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Marine Survives Iraq, Dies at the Hands of Street Rats

By: Columnist Carl Langley
web posted July 21, 2008
CARL LANGLEY – Robert Crutchfield’s aunt and other family members say that the young Cleveland, Ohio, Marine had long held dreams of being a member of America’s most fabled fighting force.

Alberta Holt remembers her nephew speaking often about his love for the Corps and his hopes of joining the Marines on leaving high school. He also told family members and friends he someday would be an architect.

Crutchfield joined the Marine Corps ROTC while attending Bedford Heights High School and left for boot camp soon after receiving his diploma in 2006.

The young man who had just started his journey on the American dream only lived long enough to serve with distinction as a member of a Marine battle unit in Iraq. After more than a year spent surviving enemy firepower, he came home and died at the hands of two of the army of street thugs that prowl our nation’s major cities.

Crutchfield’s story has become an all-too-familiar one in this country: the best we have to offer dying at the hands of the most worthless dregs in any society.

Cleveland law enforcement officials said Crutchfield was standing at a bus stop with his girl friend back in January when two thugs came up and pulled a gun and began demanding money.

It’s amazing how big and tough these street rats become when they are standing behind the barrel of a Saturday night special, talking tough and demanding the property of others.

Crutchfield’s family members recounted how he had been warned by military authorities. Service members are told they shouldn’t carry large sums of money because it attracted muggers and robbers.

Crutchfield, a young man accustomed to following orders and military advice, had taken the warning seriously. He only had $8 on him when he and his girl friend were accosted by Ean Farrow, 19, and Thomas Ray III, 20. The two rats were looking for an easy target and found one in Crutchfield.

But they weren’t satisfied with taking the few dollars Crutchfield was carrying. They derided him for not carrying a large amount of cash, then shot him in the neck and left him to die on the street. Both rats were arrested a short time later as they took their trade elsewhere..

Cleveland prosecutors said one of the two thugs verbally assaulted Crutchfield for not carrying more money, then remarked that because he was a Marine he deserved to die. These are the kinds of skunks our government keeps alive by forking over free medical care and welfare cash.

At first it was believed that Crutchfield would recover but after four months undergoing treatment for continuing infections caused by his wounds he died of a cardiac arrest in a Cleveland hospital.

Mrs. Holt said family members faced up to the sad reality that Crutchfield would have survived had he remained in Iraq. She said over there he at least knew who was shooting at him and could retaliate.

“That’s the horror of the whole thing,” she remarked about the nephew who was on the front lines fighting Iraqi insurgents for 14 months.

I read several letters to the editor commenting on the incident and the overwhelming majority of the writers want Farrow and Ray executed, and, in the words of one, “as soon as possible” to send a message to the other street vermin.

Robert Crutchfield and his assailants are black, but that’s where the distinction ends.

Robert Crutchfield’s life was a life to celebrate. It was a life of merit and high calling, and he was a living symbol of how any young person, regardless of ethnicity or social standing, can soar to the heighths and bring pride to family and friends.

Farrow and Ray are a disgrace to humanity and by their actions they have condemned themselves to possible execution or at least a life sentence in a society that for too long now has grown soft and seems unwilling to make the rats pay the ultimate price for their actions.

I was one of those sending a letter to the Cleveland newspaper beseeching the state prosecutors to seek a sentence that would guarantee that the lives of these rats be snuffed out.

It would be a fitting remembrance for Robert Crutchfield, who put his life on the line each day he was in Iraq in order to make this world safer for all of us, even the two-legged rats who stalk our streets.

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