So, I’m still pretty angry about the Supreme Court’s decision the other day. During the deliberation a few months ago, the justices admitted that there was actually harm committed by valor thieves, but then they ruled in their favor. I still think that only reason people, justices, lawyers think that stealing valor is only free speech is because they think it makes them sound smart.
As Doug Sterner and I pointed out to the ABC News crew and the St. Louis Tribune the other day, using Greg Schaffer as an example, we first reported on Schaffer in April, by June he had raped a 15-year-old girl. If authorities had arrested him for Stolen Valor, that teen wouldn’t have been raped.
My inbox is filling up with emails from stolen valor thieves who are tap dancing on the grave of the SVA/2005. Just today, Mary emailed us a celebratory exclamation from Jonathon the Dick Inhaler Sharkey;
How about that ruling yesterday from the US Supreme Court? I can just imagine how many people are about to sue you. I thought about it, but my attorney told me, by the time you get done settling all your lawsuits, you won’t have anything.
Of course, Sharkey missed the whole point of the court’s decision. The USSC decided that the public sector is doing a fine job of policing the ranks. There may be some illiterate f*cks, like Sharkey who think that the USSC’s overturning of the Stolen Valor Act means that we can’t do here what the government won’t do – but that’s not it at all. Like I told the ABC crew, it probably means that decision was good for our business. More idiots, like Sharkey, think they can get away with their thievery.
But This Ain’t Hell and all of our partners are the stocks and dunking chairs in the village square of the internet – a place where folks can come and throw rotten tomatoes at the valor thieves. The Supreme Court gave us a warrant to be the internet’s vigilantes and bounty hunters.
But on to phase two of the Stolen Valor Act. Nevada Republican Joe Heck is sponsoring HR 1775 which will make illegal profiting from stolen valor. You can read the whole bill here, but the main part amends Chapter 47 of title 18, United States Code;
§ 1041. Certain misrepresentations about military service.
(a) OFFENSE.—Whoever, with intent to obtain anything of value, knowingly makes a misrepresentation regarding his or her military service, shall—
(1) if the misrepresentation is that such individual served in a combat zone, served in a special operations force, or was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor, be fined under this title, imprisoned not more than 1 year, or both; and
(2) in any other case, be fined under this title, imprisoned not more than 6 months, or both.
(b) EXCEPTION FOR DENIAL OF SERVICE.—Sub20 section (a) does not apply to a misrepresentation that an individual did not serve in the Armed Forces of the United States.
The bill goes on to criminalize lying about rank, combat service and other decorations besides the Medal of Honor if those lies are used for tangible gain. Of course, it’s a lawyer-employment opportunity because “thing of value” will be subject to interpretation. Jonathon Turley’s defense of stolen valor’s free speech aspect as pickup lines in a bar still results in a “thing of value” to some people.
But you need to call your Congressman to jump on the Stolen Valor train by supporting Congressman Heck’s HR 1775 and tell your Senator to join in on S.1782 introduced by Massachusetts Republican Scott Brown.