In honor of Memorial Day, Clarion reached out to veterans to talk to them about preventing violent extremism. This following is Part I of our series “Veterans Speak Out.”
Clarion Project’s National Correspondent Shireen Qudosi speaks with with Veteran’s Community Response founder Darrin Coldiron and board members Roger Vielle and Mike Carroll on child radicalization.
Veterans Community Response (VCR) is a non-profit focused on empowering veterans to become productive, contributing members of their communities.
“Children will follow what they’re taught. With a lot of the extremist stuff, whether it’s in America, or Afghanistan, or Iraq, the children will follow what they know or what they see. That’s why these people taking advantage of their children, and forcing them — well, not always forcing them because sometimes that’s all they kids know. The fact is that everyone in their [own] eyes is the good guy…
“Whenever they know anything is being attacked, or something in their culture is not being done the way they believe it should be, that’s when the fear and the anger and the hatred builds, and that right there is what the kids latch onto the quickest. A child when they’re born are pure and innocent. When they see the hatred, fear and anger, it’s just another latching emotion. When they’re being raised in whatever culture they’re in and are put into the position of a man before their due time, it just causes a lot of hurt and horribleness in the world. “
— Mike Carroll, Combat Veteran, U.S. Army, speaking on child radicalization.
Qudosi and the trio also discuss the role veterans can play in society, especially in light of their often transformative exposure and life experience.
Coldiron was born and raised in Montana. He has been a firefighter for 19 years in Eastern Washington. For the past 14 and 1/2 years, he has served as president and founder of Veterans Community Response, which helps combat veteran reintegration and works on various disaster missions.
Vielle is Blackfoot and Kiowa, born and raised on the Blackfeet Nation in Northwest Montana by his grandparents. Roger has served veterans for the past 10 years as a native spiritual adviser and VCR board member. He is also an instructor at The University of Idaho. Roger served in the U.S. army during the Vietnam War. He is a combat vet who worked in military intelligence.
Carroll served in the U.S. army, deploying to Iraq in 2003. Mike has been working in reintegrating combat vets since 2008. Mike serves for VCR as a peer mentor and as Roger’s right hand man.
If you’re a combat veteran suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), the Veterans Community Response is a resource created for you. The last five minutes of the interview offers a pathway to connect with the Veterans Community Response.