Thursday, July 22, 2010

Stolen Valor, or Infringed Speech?

Let me preface this rant by declaring I am a veteran of the USAF (1990-1994) but that I have no combat awards, medals, etc other than the Nat'l Defense Medal given just for being on Active Duty during a conflict.

So I was watching Fox News this morning, and they have this schmuck on TV whining about how a Court ruled the "Stolen Valor" law unconstitutional. Stolen Valor? WTH?

Apparently, this law was passed in 2005 and makes it a Federal Misdemeanor to lie about military awards. Indirectly. Under the act, it is illegal for unauthorized persons to wear, buy, sell, barter, trade or manufacture "any decoration or medal authorized by Congress for the armed forces of the United States, or any of the service medals or badges awarded to the members of such forces." (-Wiki)

What's next? Are we going to criminalize women lying about their age or weight? Make it a crime to ly to women in bars about your marital status, what car you drive or your profession?

Whiney-ass this morning on TV felt that liars cheapen the awards. He was upset that his fallen comrade in arms never got to see their awards- they were posthumously given.

Hey, dumbass, heroes don't do it for the glory.

I absolutely can't stand jackasses that have to rub it in everybody's face they were a Navy SEAL, or they have a purple heart, etc. etc. I'm not saying they shouldn't have been given an award, but let's be brutally honest. Medal of Honor winners didn't charge machine gun nests thinking "Damn, this medal is going to look AWESOME on my uniform!" No, they did what had to be done out of selfless heroism. And anyone who brags about their medals is a complete ass.

Think about it this way, Mr. Medal-Winning-Whiney-Ass. You are bragging about how you killed people and got a shiney award for it. God forbid someone else claim to be a killer just to get some bling. Maybe you should think about why anyone brags about something like that. Heroes don't brag. Heroes tend to stay mum on the subject. It's attention-seeking punks that brag- whether the source of bragging is true or not.

Is it despicable to lie about military service? Yes. It is. We veterans- whether or not we won any awards- sacrificed our freedoms and liberties, and some, their lives, to ensure the freedoms and liberties of all Americans. Liberties like freedom of speech.

Those who went above and beyond were given awards, not to wave around and brag with, but as thanks for exemplary duty. Anyone who rubs such an award- earned, or imagined- in your face cheapens all award winners.

Society is full of people with inferiority complexes. They hang plastic testicles on their trucks. They wear flashy jewlery. They stick their noses in the air. These are all indicators of people desperate to make you believe they are better than you. Precisely because deep down, they don't believe it themselves. But do we really need to criminalize people who try to make themselves feel better? Isn't the fact they know they are liars enough? Yes it's wrong they claim to have saved lives, but short of making the claim to commit some kind of fraud, do we really need to pass judgement on them? Surely our judgement won't be as bad as the judgement they've already passed on themselves.

Maybe Mr. I-got-a-bronze-star-and-you-didn't should think more about his fallen comrades, and be thankful he isn't one of them, than trying to get people locked up for self-aggrandizing lies.

This whole story reminds me of a classic military saying: "There are old pilots, and bold pilots, but no old, bold pilots."

I guess next, we'll start going after all those "ninjas" running around.

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