. “Their son died. We’re bringing the news — the absolutely worst news you could get. Our thoughts right now are with the father.”

Arredondo’s son, Alexander, 20, a lance corporal with the 1st Marine Division from Camp Pendleton, Calif., was killed Tuesday night outside the Iraqi city of Najaf, where for weeks U.S. troops have clashed with insurgents. Mack would give no details about the death, except to say it was “combat-related.”