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Check Your Facts

I just read a graphic novel that made me furious.  It's obvious the writer had an anti-military agenda.  The author and editor and publisher is entitled to express that.  Whether you or I agree or disagree with their view isn't the point. 

What made me angry were story facts that were flat wrong or didn't make sense.  Here they are:

  • a Marine corporal shows up at the door to tell this teen boy his father has been killed in Iraq
    • FACT - Marines do not send corporals to report a service person's death, but send someone of higher rank. (Only someone familiar with Marine insignia would be able to tell the image is a corporal, but I showed the book to a Marine Sergeant.)
    • FACT - Marines don't go alone to deliver this sad news; they always go in pairs. See 4.f. and page 5 c. (1)  http://tinyurl.com/yf6evfc
    • FACT - any military personnel reporting a death would not tell the teen directly, but would tell the teen's guardian - it's policy.
  • teen boy, who has been practicing boxing and fighting with two other teen friends, overpowers the Marine
    • FACT - Marines are trained in hand-to-hand fighting.
    • QUESTION - Would a teen boy really be able to beat up an active duty Marine?
  • teen boy and 2 teen friends, tie up Marine and haul him into the woods and put him on the edge of a cliff.  It is unclear whether they push him over or just abandon him, but snow is on the ground, so unless rescued or able to free himself, implication is the man will die.
    • FACT - a strong Marine core value is Honor (which a son of a Marine would know) - what this kid did in the story is not honorable.
  • teen boy spends rest of night in regret and next morning decides "only one thing to do"
    • LOGICAL OPTIONS - rescue the Marine, - turn himself in, - tell an adult
    • WHAT HE DOES - signs up to join the military
        • FACT - whoever sent the Marine would know that he'd been assigned to go tell this family and someone would follow up - his vehicle would be found at the boy's house and an investigation would ensue
        • FACT - he must be 17 to join (his exact age is unknown)
        • FACT - when the boy is found out, he will receive at the very least a dishonorable discharge. But if the man is dead, he and his friends will have criminal charges of manslaughter or murder pressed against them. Even, if the man lives, they could be charged with assault and battery.
So my challenge to you, and to myself, is CHECK YOUR FACTS!  (Especially those your story's climax hinges on.)


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
Jan. 20th, 2010 08:19 pm (UTC)
Loved your "my eyes can only roll so far before they dislodge from their sockets" - wish I'd thought of it.

If a story is good enough, I can suspend my disbelief, but reading this one, I wondered, whom am I supposed to like? I like to like main characters - these kids just seemed to be jerks, and then we hit these errors. Grrrr.
Jan. 20th, 2010 08:19 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I knew this was going to bad as soon as I read "a Marine corporal shows up at the door." As a former Marine, I'm usually quite merciless at spotting errors and such in movies and on TV as well as in prose or even comics, but those are usually confined to relatively small things like incorrect wearing of the uniform, jargon, and so on. This is something altogether different, and worse for the fact that a little research would've assisted the writer(s) of this story to no small degree.

As for the story itself, well...my eyes can only roll so far before they dislodge from their sockets. ;)
May. 20th, 2016 07:58 pm (UTC)
I know this was posted over 6 years ago but as the wife, mother, and mother-in-law of Marines I just had to comment. Everything you objected to is spot on. Clearly the writer knew very little about Marines, shame on the editor and publisher for not checking facts. btw I burst out laughing at the idea of 3 teens overpowering an active duty Marine. On the way home from Boot Camp my daughter told me, "I now know 17 ways to kill a man with my bare hands." I always feel safe with her around.
Jun. 1st, 2016 08:08 pm (UTC)
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )