US Army General Patrick Donahoe recently had a meltdown on Twitter after uncomfortable facts shared by one of the Twitter users grated on his nerves. The Army General was so riled up by the social media user’s tweets and the subsequent barrage of criticism directed at him that he posted a tweet referring to those disagreeing with him as “trolls” and members of “disinformation tinfoil hat team”.
Public Service Announcement. Block and report the trolls and the disinformation tinfoil hat team.— Patrick Donahoe (@PatDonahoeArmy) July 25, 2021
However, social media users did not take the US Army General’s tweet kindly, accusing him of attempting to crush their free speech rights. Scores of Twitter users slammed Donahoe for calling upon people to block and report users who did not hew to his worldview.
Woke General Big Mad https://t.co/4527oKutRs— John Cardillo (@johncardillo) July 26, 2021
Nothing like a representative of the US Military advocating for censorship of speech, ehh? @USArmy @USNavy @USMC @usairforce— Mr.Butters (@Butters1776) July 26, 2021
I’m getting the vibe that Patty doesn’t like the First Amendment of the Constitution very much 😆 https://t.co/leB4cv0VDz
The US Army General’s unseemly tweet, asking people to block dissenting voices came after he drew a sharp backlash from social media users for intimidating a social media user who questioned him on one of his tweets.
The matter pertains to a tweet posted by Major General Patrick Donahoe, wherein he urged the US army trainees to get vaccinated with COVID-19 vaccines after a spike was reported in young trainees in ICU and a spike in trainees testing positive for the coronavirus.
To this, one social media user, Josiah Lippincott, who is also a PhD student at Hillsdale College, according to his Twitter bio, shared the stark facts about the menace of suicide that afflicts the US Department of Defense. Josiah said in Q4 of 2020 alone, there were 26 more suicides reported as compared to that in Q4 of 2019. He further highlighted that there have been 26 total deaths in the Department of Defense.
Sharing the suicide statistics from the Department of Defense website, the PhD student contended that lockdowns, liberty restrictions, quarantines, and general disruption of service members’ lives were bigger factors in driving people to kill themselves than the fatalities reported from the virus.
General, in Q4 of 2020 alone, there were 26 more suicides than in Q4 2019. There have been 26 Covid deaths TOTAL in the DoD.— Josiah Lippincott (@jlippincott_) July 23, 2021
The lockdowns, liberty restrictions, quarantines, and general disruption of servicemember’s lives is a way bigger killer than the virus. pic.twitter.com/NFFGdDtCEu
However, Donahoe dismissed Josiah’s contention as false equivalence and suggested that he compare the stats of auto accidents for the same period.
But Josiah responded back, highlighting the key difference between deaths from suicide and deaths from accidents. He said suicide is an intentional act while car accidents are not. “When policy treats healthy soldiers as biological hazards, we should not be surprised by an increase in suicide and psychological problems,” Josiah retorted.
Donahoe seemed rattled by this acerbic remark by the Twitter user and proceeded towards tagging the University where he is pursuing his PhD, presumably to scare the student from making any further argument.
Netizens slam US Army General for using intimidation to threaten the free speech right of a social media user
However, this attempt to crush the free speech of a Twitter user did not sit well with netizens, who called out the Army General for attempting to trample upon the democratic right of a fellow citizen and intimidating him into submission. An overwhelming number of social media users came in the support of Josiah and slammed the US Army General for indulging in an act that did not behove an Army officer.
A Twitter user wondered if this is the way an army officer should be interacting with members of the public.
Another commented if this is how he is handling a Twitter disagreement, it would be terrifying being under his command in a real fight.
If this is how you handle Twitter fights it must be terrifying being under your command in a real fight! How embarrassing!— Gen. Bob Sacamano (Ret.) (@GenBobSacRet) July 25, 2021
Yet another Twitter user said the Major General is an embarrassment and should be subjected to UCMJ proceeding for unbecoming conduct.
You’re an embarrassment and should be subject to a UCMJ proceeding for conduct unbecoming. https://t.co/9WclAJ5DRB— shipwreckedcrew (@shipwreckedcrew) July 26, 2021
Journalist Elijah Schaffer was also among those who were not pleased with the way the US Army General responded to the Twitter user. Schaffer tweeted: “The US Army isn’t what you think it is.”
The US Army isn’t what you think it is https://t.co/PAZo4uqS3i— ELIJAH SCHAFFER (@ElijahSchaffer) July 26, 2021
Even though the Army General did not acknowledge the menace of suicide among the defence forces, it, nevertheless, remains one of the major causes of fatalities among the US Armed Forces. The suicide rate among active-duty troops jumped to a six-year high in 2020, a report released by Pentagon said. In 2019, the rate of suicide among active-duty troops was 25.9 per 100,000 troops. The rate was 24.9 per 100,000 in 2018, and 21.9 per 100,000 in 2017. The rate has shown a steady increase from 2014 when the rate was 18.5 per 100,000 service members.