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Rummy's recruit: a young man with autism

It can’t get much worse than this. Michelle Roberts of The Oregonian has an unbelievable piece on the depths of Rummy’s recruiting problem. An 18-year-old with moderate to severe autism was recruited.

“When Jared first started talking about joining the Army, I thought, ‘Well, that isn’t going to happen,’ ” said Paul Guinther, Jared’s father. “I told my wife not to worry about it. They’re not going to take anybody in the service who’s autistic.”

But they did. Last month, Jared came home with papers showing that he not only had enlisted, but also had signed up for the Army’s most dangerous job: cavalry scout. He is scheduled to leave for basic training Aug. 16.

Officials are now investigating whether recruiters at the U.S. Army Recruiting Station in Southeast Portland improperly concealed Jared’s disability, which should have made him ineligible for service.

…”My concern is that if he got into a combat situation he really couldn’t take someone’s back,” said Mary Lou Perry, 51, a longtime friend of the Guinthers’. “He wouldn’t really know a dangerous thing. This job they have him doing, it’s like send him in and if he doesn’t get blown up, it’s safe for the rest of us.”

The article also recounts the story of an Ohio family – a mentally ill son was snared by the desperate recruiters, and in Houston, one target was told that if they didn’t show up for a meeting with recruiters, that the person was going to be sent to the slammer.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding