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Veteran who wrote about need for violence barred from college campus

By Jennifer Rizzo, CNN National Security Producer
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Iraq vet barred from campus
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Veteran says he's not a threat to anyone; "I was just trying to spread awareness"
  • Article from Iraq vet appeared in a Maryland college's newspaper
  • "I got used to killing and after a while it became something I really had to do," he wrote
  • College administration cites safety concerns "in the era of post-Virginia Tech"
RELATED TOPICS
  • Mental Health
  • Iraq

Washington (CNN) -- An Iraq war veteran has been barred from attending his college classes after writing about his urge to kill in the school's newspaper.

In an article titled "War is a Drug," Charles Whittington, a student at Community College of Baltimore in Catonsville, Maryland, details what he calls his addiction to killing.

"I got used to killing and after a while it became something I really had to do," he wrote. "Killing becomes a drug, and it is really addictive." He went on to write that killing was something he really needed in order to feel like himself.

"I still feel the addictions running through my blood and throughout my body," Whittington wrote. "When I stick my blade through his stomach or his ribs or slice his throat it's a feeling that I cannot explain, but feels so good to me."

Concerned about school safety, the college's administration has temporarily removed Whittington from campus, issuing a notice of trespass that does not allow him to enter the campus or attend classes, according to a school spokeswoman.

But Whittington said the essay is being misconstrued.

"I'm not saying I'm going to do anything. I'm not. I was just trying to spread awareness, and I guess self-therapy, trying to help myself cope with things and get over things," he said at his home. "I'm not a threat at all. I'm not there to cause anyone harm or threaten anyone. I'm there for myself so I can graduate college and move on with my life."

Whittington, who is majoring in general studies, was in the Army infantry in Iraq from October 2005 to June 2007. While there, he survived three attacks from improvised explosive devices and was medevaced out after the last attack in June 2007. He's been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury.

"I think it's unfair," he said of the school's actions. "I think it's really biased against veterans"

He said the article was originally an essay he wrote for an English class. The class professor gave him an A on the essay and encouraged him to seek publication, which happened in the school newspaper October 26, he said.

He was given the notice of trespass November 5, said Hope Davis, a college spokeswoman.

"When you look in the era of post-Virginia Tech and the content and the nature that he wrote about in the article, it caused us concerns," she said. "We had to take some action against Mr. Whittington to ensure the safety of the college."

He is barred from campus until he obtains a psychological evaluation. Whittington said he's getting the evaluation Tuesday.

Some student veterans on the campus, alarmed by the characterization of the article and not wanting the views to speak for all veterans, also expressed their concern to the college administration, Davis said. She did not say whether their concerns prompted the action against Whittington.

 
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