Young man holding a sign that reads, “Dear white people: Stop using Dr. King as an example of a peaceful protest… You shot him, too.”

I Lost a Brother

How national division became personal division for me

I was concerned.

I considered this man my brother. We had served together for a few years in the Marine Corps. We’d not been in combat together, but I’d been many times and I assumed he’d been, too (a safe assumption for any Marine at the time when two wars were ongoing). We weren’t the kind of brothers that hang out all the time, but I’ve never been very sociable. I considered him a brother the way I consider everyone a brother (or sister) who signed that blank check to the government up to and including their lives. Marines in particular have a stronger bond than the rest of the military. I know what kind of training he’s received and what he’s capable of. We’ve fought each other as part of our shared martial arts training. If you’ve never fought someone, it’s the oldest form of male bonding in human history, and for good reason. I knew, without a shadow of a doubt, that if we were in a life-and-death scenario that I could put my life in his hands and that he knew he could put his life in mine. We would absolutely run into a hail of gunfire for each other if needed, but more likely together, shoulder to shoulder, in defense of others.

I was flabbergasted.

I was paying attention to him and truly trying to understand the message and movement in general and my brother’s feelings specifically. It’s why I checked my ego in the face of this absurd murder accusation levied at me and asked questions instead of getting angry or blocking him.

Regardless, it’s clear I can’t really talk to my brother about this anymore, because he’s not willing to listen.

It seems like it’s very easy for people to be divided like this, but very hard to stop people from being divided unless they already agree on all aspects of these important topics. I’m finding it increasingly difficult to see us avoiding an end of the United States. If we can’t work out disagreements between people that have meaningful, personal connections to each other, and we’re increasingly antagonistic with people we don’t know, what other outcome is likely than a national divorce from each other? It gets even worse than this worst-case scenario because it’s highly unlikely that such a divorce is going to be peaceful. The United States has already tried this a few times. There’s no mechanism established to do it peacefully, so it’s unlikely to be peaceful, especially with such animosity between the parties.



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Craig Carroll

Craig Carroll

Retired US Marine intelligence analyst and martial arts instructor. Managing Editor at