Thomas Keane, a 24-year-U.S. Army veteran and recipient of the Purple Heart, is on high alert after a badly written but menacing note was left on the windshield of his car.
Keane's experience was brought to light by Johnathan Ksepka, another veteran living in that central Minnesota city. This past weekend, Ksepka posted an image of the note to Facebook, saying whoever left the note did it when Keane's van was parked in his driveway, while his wife and kids were inside the home.
"Watch your 6," Ksepka wrote, a reference to the clock-oriented awareness system [essentially, "watch your back"], "and stay safe."
Keane, a former staff sergeant in the U.S. Army, told Fox 9 that the note-leaver would have had a pretty good idea that its recipient was a veteran: His van has a number of miltary-themed bumper stickers on the back, with one indicating he'd served in Operation Desert Storm during the Gulf War.
Organizers with Unite Cloud said the appearance of the note is just another example of racial and ethnic divisions in that town. "There's hatred in St. Cloud," said Natalie Rinsgmuth. "We know that, and we fight against that every day."
Predictably, the reaction to the note seems to have taken a dark turn: Ksepka, the fellow veteran who originally shared Keane's note, said people who turned it into a "message of hate" should be ashamed. Ksepka published the story to let veterans know they should be aware of a possible threat — no more, no less.
"I specifically did not mention any racial, ethnic, cultural, or religious group because it isn't about that," Ksepka said. "If we resort to gross generalizations and messages of bigotry and hate then we are no better than the INDIVIDUALS that would leave letters like the one above."