A leading pediatric developmental expert told Big League Politics that when she saw how Marxist Army 2nd Lt. Spencer Rapone was caught behaving, she recognized his disconnect with his own mother.
“There is a void in values where there is no mom,” said Burlington, North Carolina pediatrician Dr. Rosemary Fernandez Stein.
Dr. Rosemary Fernandez Stein (Courtesy)
Whenever a young man, seemingly patriotic and successful, acts up, she wonders about his relationship with his mother, she said.
Rapone posted photos of himself wearing a tee-shirt with the face of Cuban revolutionary Ernesto “Che” Guevara after he was commissioned at the May 21, 2016 graduation ceremony at the United States Military Academy at West Post, N.Y.
The young infantry officer, now serving with the 10th Mountain Division, Fort Drum, N.Y., posted a photo of himself with a clenched fist and in the other hand holding his uniform cap with a white card on the inside with the words: “Communism Will Win.”
In other social media posts, such as Twitter and Reddit, Rapone posted hundreds of times about his idols, influencers and immense pride in professional wrestling’s Straight Edge Society subculture doing his best to celebrate historical figures associated with socialism, communism and Marxism.
One of his Straight Edge heroes is CMPunk, who left the WWE to become a professional mixed martial arts fighter with the Ultimate Fighting Championships circuit.
“Behind every great man is a mom who almost died for her child,” said the physician, who lays out her view that a strong mother is vital a child’s development in her book “Who Needs A Village? It’s A Mom Thing.”
In addition to her book and speaking engagements, “Dr. Rose” hosts a twice-monthly radio program on Fayetteville’s WFNC-AM.
A BLP review of Rapone’s mother’s Facebook page revealed that his mother had no pictures of her soldier son after 2012, even though there are events such as her son Kyle’s graduation from Syracuse University and her engagement and 2013 wedding with her new husband—where she captions the photos as being with her children.
In 2013, Rapone wrote in a Reddit post: “Tell my tale to those who ask. Tell it truly; the ill deeds along with the good, and let me be judged accordingly.”
Tommy Diana, Las Vegas, a longtime family friend told Big League Politics the Rapone family was a great family despite the parents’ divorce.
Diana said she grew up with Mary Beth Pavia Suchonic, the officer’s mother.
“Spencer was an altar boy in a small western Pennsylvania town,” she said. Rapone grew up in New Castle, Pennsylvania and his father Richard L. Rapone is the treasurer of Lawrence County.
“We were shocked to find out what Spencer had written from West Point,” she said.
The friend of the mother said she suspects that Rapone was influenced by social media and cultural influences as well as life on college campuses.
“Those destructive powers can only turn a few kids, but they got a brilliant one with Spencer,” he said. “It is frustrating.”
Stein said choosing communism while serving in the American military and to exhibiting his Che Guevera tee-shirt are not the actions of a West Point graduate or an adult.
“When I see children making tragic choices, I see a void where the mom should be,” she said.
“The power of mom can overcome the power of darkness,” she said. “Mothers are the people in the home, who drag their children back from dark places that culture can take them to, no matter how uncomfortable it can get, so I ask, where is the mother?”
Stein said it is significant that Rapone became fixated on CMPunk, who played a sociopath when he was with the WWE.
“He would not choose to follow someone who would change his core values,” he said. “CMPunk was using rhetoric mostly likely, but the people who follow him into their adulthood and mimic him are not making adult choices.”
Rapone was one of 25 combat veterans among the 953 graduates that day and growing up he was considered a patriotic and devout young man.
The photos of Rapone started popping up in the media and on the Internet in the last week of September, but the junior officer real walk onto the national stage was when he weighed in on the social justice debate with an essay he posted Aug. 16 at Medium.com: “The Confederate Collaboration of West Point.” The essay accused West Point of celebrating the defenders of slavery.
“Whether you are a soldier, cadet, or civilian, the judgment of history is upon us. To cling to an imagined objectivity or neutrality is to remain a coward,” he wrote.
When the controversy broke, Rapone’s father turned to Facebook address the issues his son’s actions raised.
“As a young man, Spenser personified patriotism and in high school was a member of the Civil Air Patrol,” he wrote.
His son did not go to West Point right away, rather he enlisted in the Army after high school and was later deployed to Afghanistan with the Army Rangers, he said.
“It’s my belief when he returned back from Afghanistan there was a notable difference in his political views,” his father said. “Spenser is my son and I love him dearly, however, I do not like nor condone his politics, his actions or behavior.”
The county treasurer did not respond to BLP’s request for comment and his Facebook page has been disabled.