GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Worldwide mourning over the tragic death of retired NBA superstar Kobe Bryant and eight others in a helicopter crash on Sunday also happens to be the best possible time to bring up the fact that roughly 22 veterans are lost to suicide every day, says local veteran Adrian Smith.
Smith, a Marine Corps veteran who served in Afghanistan, wasted no time shaming people on Facebook who were publicly mourning Bryant’s death instead of publicly mourning the death of a Marine who served with Smith back in 2006 when both were lance corporals.
“There’s a whole lot of people posting tributes for some stupid basketball player but no one seems to care about Lance Cpl. Joey Banks, one of the 22 veterans who kill themselves every day,” Smith posted on Facebook, thinking that surely most of his friends on the social network would immediately attempt to learn more about his fallen comrade instead of thinking that Smith is a total fucking asshole.
When reached for comment, the family of Kobe Bryant apologized for not thinking about America’s fallen soldiers before mourning the loss of a beloved father and husband. “We’re so thankful for their service,” the family said in a statement.
Army Maj. Gen. John Evans, the commander of both Cadet and VetBro Command, agreed with Smith’s assessment: “Lots of people mourning a basketball player they didn’t even know this morning,” Evans tweeted of Bryant on Monday. “I think I’ll use my energy to mourn a soldier I didn’t even know.”
Still, some friends of Smith pushed back, explaining that perhaps it wasn’t necessary to diminish someone else’s grief to elevate their own. “Why not both?” one wrote.
Smith, a proud Marine Corps-trained refrigeration and air condition technician, was undeterred.
“You leftists are all upset about some sportsball guy dying in a helicopter crash, but I've got some news for you, snowflake: 15 years ago, over 31 members of the United States military died in a horrific helicopter crash in the deserts of Iraq!” Smith continued, also noting that every person in America who is a real patriot should know the name of every person killed in the war on terror along with the circumstances of their death.
“Ten years ago, 38 members of the military died when their Chinook was shot down by terrorists in Afghanistan. Call me crazy, but the deaths of OUR TROOPS should be more important than the death of some demon-CRAT who was famous solely for his ability to pass a ball back and forth.”
Justin Coates contributed reporting.