Stolen Valor Or Stolen Self Esteemby Michael Patrick Brewer on Jul. 20, 2010, under Politics, Veteran Legislative Update, Veteran Pals, Veterans' Spouses, Partners & Families
Good day to you all. Veteran Veritas has been on sabbatical for a few weeks. All work and no play makes Johnny a dull boy! Glad to be back amongst you at TC.com’s new look.
The item that jumps out of the National news into my blog is the decision of Colorado’s U.S. District Judge Robert Blackburns dismissal of the case against Rick Glenn Strandlof for violating the Stolen Valor Act.
The Stolen Valor Act makes it a crime punishable by up to one year in jail for the fabrication of earning military medals.
After a lengthy muse, I support Judge Blackburn’s decision in deeming the charges unconstitutional, at least for now. I believe the Judge is up to something. And I believe that he knows his decision will be challenged on appeal, which explains a premeditated notion of giving the Stolen Valor act more teeth in the end.
In the interim, I do believe that one who is under oath and lies is in real hot water. To just lie for the sake of personal gain..is not necessarily criminal. It is a sin with its own consequences and a feeback loop that is likely to be much more painful then any prosecutorial process.
I have been advocating for veterans most all of my adult life. Since 1972 I have heard virtually every confabulated story you can imagine about military service. I have been in the presence of hundreds of wanna-be’s who telegraph their lame stories right from the get-go. From the, “I can’t tell you what I did, it was clandestine.” to the soldier who swore he was exposed to Agent Orange who never left the corn fields of Iowa, to the hombre who I helped with a claim for two years, only to discover he never had an honorable discharge.
Their is an old quote that came out of VFW’s years ago. “By the time a man is 70, he becomes an Audie Murphy.”
It is unfortunate,but there is something about the vacancy in a mans soul that causes him to lie about his military feats or lack thereof. A lie in itself is not a criminal act. Were it so, the halls of Congress would be empty.
As one who has a handful of awards for combat service, I do indeed find Rick Strandlof’s behavior to be despicable, but not criminal. He is not under oath. He is under the Ten Commandments. Different law.
What these men are exhibiting is a cluster of symptomatically low self esteem, and our more in need of a Psychiatrist then a lawyer. I do not feel so much disgust as pity. Something beneath that drive to grandiosity is a desire to be observed. And embodied in that desire for recognition is some queer form of respect for the achievements of the real combatants–otherwise they would not so badly want to be one.
I say, get the man some clinical help, and let him clean latrines at Camp Pendleton Marine Base for a year.