Sunday, December 22, 2013

Mr. "Anonymous" strikes again

Yesterday, I received the following unsigned comment to my post, "Seven years ago today, US Army Staff Sergeant Alberto B. Martinez murdered my husband":

Same thing Anonymous said. I was in the 42ID when this happened. Your husband was not a well liked officer who honestly was a jerk to most people. When someone dies we glorify them but I knew your husband and he was not well liked by his piers (sic). It could have been anyone. I am sorry you lost a husband but Alberto B. Martinez was declared innocent. Quit defaming his name. 

This comment is apparently made in response to an earlier comment, made by an anonymous individual who argued that Staff Sergeant Martinez “was declared innocent by a jury of his piers (sic).”

For inanimate objects associated with fishing, mooring sea vessels, and long walks, “piers” nevertheless play a central role in these individuals’ claims—that is, if there even are, in fact, two separate people posting these comments.

These comments are beneath me. They are the vile, inarticulate emanations of the morally depraved. As I have answered this person before, I direct them to that answer. This time around, I only remind the reader that none other than Martinez himself admitted to murdering my late husband when he offered a plea deal in order to forgo execution.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

A Mother's Sorrow

According to the CNN, Cathleen Alexis, the mother of the Navy Yard killer, has expressed her sympathies to the family-members of her son's victims.
Washington Navy Yard gunman Aaron Alexis' mother apologized Wednesday for her son's actions, saying she was glad that he is "now in a place where he can no longer do harm to anyone." 
"I don't know why he did what he did, and I'll never be able to ask him why," Cathleen Alexis said in a statement recorded by CNN.
"I'm so, so very sorry this has happened. My heart is broken," she said.
Through her statement, Ms. Alexis has done something that family of Staff Sergeant Alberto Martinez has never seen fit to do: express heartfelt sorrow over the cruelty unleashed by her son. As the spouse of one of Staff Sergeant Martinez's murdered victims, I commend Ms. Alexis for her moral courage and sense of decency.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

An anonymous comment defending Staff Sergeant Alberto Martinez

On July 28th, the following comment was left on my blog by an anonymous commenter:

"Your husband was murdered but not by his accuser. There was no lack of discipline in the 42nd ID. Maybe its (sic) your perspective but your husband was not some "amazing: (sic) leader maybe mediocre at that. His accuser was declared innocent by a jury of his piers (sic) and you should stop these post (sic) that defame his name."

It appears Staff Sergeant Alberto Martinez has a champion, or perhaps Martinez himself has paid a visit to my blog and shared with us his thoughts. In any case, I will address the anonymous commenter's claims in the order presented.

  • "Your husband was murdered but not by his accuser."

Tortured syntax aside, this sentence seems to assert that Staff Sergeant Martinez did not murder my late husband, Phillip, yet the commenter provides absolutely no evidence to justify such a claim beyond bare assertion. My answer: quod gratis asseritur, gratis negatur—what is asserted without reason may be denied without reason.

  • "There was no lack of discipline in the 42nd ID."

I find it stunning that veterans of the 42nd Infantry Division just bristle at my charge that members of their division were grossly unprofessional and that this lack of professionalism is a stain on the division as a whole. Here, my thoughts are straightforward: my husband lies dead because soldiers in his division failed to enforce standards of military discipline that would have checked a murderer long before his actions rose to murder. 

In fact, soldiers of the 42nd Infantry Division permitted Staff Sergeant Martinez many indulgences that only emboldened him in his rage against my late husband. Martinez told practically anyone who would listen that he hated my husband Phillip and that Phillip deserved violent harm. Granting Martinez mercy and forbearance for such statements was utterly unjustified—and my husband and his fellow victim, 1st Lieutenant Louis Allen, paid the ultimate price for it. An honorable veteran of the 42nd Infantry Division would recognize such a failure for the black mark it is and feel regret and shame for it, even if he or she wasn't directly responsible for the failure. An honorable veteran of the 42nd Infantry Division would say "yes, such an injustice was grossly wrong, and we were all lessened for it."

In contrast, a veteran without honor would whimper about being judged unfairly—even in the knowledge that my late husband Phillip and 1st Lieutenant Allen suffered a fate far, far worse then they will likely ever know. 

  • "Maybe its (sic) your perspective but your husband was not some "amazing: (sic) leader maybe mediocre at that."

Again, quod gratis asseritur, gratis negatur. Yet for argument's sake, let us take the anonymous commenter at his word: my late husband was ostensibly a mediocre officer. Do mediocre officers deserve to die by Claymore mine, without any sort of hearing, and without any opportunity to defend themselves, all for their alleged mediocrity? The thought is patently absurd, yet Staff Sergeant Martinez's defense team implicitly argued as much as they tried to shift attention away from their client. How weak a defense though—to blame the victim for his own murder—how deeply shameful and pathetic.

  • "His accuser was declared innocent by a jury of his piers (sic) and you should stop these post (sic) that defame his name."

If Staff Sergeant Martinez's defender thinks that Martinez was "declared innocent" of murdering my late husband Phillip and 1st Lieutenant Allen, he or she would do well to study a primer on the American criminal justice system. A court martial found Staff Sergeant Martinez "not guilty" of the charges brought against him. Taken in a light most charitable to Martinez, all this verdict means is that the government did not successfully prove its case against Martinez "beyond a reasonable doubt"—the legal standard required by our law. Such a verdict does not imply that Martinez was somehow "declared innocent" of the charges levied against him.

Of course, based upon the testimony and evidence that I observed at Alberto Martinez's pretrial hearings and at his court martial, there is no doubt in my mind that Martinez murdered my late husband and 1st Lieutenant Allen. I find the court martial's verdict acquitting Martinez utterly unjustified and morally indefensible. All the same, I respect that honest readers will have to form their own opinion based upon their thorough reading of the evidence in this case. This is my way, and it was my late husband Phillip's way as well. 

Nevertheless, there is one thing that the anonymous commenter and I agree fully upon: Staff Sergeant Alberto Martinez was judged at court martial by a group of soldiers very much his peer; so much so that I think that they all deserve one another, each the others equal in virtue.

Justice is hard—it can take volumes of thought and work to give a person what they honestly deserve. The anonymous commenter probably thinks that they are defending Martinez and they are certainly not alone in attempting to give this wicked man comfort.

Yet as Dr. Martin Luther King once observed, "the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice." Try as they may, they cannot refine a murderer, and they shall not succeed in silencing me.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Remembering my husband, Phillip Esposito, on Memorial Day

“Are you doing anything fun for Memorial Day?”

The question comes innocently enough, but it jars me all the same. In 2005, my late husband, Army Captain Phillip Esposito, was murdered when a subordinate solider detonated a claymore anti-personnel landmine in my husband’s sleeping quarters, killing my husband and another soldier. In 2008, Staff Sergeant Alberto Martinez, of Schaghticoke, NY, was acquitted by court martial of any responsibility for the slayings, this despite evidence that placed Martinez at the scene of the crime, connected him to the weapon used, and established his overwhelming hatred against my husband for attempting to relieve him for cause.

In this light, I do not celebrate Memorial Day as much as I endure it.

The purpose of Memorial Day is to honor servicemembers who died in defense of our nation. These servicemembers all took an oath that defined the nature of their commitment. Today that oath is as follows:
I, [NAME], do solemnly swear [or affirm] that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.
I believe that Phillip and his fellow slain soldier, 1st Lieutenant Louis Allen, each lived up to the terms of that oath. The tragedy of their deaths is that far too many of their fellow soldiers did not.

Phillip’s fellow soldiers did not live up to their oath of enlistment when they left Staff Sergeant Martinez’s repeated threats and gestures of contempt against Phillip go unpunished, in defiance of military law. Had Martinez been properly held to account for these threats, Phillip and Lou would likely be alive today.

But there is another group of soldiers who failed to live up to their oath of enlistment. I believe that the jurors who voted to acquit Martinez also failed to live up to their oath when they allegedly allowed their bias against capital punishment cloud their judgment, when they allegedly used their rank to squelch honest deliberation, and when they allegedly failed to properly vote upon all the charges sent to them by the military judge administering Martinez’s trial. If these allegations are true, I find the actions of these jurors—all soldiers in the Army— irresponsible and cowardly. Staff Sergeant Alberto Martinez is a liar, a thief, and a murderer. His jury should have found as much and punished Martinez accordingly.

I wonder, as Phillip’s friends and family grieve his loss this Memorial Day, how will a villain like Staff Sergeant Martinez mark the holiday? Does he grill burgers and hot dogs with his friends and family who are indifferent to his blood-stained soul? Does he hold his children close? Does he even dare speak of his time in Iraq—time spent avoiding his professional responsibility and instead fermenting his wicked plot to murder his commander and his executive officer? Does Martinez even think of Phillip’s daughter, or Lou’s four sons, and the tears and sadness his actions have brought to their lives, on Memorial Day?

I must accept that Alberto Martinez does not think of these things—at least not as a moral person would, for if Martinez were moral, he never would have committed murder in the first place. Instead, he would have performed the tasks assigned to him as his own oath of enlistment demanded, and falling short, he would have accepted his circumstance like a soldier.

Like a soldier. The word conjures up a host of contradictions. The best of America’s soldiers have defended and preserved our constitution and republic through the most trying of times. The worst—well, I don’t have to imagine what the worst have done. I only have to think of Phillip as he lay in his coffin, the innocent victim of unbridled cruelty, to be reminded of what the worst of America’s soldiers have brought to my life.

But on Memorial Day, I will remember my husband Phillip. I will remember his virtue, his honesty, and the love we shared together. Our daughter shall remember Phillip as well, and together, we will recommit ourselves to the brand of justice that says that Phillip’s life mattered, and that in his death, we seek just accountability and reform.