Gilead teen states conscientious objection; refuses armed patrol/sentry duty

Paul Tobiason, 17 year-old son of GDC Vice-Chair Joe Tobiason, informed GDC Defense Coordinator Rich Bennington one week ago that he would no longer be available to serve armed sentry or patrol duty due to a philosophical and moral objection to the use of force.

Jennifer Godin and Marcus Chambers overlook Route 12 as they patrol the Gilead border. Chambers has taken Paul Tobiason's slot on patrol duty.

The announcement was met with no small amount of disappointment by Bennington, but he said he had no choice but to accommodate Paul’s wishes. “I know a little of what Paul’s going through,” said Bennington, referring to Paul’s having killed a Raider during a failed raid last month. Bennington identified with Paul’s situation, as Bennington joined the U.S. Army immediately after high school and served for 20 years, including eight years in Afghanistan. “I killed a number of enemy combatants, and it was a difficult thing to accept that as a part of who I am – that I took lives. But Paul didn’t sign up for this, so for him it must be even tougher.”

Paul’s father said he is completely supportive of his son’s decision. “We have always been pacifists, and raised Paul to value all human life, no matter what,” he said. “He was serving armed sentry duty on Route 12 during that raid because he wanted to help protect his friends and neighbors, but killing that Raider was a life-changing trauma.”

Paul was unavailable for comment, but his mother Shara said that he has vowed never to hold a gun again. “He said he would rather be killed than have another death weigh on his conscience,” she said. “He can barely tolerate the thought that he killed another human being, and I will absolutely not tell him he has to go against his conscience, no matter what the ramifications.”

Shortly after his announcement, Bennington discussed the matter with Sam Chambers, who agreed to let his son Marcus take patrol and sentry duties that otherwise would have been assigned to Paul, while Paul would perform dairy jobs that Marcus would have done.

“It might not be long before [Paul] decides holding a gun would be better than putting up five thousand g—-mn bales of hay,” said Marcus.

Despite Bennington’s understanding, he wanted to be sure Gilead residents are aware of the hardship this will cause. “One person making this type of decision is inconvenient and will cause a few more long shifts here and there,” he said, “but if any more people decide to become pacifists while the threat of Raiders is very real, and possibly growing, then we will be in very big trouble. We are running very close to the ground on this, so we’re going to feel even the tiniest bump in the road.”

Other Gilead residents were not as understanding. “We’re all in a tough position,” said Dave Childers, who is a veteran of .nàv reݍ î;æ£ !ΖbÉ쵈t õ‡òæše¿™9Á}i•«‘€Žù°Ç†‰e/A´ U´Ó5É-.¡›ó ̶«$Ö³QY‹t£ ÇðÉÆ|N$sÏñož<‡m®hs\:ÚÜ‹ûÛ™#w•îÙ¿Ý‘/F#H‰2P0 BC…l.}÷` …ôb.c 3=K#S CC##= S cc=s3 ]3C=#…¢T®4.€    Ä®endstreamendobj332 0 obj<</CS/DeviceCMYK/I false/K false/S/Transparency/Type/Group>>endobj333 0 obj<</BBox[242.135 1214.82 477.576 1178.1]/Filter/FlateDecode/Group 332 0 R/Length 63/Matrix[1.0 0.0 0.0 1.0 0.0 0.0]/Resources<</ExtGState<</GS0 326 0 R>>>>/Subtype/Form>>streamH‰2P0 BC…l.}÷` …ôb.# #=CcS C#C =#  #cS=   ]c3=s#…¢T®4.€   $úÕ


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Filed under 6/3/2019

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