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Combat Photojournalist Suicide: The Price of Conflict is Too HighTim King Salem-News.com
Sometimes the chickens come home to roost; my friend, an incredibly talented war photographer, is another war statistic.
(SALEM, Ore.) - My friend Caleb Schaber killed himself April 17th. He was an amazing, far-reaching, eclectic artist, archaeologist and war photojournalist and I suspect that his time covering the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan are what led to this.
I suspect that, but I don't know and possibly never will. I just know that some people have tremendous strength and endurance and general survivability even in the worst conditions. This is Caleb's story, and he was one of the strongest and most daring human beings I ever knew. It does not make sense that he shot himself in a remote location in Nevada.
Apparently his girlfriend at the time is the only witness to his gunshot "suicide". She has taken his laptop that contains all of his manuscripts and war images to Canada. It is the rightful property of his father, Professor Kenneth Schaber, who became the executor of Caleb's estate when he went to Iraq.
The love of Caleb's life was not this woman.
I know who he was in love with; it is one sad story on top of another.
She was someone who wanted nothing to do with a significant other who spent his time on the battlefield covering man's most desperate moments, regardless of how much she actually cared about him.
When Caleb was covering the action overseas he did crazy stuff like working as a bartender in Kabul. (Afghanistan is technically a dry country) When he went to Iraq he caught a ride and landed in-country without permission to have entered the combat zone.
That takes guts. I know some people won't understand, but when you work in news, particularly television news, you tend to live by the code that "It's better to seek forgiveness than permission" and I know of no individual who tops Caleb when it comes to using that code at the most extreme level.
There is so much to say about Caleb "Shooter" Schaber; I resolve to never letting his memory die. There are so few of us who have spent time covering the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan! If you make it back you should be good, at least until the next time you go in-country.
I will write more about him after I have been able to reach his dad and get the latest information. I am sad and sorry. I spend my life studying the lives of combat photojournalists from past wars, which are often but not always tragic stories.
We know that the war in Iraq has claimed the lives of more reporters and photographers than any war in the past, and it just took another one. This is a sad accompaniment to the endless stories about veterans committing suicide.
Caleb, we were going back over there man, remember? What happened? I'm mad at you but I'm not sure you are even responsible for this. I've known far too many deputies in rural places who quickly deem homicides to be suicides. I promise I will look into it. You had far too much to offer the world to see it end like this...
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Here is one of Caleb's casual and cool video pieces shot from a gunship flying near Mosul, Iraq:
_________________________________Tim King is a former U.S. Marine with twenty years of experience on the west coast as a television news producer, photojournalist, reporter and assignment editor. In addition to his role as a war correspondent, this Los Angeles native serves as Salem-News.com's Executive News Editor.
Tim spent the winter of 2006/07 covering the war in Afghanistan, and he was in Iraq over the summer of 2008, reporting from the war while embedded with both the U.S. Army and the Marines. Tim holds numerous awards for reporting, photography, writing and editing, including the Oregon AP Award for Spot News Photographer of the Year (2004), the first place Electronic Media Award in Spot News, Las Vegas, (1998), Oregon AP Cooperation Award (1991); and several other awards including the 2005 Red Cross Good Neighborhood Award for reporting. Serving the community in very real terms, Salem-News.com is the nation's only truly independent high traffic news Website, affiliated with Google News and several other major search engines and news aggregators.
You can send Tim an email at this address: firstname.lastname@example.org
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