Michael Vass comments on 9th Circuit Court appeal on Stolen Valour

America has always had great pride in our Armed Forces. The men and women that have traveled the world saving the lives of millions from threats when no other nation would or could do so. Men and women that have for decades chosen to provide their blood, sweat, and even their lives voluntarily. It is these sacrifices that pay for the freedoms that every American, of whatever religious and/or political belief, enjoys every day.

Those that have volunteered for military service did not do so for riches, fame, or medals. Those that have earned medals did so because they were helping their fellow soldiers, and those innocent civilians that could not defend themselves. Often these medal earners retain their medals with quiet pride, displayed only on occasions of serious note and/or in places of honor in their homes.

Thus to serve in the U.S. military is to display a love of the nation few are willing to commit to. And the medals that some earn are symbols of devotion, both of the survivors and those that gave everything.

But today the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has decided that none of the above is important. That to lie about earning such an honor is not a crime. That to deceive the public in claiming to have earned a medal, to besmirch the memory of those that died or were wounded, is a Right that law and decency cannot intrude on.

There is no thought more insulting than one given to those that guarantee that this commentary can be written – that it can be read, without the fear of death or harm befalling those that read it – than the statement that a medal is just a shiny piece of metal with no value placed upon it. Because if there is no consequence for the unjustified claim that a person has earned a military service medal, then the medal and what it represents equally has no value or meaning.

By extension, what is the value of a college degree? What is the value of any action of merit? If an honor based on the lives of the few that love the nation enough to give their lives is just a transitory tapestry, a colorful adornment without significance, then what value does any other action of merit hold?

To claim to have earned a medal, to impersonate a member of the Armed Forces, is a false testimony of courage and faith in the nation. It is a harm to the memory and actions of those that have bled for the freedoms of all Americans. How anyone would not see this as a crime is beyond this writer. Yet it was not beyond the 9th Circuit Court, apparently.

Yes there is a Right to Freedom of Speech. But that Right does not confer to false claims that injure another. Freedom of Speech does not allow a person to yell fire in a crowded theater when there is no threat. It does not allow for the falsification of documents or false testimony. Or at least it did not before today.

The Constitution does not, at any point, denote a Right to lie. It does not imbue a protection to those that besmirch, harm, and defame individuals and the nation. Any interpetation of the Constitution to allow for these things is more akin to insanity and a perversion of the Constitution than the Rights Americans have lived and fought for since the inception of this nation.

The Supreme Court will be hearing this case, there is no doubt. The finding on this case will be a statement about this nation and it’s future. We can only hope that the ultimate Court of the nation will have the decency to retain the honor and meaning of the medals and service of our Armed Forces.

But I invite any that would dispute this view to explain how any other view can be held on this matter.

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About the Author

Michael Vass
Born in 1968, a political commentator for over a decade. Has traveled the U.S. and lived in Moscow and Tsblisi, A former stockbroker and 2014 Congressional candidate. Passionate about politics with emphasis on 1st and 2nd Amendments.

6 Comments on "Michael Vass comments on 9th Circuit Court appeal on Stolen Valour"

  1. Comment as found on Facebook,

    Mike I’m appaulled as well but think that you hit the nail on the head with your article kudos

  2. Comments as found on Facebook

    Heidi Baker

    Does the right to freedom of speech extend to falsely claiming military service? How about impersonating a police officer? Where does free speech end and fraud begin?

  3. Comments as found on Facebook

    Susan White-Alvino

    Impersonating an officer of the law (or firefighter, or federal agent, etc)is against the law. Falsely claiming military service, but receiving no benefits, is just lying. If you receive undue benefit, then it is fraud.
    It may be sleazy, but not illegal.

  4. Susan,

    I disagree. If the impersonation causes a person to gain a job, a date, good will from co-workers and or associates, the ramifications extend vastly. The 9th Court case was about a politician, so that was votes. While there is no monetary gain, there was still something of value given on false pretenses and therefore fraud.

    In addition it says nothing of how it demeans the sacrifices that were made by those that severed and earned medals, or just served. People bled and died for the medals and service they gave.

    Also, impersonating a member of the military is an act of impersonating a direct representative of the Government (as military personnel are Government property). Therefore it is the same as impersonating a federal agent.

    There is no way that I see this as merely a lie. It is a crime, and morally reprehensible.See More

  5. It was a lie, a sleazy lie, but he did not put on a uniform, and try to gain any military benefit. We can not censure one’s speech, even when one chooses to lie, if the lie is not done with the intention to defraud.

    Proving intent is really hard. Intent is important in American justice.

    While you can not yell fire in a crowded theater, you can brag to your friends that you saved people from a fire in a theater, with no penalty.
    Even tho, it is a lie. We get the good, and the bad, but we still have the right to free speech.

    I will always support that, even if it allows dirt bags to cash. I want my rights protected, and therefore, must see that theirs are also safe.

  6. It was a lie with the purpose of political gain. That is fraud. Fraud is not protected by free speech.

    Yes claiming to save people from a fire can be a lie and free speech. But to use that lie for gain, say a job or an election, is still fr…aud. To use it to gain say a girlfriend is non-criminal fraud and morally reprehensible.

    Freedom of Speech does not allow absolutely everything under the sun. And I believe that morally reprehensible actions should have a consequence. Excusing actions that are deplorable as extreme free speech deflects the nature of what is being done. But this last part is just my opinion.

    The 9th Court decision was not about a man that was wrongly bragging among friends. It does not deal only with a schmuck that is trying to gain a girlfriend.

    This has repercussions, which include allowing politicians to lie to the public to get elected. It can be taken to its furthest extent in invalidating college degrees. Or certifications. It is, directly, an means to allow a degree of fraud to be enacted against the public.

    And the price for this are the very people that have given their lives for the freedoms we all enjoy.

    I too think that our freedoms are worth dying for. I too believe that speech should be free – especially speech I (and any group of people) do not agree with. But this crosses the line, both morally and criminally.

Thank you for lending your voice. We appreciate hearing what you have to say.

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