A new ‘Stolen Valor’ law was passed Monday in the House of Representatives by a resounding 390 to 3 votes. The law was introduced by Rep. Joe Heck (R-Nevada). To become an official law, it needs to be passed by the Senate and then signed by the President. This law would replace the 2006 Stolen Valor law that was struck down by the Supreme Court, who ruled that posers have a constitutional right to lie (facepalm, shaking head). Thank you to the Ninth Circuit Court for starting the process.
The latest bill includes an “intent to defraud” wording, ensuring that it survives any legal challenges – unlike its predecessor. E.G. “Who-ever, with intent to obtain money, property, or other tangible benefit, fraudulently holds oneself out to be a recipient of a decoration or medal described in subsection (c)(2) or (d) shall be fined under this title, imprisoned not more than one year, or both.’’
This is great because it expands the law beyond money, government benefits and property by including any “tangible benefit.” The greatest weakness of the bill is that, although it includes combat badges like the CIB, CMB, CAB and combat action ribbon, it does not include awards, like the Special Forces and Ranger Tabs, or the SEAL tridents.
There is no doubt of the need for a law like this. I’d argue that it should be expanded to include those that say they were SOF in combat. We’ve heard numerous stories of posers pretending to be something else to get accolades they never earned. I’m always taken aback that it’s clear that judges need protection from impersonation, though their authority is largely limited to inside the court room, responding to legal requests from the police and officers of the court. Officers of the law are also protected against posers trying to get to the front of the line.
Why we don’t afford vets a similar level of protection? The fact that we do not provide it means that America is out of touch with the service, contribution and sacrifice of its combat vets.
(Featured Image Courtesy: DVIDS)