First, there’s a little more information on General McSoulPatch.
Second, there’s a different case in the news, brought to our attention by the moral degenerates fine folks at DoublePlusUnDead. I’m pretty sure TAH brought Rick Strandlof (aka Rick Duncan) to our attention before. But now his defense is arguing that his fraudulent claims are protected speech. Jenn cautioned in our post Monday that there would likely be a First Amendment challenge to the SVA. I guess she’s smarter than me. I’m a stalwart defender of the First Amendment. Having said that, Strandlof’s attorneys’ and “civil liberty” groups arguments doesn’t seem to hold water to me:
On Tuesday, the Rutherford Institute, a nonprofit civil liberties group based in Virginia, filed a friend-of-the-court brief in Strandlof’s case attacking the constitutionality of the Stolen Valor Act.
John Whitehead, president of the Rutherford Institute, said the law is poorly written and should not be used to prosecute people for simply telling lies.
“You have to redraft the law to prove a particularized damage,” he said. “If you run around Denver and yell out, ‘I got the Medal of Honor,’ you are guilty of the statute the way it is written.”
First, I would argue that by fraudulently claiming a decoration didn’t earn, he has diminished the value of the award to individuals who have earned it. Both in the military and in civilian life, there is value in being a decorated servicemember. Secondly, he solicited funds from people, justifying in part the trust people placed in his fiduciary duty by virtue of his decoration. And thirdly, his defense claims he has bi-polar disorder, but have not in any way shown that such a disorder causes him to truly believe he earned such an award, nor that he is unable to distinguish right from wrong in this case, making such an argument superfluous.
I’ve met a ton of people in bars and such who claimed to be some variant of super-soldier or another. For the most part, I just ignore them. If they’re just trying to impress some girl to get her home, that’s a venial sin(but still a sin!) as far as I’m concerned. But to present yourself to the public as a decorated veteran to enhance your standing in the community, solicit funds, or to advance a political or commercial agenda or career, is, and should remain, outside the bounds of protected speech under the First Amendment, and certainly subject to sanctions under criminal law as regards fraud and misrepresentation.
Any big brained law types wanna put me some knowledge?