Pelican Pete said, in a comment to a post below:
I remember Jose. I worked with him about 20 years ago. We were both working for SW Distributing outta Santa Fe. I was working while in college, he was working to support three ex-wives and a couple of kids. He was a quiet, slender, complicated man from down the Alemeda, in Agua Fria, Santa Fe's favela
in those days.
He had done two tours in Vietnam. He had some impressive
scars you could see and more you couldn't. When I asked him why he stayed in the Army he said that he had nothing to come back to; no job, no education, no skill other than killing people; he'd gotten used to it. He stayed and smoked a lot of dope, and watched his buddies die, and did a lot of heroin waiting for his turn to step on a mine, or get sniped or OD.
He came back in 1971, human wreckage, like countless tens of thousands of others. He spent three years in prison for stabbing his wife, spent another couple of years in ABQ in the South Valley, and then moved back to SF. When I knew him he was 33 and mellow and regretful.
His life had hit its cul de sac. He was not atypical for his war. He was the kind of person Kerry made his joke about. He wasn't from "the Heartland", he was from the colon, and he knew it, poor bastard. He went to Vietnam, like his dad went to Korea, like his grandfather went to WWII, because it was a way to escape the world that our society had all laid out for him.
Take a good look at some of the pictures coming back from Iraq. There's tagging all over the walls, Surrenos and Nortenos are in Iraq, Crips and Bloods and NLR's. Why? Maybe because getting shot at in Basra beats getting shot at in Bakersfield or 'Burque, because at least you're getting paid, you got better guns, and you might just get a Buster or a Scrappa while you're about it.
Bush and Co have created generations of terrorists in the Middle East, and they have perpetuated the misery of Life as Walking Dead at home...
Bravo, mi hermanito!