By now, you have probably heard about the two officers shot dead in Kissimmee, Florida, on Friday, August 18, 2017. Officer Matthew Baxter died at the scene; Sgt. Richard "Sam" Howard died the next day. At about 9:30 Friday night, Baxter approached Everett Glenn Miller and two other men. He called Howard as backup. The facts are uncertain at this point, but whatever happened next that night led to the death of the two officers. Everett Miller has been charged with their murders.
Just remember: Sometimes, the news has an agenda. Sometimes they get it wrong on purpose.
The officers were in an area "known for drug activity." Everett, however, was not a known criminal. In fact, he was not a criminal at all.
His crimes - the crimes that led to this tragic shooting - were: 1) being in the wrong place at the wrong time, 2) being mentally ill, and 3) being black.
Do you know why Everett was in what locals admit is a "seedy" part of town? Because he grew up there. He has friends and family who still live there. And so I ask you: What is the crime in that? Where is the crime in a black man visiting his friends?
If you were to believe the propaganda coming out against him, he was a lowly thug, trying to buy illegal drugs in the "black" part of town.
But Everett Glenn Miller isn't a thug. He is, in fact, a decorated war veteran. He is a retired Marine Master Gunnery Sergeant. He was deployed seven times. And because of his numerous deployments, he suffers from debilitating PTSD.
Of course, the media isn't using the photo of Sergeant Miller in his Marine dress uniform. They grabbed a photo from his Facebook page, one that made him seem like he was capable of gunning down cops in the street; far more like the "thug" the public wants him to be. After all, they tell you, no decent people kill police officers.
They may not want you to see that picture, but I do.
I will not allow anyone to mistake this veteran for a common criminal. I will not let the VA escape culpability on this. Not now. Not ever.
Can you imagine the toll seven deployments takes on a person? It was, sadly, too much for Everett to take; a couple of weeks ago, he was involuntarily committed to a mental institution. And despite his serious struggles with mental illness, he was released after 72 hours and his weapons, one of which he always carried with him, were returned to him.
Clearly, no one was there for this veteran. The VA is infamous for neglecting all veterans, but especially those veterans who suffer with mental illness. They clearly neglected Everett.
So I will say that yes, Everett killed those two officers. But I place the blame squarely on the shoulders of the VA and the local mental health community that utterly and completely let this veteran - this seven time war veteran - down. The same mental health community that probably could have prevented this shooting. The same mental health community that neglects and abandons so many vulnerable veterans.
The irony is not lost on Everett's friends. Around the Fourth of July, people place signs in their yards reminding others that fireworks can be triggering for veterans. Why, then, are the police not trained to identify and avoid those same triggers?
Why was Officer Matthew Baxter not trained to prevent this kind of tragedy? A tragedy that has played out numerous times before Everett's death - and one that will continue long after his death - if we do not face this challenge head on.
Everett's friends have reached out to others on Facebook, not only to try to make sense of this terrible tragedy, but also to ask for compassion for Everett. Nicole Harvey said this about her friend:
It breaks my heart that someone can put there life on the line for us as nation to feel safe and protected and we as people turn around and treat them so poorly with so much disrespect. I know that what he did was wrong and I'm not trying to justify it but, I believe if he would've gotten the help he was so desperately crying out for, this could have been prevented. So before you bash and belittle him, pray for him!
Amy Ingram had nothing but good memories of Everett from when they were in high school together:
I'm feeling a variety of emotions today because the man who killed the policemen in my hometown of Kissimmee was a silly, lighthearted boy who was my science lab partner in high school ... God be with all of us.
Yes, two officers are dead. Two officers that are a part of a police force that locals claim is as dirty as the day is long. No, they did not die "defending their country," they died while policing their community and because they triggered a vulnerable veteran.
Hopefully, some truth will see the light of day. Hopefully, the propaganda machine will not bury it under mounds of racist lies. Thankfully, Everett Glenn Miller is a decorated war veteran. Thankfully, he doesn't have a long rap sheet. Otherwise, his story, the epic tragedy that is his life, would be swept under the rug. Forgotten like so many other tragedies are forgotten.
We cannot forget how the military is responsible for breaking this man. They left him in pieces, unable to put himself back together again. And a horrible tragedy resulted from their negligence.
Angel C. on September 11, 2019:
I would just like to add that I am a hispanic (Puertorica) veteran who has seen lots of racial discrimination from the military to everyday life. As an american I see the disregard for others. However, I am NOT out there killing police officers nor disrespecting them, much less hispanic ones, like the two black officers he slained as a "black man". So no, this is not about his race, nor about the VA.
Ken Burgess from Florida on October 28, 2017:
I am biased in this situation, I'll put that out front.
Our government screws over our veterans, especially those that serve honorably for years, decades, but then have one misstep, have one breakdown, and then they are cast out or criminalized with due haste if it occurs while the are still in, or denied care and consideration if it occurs when already discharged.
It is deplorable, dishonorable, and a sign of what our politicians and government really believe in and what causes they really support.
There are millions this year alone who will qualify for working visas, or immigration welfare, or social benefits that they have done nothing to earn... but those that have sacrificed years of their lives serving their country often fall through the cracks.
And it is the mindset of those that were the strongest, hardest working, most dedicated soldiers not to ask for help, not to admit weakness, not to burden others or seek handouts. They have pride, they have accomplished things and seen things few others can in any other endeavor in life, and we as a society fail them, constantly, continually, almost wantonly.
The surprise is not that this occurred, the surprise is that this isn't something we read about daily.
Allen on September 02, 2017:
I guess you have to place blame on somebody. Can't blame the person that did the action. This is he problem with today's society. Always expecting handouts (entitled) and never can take responsibility for their own actions.
Elizabeth De on August 29, 2017:
So sad...I am a veteran of the USN. So sad to hear when something like this happens. Also I am glad I got out of the service when I did. I was very young 22. I did not complete my time. I know that when you raise your right hand and swear to defend our country that is what you sign up for. But what you don't sign up for is to be treated like your nobody once you become a civilian.
Wryn Patrick on August 28, 2017:
Fight all you want about race and junk but....by my counting of his rank, he's closer to being a maester than a SNCO....
Roman on August 27, 2017:
Sgt. Howard was a black man but did that stop Miller from killing him no. Officer Baxter was a minority as well but that didn't stop him from killing him either. These men were doing their job and took an oath to protect their cities. Miller took two innocent men away from their families and one of the officers was family friend that we adored. So don't make race apart of this issue. #RIPSam We Love you
Ronnie wrenchBiscuit on August 25, 2017:
Thank you Treva browne. I was thinking the same thing. It appears there are some respondents here who belong to the "Big Blue Can Do No Wrong Club". But the fact is that Cops are simply a reflection of our society. Many people will ignore a problem if it does not directly affect them. The same people will not rock the boat if they think it will adversely affect their livelihood. And so, many of the good cops fall into this category. And it is also a fact that many Cops who have tried to do the right thing and speak out against department brutality have often been fired. So yeah, there are a lot of good Cops who are unemployed because they were "too" good.
The city and state have enacted so many laws that it is practically illegal to be a human being anymore! Many of these laws are immoral, and the police have been given unlimited power and lethal weaponry to blindly enforce these immoral laws. I understand that in some parts of the country it is now illegal for children to mow lawns without a permit, or to set up a lemonade stand! The mantra of City Hall is "How many ways can we steal the taxpayers money? The primary role of the police today is to act as highway men, and enforcers; to collect tribute for city and state. People are simply getting fed up with being ripped off at every turn. And when you add to that the fact that innocent men. women, and children are frequently being brutalized,murdered, and raped by rogue Cops, it is no wonder that some of the good cops eventually get caught in the cross fire.
So far, all of the facts aren't in on this case. I have yet to find any info on why this killing was done. At this point we don't know for sure if the accused intended to kill, or if he was simply trying to defend himself. And if he is mentally ill then he cannot be held accountable. In the case of Oklahoma City Patrol Officer Daniel Holtzclaw, who was recently sentenced to 263 years in prison for raping 13 women while on duty, let's just imagine what would have happened if any one of those women would have killed him in self defense. I'll bet that many among the Archie Bunker crowd would have screamed "Hang 'em High!" without ever caring to hear the details.
The way for the police to stop this violence on all sides is to stop working for corrupt city and state officials, and to start working for the best interest of the communities that they have sworn to protect serve. Keeping the peace, rather than extortion, should be at the top of the list.
Treva browne on August 25, 2017:
So Daniel, you seem like you did you couple of seconds of research of his dress blues picture. Did it escape your narrow vision that he was sitting down? VERY easy, especially for a MSgt to have his chevrons covered on the top with his blouse being scrunched a bit while seated. No fkin jacked up medals, as he only has on ribbons. His rifle and pistol badges are both spaced and centered and he has a fresh haircut in the pic. Did it ever occur to you morons that some people don't post every single time they get a new rank to Facebook? Sit down. Be humble.
Verytas on August 25, 2017:
So am I going to be the only one to point out his 2 chevrons on one side, 3 on the other and his jacked up medals? If you're going to try and pump out info that he was a Marine, check the facts. The insignia isn't even master guns insignia. Jesus Christ...
Sonya Z on August 25, 2017:
Didn't really like this article. I do thank Mr Miller for his service and for protecting this country but he did the complete opposite when he killed those officers. Also this article is talking about racism and I'm not understanding how and why? Miller made previous threats about killing police officers on his social media... there is two sides to every story and I do truly believe that these mental health facilities are AWFUL and don't really evaluate people that is truth but other than that the article is way off. There was no racism, one cop was black and the other Hispanic I believe he def is not white. This racism talk is what stirs shit up. It's a sad situation and a sad article.
Roller on August 24, 2017:
I am a disabled Vietnam Veteran living in Kissimmee. The local VA has a fantastic Mental Health Department and bends over backwards for veterans. This VA didn't fail him - if he was actually in the Military.
Sonya Z on August 24, 2017:
Stupid question before I even really comment on this. The article reads his crime was: being black? Wth, the officer was black as well and the other officer was no that even white?!? Where is the racism?
steve on August 24, 2017:
Ummm, any military person can look at his medals and tell you he saw no combat. There are no OIF or OEF campain medals. If he deployed they were easy MEU's. How is this the VA fault failing to make the connection. PTSD is not an get out of jail free card for murder. I'm a 17 year vet with 3 combat deployments this dude is a turd for killing those cops.
Marie on August 24, 2017:
Sgt. Howard (one of the dead officers) served two tours in Iraq while he was in the Army. These officers were doing their jobs. They were not holding this man at gun point (they didn't return any fire in fact), they weren't actively fighting him, they were responding to an emergency call and subsequently ambushed. Society likes to blame police officers for everything but these men did not deserve what happened to them. I agree the VA does little to support veterans with mental health issues such as PTSD, it's sad our veterans deserve better. As an officer I've tried to work the VA to help homeless veterans, spoiler alert they were of no help. While I believe veterans deserve better, law enforcement officers also deserve better.
If everyone wants to critique law enforcement, then they should sign up to do it. It's a hard mostly thankless job and despite the obvious opinion of this author, the majority of law enforcement officers are good people who want to serve a community and go home at the end of shift.
The author of this article wants to place blame on the VA, fine go ahead it's deserved. Shame on the author for assigning blame the two dead officers.
She on August 23, 2017:
Clearly after deploying into unknown places seven times and not knowing if you would ever make it home alive took a toll on this young man. I am sorry for the loss of two officers' lives but I am also sorry for my brothers and sisters who go to fight for our country and never receive the help they deserve. Yes, they walk around with smiles on their faces but a dead on the inside. We clearly lost two lives but in my eyes, we lost three. We will pray for the families and I thank God I made it back to my family whole. CWJ USMC Retired
Gregory on August 23, 2017:
Race Shouldn't play a Role in This but Mental Health Should. That's Serious Business. Prayers for The Officers Family, and Also The Veteran That Didn't Get the Help He Probably Needed.
M kale on August 23, 2017:
Are you f-ing kidding me. He posted a video showing how to fire his weapon in a shooting range And doing head shots. Also said he would shoot police officers, so u want to blame this on the VA. Shame on you, he might have fought for this country But what do you think those two officers were doing? Protecting the citizens that they swore to protect. Here in The United States. How you can blame some one else for what he did ( And knew he was doing) is just wrong. Those two police officers did not even have a chance to defend them self. So you know what he needs to rot in some prison or get the death penalty Blame VA. NO. He knew what he was doing. And BLACK. HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH IT.
K. Ricketts on August 23, 2017:
Are you kidding me?????? He killed two cops and you defend the killer. You go tell those kids and the wife's why there dad and husband is not coming home. In am sure they will be open to you ignorant thinking. People who think cops are out to get them are pieces of garbage. Cops do not just stop you because its a random tues. Wake up. I worked for the city as a first responder for yrs. You wrong....and should be ashamed
Ronnie wrenchBiscuit on August 22, 2017:
Thanks for posting this. I live in Florida, and I heard about the shooting, but this was not reported. At least not to the extent that would make someone aware with just a cursory look. Dirty cops in Florida? Really?
Law Enforcement is big business down here, and the cops make sure the courthouse has a steady stream of customers to extort money from. Many are senior citizens on a fixed income. Yes, it's quite sickening and ironic that law enforcement is the biggest criminal enterprise here and throughout the nation. I am a Vietnam Era Veteran, and I can tell you first hand that the V.A. doesn't give a damn about veterans. Much of the staff at V.A. hospitals and clinics are civilians who simply come to eat lunch and pick up a paycheck. I recently went to see my primary care physician at the local V.A. clinic. I told him my feet were going numb lately. He didn't even look at my feet. He simply said: "That's because you frequently ride a bicycle". That was it! It made me feel like I was in the magical world of OZ.
Gee, if that's all it takes to be a doctor maybe I should give up the music and get serious about a career in medicine.