Thursday, October 20, 2011

Update on the OWS ( Class Warriors ) thread

One Marine showed up to defend his fellow Americans.

Marine Sergeant Shamar Thomas confronted a small group of NYPD and decided to speak up after watching some protesters get knocked around.



  1. Why does this guy warrant more attention and importance than the thousands of others at the protest simply because he once served in the Marines?

  2. Reason #1

    To provide some additional information/light upon that part of my post about Ward Reilly, about whom I believe you are correct. Whether or not Sgt. Thomas was influenced by Reilly's call for action, he did show up.

    Reason #2

    No matter the color of the officers' shirts, white or blue, a Marine combat veteran in their face will give them pause when they are in the process of beating up on protesters.

    BTW, I saw a story in a local paper here about "stolen glory", about legislation making it a felony to parade about as a veteran, especially one who was in combat.

    Your opinion, sir? :)


  3. Here's the article and it's Stolen Valor.

    WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court will decide whether people who lie about their military courage can be sent to federal prison.

    On Monday, in a closely watched case out of California, the court agreed to consider the so-called Stolen Valor Act and the punishment it metes out to make-believe heroes. The case pits veterans groups against free-speech advocates, provoking serious questions about what kind of falsehoods the government may punish.

    "Lies about oneself are commonplace in day-to-day social interactions," Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli Jr. acknowledged in a legal brief.

    Verrilli, nonetheless, is urging the court on behalf of the Obama administration to uphold the 2006 Stolen Valor Act as well as the misdemeanor conviction of a one-time local water district official in California named Xavier Alvarez.

    But the stakes could go well beyond military wannabes, making the case called United States v. Alvarez one of the most anticipated First Amendment challenges of the court's 2011 term.

    "If the Act is constitutional ... then there would be no constitutional bar to criminalizing lying about one's height, weight, age or financial status on or Facebook," warned Judge Milan D. Smith of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
    In 2007, while serving as an elected board member of the Three Valleys Municipal Water District in southern California, Alvarez announced at a board meeting that he was a wounded Marine veteran who had been awarded the Medal of Honor for heroism.

    In fact, Alvarez had never served in the military, and it was easy enough to determine he was not among the 85 or so living Medal of Honor winners.


  4. OK, the last post I had here that I thought had successfully put up has disappeared.

    I'm not doing the whole thing again, here's the link to "Stolen Valor"


  5. BB,

    Here's my opinion - I think "stolen valor" should only be criminalized if they receive material benefit from their deception.

  6. Andy,
    I commonly get attacked on the specops sites and my creds are as stated.
    Why are these atks allowed? Why is this legal?
    Shouldn't there also be an ATTACKED VALOR law?
    They play with me because they are anon and cowardly. Where is their honor/valor?
    Anyone falsely claiming an MOH must have a severe case of the paralyzed dumb ass and obviously have mental issues. Are we gonna criminalize insanity now?

  7. Jim,

    You can always track down those people and sue them, but unless you can show they hurt you in some way then your lawsuit won't go far.

    My opinion is that using the uniform for fraud or material benefit should be a criminal offense, not simply for people making outrageous claims or people walking around in a uniform. I think most of what I think should be criminalized is already considered crime - ie. fraud, but this isn't something I've done much research on. IMO the stolen valor act goes way too far based on what I've read - I think much of it clearly violates the first amendment.

  8. The video of the self-stated Marine vet (hope he's not active duty, BTW, or some gunnery sergeant is going to have kittens) is pretty effective. Given the back story of how the billionaire who runs NYC and his cops have treated the OMS folks, watching those cops being cowed by the vet was entertaining.

    Stolen valor? Vets groups are just as stupid and short sighted as the rest of America. First Amendment freedoms are far more important than worrying about the very few incidents where some guy lies about military service. I view these laws as being akin to the so-called Communications Decency Act, where Congress passes laws (with the prez signing them) outlawing porn for the sake of the chirrun and the courts then have to overturn them. It's all a big charade and I truly wish the people we elect to public office would do something meaningful rather than posture for slices of the electorate.

    Any cops around here? If so, how about telling us why it is cops, who in most areas of the country are not degreed and are unionized, delight in busting the heads of poor people? Of people exercising their rights as Americans? Why do cops do rich criminals' dirty work? It's understood it's part of the job, but why do they seem to enjoy it so much?

  9. I've always figured that any poor idiot who needs to pretend he's got some bit of ribbon and potmetal typically given for doing something suicidally brave in a place, and for reasons, that 99.4% of his/her fellow citizens have forgotten ten minutes after reading about it has already been punished far beyond the penalty of law.

    And I dunno...does it say something unpleasant about the U.S. circa 2011 that we need to have a person with the authority of a uniform to shame our "authorities"? I mean, I wore one and I never felt or feel today that it made me a more moral, more intelligent, "better" citizen than someone cadging for coins at the bus station. It meant a bit more effort on my part, but, then, I got three hots and a cot in return, which is more than the panhandler gets.

    Not trying to disparage either military service or this individual, but since when did military service become some sort of badge of civic virtue above acts of civic engagement like, say, fighting for a cause such as a 40-hour week, or an end to discrimination, or...OWS?

    Publius: Having had a close Army pal become a cop and watching him go from a fairly open-minded, liberal-almost-libertarian guy to a cynical, racist, sunuvabitch I'd say that it has something to do with "copthink".

    Most cops deal with "civilians" (and that is really how many cops think of us) as a sort of wary neutral at best or a prospective enemy at worst. And I can't exactly say I'm surprised when you think that most of the people they interact WITH are either some sort of scumbag generally, doing something illegal, or a victim of something illegal.

    So they develop a very "us-against-them" way of thinking. But they're usually constrained by the rules of their job from doing what most of us either want to or actually do - taking a poke at "them".

    But not in a head-busting demonstration. Then they get to let their inner ass-kicker out. And - let's be honest - most of us, given the opportunity to smash heads and not risk injury in return, would probably go pretty medieval; it would take a very, very saintly person not to be confronted by a larger, "enemy" group, be told to stop them, and then not go sort of berserk - especially if you saw them as the sort of worthless "civilian" you had to respect at all other times.

    Just a guess, mind you...

  10. Sgt. Thomas is retired, as he was described on Lawrence O'Donnell's show last night.

    Chief, I'm convinced there's a pecking order in human society, part of our animal nature.

    Status accrues to different individuals according to what they do or did, wealth, and the company they keep. And whatngroup of people they're with at any particular time.


  11. Basil: I understand, but I guess the question I'd take from that is - what did this guy do that "accrues status" to him? OK, he volunteered for military. That's fine, but in a country with a professional military there are a slew of reasons that night have happened, not all of them - in fact, many of them not - patriotic. Certainly I understand that the Marines have - what was it Truman said - better propaganda than the Soviet Union? But'd think that any citizen should be able to recognize the foolishness and injustice of the police actions.

    I'm really asking a serious question here - does the fact that because this man was a Marine we as a society give his words more weight - say something rather unflattering about us as a society? I honestly am not sure. I think it might be what you suggest - just the effect of our respect for his "service". OTOH, it might have something to do with the creeping sense I have that we have put a lot of credence lately in "heroes" - who always seem to be soldiers or policemen and never muckraking journalists, trust-busting DAs or people protesting obvious injustice...

  12. This sergeant is not retired, unless he's got some sort of medical issue. Way too young. He looks like a typical three or four year and out fellow and he's not real impressive. The only reason I noted the video was that he was able to stop the cops dead in their tracks, something that I suppose says more about the cops than it does about him. I say again, this sergeant is not very impressive. But he's he's newsworthy because he's defending people with a fairly righteous cause against a bunch of cops, many of whom look too young to shave, but all of whom are clearly aching to crack some heads.

    FDChief is focused on some important existential thoughts. First, I'd say that, no, in a fair and just world, we shouldn't give his words more weight because of his veteran status. And I don't and I won't. But I'd also say that the cops did, and so does much of society. Shouldn't be, Chief, but I'm afraid it is. You may not like it, but that's the way it is.

    FDChief doesn't like our current version of heroes. He wants different ones. Well, I'd challenge the Chief to find those heroic journalists and DAs or others. First find 'em. Then worry about getting the slugs who pass for public opinion in our nation to pay attention. Sorry, Chief, but there's something about a uniform and blood and guts that's kind of a guaranteed best seller when it comes to the American public.

    Me, my heroes will always be cowboys....just like Willie. Assuming I have any heroes at all.

  13. A far as "Stolen Valor", obsession with that crap led me to quietly withdraw from a forum of VN helo pilot vets, many of whom we long standing friends. I vote for Andy's approach. Always did, always will.

    As to the "message" of the good Marine Sgt? What I perceive is that for 8 years, the troops were regularly and routinely used as a backdrop for GWB and his bankrupt policies. In deed, their willingness to serve painted them as a justification for GWB's adventures. Glorious and dedicated supporters of the ruling class.

    So, when an average Marine vet speaks, in what appears to be sincere terms, on behalf of the "common folk", and against brutal representatives of Wall Street, that's dissonance. And when the "tools" of Bloomberg and the Wall Street crowd back off in awe of this lone Marine vet, well, this Jarhead says, "Semper Fi!". Of course the centuries long cultured image of the Corps is at play. But this kid is indeed speaking out against what OWS sees as a "domestic enemy of the Constitution", if we hold that the Constitution is, in reality, "We the People". To me, that's in the tradition of Semper Fidelis.