first published on October 28, 2015 by Funker
Stolen Valor, it’s illegal, and yes they are making arrests
They say imitation is the highest form of flattery, and I’m cool with that. Growing up I had a friend with a severe case of Autism. All throughout high school he would pretend he was some form of federal cool-guy employee. One day he was in the Secret Service sent by the White House to protect the class president, the next he was a Navy Seal. Some days he would be a Green Beret, others he was a UH-1 pilot preparing for a recon mission of a rival school. Even now as an adult he still lives in his own altered reality where one day he is the captain of a naval vessel, the next he is the team leader for a Marine Scout Sniper group.
I’ve seen him on several occasions since exiting the service last year, and to this day he is still the friendliest guy I have ever met. He never hesitates to share his latest imaginary journeys with me, and I always take the time to listen. On top of that though, he is also genuinely interested in hearing about every single moment of my life. To him, I am the literal definition of a hero, even though in my own opinion I have never done anything truly noteworthy.
Here is where we draw the line in the sand. My friend, who we’ll call Tom, never once tried to use any of his stories to make any sort of personal gain. He imitates warriors similar to the way my brother and I would in the backyard arguing over who gets to be Audie Murphy as kids. You can’t get mad at Tom for being a patriot, and you can’t get mad at him for imitating the men and women he looks up to. That’s just it, for him it stops at imitation. He stops the facade in the private of his own home. Tom never goes into public looking praise, or financial gains, and that is where the clear line is drawn. When you start using your fantasies to make financial, political, and personal gains, you dive directly into that pool of scum baggery that makes you famous on YouTube.
We could speak at length about every case of Stolen Valor that has made its way onto YouTube. In fact if we did a post showing every single Funker530 fan submission for Stolen Valor that’s found our inbox, we would probably need to increase the size of our video servers.
That’s not what this article is about. Instead I would like to offer a word of advice to all of you in the event you ever find yourself confronting someone for stealing valor so this doesn’t happen to you.
Here are some step by step instructions for the confrontation of people you believe are stealing valor. If you follow these to the point, you not only protect yourself from any legal proceedings, but you build an incredibly strong case to prosecute the person.
Now the reason I offer this advice to everyone who chooses to read it is pretty simple: We can get angry, and frustrated at the ignorance of others with respect to our uniforms. When we do this, often times we end up making ourselves look like fools as we are blinded by our own rage. Others around you do not know what you know, and all they see is some huge, angry, bearded guy with an American flag baseball cap screaming at a little fat guy in an Army uniform. What’s worse is when later you find out you’ve decided to blow the entire scenario out of proportion, and you ruin someone like Tom’s entire perspective on life over his Dad’s old jungle boots.
The video evidence provided over the last years has prompted congress to act on the behalf of veterans everywhere. They saw the issue, and slight against those who serve, and they rectified the situation to the best of their abilities. Can they do more? Sure, however until 2013 there was only a half ass, poorly enforced law in place to prevent people from using the blood we shed to their advantage. We all want more done in regards to Stolen Valor, and the only way we will continue to accomplish this is by pushing forward with our professionalism and bearing first.
The time of overt displays of pure anger and hatred have passed. Use this federal law that was passed more than two years ago to put some of these impersonators behind bars. In the process, let’s keep ourselves out of trouble and paint a more positive image for veterans and active duty service members. Moving forward with professionalism and military bearing will incentivize the right people to pass harsher laws at the state level.
You can find a list of currently known arrests made for Stolen Valor here.
Shout out to REDCON 1 Music Group for putting this video out to raise awareness back in 2012 before there was a true law in place.
Note: This video shows some guys getting embarrassed pretty hard. While I do wish this was the approach we could take to the situation it is not.