And when it’s based on a lie, it’s even worse.

So, this is making the rounds on FB again:

“We are asking everyone to say a prayer for the US “Darkhorse” 3rd Battalion 5th Marines and their families. They are fighting it out in Afghanistan and have lost 9 Marines in 4 days. IT WOULD BE NICE TO SEE IT ON EVERYONE’S PAGE…Even if its only for an hour. I am HONORED to re-post this! Sending prayers, strength and encouragement to the Marines and other soldiers and their families who lost their lives, and to the Warriors that are still fighting.
R.I.P. Justin Allen 23, Brett Linley 29, Matthew Weikert 29, Justus Bartett 27, Dave Santos 21, Jesse Reed 26, Matthew Johnson 21, Zachary Fisher 24, Brandon King 23, Christopher Goeke 23, and Sheldon Tate 27…. All are Marines who gave their lives this week for us ….for our freedom! There’s no media for them at all… not even a mention of their names. Please honor them by copying and pasting this post.R.I.P.
Please keep these Marines families in your prayers.

The reason why these names are not being mentioned in the media is that all of those men, the ones who actually existed, have been dead for close to seven years.

Here’s a rundown of the names on the list:

Notice that they were actually scattered across multiple units, from multiple countries, and died on different days in different provinces.  So not only is the originator of this social media chain letter a liar, but he or she is a lazy liar.

So, why do this?  Why recycle a list of the names of men seven years dead, claiming that they just died in the last week, and worse, that their deaths are being ignored by the media?

The answer is a simple one: vanity.

The post calls for “honoring the fallen.”  Many will blindly repost it for just that reason, though they are not truly honoring the dead; they only want other people on social media to see them do it.  They don’t care about those men; otherwise they might actually have taken two minutes to look them up and realize that they weren’t all 3/5, they weren’t killed in Afghanistan last week, and that the post is bullshit.  But no, they’re better than the media and all those people posting stupid videos on Facebook, you see, and they’ll show you.  They’ll show how patriotic they are and how much they care about soldiers they don’t know, and couldn’t care less about outside of showing the world how good and virtuous they are on social media.

There are a couple of fitting passages from the Gospels that have something to say about just this sort of display, but I’ll leave you with a simple thought.

Before you open your mouth, or post on social media, contemplate why you are speaking or posting.  Are you really doing it for the fallen, or are you doing it for yourself, just to show others how much you care, with the minimum effort possible?

If the latter, perhaps it is better to refrain from speaking or posting.  Especially if, as in this case, you are easily shown to have been hoodwinked within a couple of minutes.

Virtue Signaling Isn’t Virtue

Peter Nealen

Peter Nealen is a former Reconnaissance Marine and veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan. He deployed to Iraq in 2005-2006, and again in 2007, with 1st Platoon, Bravo Company, 1st Recon Bn. After two years of schools and workups, including Scout/Sniper Basic and Team Leader's Courses, he deployed to Afghanistan with 4th Platoon, Force Reconnaissance Company, I MEF. Since he got out, he's been writing, authoring many articles and 24 books, mostly Action/Adventure and Military Thrillers, with some excursions into Paranormal Fantasy and Science Fiction.

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