Thursday, January 13, 2011
The Tragic Death Of John P. Wheeler, III
I ran across this YouTube clip of John P. Wheeler, III recorded just hours before he somehow wound up in a trash dumpster and hauled away to a landfill in Wilmington, Delware where his dead body was discovered. Wheeler was a distinguished veteran of the Vietnam War, Westpoint graduate, Harvard business school graduate and Yale law graduate who had served as a high-ranking member of the Bush administration at the Pentagon, as well as the Securities & Exchange Commission. Judging from the video clip captured by a parking garage camera, Wheeler was clearly in distress after he had returned from a short trip to Washington, D.C. on an Amtrak train. He can be seen carrying a shoe in one hand and is wearing no overcoat despite the cold weather. According to eyewitnesses, Wheeler had complained that he had been robbed and was missing his brief case. Sadly, Wheeler seemed to be dismissed by those from whom he sought assistance as just another crazy homeless guy. It's a pretty sad ending for a guy who spent most of his life in service to his country and was credited with the efforts to erect the Vietnam War Memorial honoring those who lost their lives in that war on the Capitol Mall, which has become one of the most popular tourist destinations in Washington. Police initially were treating his death as a homicide, but after this video surfaced, some theorize the distressed Wheeler may have sought shelter in a dumpster from the cold. Perhaps he had suffered a severe concussion from a mugging, which is why he appears confused in the video. Who knows. Conspiracy theories abound that he was rubbed out by the government for threatening to blow the whistle on the government's use of biological weapons or some black project. I wish my friend former IU Law Professor and Vietnam War veteran Henry Karlson was still around to discuss Wheeler's tragic death. Henry, a former JAG officer, always had great insights on these subjects. It's a tragic ending to a distinguished public servant's life no matter how you look at it.