by T. Christian Miller, ProPublica, and Daniel Zwerdling, NPR Dec. 21, 2010, 2 a.m.
Versions of this story were co-published with NPR  and Stars and Stripes . For more coverage, listen to Morning Edition .
One afternoon this fall, Bobby McKinney hunched over a coffee table with a clear glass surface. A lamp with a bare light bulb illuminated it from below. Pencil in hand, the former Marine traced the pattern for a tattoo across delicate paper, a swirling, intricate design reminiscent of a Celtic cross.
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