I believe there is some truth to this silly little saying. And there are those who truly know me that know this is where I come from. Having been in these professions for years I bring depth of knowledge of those professions to the table when looking at what is often right and what is often wrong with so many stories brought to us daily. And many of these stories tell of the buffoonery in both professions, regardless of what side of the 49th parallel you live on.
Todays blog is about such an issue. And it touches on the police, the media and the military all wrapped up in one. Candy for Bart.
A few days ago a giant of a man in the Medal of Honor field of researchers, named Doug Sterner sent me a tweet, though tweeting is not one of my accomplishments, but I digress. This one sent me off to a link of a story about Buffoonery of the first order, itself worthy of a medal for stupidity, involving the Sanford Florida Police Department. A department that has an apparent long line of buffoonery if you believe the information quite easily findable on the net. Here is that department's latest poster child....
The headline tells it all, regardless of the case before the court, this woman is now before the court of public opinion. And trouble is, whatever her credentials to receive her ribbons aside, she is just doing what the department told her to do... sew them on. She now is the scapegoat for the absolute stupidity of one or more of her superiors... and ever military vet on the police force who ought to have recognized that wearing these ribbons... or at least two of them may have amounted to a crime by being worn by those unauthorized to wear them.
The story came to light when an American war vet and medaled hero was watching the news and saw the story about the case the policewoman was giving testimony at. He noted her six ribbons. At least two of them were military ribbons. The one at upper right is a bonafide WW11 Army of Occupation Medal that was issued as a campaign medal to those serving a minimum or 30 days continuous service in certain theatres of war during that war. A vet wearing that medal would have had to have served at least 30 days pre the end of the war in 1945. He or she would have been about 18 or older AT THAT TIME. Do the math. Any wearer would be at least 86 years old today. Pass the makeup!
The lower right hand ribbon, as you look at the image, is the ribbon of the Defence Distinguished Service Medal. This is the HIGHEST medal for non combat related services to a most senior military or civilian (perhaps) that has responsibilities for more than one element of the services... say the Joint Chiefs Of Staff or the Secretary of Defence etc. Rather impossible I'd say, to be awarded to a vet of only 3 years in the military, as this woman would later claim that occurred pre her police career.
When the vet called the police force he was no doubt stunned by the response given. He learned that the department had trouble finding ribbons to honour certain services, which the media did not bother to identify in their stories, and thus they found a solution. They simply walked into the local Army and Navy or whatever saw some ribbons they liked, learned that they were from back in WW11 and so the PD bought a handful and started issuing them to members who apparently qualified by doing something beyond the norm.
The vet then heard an even more stunning comment. The PD said that most of the recipients of these WW11 ribbons (one was not a WW11 Ribbon) were now dead anyway so no one would object to them being now used again.
I guess using that logic, it would mean it is OK to wear Civil War Medals of Honor... or at least their ribbons cause all those guys ... and one woman... are dead also. DAHHHHHH!
When he and presumably others complained they got the typical bureaucratic answer... that officialdom at the department had already approved their use... as if they had that authority... but we will relook at the issue down the road at the so and so meeting. But continued pressures resulted in the department fairly quickly pulling the ribbons from use.
It is against the law in Canada...and no doubt the US for anyone to wear medals or ribbons that they did not earn. Police are expected to take action when this crime is discovered. It is too bad they did not simply arrest themselves.
This story now brings to light that all across the US there may well be no official standards for Police Department ribbons and as such any department may well be using whatever they can get their hands on. Is it not time that at the state level at the least, and perhaps national, that the police community development say ten medals of various levels for heroism that no doubt occurs daily across the country with the police. Once done, it could be implemented across the country so that the police themselves and the public can recognize the stature of the officer wearing the ribbon, just by looking at a ribbon in Florida or Georgia or Wisconsin and know that the hero did such and such.
In the US the Stolen Valor Act of a few years ago was shot down as it was decided in the highest courts that it impinged on the rights of folks south of the border to brag that they have earned heroism awards that they did not earn. Daaaa! Apparently it was against their freedom of speech.
Now the Act has been given a new life because it concentrates not on the ability for the liars to curtail their lies, but to step in when it is done with the intent to gain something....like a cheaper car, or rent, or a job or a date..hehe.
One would hope that there were no intentions by the PD to gain favours. And a department that has said it will pull all ribbons is going too far. Pull the ones it knows or ought to know are illegal. And continue to show the departments' and the publics' appreciation for those who gave gone beyond to get the awards in the first place. But use ribbons that are not recycled from the chests of past veterans.
The issue is one that the highest levels in veterans affairs circles, the military and the Attorney General ought to look at. They then ought to send the message out that wearing official military ribbons by those unqualified will be dealt with severely.
Even the liars. Period.
And for those counting, this is my 150th blog