Two soldiers, two families, and justice for one

For service families searching for the truth of how loved ones died overseas, not even the seeming advantage of fame can push the military into a timely and decent response. It has taken the family of Army Ranger and former pro football player Cpl. Pat Tillman some three years to get to this point: the Associated Press reports that the Pentagon will soon fault a number of officers - ranking as high as generals - for errors in the handling and disclosure of the young soldier's death by fratricide.

In the meantime, the family of Pfc. LaVena Johnson - a soldier not famous, unremarked, unsung - is still rebuffed by an Army that refuses to reexamine her death or revisit its claim of suicide despite disturbing indications of foul play and sexual assault.

One year ago, I drew the too-clear parallel between the cases of Cpl.Tillman and Pfc. Johnson, but everything said can be pared down to the pointed observation once made by Tillman's mother:

"This is how they treat a family of a high-profile individual," she said. "How are they treating others?"

It's time to level the field. Full as much as the Tillmans, the Johnson family deserves an honest accounting of their soldier's death and the honor and respect due every service family.

Sign the LaVena Johnson petition, and learn more about her story and actions you can take on behalf of her family.

(Cross-posted at this, that, and the other.)

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