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View Full Version : The problem with calling out ‘stolen valor': What if you’re wrong?



Bos Mutus
06-05-2015, 09:00 PM
DOH!

I'm all for challenging fakes...but shouting out like a loon in a crowd of people is bad form....especially if your wrong!

Dorks.



On Memorial Day, Robert D. Ford took part in a wreath-laying ceremony in Pennsylvania. The 75-year-old wore his Marine dress uniform and played a bugle, according to the Patriot-News (http://www.pennlive.com/midstate/index.ssf/2015/06/harrisburg_artsfest_veteran_st.html#incart_m-rpt-2).
But after the ceremony, Ford stopped at a local arts festival (http://www.pennlive.com/entertainment/index.ssf/2015/05/artsfest_in_harrisburg.html). And that is where he apparently drew some unwanted attention.
At the festival, an American soldier, along with a Harrisburg police officer, publicly questioned Ford’s military service, according to the Patriot-News (http://www.pennlive.com/midstate/index.ssf/2015/06/harrisburg_artsfest_veteran_st.html#incart_m-rpt-2). Ford was labeled as a fake, the newspaper reported:
“He’s not a real Marine!” the officer shouted to the crowd gathered for the PennLive/Patriot-News Artsfest of Greater Harrisburg. “Stolen valor!”

“I was humiliated,” Ford told the newspaper.
Ford is an actual veteran, the Patriot-News reported on its Web site, PennLive. He really did serve.
There was no stolen valor — just another false accusation.
“This is a major concern,” said Doug Sterner, who would know.
Sterner has worked to build a database of military awards (http://www.homeofheroes.com/) and has also become pretty great at spotting frauds (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/05/09/AR2010050903363.html), which, for the record, isn’t something he particularly enjoys. He confirmed Ford’s military history (http://www.pennlive.com/midstate/index.ssf/2015/06/harrisburg_artsfest_veteran_st.html#incart_m-rpt-2) for the Patriot-News, calling him “as legit as you can get.”
[Carolina Panthers running back might have given his seat to a fake Marine (http://www.washingtonpost.com/carolina-panthers-running-back-might-have-given-his-seat-to-a-fake-marine/2014/07/08/495a49d4-1b52-42a6-90ab-ebe92d8b81fc_story.html)]
Sterner is seeing this type of thing happen more and more, he told The Washington Post — guys trying to bust phonies.
“There is a vigilante mentality right now in a lot of these veterans circles which is leading to — I just call it what it is,” Sterner said, before calling it bullying.
[Pentagon review of how troops get recognized for heroism in final phases (http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/checkpoint/wp/2015/06/05/pentagon-review-of-how-combat-heroism-gets-recognized-in-final-phases/)]
“I would never recommend confronting,” said Sterner, who has only taken that step once in the all the cases he has looked into. Even then, he said, he questioned himself afterward.
If you’re looking for an example of what could go wrong, look at the case of Lindsay Lowery, who in January sparked controversy with a Facebook picture that showed her in an Army uniform.
Denver alt-weekly Westword (http://www.westword.com/news/the-war-against-stolen-valor-is-still-raging-in-colorado-where-it-started-6594676) described what happened next:
Posts and personal messages to Lowery asked how she could have been in an infantry unit, which in the United States military is traditionally all male. “You can do one of two things. Prove that you held an Infantry command — which you never [expletive] did, or remove your post,” one message read. “Otherwise, you’re going to have a real bad time. Embellishing is just as bad as stolen valor. And don’t think for a second that we can’t FOIA your records. Liar.”
A few hours later, the same person posted: “As a matter of fact, never mind. I’ll just have fun exposing your lying [expletive].”
Lowery, a stay-at-home mother in Castle Rock who writes for the Web site Mad World News, had posted the photo on a public page where she uses her pen name, Prissy Holly. Still, her story was real — and she had the documents to prove it, she said. She explained to her accusers that she had been assigned to an infantry unit as a platoon leader, and that the unit had been in charge of a jail and so did not serve in a combat role.
After that, she remembers, “hell was officially released.”

(The Post has edited the profanity out of this excerpt. It isn’t censored in Westword (http://www.westword.com/news/the-war-against-stolen-valor-is-still-raging-in-colorado-where-it-started-6594676).)
[One man’s database helps uncover cases of falsified valor (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/05/09/AR2010050903363.html)]
These incidents keep happening for a few reasons, Sterner said. In 2012, the Supreme Court struck down (https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/federal-eye/post/supreme-court-strikes-down-stolen-valor-act/2012/06/28/gJQA11kC9V_blog.html) the Stolen Valor Act, which made lying about military honors a crime. It was replaced with the Stolen Valor Act of 2013 (https://www.congress.gov/bill/113th-congress/house-bill/258), which makes it illegal to “obtain money, property, or other tangible benefit” from military awards.
“It needs to be revisited,” said Sterner, who noted that he thought more laws about this issue were needed on a state level, too.
But, Sterner said, he’s also seeing people “trying to make themselves look bigger, trying to make themselves look good,” by outing military impostors. These people can see a medal they don’t recognize, or a different uniform style, and jump to conclusions.
“I hate that part of my job,” Sterner said of outing a fraud, which he said he had done recently. “But it has to be done.
[How viral videos became the way veterans combat ‘stolen valor’ (https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/checkpoint/wp/2014/12/03/how-viral-videos-became-the-way-veterans-combat-stolen-valor/)]
“But there’s some people that feel good about confronting people, and making themselves look big by trying to take them down. But when they do that, they’re going to make mistakes and that’s exactly what happened here.”
In the case of the Memorial Day confrontation in Harrisburg, the officer and the solider reportedly started asking questions after noticing some possible problems with Ford’s uniform — his belt buckle was fancier than expected, for example. The officer didn’t back down, and eventually, the situation grew more tense, the Patriot-News reported.
Another Marine veteran, Zach Davis, told The Post that he spotted Ford at the Memorial Day ceremony, though he didn’t see this encounter at the festival.
At the ceremony, Davis said he talked with Ford about the belt buckle, too, and the conversation went much differently.
“It’s just all about tact and how you do it,” said Davis, who has reported a real stolen valor offender to authorities before. “As long as you’re respectful to them, they’ll be respectful to you.”
On Thursday, Harrisburg Mayor Eric Papenfuse said police were investigating the police officer’s false “stolen valor” accusation against Ford.
In a news release, the mayor’s office said that Harrisburg Police Detective John O’Connor — “a former U.S. Marine and a decorated police detective” — “questioned Ford about his service” only after a U.S. Army veteran “demanded” that O’Connor investigate whether Ford was illegally impersonating a Marine for profit.
At that point, the news release said, “Ford became hostile” and said he wanted to lodge a complaint.
A police captain intervened, the release said, and was told by Ford that O’Connor had embarassed him.
“It is unfortunate that Mr. Ford was wrongly accused,” the mayor said, “but our initial findings indicate police officers acted appropriately and respectfully in this incident.”


Posted from: http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/checkpoint/wp/2015/06/05/the-problem-with-publicly-accusing-someone-of-stolen-valor-what-if-youre-wrong/

TJMAC77SP
06-05-2015, 10:07 PM
DOH!

I'm all for challenging fakes...but shouting out like a loon in a crowd of people is bad form....especially if your wrong!

Dorks.

I am all for calling out fakes but if there is even the slightest doubt one should keep their mouth shut. Aside from a huge self-embarrassment you end up shaming a legitimate service member while attempting to do something you view as honoring service members.

Bos Mutus
06-05-2015, 10:16 PM
I am all for calling out fakes but if there is even the slightest doubt one should keep their mouth shut. Aside from a huge self-embarrassment you end up shaming a legitimate service member while attempting to do something you view as honoring service members.

Yeah...probably looking to go viral on a shaming video or something...

Like...hello, the guy is 75 years old...there's a pretty good chance that uniform items, what you can and can't wear have changed some in the last 50 years...so just cuz you haven't seen a belt buckle in your 6 years of service doesn't mean shit...LOL

...even so...there would seem to be a good chance the guy was a veteran just was a little rusty on uniform, huh.

...but when you see that 23 yr old 3-star walking around with Airman stripes over his nametag...then fire away.

TJMAC77SP
06-05-2015, 10:27 PM
Yeah...probably looking to go viral on a shaming video or something...

Like...hello, the guy is 75 years old...there's a pretty good chance that uniform items, what you can and can't wear have changed some in the last 50 years...so just cuz you haven't seen a belt buckle in your 6 years of service doesn't mean shit...LOL

...even so...there would seem to be a good chance the guy was a veteran just was a little rusty on uniform, huh.

...but when you see that 23 yr old 3-star walking around with Airman stripes over his nametag...then fire away.

Yeah, good point. Although 75 years old doesn't guarantee one wouldn't bullshit, I think it a lot less likely. Well, bullshit by wearing unauthorized uniforms, not just plain bullshitting 'cause those old guys can certainly do that.

Bos Mutus
06-05-2015, 10:31 PM
Yeah, good point. Although 75 years old doesn't guarantee one wouldn't bullshit, I think it a lot less likely. Well, bullshit by wearing unauthorized uniforms, not just plain bullshitting 'cause those old guys can certainly do that.

well that, and, the higher probably that there is some obscure things about uniforms 50 years ago that we just might not be aware of.

As I recall, as a retiree you can wear the current uniform, or a uniform that was authorized when you served.

TJMAC77SP
06-05-2015, 10:41 PM
well that, and, the higher probably that there is some obscure things about uniforms 50 years ago that we just might not be aware of.

As I recall, as a retiree you can wear the current uniform, or a uniform that was authorized when you served.

And you know what, even if it isn't authorized those guys can wear anything they wish as far as I am concerned. H

ave you seen the tv commercial where the old guy puts on a Lt's uniform from the 101st Airborne Division (WWII) and walks out the house just as what you assume is his grandson arrives home in ACUs (presumably returning from a combat deployment). The Lt salutes the young enlisted soldier and of course the salute is returned. Both in impeccable fashion. I am a sucker for those things (although all in all a failure as a commercial because I have frapping idea what they were selling).

EDIT: Turns out it was an ad for a food store. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uoABty_zE00

retiredAFcivvy
06-05-2015, 11:07 PM
And folks have been trying to justify wearing "kilts"? (another thread)

Bos Mutus
06-05-2015, 11:21 PM
And you know what, even if it isn't authorized those guys can wear anything they wish as far as I am concerned. H

ave you seen the tv commercial where the old guy puts on a Lt's uniform from the 101st Airborne Division (WWII) and walks out the house just as what you assume is his grandson arrives home in ACUs (presumably returning from a combat deployment). The Lt salutes the young enlisted soldier and of course the salute is returned. Both in impeccable fashion. I am a sucker for those things (although all in all a failure as a commercial because I have frapping idea what they were selling).

EDIT: Turns out it was an ad for a food store. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uoABty_zE00

Wow...first time I've seen that.

Absinthe Anecdote
06-05-2015, 11:25 PM
And you know what, even if it isn't authorized those guys can wear anything they wish as far as I am concerned. H

ave you seen the tv commercial where the old guy puts on a Lt's uniform from the 101st Airborne Division (WWII) and walks out the house just as what you assume is his grandson arrives home in ACUs (presumably returning from a combat deployment). The Lt salutes the young enlisted soldier and of course the salute is returned. Both in impeccable fashion. I am a sucker for those things (although all in all a failure as a commercial because I have frapping idea what they were selling).

EDIT: Turns out it was an ad for a food store. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uoABty_zE00

You like sentimental stuff like that? I'd be very uncomfortable if grandpa did that to me. As a matter of fact, that seems so unrealistic from my experiences with my family that it is almost alien.

Not that it matters, but I'm incredibly bored today.

I also have no idea what division that patch was for but it wasn't the 101st. The 101st is a very distinctive eagle's head.

That thing was red and white with something gold in the middle of it. I tried checking the Army website, but I could not figure it out.

Absinthe Anecdote
06-05-2015, 11:32 PM
Wow...first time I've seen that.

You like it too?

I must be emotionally barren compared to you guys, I feel nothing watching something like that.

Bos Mutus
06-05-2015, 11:49 PM
You like it too?

Sure.


I must be emotionally barren compared to you guys,


I feel nothing watching something like that.

Earning the respect and approval of your grandfather? I'm a sucker for the family generational thing....I still get watery-eyed when I hear "Cats in the Cradle"

Absinthe Anecdote
06-06-2015, 12:03 AM
Sure.





Earning the respect and approval of your grandfather? I'm a sucker for the family generational thing....I still get watery-eyed when I hear "Cats in the Cradle"


LOL

Cats in the Cradle conjures up an image of a pretentious folk singer wearing a turtleneck sweater. I get nothing from the actual story.

Bos Mutus
06-06-2015, 12:10 AM
LOL

Cats in the Cradle conjures up an image of a pretentious folk singer wearing a turtleneck sweater. I get nothing from the actual story.

You have no soul.

TJMAC77SP
06-07-2015, 12:46 AM
You like sentimental stuff like that? I'd be very uncomfortable if grandpa did that to me. As a matter of fact, that seems so unrealistic from my experiences with my family that it is almost alien.

Not that it matters, but I'm incredibly bored today.

I also have no idea what division that patch was for but it wasn't the 101st. The 101st is a very distinctive eagle's head.

That thing was red and white with something gold in the middle of it. I tried checking the Army website, but I could not figure it out.

You are right. The patch is for the 1st ID (Big Red One). They saw service starting in Africa all the way to Germany.

Also, when I posted the ad I kinda figured you'd view it with a jaundiced eye.

TJMAC77SP
06-07-2015, 12:47 AM
LOL

Cats in the Cradle conjures up an image of a pretentious folk singer wearing a turtleneck sweater. I get nothing from the actual story.

I often find myself desperately hoping you post in the manner of RM some days (full of shit with a hidden meaning somewhere)

Absinthe Anecdote
06-07-2015, 03:02 AM
You are right. The patch is for the 1st ID (Big Red One). They saw service starting in Africa all the way to Germany.

Also, when I posted the ad I kinda figured you'd view it with a jaundiced eye.

I got the video to pause on that half a second shot that it is visible and it is a 1st ID patch, it looked a lot different in motion.

Seriously, that would freak me out if that happened to me. My family doesn't show that much sentimentality, and I'd feel very uncomfortable.

If you really think about a grandpa doing that, it is sort of a dickish move to knock his grandson out of the spotlight like that.

Then I start thinking about how his WWII uniform would probably be busting at the seems and have moths flying out of the pockets.

Absinthe Anecdote
06-07-2015, 03:09 AM
I often find myself desperately hoping you post in the manner of RM some days (full of shit with a hidden meaning somewhere)

Well, folk singers do tend to be a bunch of pro-union fondue eating commies.

technomage1
06-08-2015, 02:33 AM
I'm not the confrontational type, unless someone is seeking to profit from it.

As far as the Lance Corporal, a quick Google search indicates enlisted Marines in that time period all wore the same style belt buckle - a plain one. When he replaced his buckle, he probably didn't realize it had changed. He probably replaced the buckle at some point and didn't realize there was a change. No big deal. I've seen probably about 5-6 uniform changes just over my career. It happens.

Regarding Lindsey Lowery, at what point do you man up and realize she's telling the truth, then apologize? She explained the circumstances, posted redacted copies of her personnel records, a letter from her CC, and a video of her accessing her deployment orders online. Guardians of Valor eventually investigated and found she was telling the truth. How many of the people who attacked her online later apologized at some point? I'm willing to bet few to none - which makes them gutless cowards, IMO. Frankly, I'd wouldn't be surprised if more than a few of her attackers had embellished their records. it's always the ones that scream the loudest that have the most to hide.

garhkal
06-08-2015, 04:45 AM
I am all for calling out fakes but if there is even the slightest doubt one should keep their mouth shut. Aside from a huge self-embarrassment you end up shaming a legitimate service member while attempting to do something you view as honoring service members.

Agreed. I would rather check first, if nothing else, call one or two of the 'commands' the potential fake, says they were at.

Mjölnir
06-08-2015, 05:33 AM
How many of the people who attacked her online later apologized at some point? I'm willing to bet few to none - which makes them gutless cowards, IMO.

-I would guess very few people went back and apologized.

Social media activism very rarely equates to responsible reporting of facts or accountability when you get it wrong.