I wrote this a while back... just getting it out now.
I’ve included two links to most references – one is Wikipedia (it’s easy to read and in the
parenthesis), the other is linked to the direct document I’m making a note of.
The idea of Stolen Valour is not a new issue in the world. History is littered with people who impersonate military members. While looking up info on the situation since we’ve had recent events I found a slew of interesting legal issues that are parallel with the idea of “Stolen Valour”.
You can type in Stolen Valour into any internet search engine and you’ll get bombarded by a host of sites dedicated to denouncing folks who pretend to be in the military. The popular term Stolen Valour comes from the more recent United States of America Stolen Valour Acts:
1. Stolen Valour Act of 2005 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stolen_Valor_Act_of_2005), and
2. Stolen Valour Act of 2013 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stolen_Valor_Act_of_2013).
Wait two acts?
Let me explain after the break.
Seems the first act was struck down in court and deemed unconstitutional in the United States of America and infringed on the freedom of speech. So the second act was put into place to prevent folks abusing the material benifit and gain from wearing a uniform. It’s an odd twist to the Stolen Valour situation currently in the United States of America. Unless you reap a financial benefit you can go around wearing any US military uniform.
Lying is a freedom in the United States of America. as per the first amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America. Until you get sued and even then libel, slanderous, and defamatory behaviour is limited based on the state you’ve been defamed, and if it has caused a loss of financial revenue. When it comes to publishing it has to be proven in court that any media publisher knew that they were publishing falsehoods – but again depends on the state and you are only sueing.
So unless money has been lost/stolen you can lie in the United States of America.
Now this is admittedly over simplistic but the loss of detail does not hide the core truth.
If you wear a uniform and you are not or have never been a member of the Canadian Armed Forces (or previous iterations), in Canada it is a federal crime as found in the Criminal Code of Canada under section 419, Criminal Code, RSC 1985, c C-46 s 419.
Wow that was simple.
Outside the United States of America, if someone in the US has lied to you, they are immune to any legal recourse unless you can prove to the American Standard due to the SPEECH act (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SPEECH_Act). Which I've mentioned above is mighty silly and hard to get done.
Sure sovereignty issues are a minefield but it’s a wee bit harsh and continues to demonstrate the issues with the Constitution of the United States of America being used to support poor intent by ancient wording. It is so entrenched that instead of fixing it – which has only been done in a few cases; 33 times, 27 were processed and six await approval, the common idea is to write a law. Yet if the law can be proven, fuck it – let’s say argued, that there is a possibility of a law being unconstitutional the law will only survive as long as it takes to finally get through the US legal system to strike it down.
If I was living in the United States of America I’d be blood frustrated with my system of laws. Now as a Canadian I’m not saying we’re perfect but there are a few places where we are doing a better job as a country and body of laws than our southern neighbours.
My favorite example is denying members of the Westboro Baptist church entry into Canada due to ‘Hate Speech’ laws (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hate_speech_laws_in_Canada). Some will slip through the border but at least the majority will have to stay home. They may be allowed to do their thing in the United States but Canada has some laws that prevent such bullshit.
So back to the idea of Stolen Valour, it’s fucked up. My family is in the military and I currently still wear my uniform, fact. My very favourite writer and cousin (by marriage – Charging Pun’s best choice EVER!) who writes at the Weather Vane Sisterhood goes over some of our family's military history. From there you may understand why someone like us Bears would be miffed at someone wearing one of our uniforms.
Even if us Bears were not so mixed up with the military we have friends who are part of our extended family, and they served or still serve. Sadly we each one of us know personaly at least one person who was buried with their uniform.
Here is an example:
When some jerk decided to kill an honour guard to the tomb of the unknown soldier in October of 2014, my friend was the one who was responsible for Cpl Cirillo. He was rushing around taking care of the other soldiers on that mound, bringing meals, water, spare clothes, etc. He was the one who had to collect the blood stained uniform from the police evidence lock up. He was the one who packed Cpl Nathan Cirillo’s things and emptied his room in the barracks. He is the one who shipped off to Cpl Cirillo’s family.
My friend plays Warmachine and on most Sunday evenings you can see him at the Wizard’s Tower. I’ve worked with him for a few years and he’s a pretty good guy. He's quiet, a married father to two young boys, and in general not a jerk. He's proud of his current service. We hit the local Tim Hortons after a night at the Tower. When Dawn Seeker pulled out her wallet the Sunday after Cirillo's murder, he got a little fucked up.
You see Dawn Seeker has a Zelda purse with a large print of the Triforce on the side. My friend did not know what it was but Cpl Cirillo had something in his personel effects that also sported the Triforce. Seeing a fucking purse is what finally got to him - Cirillo had a bit of a nerd bent... another link, another connection with the dead. My friend looked around and found himself surrounded by a half dozen other nerds - we had a good game that night. We were all gona stay around a wee bit longer to make sure my mate felt better.
We are a small family of uniformed people. In a country of over 30 million Canadians we stand at less than 90 thousand strong. Out of that number ness than 28 thousand of us are part time, former regular force, or Canadian Rangers. We support the less than 60 thousand full time members of the Royal Canadian Navy, Canadian Army, and the Royal Canadian Air Force. There is always less than six degrees of seperation when one of us is taken.
When I see the wanker that has taken the above example and make a farce of it... I was not angry but I was - am, still dissapointed.
It took me a while to write this us because I wanted to get it as correct as I could. I didn't want to bugger this up.
If you have not earned the permission by law in Canada to wear a uniform you better quick as fuck take it off.
I don’t care why you want or feel that you are allowed to wear that military uniform.
I don’t think you stolen someone’s ‘valour’.
I know it is wrong to do so.
Lucky for me, here in Canada, what I know is supported by law.