1. #1
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    Default Solider Killed Not in Afghanistan but in Hawaii

    I don't know about you but I just don't think that it is fair that a solider can make it through battle and not get so much as a scratch, well maybe only some scratches. But when they get back home on U.S. soil they get killed in a car accident, that was not even their fault. To top it all off the solider only had 5 days to go until he would be comming home for good. On June 18, Ethan Ranz a 23 year old solider from MN, was killed in a car wreck in Hawaii. This is a solider who recieved numorous metals for valor and bravery, including the puple heart and bronze star.

    But the point is I don't think that it is right that a person who is traving in excess of 80 mph while comming up to a stop light and rear ending another vehicle. Weather the victim is a solider or not isn't the point it still isn't right. The reson is that the driver hadn't gotten charged for anything. Well in my opinion that is MURDER, and if not that it is a least manslauter.

    I was just wonder what other people thought of this becuse we do see bad accidents all the time, and most of them involved excess speeds, should peole who kill someone in a motor vehicle, and it is proven that they were driving with excessive speeds be charged with more than just a simple speeding ticket and a slap on the wrist. I know that if I killed someone in a car acciednt I would feel tarible for the rest of my life. But some of those people just don't seem to care. Should they be charged with more. I know that in MN if you are driving above 20 MPH above the speed limit and there is someone else in the vehicle you can be charged with attempted manslauter so why is it that if you kill some one in a vehicle it seem that you just have the guilt to live with, yes that is bad but still you took someones life because of your stupidity.

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    Isn't it usually Vehicular Manslaughter if you cause an accident that kills someone?

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    Yeah that is what i kind of thought but appantly not, because last that i heard nothing had been done to the person who cause this accident. I also know that there are several accidents where the person who cause the accident who killed someone just got a slap on the wrist. I also think that the laws just need to be tightend.

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    One of the reasons I like the legal system here in Kiwi Land is the simplicity.

    There are two charges possible.

    Murder. You planned it, you killed someone, it was pre-meditated, ergo, Murder.

    Manslaughter. Events occured with no prior thoughts of malice towards a person resulting in their death.

    2 choices with either of two outcomes, innocent or guilty. Hey, even jurors can work this out for themselves, just ask George.

    As to the point of the post.

    Who said life was fair?

    If it was not him, it would have been someone else. What he had done with his life has a much relevance as the next victims life story.
    Psychiatrists state 1 in 4 people has a mental illness.
    Look at three of your friends, if they are ok, your it.

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    You're right, it doesn't matter who the victim was. That wasn't really my point either. That's one thing I've always thought of when something bad happens to someone I know....if it hadn't been them, it would have been someone else and their friends would be feeling the same way.

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    A different angle to this, note how many troops have been killed in MVAs since coming home from the war. Here's why:

    1. Too many 20 y/o's with too much tax-free unspended money when they get home-lets spend it on a new crotch rocket!
    2. Missing the adrenaline rush of combat
    3. So happy to be alive they think they're indestructible.

    Survivors of war take fatal risks on roads
    By Gregg Zoroya, USA TODAY
    LAKE JACKSON, Texas Just three days home from the war in Iraq, Army Spc. Robert Tipp Jr., couldn't wait to open the throttle on his knobby-tired ATV.


    "It was like he was in prison for a year, and the bird's free," Gail Tipp says of her only son, who returned in late March. "He was riding that four-wheeler as hard as he could."

    Tipp's father, Robert Sr., agrees: "He thought that nothing could hurt him now."

    There were no roadside bombs along that winding stretch of lane in this Gulf Coast town. Just a freedom that Tipp hadn't tasted for more than a year and a sharp curve that he and his speeding ATV couldn't handle.

    When he smashed, without a helmet, into the pavement on the evening of March 26, Robert Jr. the 20-year-old his mother still called "Scooter" suffered massive head injuries. He died hours later, on Easter morning.

    Soldiers, many just back from the war, are being killed in vehicle accidents at a pace that has the Army alarmed. The fear is that soldiers' safe return from combat has left many feeling just as Tipp did: invincible. As a consequence, they drive too fast, sometimes under the influence of alcohol, and lose control of their cars, their trucks, their motorcycles or ATVs.

    "We absolutely have a problem," says J.T. Coleman, spokesman for the Army Combat Readiness Center at Fort Rucker in Alabama, which is tracking the trend. "The kids come back and they want to live life to its fullest, to its wildest. They get a little bit of time to let their hair down, and they let their hair all the way down and do everything to excess. They drink to excess. They eat to excess. They party to excess.

    And then, some drive.

    The statistics underscore the problem. From October 2003 to September 2004, when troops first returned in large numbers from Iraq, 132 soldiers died in vehicle accidents a 28% jump from the previous 12 months. Two-thirds of them were veterans of Iraq or Afghanistan.

    The deaths continue. In the past seven months, 80 soldiers died in vehicle accidents a 23% increase from the same period a year earlier. Four out of five were veterans of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars. The numbers could be higher, but the statistics, tracked by Army safety officials at the Readiness Center, don't include soldiers who recently left the service, or those with the Army Reserve or National Guard who have just been deactivated.

    The Marine Corps faces a similar problem. Three years ago, its rate of fatal vehicle accidents was almost double what the Army's is today. The rate dropped after the Marines added an eight-hour driving course to boot camp, but that drop flattened out when the Iraq war began.

    Today, the Marine rate remains somewhat higher than the Army's. But the Army's rate is surging, and because the Army is much larger than the Marine Corps, it loses almost three times as many people to vehicle accidents

    Usually safer drivers

    The Army's rate also is troubling because, before the war, soldiers appeared to be safer drivers than civilians. Compared with other young adults, soldiers have more disciplined and regulated lifestyles. All are employed, and many are married and have children factors that encourage responsible behavior. In fact, despite the surge, the Army's rate of vehicle-accident deaths almost 20 per 100,000 this year remains just below where the overall U.S. rate has stood for the past few years about 22 per 100,000.

    "Having said that, this is where we lose most of our people" in non-combat deaths, says Brig. Gen. Joseph Smith, commander of the Readiness Center. "And we're putting our resources on that."

    Army and law enforcement officials are particularly concerned about the months ahead. Summer has traditionally been the most lethal season. In Fayetteville, N.C., just outside Fort Bragg, police Lt. Richard Bryant warns, "When warmer weather comes, we're going to see a big increase."

    Fort Bragg, home to the war-hardened 82nd Airborne Division and Special Forces troops, saw vehicle accident deaths among soldiers based there rise from four in 2002 to six in 2003 to 10 last year.

    Among them was Vincent Withers, 27 and a veteran of Iraq. Behind the wheel of a borrowed Pontiac Trans Am last June, police say, he told a passenger at a stop light just outside Fort Bragg: "Let's see what this thing can do before we hit the top of the hill."

    The Trans Am reached 90 mph before Withers swerved to avoid another car, hit the median and launched the Trans Am into an oncoming car, police say. Withers and the driver of the other car, a father of two, were killed.

    'Nothing can touch me'

    Smith, the Readiness Center commander, says the Army is moving aggressively to cut the death rate and to better understand the reasons behind it.

    During the past year, the center has created a computer program in which soldiers fill out forms detailing personal travel plans. The program identifies travel risks, such as late-night driving, and allows supervisors to review plans and advise GIs on how to travel more safely. Other programs include an advanced-driver course for soldiers and a safe-driving ad campaign.

    In recent weeks, Smith also has enlisted epidemiologists to investigate a link between the effects of war and stateside traffic fatalities. Jonathan Shay, a psychiatrist who works with the Army on ways to reduce psychological damage from war, says combat has altered the behavior of soldiers home from Iraq, just as it did with Vietnam veterans.

    Some return home, Shay says, with an air of invincibility. " 'I'm 20 years old. I've lived through firefights. Nothing can touch me,' " he says of their attitudes. "They feel like they have to live life on the edge, or it is too bland or colorless." Others "actively seek out danger." In the extreme, Shay says, that behavior becomes suicidal.

    The life of Army Staff Sgt. David Rutledge Jr., 31, was in turmoil when he died Feb. 28 near Fort Drum, N.Y., where he was based. A veteran of Afghanistan, Rutledge was in the midst of a bitter divorce. His girlfriend was pregnant, and he faced the prospect of missing the child's birth because he was being sent to Iraq.

    At the time of his death, Rutledge also was having episodes of paranoia and was taking antidepressant medication, says Detective Steven Cote of the Jefferson County (N.Y.) Sheriff's Department.

    The night that he died, Rutledge couldn't get cash from an ATM or at two convenience stores. He jumped into his girlfriend's SUV and sped out of town at nearly 90 mph, Cote says. Moments later, he plowed into a parking lot full of new cars. He died instantly.

    "He didn't lose control," Cote says. "He just went right straight through."

    Grim details

    On a recent Sunday morning in Killeen, Texas, near the Army post at Fort Hood, Greg Anderson, an investigator with the Killeen Police Department, recites details about the latest traffic death of a soldier.

    Staff Sgt. Brian Foster, 24, an Iraq war veteran, had crashed his motorcycle into a cedar bush along Westcliff Road around 4:30 that morning. He wasn't wearing a helmet. Foster is one of 12 soldiers from Fort Hood killed in vehicle accidents this year and the second to die during that second weekend of April.

    On a city map, Anderson traces from memory the courses of other fatal motorcycle accidents. Each ended horrifically, with a soldier catapulting himself into a car or onto the pavement.

    "Had one down here on this end of Westcliff," Anderson says. "He was going too fast to make this turn, hit the curb, was launched off the bike right into a car head first, no helmet. Had another soldier coming north on WS Young (Drive) ... witnesses told us in excess of 130 mph when he hit the back end of a car."

    Anderson grimly predicts a record year for traffic deaths in Killeen.

    To caution soldiers, the Army erected billboards outside each Fort Hood entrance and displays car wrecks to underscore the message. On the billboards, lights flash red or amber if a soldier has died in an accident, or green if there's been no death in 30 days. Green lights haven't flashed since January.

    Hooked on speed

    Fort Hood, the Army's largest post, is home to the 4th Infantry and 1st Cavalry divisions. For the first time since the war in Iraq began, both divisions are back in town at the same time. Streets are clogged with gleaming new Ford Mustangs and Chevy Silverado pickups, and a profusion of high-speed racing bikes that soldiers call "crotch-rockets."

    "We're selling out," says Mike Clark, sales manager for Texas Motor Sports in Killeen, where hot items are the Yamaha YZF-R1 and YZF-R6 racing bikes. With muscular fairings and tiny windshields, the bikes go from 0 to 60 mph in less than four seconds and top out at about 160 mph. "They want something that goes fast and keeps that high up they had during the war," Clark says of the soldiers.

    Along congested Rancier Avenue, soldiers pop wheelies or weave through traffic. On outlying roadways, some race.

    One Sunday afternoon, as bikers congregate at Longbranch Park, Staff Sgt. Anthony Stewart roars up on a racing bike. He wears no helmet, a violation of Army regulations. Just weeks home from Iraq, Stewart, 31, shrugs. Sometimes he wears it. Sometimes he doesn't, he says. "You're not going to predict an accident," he reasons. "If it's going to happen, it's going to happen."

    Nearby, members of a racing bike club, Chaos Ridaz, gather around a picnic table. Most are soldiers who have served overseas. Many are older, non-commissioned officers who try to mentor young GIs about driving responsibly. But even these veterans concede that speed fills some indescribable urge for excitement that they've felt since returning from war.

    "The war changes you," says Staff Sgt. Gregory Dickerson, 31, club president and a soldier with the 4th Infantry Division, which will return to Iraq later this year. "Every day I was in Iraq, I had a chance of dying 365 days. Now, when I make it home ... you want to live."

    Going fast, he says with a grin, is like "a drug the newest crack out there."

    'Casualty of war'

    From the Combat Readiness Center at Fort Rucker, Smith worries that the Army may not be able to stem the tide in traffic deaths by itself. It needs families and spouses to curb the reckless behavior of returning soldiers.

    That's why the center is producing commercials in which friends and families talk graphically about what they could have done to save their loved ones.

    In Lake Jackson, Gail and Robert Tipp do that every day. They are convinced that their son's time in Iraq contributed to his death and that he died in service to his country, just like any of the more than 1,500 who have died in Iraq. Gail calls him a "casualty of war."

    Gail Tipp, 49, a retired school bus driver, relives every moment of those last days with her son. "It was like he couldn't harness the energy he had," Gail says. "Everything was now. There was no waiting."

    Robert Tipp, 51, a chemical plant operator, torments himself for not stopping his son from riding the ATV.

    "Follow your instincts," he says. "If you've got a feeling that they're living too fast a lifestyle, even if it makes them mad, ****es them off, slow 'em down." The alternative losing someone so quickly after a happy homecoming from war is unbearable, he says.

    Tipp remembers how he wept after seeing his son off to war. "He strapped that M-16 on his shoulder and he marched off. He looked like he was 10 years old.

    "I thought, 'Nothing can be harder than this,' " the father recalls. "Boy, was I wrong."

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    Yes, I will have to agree with that article and that when soliders come home they seem think that they are invincible, they have just made it through war, they feel that nothing can happen to them (I'm not saying that this is all soliders). As far as the statement they want to live life to the fullest I would have to agree with them, but they don't have to go to the extent of doing something stupid to kill themselves. I know that they know that they can be deployed again at anytime and they need to live life to the fullest we all do. But they don't have to do it in stupid ways like excessive speeds. But this solider wasn't the one travling at excessive speeds he was simply stoped at a stop light and another vehicle came from behind and hit him. The driver of the other vehicle got off free nothing, as of yet, happened to him/her.

    Are some solider on somewhat of a power trip when they come home, YES, they think nothing can happen to them now. Yet I still appricate what they are doing for my country, do I think that it is right that they have to be over there no but that wasn't the point of my original post. The point or question that I was getting at is that, and I do relise that life isn't fair, is it right that someone who kills someone else in a motor vehicle get off "scott free" while the next person who kills someone gets put away for a long time.

    I do understand that accident do happen I am a firefighter but there are two kinds of accidents, and most accidents can be prevented, but there are the cases in which are out of our control. In those cases I don't feel that they should get charged with any thing, but when you are being stupid, example like driving drunk, under the influence of drugs, or with excessive speeds. It should be cut and dry all states should be on the same page, it doesn't matter who you are if you are the President of the United States or some Celeberity, if you kill someone in a motor vehicle you should get jail time if you are doing something illegal. Now if it was something that was out of the controll of the driver I agree that they don't need to be put in jail.

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    19-25 year olds have been risking their lives at home after returning from war since the dawn of warfare. Personally I got busted driving 110mph the day I returned from Desert Storm, I was lucky, 19 and enjoying my instant freedom. Nothing can be done but try to warn everyone to be safe and not stupid, they forgot that part in my debrief.
    Be for Peace, but don't be for the Enemy!
    -Big Russ

    Learn from the mistakes of others; you won't live long enough to make them all yourself.

    Quote Originally Posted by nyckftbl View Post
    LOL....dont you people have anything else to do besides b*tch about our b*tching?

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    Michigan soldier, just back from Iraq, dies in accident

    Spc. John Snyder, 21, of Bangor, crashes his all-terrain vehicle

    Associated Press /

    March 25, 2006

    BANGOR, Mich.-- A decorated soldier from Michigan who was stationed at Fort Campbell, Ky., died after crashing his new all-terrain vehicle on the same day he returned to the Army base from his third tour of duty in Iraq.
    Spc. John Snyder, 21, died Sunday at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tenn. The base is on the Kentucky-Tennessee border.

    "He was a great kid, he was a good soldier," his father, Richard Snyder, told the Kalamazoo Gazette for a story published Thursday. "He loved what he was doing. He thought it was very important."

    Police in Clarksville, Tenn., said Snyder crashed into a tree Saturday while riding at a friend's house less than two hours after he bought the ATV.

    Snyder, who was not wearing a helmet, suffered a broken neck and severe head trauma, his father said. A helmet was found in the cab of the pickup truck used to transport the four-wheeler to the friend's house.

    "He had no fear. That was his problem," Richard Snyder said.

    John Snyder was a 2003 graduate of Bangor High School. Rick Reo, an assistant principal at the school, said Snyder was a starting quarterback on the football team, played on the baseball team and was in the marching and jazz bands.

    "He wasn't terribly fast. He wasn't big," Reo said. "I think he was just a leader and he led by example."

    Snyder was awarded the Army Commendation Medal, the Iraq Campaign Medal, the Army Achievement Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and the Army Service Ribbon, The Herald-Palladium of St. Joseph reported.

    He was assigned to the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne).

    Snyder's funeral will be held Saturday at Sacred Heart Church. Burial with full military honors will follow at Arlington Hill Cemetery.

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    Default another crash story

    Back from the brink

    College Station man uses humor, family support to recover after crash

    By JOSH BAUGH
    Eagle Staff Writer


    By all accounts, Iraq war veteran Chris Symons shouldn't be around to celebrate Christmas this year.


    But it wasn't a Saddam Hussein loyalist, a roadside bomber or a terrorist who stole away the man's two left limbs. The thief came in the form of a collision between his Triumph 600 motorcycle and an oncoming Ford F-250 pickup on Texas 105 near Navasota.

    Chris is the first to point out the irony of his accident.

    "I go to Iraq and come back without a scratch," he said. "Then I buy a bike, and this happens."

    That sunny day in November was a Sunday not unlike most. The Symons men - brothers Chris and Keith, and their father, Lyle - left from College Station in the morning, destined for a bike show in Houston.

    The three cruised down Texas 6 to Navasota, where they connected with two-lane Texas 105. Most of the time, they rode side-by-side, enjoying the country view, the fresh air and the sun.

    Approaching a minivan traveling about 70 mph, Chris decided to pass, a common maneuver for the experienced rider on a bike built for speed, Lyle said. But the series of events that followed forever changed the lives of Chris and those close to him.

    Lyle vividly recalls the accident, which has been burned into his mind. After Chris passed the van, he stayed in the lane of oncoming traffic and slowed down.

    "Then I saw the red truck," Lyle said. "I had a flash of anger."

    He thought his son was just playing with danger a bit too much. But Lyle soon realized that his son didn't see the pickup cruising toward them, and the driver didn't see his son. At the very last instant, the two drivers began to swerve, but Chris' Triumph slammed into the Ford.

    "The bike just exploded. There was no motorcycle anymore," Lyle said. "It sprayed into a thousand pieces."

    Lyle and Keith had to dodge the engine of Chris' bike, which had been launched back at them. They stopped as quickly as they could, and Lyle found his son lying on the side of the road. He seemed to be dead.

    Chris' tongue was hanging out of his mouth like a dead deer's on the side of the highway, Lyle said. His skin was an eerie shade of gray, his left leg was barely recognizable and he wasn't breathing.

    Lyle collapsed on his son and began to wail. By then, the reality of the situation seemed more like a nightmare than anything else. Lyle lost track of time. Just 20 or 30 seconds of crying on his son's body felt more like a half-hour, he said.

    But moments after the accident occurred, an off-duty emergency medical technician was on the scene, asking what she could do to help. Lyle told her to call 911 for an ambulance to come take his son's body away.

    "He's dead," Lyle said.

    But when they looked back at Chris, his chest was heaving as he gasped for air. The grayness of death had been replaced by the color of life.

    Other drivers began to stop and offer help. One made a makeshift tourniquet from a bungee cord. Another retrieved the severed arm that had landed yards away.

    Chris was floating in and out of consciousness.

    "We were holding him," Lyle said. "He wanted to roll around because he was in so much pain."

    Soon after, an ambulance arrived. Medics moved Chris into the mobile transport, where they waited for a helicopter ambulance that would take him to the trauma center at Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston.

    Police at the accident site offered to drive Lyle and Keith, but the two decided to ride their cycles directly to the hospital. They stopped once for gas and shared a bottle of water. It was then that Lyle called his wife, Barbara, to tell her their son had been in an accident.

    She was told that Chris had broken his leg and was on his way to the hospital. A few weeks earlier, she'd gotten a call that her other son, Keith, had been in an accident on his motorcycle.

    "It's a sick feeling, whether someone just had a scratch or worse," she said.

    But she knew that her husband wouldn't tell her the full story over the phone.

    "I knew Lyle would lie to me if it was bad," she said.

    Barbara raced to pick up Chris' fiancee, Joanna Florida, and get to the hospital.

    When she and Florida arrived, they learned the full extent of Chris' injuries. He was conscious and able to recognize people, and before he went into surgery, Chris asked his wife-to-be for a kiss.

    Then, all they could do was wait.

    A critical time

    When the doctors first came out of surgery, they said Chris wasn't doing well, his parents recalled. They told the Symons family that Chris had lost a lot of blood, his blood pressure had dropped and they needed to remove his injured leg to possibly save his life. Without hesitation, the Symonses approved the procedure, hoping to save their son.

    Chris took 30 units of blood and eight units of plasma, his mother said, and when the doctors came back with an update, they said his chances were good if he could survive the next 48 hours.

    In the waiting room, the Symonses and Florida watched families cope with death while others escaped its grasp. When Chris cleared that two-day window, they experienced their first of many victories to come.

    But they knew life would be different, and as Chris moved forward through his stay at the hospital and subsequent rehabilitation, he was always flanked by a loved one.



    Chris was an impressive patient, his therapists said.

    "I don't think this is going to slow him down at all," said Suzanne Krenek, his occupational therapist. "The other thing we saw was the great support from his family and his friends. A lot of times the mental and physical support can make or break rehab."

    Chris is quick to credit the tremendous support from his family, his friends and his fiancee, whom he calls his rock.

    "If I didn't have their help in the hospital ..." he stopped, his eyes welling with tears.

    Chris' roommate at the rehab institute - a quadriplegic - had only one visitor while they shared a room.

    "A lonely mind can think about a lot of things," he said. "There's no way I could have gone through all of that without my family and friends."

    The Symons family had prepared for a long initial stint at the rehab center. They'd seen other patients who'd made good progress - in a year's time. But Chris approached his therapy vigilantly.

    "We were all told that it would be months and months," Barbara said. "Then they said he could go home for the holidays."

    He's done all there was to do until his injuries completely heal, his therapists said. The next step for Chris is to be fitted for prosthetics, which likely will happen in February.

    Laughing to cope

    Chris says that in high school he was the class clown, and things haven't changed all that much. He still likes to laugh and make other people laugh.

    Even after the accident, nobody could accuse Chris of losing his sense of humor. His family has taken to calling him "FORD," an acronym for "found on road dead." Chris, who loves tattoos, says he had 12 before the accident, but now he only has 10 1/2. He's already been to his local tattoo parlor to ask for a discount to replace those he lost in the accident. And he wants to change the one on his back from "You only live once" to "You only live once twice."

    Chris likes to sport a T-shirt given to him by his close friend that reads "I bought this shirt and it only cost me an arm and a leg."

    "I like to make people laugh," he said. "Like this shirt - it may make some people feel uncomfortable, but it makes me laugh."

    He said his new body is what it is, that it was God's intention and that he's making the best of it. And make no mistake, he says, he will be back on a motorcycle.

    "I plan on getting back on a bike," he said. "It may be a year or two, but it will happen."

    Keith said he's looking forward to riding with his brother again.

    "We don't always have time to hang out together," he said. "But we always make time to ride."

    The accident hasn't kept Keith and Lyle off their bikes, and Chris said he wouldn't have it any other way.

    "I'm happy they still ride," he said. "I think it's good."

    Christmas as usual

    While life for the Symonses has been anything but normal since that fateful Nov. 13, they say it's Christmas as usual this year.

    "We're happy he's home," Lyle said. "We're happy he's alive."

    Chris said he planned to follow his normal Christmas Day routine, which includes a morning with just his fiancee, and then trips to his and her parents' houses, and visits to the grandparents.

    Every day brings new challenges, and they can be frustrating, Chris said, but he can only move forward.

    "To be alive is a miracle. This isn't just a luck thing," he said. "The reason I can handle this so well is because I believe in God strongly, and he let me make a choice. I can be OK with it, and I can make jokes about it. God has a plan for all of this."

    : Josh Baugh's e-mail address is josh.baugh@theeagle.com.

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    well, i decided to google myself and i got to here, to see my story,

    just thought i would say hi.


    btw, ive been riding since i was 12, everything happens for a reason

    take care

    chris

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