My first real posting is going to reflect on something near and dear to my heart, people who use false claims of valor, bravery and falsified military service in pursuit of achieving personal gain.  As a matter of fact, I am not going to limit the offenders of this type of travesty to those who falsify their military service, but it should very well include those who misrepresent the bravery of our police, fire and emergency service workers as well as any good citizen who has actually put themselves in harms way without regard to their own personal safety.  As a longtime member of the Army I am personally offended by these people and the members of the courts who seem to find flaw with the Stolen Valor Act of 2006 and its alleged violations of these toolbag’s First Amendment rights.

While there have been many violations of this nature throughout history, we have one Xavier Alvarez of California and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit to thank for this particular tirade.  It seems that our contemptuously valorous offender decided to use his non-existent service in the Marine Corp and his awarding of the Medal of Honor in 1987 as a means of demonstrating his credibility to serve on a municipal water board in Southern California in 2007.  Mr. Alvarez was prosecuted by the government under the Stolen Valor Act and given three years probation and a $5000 dollar fine for his egregious misrepresentation of his service (he was never in the Marine Corp or any other Armed Service).  In addition to this punishment, our offender has been publicly humiliated and been turned into a pariah in the community.  To this a hearty thumbs up to our citizens of SoCal for your recognition of right and wrong.

Our little taste of the kool-aid in this case is revealed when Mr. Alvarez decided to appeal his conviction and the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals decided to determine that conviction under this law is a violation of his First Amendment right to free speech.  It appears that lying for personal gain is quite alright and is a freely protected right under our Constitution.  According to his lawyers “no one was harmed” by his actions.

Our country has been at war for 10 years now and my fellow men and women in uniform have spent countless months away from home and their loved ones in order to keep the fight away from our shores.  Our first responders at home roll out countless times each day to situations that could have drastic consequences to their personal safety and the security of the public.  The Stolen Valor Act is one of the most legitimate laws Congress has passed in recent memory.  It recognizes the sacrifice our volunteer citizens in uniform and is designed to stop fraudsters from capitalizing on the sacrifices of others.  While the law is not written for the achievements and recognition of our local first responders and public safety officials, each state should seriously think about creating a law similar in nature to protect the achievements of those brave folks too.  Just because our politicians are not necessarily   know for their own forthrightness in professing their own achievements does not mean that they cannot recognize it in others and create some legislation to protect the sanctity of them.

The Supreme Court has decided to hear this case in 2012 and we can only hope they do the right thing and protect the Stolen Valor Act and recognize that misrepresentation of one’s self for personal gain is not free speech, but comes with a price.  After all, a legitimate awarding of a Valorous Award more often than not comes with a heavy price to the recipient.  It never comes from a peaceful place, it more often than not involves the loss of life or severe wounding of yourself and/or your mates.  It involves putting yourself in a position that goes against human nature and the laws of self-preservation that we respond to on a biological level.  It means willingly putting yourself in harms way and running to the sound of the fight instead of away from it.  It also comes with a healthy dose of humility for those who receive it, they know what they did and the toll it takes upon them, often many of them cannot escape the horror of that reality as it affects them through their lives.

So, for Mr. Alvarez and those like him, who choose to be and represent themselves as something they are not, enjoy your kool-aid while you can.  Fortunately, for those brave souls who have honestly received those awards, there is an understanding public out there that will vilify you and make a pariah of you when it is found out what you have done.  This will be regardless of the decision of the Supreme Court next year.  No matter the opinions on the war or in what esteem the public may hold a particular agency, they do recognize the legitimate sacrifices of anyone in uniform and have a great level of support when someone so callously diminishes those achievements by falsely using them for personal gain.

Thanks for reading!!!

  1. adam says:

    Like it and don’t all at the same time.

    It’s terrible that people do it, but it’s also well… it’s the same as telling some chick that I’m a cage fighter to get her in bed, or dressing up a little and saying I’m a hedge fund manager to get the same thing…. it’s wrong because it is a lie but it’s still ok to do. Speech should be protected, even unpopular speech.

    If it is not inciting violence subversly or directly then it’s speech that should be protected.

    I wish nancy grace would be muzzled, but walking up to a single chick and telling her the scar on my face is from a knife fight with UBL should not be legislated.


  2. […] in December I published a posting entitled Stolen Valor.  This was about a less than honorable person who decided to use a falsified United States Marine […]


  3. […] Alvarez and the 2005 Stolen Valor Act.  Feel free to peruse some prior articles on the subject here and here.  SCOTUS as is th popular acronym of the day, determined that it was indeed okay to lie […]


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