Susan Uhlig (susanuhlig) wrote in kidlit_central,
Susan Uhlig

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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)
    • 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.)

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