Former Army Paratrooper Scott Ryan Merryman, 37, had allegedly traveled to the United States capital, Washington D.C., to kill US President Joe Biden. He claims that God directed him to kill Biden, who he described as the Antichrist.
On January 25, the decorated Army Airborne veteran had called his local police station stating that he would be paying Biden a visit in Washington. On January 26, he said that he was directly communicating with God. When contacted by the FBI about his plans, he said he wanted to talk to the President about the Book of Revelation and that he was going to “lop off the head of the serpent in the heart of the nation.” Later, he denied that the “serpent” was Biden.
However, posts from his personal Facebook page say otherwise. Posts from January 26 reveal that he had intentions of killing the President, stating, “There will be a miracle happening at the White House. I believe Joe Biden is the AntiChrist now, and he will suffer a fatal head wound. I’ll deal that blow in Christ’s name. Bro . . . This is getting deep. And, I’m going to do it with bullets and no gun.”
On the same day, the US Secret Service had tracked Scott Ryan Merryman down in a Cracker Barrel restaurant in Hagerstown, Maryland. He proceeded to tell agents that he had a very important message to deliver to Biden regarding how divided the United States of America was and that Biden should turn back to God or go to hell. He also emphasized to the Secret Service that he was cloaked by the “blood of the lamb” and that he was armored by God. While he wasn’t arrested on the spot, he later called the Secret Service and threatened them, saying that he had a bullet with a secret service agent’s name on it and that he was coming to cut the head off the serpent in the heart of America.
The Kansas veteran native will be facing charges such as making threats against the President of the United States and using interstate communication to announce his intentions to kill the President of the United States and FBI agents. He is currently incarcerated at the Washington County jail in Maryland.
A Textbook Study Of A Failed Mental Health System For Veterans
While we do not condone serious threats against the President of the United States or wish death to any other human being, it is important to provide context to the situation.
According to court documents sent to Chief Judge James J. Breder from the federal district court of Baltimore obtained by The Daily Beast, Scott Ryan Merryman was a “decorated” soldier. He served with the Army Airborne as a paratrooper, serving from 2005 to 2010. Upon completing his training in 2006 as a Petroleum Supply Specialist, he was deployed to Afghanistan in 2007, where he stayed for 15 months. During this time, he was part of the Tactical Human Intelligence Team and was awarded an Army Commendation Medal.
He finished his career in 2010, where he obtained the following awards:
- Army Commendation Medal
- Army Achievement Medal
- Joint Meritorious Unit Award
- Army Good Conduct Medal
- National Defense Service Medal
- Afghanistan Campaign Medal with Two Campaign Stars,
- Global War on Terrorism Service Medal
- Army Service Ribbon
- NATO Medal
- Combat Action Badge
- Parachutist Badge
However, his career was not without hitches. Merryman had various mental illnesses caused by war trauma, mainly witnessing the death of his partner and accidentally shooting an innocent child, which ultimately died. The child was reportedly standing next to a Taliban fighter shooting at them. He later tried to commit suicide out of guilt.
“While still in the Army, Scott was hospitalized for five days in 2008 with suicidal thoughts. He was hospitalized again in 2009, this time for two weeks, due to unstable mental health and changes in medication,” said the court document.
He obtained mental health care through his local VA clinic for over 10 years to treat his condition. However, he had continued to struggle with mental illness. In 2011, he tried to commit suicide after getting addicted to oxycodone and slashing his wrists. He was later placed at an Acute Psychiatric Unit at the VA in Tulsa by the direct intervention of then-Representative Mike Pompeo. In 2018, he later tried to commit suicide again and was subsequently sent to the Mental Health Residential Treatment Program in Tulsa. His condition declined continuously from then on, being sent to the emergency room because of depression, alcohol abuse, and suicide ideation. The VA then classified him as part of the Suicide High-Risk List.
During a 2021 suicide attempt, his father called the VA office and reported what had happened over the past week of suicide attempts. The VA then responded that they would “notify his mental health provider for follow-up.” However, Merryman was later taken into custody overnight instead of going to the hospital.
He then started to hallucinate about talking to God and had been a threat to himself and his family, so much so that Merryman’s wife had kicked him out of the house for the children’s safety. Without any choice, he moved back in with his father and cut off treatment and communication from the VA.
When taken into custody Merryman had a magazine for a .45 caliber pistol on his person and a spotting scope was found in his backpack which the told authorities was for scouting, Merryman had traveled 1,100 miles from Kansas while chanting religious dialogue and speaking in tongues allegedly.
Merryman is an example of how difficult post-military service can be for some veterans dealing with a VA system that seems to constantly drop the ball in treating them for debilitating mental disorders.