April 8 update: Good article in the LBCC Commuter paper. A memorial is set for this Thuqrsday, Apr. 13, 4:30pm at LBCC, Albany. More details TBA.
Our VFP chapter and local Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) branch are mourning the loss of our newest and youngest member, Dakota Tyger. Dakota took his own life on April 4, 2017 at his home in Albany, Oregon.
This was a remarkable man, vastly more mature, world savvy and well read than his twenty one years would suggest. In the short time we knew him, he expressed sincere empathy with, and understanding of, the plight of oppressed and working folk.
We cannot speculate about what persuaded Dakota to end his life, but his death is tallied along with the roughly twenty veterans who take their lives every single day.
We knew this was a special guy when he took the microphone during the Q&A session following a recent presentation by Zahra Billoo, the executive director of the Bay Area chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR).
Although the incidents in question predated his enlistment in the Army, Dakota wanted to apologize for the 2010 wanton murders of innocent Afghan civilians by what was known in this Army unit as the “Kill Team.”
We quickly sought an opportunity to get to know Dakota better and over coffee we learned of his interest in joining both Veterans For Peace and the Industrial Workers of the World.
Dakota soon took time away from his studies at Linn-Benton Community College and his favorite pastime of weight lifting to attend the Corvallis-Albany IWW event known as Wobbly Class Act and an IWW membership meeting. He was very interested in local activism and other ways to express his solidarity with, and empathy for, workers struggling under the yoke of the capitalist system.
Despite our short time together, we gained immense respect and admiration for this peace-loving veteran and his loss is felt very deeply.
Dakota Thomas Tyger, Presente!