|By Frank Munger, The Knoxville News-Sentinel, Tenn.|
|McClatchy-Tribune Information Services|
But he hasn't lost his fight.
Garland returned to
In the days following the break-in, investigators swarmed upon
By the time Garland was dispatched to the scene in the predawn darkness, the deed was already done. The activists had completed their epic protest, for which they now reside in prison, and they didn't offer any resistance or try to flee when the guard arrived in his security vehicle.
In the hours following the event, Garland said he was repeatedly praised and patted on the back by his bosses at
However, in the days that followed, as some of the initial investigations were concluded, Garland said the tone began to change. He said a union official told him that he might be told to take a few days off.
Garland's actions that morning came under fire for being too lax, too casual, not tough enough for the time and circumstances. Critics said if the trio of peace activists had actually been a diversionary tactic for armed terrorists,
"I was a hero for about two days and then I turned into a zero," he said.
"Like I told the arbitrator ... we can sit here and you can scrutinize me all you want, but at the end of the day I stopped their actions, I detained them, I called for backup, we arrested them, I testified against them and they're in prison. How much more picture perfect can it be than that? And I went home to my family, and nobody got killed and nobody got hurt."
Getting fired knocked Garland for a loop, financially and otherwise.
His wife had some serious health problems, and within a few days of his termination by Wackenhut, his health coverage was discontinued.
Garland eventually was able to land a job as a prison guard at the
As a member of the elite protective force at