US Marine gets 8 years in "Trust" game death

#1
What a waste.


Marine gets 8 years in Trust game death

By Trista Talton - Staff writer
Posted : Friday Sep 11, 2009 19:16:18 EDT

CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. — Cpl. Mathew Nelson felt certain his Marines knew he wouldn’t shoot whenever he pointed his 9mm service pistol at them. He never intended to shoot and kill 21-year-old Lance Cpl. Patrick Malone last March.

But now Nelson, 25, will spend the next eight years in prison for killing Malone with an accidental gunshot to the forehead — the result of a game gone terribly wrong, a game he and his fellow members of 2nd section, Scout Platoon, 2nd Tank Battalion, called “Trust.”

Nelson pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter and seven counts of reckless endangerment Thursday at a general court-martial at Camp Lejeune, N.C.

Members of his unit played Trust like this: A noncommissioned officer would partially insert a magazine into his M9 and pretend to rack the slide, simulating the chambering of a round. Then he’d point the pistol and ask, “Do you trust me?” When the question was answered, typically in the affirmative, he would then either pull the trigger or lower the gun to clear it.

Nelson is the third member of the unit to be court-martialed for crimes related to playing the game, along with another corporal and a Navy corpsman 2nd class. A fourth member, a sergeant, is awaiting trial. More could still be charged.
Read more:

Get the complete inside story on Cpl. Mathew Nelson’s court-martial in the Sept. 21 Marine Corps Times, on newsstands Monday.

http://www.navytimes.com/news/2009/09/marine_trust_nelson_091109/
 
#3
A waste indeed.

The last thing we need is more needless deaths.
 
#4
RIP to the poor Cpl.

My thoughts are also with anyone else in the room, who saw one of their chain of command shoot a comrade. Can't be easy to go back to work after that.

...involuntary manslaughter...
Doesn't sound very "involuntary" to me.

I understand how military are often in situations where different penalties are needed for death-related crimes than civilians (eg stray rounds in complicated firefights, suspicious people during critical IED threat times), but I don't see how this is one of them. I'd have thought 25 or life more fitting to shooting a man in the forehead at point blank range just to get an ego boost.

I maintain that there's no such thing as an accidental discharge. Anyone who does not know the state of their weapon is inadequately skilled or paying inadequate attention to be equipped with it.
 
#5
NVG_Goatman said:
RIP to the poor Cpl.

My thoughts are also with anyone else in the room, who saw one of their chain of command shoot a comrade. Can't be easy to go back to work after that.

...involuntary manslaughter...
Doesn't sound very "involuntary" to me.

I understand how military are often in situations where different penalties are needed for death-related crimes than civilians (eg stray rounds in complicated firefights, suspicious people during critical IED threat times), but I don't see how this is one of them. I'd have thought 25 or life more fitting to shooting a man in the forehead at point blank range just to get an ego boost.

I maintain that there's no such thing as an accidental discharge. Anyone who does not know the state of their weapon is inadequately skilled or paying inadequate attention to be equipped with it.

I agree completely.
 
#7
What's the waste?
One idiot playing the fool with a weapon and another allowing him to because he 'trusted' him.
FFS if you trust someone to level any weapon point blank at your noggin you're either under the influence (What's the betting drinks were involved?) or terminally stupid.
I'm sorry if this sounds harsh, but just because someone wears the same cap badge as you doesn't excuse their stupid machismo BS.
 
#8
How many times do people have to be told not to f*ck about with weapons?

When I was in the UOTC every summer a load would go across to the states to spend two weeks with their ROTC. My flatmate came back and said, "The yanks have a funny attitude to weapon handling....people were having NDs and the instructors were laughing". I'm sure that isn't the case now, but what kind of culture generates and sustains "the trust game"? ffs.
 
P

PrinceAlbert

Guest
#9
No sympathy from me I'm afraid. If you're stupid enough to let someone point a potentially loaded weapon at you and squeeze the trigger then you deserve a round to the forehead.
 
#10
Ill be totally honest, this is f**ked up. How stupid can you be to play stupid games with weapons. Idiots :x Its a shame tho, but at the same time if you want to play stupid games like that then you deserve to get hurt.
 
#11
Ridiculous indeed. Incidents like this are why we are always taught the paramount importance of correct weapon handling. If you never point a weapon in any state at anything you don't want to kill, then accidents (or foolish mistakes) will not happen.

If I was the offending Cpl, I'd have chambered another round up and saved everyone the bother of sending me to jail.
 
#12
Thank god the thread changed direction. I thought I was the only one who believed that this was a culture of indiscipline of which the USMC should be ashamed.

Or in squaddie speak, a complete bunch of cnunts including the deceased.
 
#13
Can't say I agree with those who blame the deceased. NVG_Goatman is no-one's bitch, but with a pistol between my eyes, I'd imagine I'd be pretty compliant with any question asked of me.

I lean toward blaming the last guy to have the game sprung upon him, who after passing thought something along the lines of, "Ah, thank goodness that's over and done with. I'm alright jack." Rather than, "Moral Fiber eh? Is that the thing where I send this Cpl to the guardroom, the infirmary or both?"
 
#14
To be fair to the deceased, there will be a great amount of peer pressure to conform, especially among young people. Add to that pressure, the fact that it was the section commanders and above who were doing it and I think the deceased can claim mitigating circumstances.

I agree this is a discipline issue among the seniors though.
 
#15
Bullying fuckwit.

Eight years is nowhere near enough. He abused his position and somebody got killed. Not only did he abuse his position, he must have known about the previous Courts Martial.
 
#16
Stupid, stupid, stupid!!!

There is no other way to describe this. :x

However, we have our own idiots, so we are in a glass house folks.

Anyone else remember this ---> Rifleman Aarron Kendrick
 
#17
Fcuking retard, should have been sent to the gallows. In 2005 at Cp. Stryker a few idiots in 10th Mountain division thought it would be fun to play catch with frag grenades while waiting to return to the USA.

Predictable results in a tent full of sleeping men, it wasnt funny to see the aftermath.

And he should have been doubly held responsible as an NCO he should have been the more mature an responsible person, sadly a man is dead because Nelson wasnt up to being an NCO
 

the_boy_syrup

LE
Book Reviewer
#19
bikertam said:
So they don't bother with safe weapon handling in the US then, that's a suprise.

.
Plenty here have done it as well

Perhaps people should remember that drills are taught for a reason
 

maguire

LE
Book Reviewer
#20
do they not teach the principle of 'there is no such thing as an unloaded weapon' in the USMC then?
 

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