Charlotte – A U.S. Marine who lost both his legs in Afghanistan was forced to leave a Charlotte restaurant with his family after local football fans hurled vile abuse at them for wearing Dallas Cowboys jerseys. Marine Garrett Carnes, of Mooresville, North Carolina attended Sunday’s Carolina Panthers’ game against the Cowboys with his wife Courtney, their parents, and friends Brett and Nicole Coburn. After the game, which the Cowboys won 19-14, the group stopped at the Moosehead Grill for dinner. Several members of the party, including Garrett Carnes, were proudly wearing their Dallas Cowboys jerseys.  A group of disgruntled Panthers fans spotted their jerseys and started to taunt Carnes and his group even before they entered the restaurant. ‘Courtney was the first one out of the vehicle, and while she was getting Garrett’s wheelchair, one guy immediately started yelling at her,’ Brett Coburn told The Charlotte Observer. Once in the restaurant, the Panthers fans continued to mock Carnes and his group. One person told Garrett Carnes: ‘Don’t use your wheelchair as a crutch.’

Carnes, who is still undergoing treatment for his wounds at a Washington-area hospital, told them he was a veteran who had lost his legs in Afghanistan. The situation quickly deteriorated and according to witnesses the two parties almost came to blows after one of the Panthers fans approached Carnes in a threatening manner. Other patrons stepped in to defuse the situation, but staff asked Garrett Carnes and his party to leave. The police were called by Courtney Carnes, although no charges were filed. Carnes’ mother, Rhonda, has since addressed a note to restaurant patrons on Facebook. She wrote: ‘Why didn’t any of you stand up for my son and daughter? And to think my son almost died for every single person in that bar, by defending all your freedom.’

Every once in a while a story comes along that so maddening, so infuriating, that it’s beyond my limited capacity to express myself.  Seriously, reading this I’m beyond words.  It’s like one of those dreams where you’re trying to scream and no sound is coming out.  Like I’m sitting at a keyboard right now and all I can feel is my ears burning from the blood boiling inside me.  But here goes: What kind of fucking monsters are these people?  How is it possible – after 12 years of watching young men like Marine Garrett Carnes come home in pieces or not at all, to see scars on some of them that will never heal and know that virtually all of them have the kinds of scars that no eye can see – for there to exist even one small group of drunken douchebags drunk and douchey enough to do this?  And how on God’s green Earth can the rest of the crowd in that Moosehead Grill shit hole stand by and let it happen?  I haven’t been in a fight since 3rd grade.  And I’m as pro-Patriots as they come.  But if a wounded veteran came into Foxboro wearing a Darrelle Revis jersey, spit in Wes Welker’s eye and wiped his ass on Belichick’s hoodie, I’d thump any man who tried to fuck with him or die trying.  And I know to a certainty that any guy who reads the Stool feels the same way.  As in these might literally be the only bunch of twats in America that would treat a wounded warrior so badly, and Garrett Carnes’ family had to bump into them.  It’s a disgrace.

You hear all the time men like Carnes saying they sacrificed themselves defending the rights of others.  Whether it’s those Satan-worshipers from Westboro Baptist protesting veteran’s funerals or hippies burning flags or whatever.  And maybe he’d tell you he lost his legs defending the rights of warped, twisted, un-American hillbilly cunts to harass his loved ones.  But I’d like to think he was fighting for the right of his fellow Marines to march on that place next Sunday in battalion strength and reduce it to ashes.  Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to re-read Rhonda Carnes’ Facebook post and try not to cry my eyes out. On behalf of Stoolies everywhere Pvt. Carnes, Semper Fi. @JerryThornton1