Veterans have always faced some difficulties reintegrating into society after their discharge. That is particularly true if the veteran has been injured or wounded, even invisibly, by combat, training accidents, sexual assault, or the many other hazards of military service.
However, society has compounded the problems for veterans of the perpetual wars of the new millennium in at least three major ways: (1) deceptive advertising, (2) mala prohibita laws like the War on Drugs, and (3) a malfunctioning Veterans Administration.
I have broken these into three sections. I don't have pat answers as to how balance might be restored but these problems don't exist (or are ignored) unless and until they are documented an If nothing else perhaps these essays will chart some of the rocks and shoals veterans must avoid if they are to reach safe harbor.
There are few greater deterrents to getting a decent job than a criminal conviction. Please note that a plea bargain is a conviction. Further, it is quite clear that so called "deferred sentences" do not disappear from a veteran's record despite the lies told by prosecutors in seeking a plea bargain. Thus, any veteran who is caught up in the justice system and convicted will find it virtually impossible to find any but the most menial jobs, if that, with homelessness and suicide an all too frequent consequence.
Military service in general, and combat in particular seem to predispose veterans to come athwart the justice system. Apparent factors in this are the self-selected aggressive and combative nature of veterans together with defense of their civil liberties when accosted by law enforcement, or what psychiatrists now term "oppositional defiant disorder" (ODD, DSM-5, p. 462-466).
Problems with the justice system are enhanced when the veteran suffers from hidden wounds like PTSD, TBI, schizophrenia, panic attacks, or other service-related injuries. Without the assistance of an unbiased and competent ADA advocate the legal problems of these "trained killers" are frequently compounded.
Following the Vietnam War, and perhaps in large measure because of it, our nation has undergone profound changes in the last 40 years. Many of these have had a profound negative impact on veterans and their families.
Prominent among these issues is the failed War on Drugs launched by President Nixon sans any constitutional authority as his presidency was failing in 1972, and while he was surrendering in Vietnam.
Veterans, having used many drugs in Vietnam and later conflicts, and finding that marijuana was effective in treating what came to be known as PTSD and other wounds of war, have been massively affected by this descent into darkness.
Pressure on the courts made it impossible to handle criminal cases in the traditional and constitutionally mandated fashion of trial by jury. Instead it became necessary for prosecutors to settle charges by plea bargains.
With the onslaught of cases questions of guilt or innocence became irrelevant. If arrested, defendants are now presumed guilty unless, and until they can prove their innocence. The ancient principles of mens rea and actus reus were abandoned and prosecutors became ever more aggressive in attempting to obtain convictions through plea bargains. Coercion, inflated and stacked on charges, threats, and even torture are used to force veterans to accept plea bargains for crimes they didn't commit. Supplementary laws like RICO continued the degradation of civil rights and America now imprisons the largest number of its citizens of any nation on earth.
A problem for men of conscience and allegiance to the Constitution is that the War on Drugs ignores the fact that the "criminals" involved in the drug trade are not actually violating anyone's rights and these laws are clearly mala prohibita rather than mala in se as there is no underlying evil in using drugs. When a drug dealer is hauled before a judge, there is no victim standing behind the prosecutor claiming damages. Everyone participating in the drug trade does so voluntarily and these are victimless crimes.
It was known and documented by Straus, Gelles, and Steinmetz (1980) that women are as, or more violent than men in intimate relationships. That finding has been substantiated by all subsequent research. However, then Senator, now Vice President Joe Biden ignored the data and put forward the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) that was first passed by Congress in 1994.
Framed by radical feminists on the false premise that only women are "victims" of abuse in intimate relationships and that men are driven by the patriarchy to batter and abuse their female partners (see Dutton and Nichols, 2005) , VAWA destroyed any remaining vestiges of freedom.
Feminists demanded that we "believe the victim," an anthem that echoes in their ideology to this day. Of course if we believe the victim we must presume the defendant is guilty. Men are then publicly censured for crimes they have not committed.
With the passage of VAWA, and similar state laws, warrantless arrests became mandatory upon the sketchiest of allegations, often nothing more than an anonymous third-party phone call. Forceful entry and searches of a man's home without a warrant became the norm.
Perjury and hearsay are now admissible as evidence against a man, mere allegations suffice as proof and due process is largely a thing of the past.
Citizens and veterans are denied the assistance of counsel and punishment and imprisonment occurs before a trial or without one. For a decade after 1994 men were denied the right to face their accusers. Fortunately, the ruling of the Supreme Court in Crawford v. Washington restored that Sixth Amendment right in 2004, although prosecutors still do their best to ignore that requirement.
Most couples fight at some point in their relationship. But rarely does it rise to the level of what used to be considered criminal assault. But feminist funding is dependent on the number of cases and the hype keeps building. The easiest way to increase the number of DV cases was to expand the definition, which has been done repeatedly since VAWA was first passed.
As the definition of what constituted "domestic violence" expanded so did the draconian penalties. The problem for veterans is that every manifestation of PTSD symptoms (see endnotes) is now considered "domestic violence" under current laws. For example, in evaluating combat veterans for PTSD Thomas and others (2010) asked how often in the past month they "got angry with someone and kicked or smashed something, slammed the door, punched the wall, etc.," "threatened someone with physical violence," or "got into a fight with someone and hit the person" based on research that demonstrated a strong association between combat exposure and these items as well as other risk-taking behaviors. Or consider the actions of veterans with TBI who commonly yell, swear, throw objects, pound on the wall with their fists, slam doors, or threaten or hurt family members or others as a result of their injury. These behaviors, of course, now constitute criminal domestic violence when committed within an intimate relationship after Johnny comes marching home.
Since that is false, and coupled with the spread of "no fault" divorce after 1970 (Parjeko, 2002), women quickly learned to use domestic violence laws as a weapon against men, particularly in custody battles. And wounded warriors with their manifold problems are prime targets in that game.
It is estimated that of the 300,000+ immigrant visas issued on the basis of a marriage to a US citizen each year, nearly 30% of them are fraudulent (Sampson, 2009).
All these ladies of dubious origins need do is file domestic violence charges against a veteran. One 911 call and they are granted a green card within thirty days and citizenship within six months, guaranteed. It apparently doesn't matter whether the charges against the veteran are dismissed or not, she still wins. There are regular classes on how to do this at women's shelters and by feminist groups like TESSA, and a number of women do this repeatedly with different men (see Hendricks, 2009).
Of 12,139 veteran arrests in El Paso County, Colorado, between July 2010 and December 2014, 3,567 (29.4%) involve a charge of domestic violence. Aside from traffic offenses, domestic violence is the single largest category of criminal offenses that veterans are jailed for. Of these 3,567 arrests for "domestic violence" approximately 50% carried no charge of violence in the booking report.
While "domestic violence" might seem a mala in se offense, in practice it has been implemented to match feminist ideology in a mala prohibita fashion by making it an add-on, or sentence enhancer for any crime. For example, crimes such as dog at large, jaywalking, sending an email, and so on can, and often do include a charge of "domestic violence."
Subjected to federal felony charges if they are even around a weapon or ammunition with a mandatory 5 to 10 year prison sentence;
If still in the military they will be discharged under less than honorable conditions, often losing all benefits, retirement, bonuses, medical care, and may even have to repay reenlistment bonuses; and
If there is any question about the veteran's citizenship they will be deported.
Building on their success with domestic violence laws, radical feminists next began expanding the definition of rape and demanding justice for every incident of sexual harassment. Compounding the problems, for the past few years, under intense feminist pressure, the Pentagon has downplayed the effects of open homosexuality, sexuality, and the addition of women on the front lines.
Inconveniently for feminist propaganda more men are raped than women both in the military and among civilians. But facts don't matter and rape used to require some evidence and proof beyond a woman's allegations.
Women lie about rape all the time - for attention, for revenge, for an alibi, and for myriad other reasons. Studies done before the definition of "rape," or sexual assault was revised suggest that at least 40% of rape claims are false Kanin (1994). Since sexual assault can now be claimed months or years after the alleged event, long after there is any chance of collecting forensic evidence, it is unlikely that the truth can be reliably determined. And false memory syndrome is not uncommon.
After revisionist redefinitions, sexual assault (rape) is now any coitus without a pre-signed agreement she can't find and tear up later. Turn around and bump her in the chest and it is a sexual assault, mens rea and actus reus be damned, or at least swept under the carpet.
Ann Coulter takes a swing at all the rape hysteria in her column The College Rape Club and studies suggest that just 0.6% of college women are subject to a sexual assault rather than the 20% figure put forth by feminists.
Nor is it even necessary to be involved with a woman to be labeled a sex offender. Simply urinating in a public park behind a tree and in the dark may suffice. Never mind that they've locked the outhouse or the veteran is homeless.
With current definitions any action by a heterosexual male in the presence of, or in conjunction with, e.g., a nasty email, a female becomes a crime. Of course there is no penalty if a female perpetrates any of these acts against a male or falsely accuses him, although the life of the veteran may be destroyed.
A prominent casualty of revisionist sexual politics has been the loss of camaraderie and trust men and women used to share when working together in difficult and sometimes dangerous situations. No manager or military commander in his right mind would dare discipline a female without witnesses present. Nor is it safe for any veteran to be working alone with a female as an allegation of sexual harassment now suffices as proof and we must "believe the victim" according to feminist dogma.
With decades of experience, attorney RK Hendricks (p. 1) explicitly states: "Never bring a woman into your home until you do a full background check on her."
Many a veteran's career has now been ruined by unfounded charges of sexual assault or harassment while real cases go unreported and uninvestigated, often due to the negative impact of false allegations. False allegations have now gotten to the point the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has a separate unit to deal with them. While both men and women commit these crimes women perpetrate the majority of them.
But any allegation of sexual assault or harassment, true or false, makes a veteran virtually unemployable. Who wants to have a sex offender working for them? And would the other employees, females in particular, stand for it?
Wives and girlfriends of veterans quickly learned to use these laws as weapons of revenge and advantage, particularly in divorce and child custody cases. A veteran with PTSD is almost certain to end up in divorce court and family court will worsen their condition, e.g., see Legal Abuse Syndrome by Karin Huffer (2013). It is a sad reality that divorce also increases the probability that a veteran will commit suicide by an order of magnitude.
Since perjury is ignored there is rarely any penalty for a woman making false allegations. By 2015 it has become standard practice in many divorces for a wife to first file for a domestic abuse restraining order, then arrange or stalk her husband until he violates it, or simply bring charges of domestic violence against him as that gives her immediate, and in practice, permanent custody of the children.
Should those tactics fail the next step commonly is to claim he sexually assaulted her or the children, or abused the little ones. Details of cases like this can be found in Dean Tong's book Elusive Innocence. Note that children are now presumed to be property of the State and certainly not the father.
It is a sad fact that veterans with TBI often have balance problems and may trip or fall with their children. But accidents like that are now presumed to be criminal child abuse and seldom is a prosecutor required to establish both actus reus and mens rea in such cases.
It is clear, as George Will points out in his column The Plague of Overcriminalization, that society has gone too far in attempting to solve social problems by making them crimes. Douglas Husak provides a scholarly review of the problem in his 2009 book Overcriminalization: The Limits of the Criminal Law that should be a must read for legislators, jurists, and prosecutors if justice is to return to our courts and for our veterans.
Of particular concern are the plethora of mala prohibita laws. Legislatures have become "offense factories" that churn out new statutes virtually every week. Legislators are graded on the number of new laws they pass and real mala in se crimes were outlawed long ago. Since mala prohibita crimes are only offenses because Big Sister says so, there is no such practical limit on them. Nor have legislators found it necessary or desirable to limit such laws by scientific findings or data, e.g., see the example for VAWA above. Mala prohibita laws work reasonably well when they conform to societal customs, e.g., driving on the right side of the road. But they almost always fail when legislators attempt to apply them to personal habits and social behavior, e.g. drugs, abortion, religion, ideology, etc., and the almost inevitable result is tyranny.
As Husak (2008, p. 27) points out:
"...The real law the law that distinguishes the conduct that leads to punishment from the conduct that does not cannot be found in criminal codes. Even those police and prosecutors who pledge fidelity to the rule of law could not hope to honor their commitment because they receive almost no guidance from legislators about what they really are expected to do. The number and scope of criminal laws guarantees that neither police nor prosecutors will enforce statutes as written...We are already well past the point at which statutes are the dominant factor in explaining who will or will not incur criminal liability."
"In the real world of police and prosecutorial discretion, however where the rule of law is virtually nonexistent it is likely that a marginal increase in conformity to mala prohibita laws would only exacerbate unfairness."
Specialized courts for veterans, presumably set up to deal with issues like these almost always require a guilty plea in advance in order for the veteran to be admitted. Since domestic violence and sexual assault cases can commonly be won if contested, the veteran is often worse off in a veteran court. However, if the veteran has a previous conviction and has little to lose by taking another plea bargain, especially if it will keep him out of jail, then veteran courts are a good deal for those individuals.
The problem for society is that the veterans in veteran court are often gaming the system to stay out of jail despite often numerous arrests. The innocent veteran who really needs help and treatment is denied it and public safety, the basic objective of a justice system, is harmed.
·Nightmares often accompanied by kicking, fighting, or choking a partner in one's sleep and are much more persistent and disturbing than what Grossman and Christensen (2007, 2ndEd., p. 156-157) call the Universal Warrior Nightmare;
For a comprehensive diagnostic description of post traumatic stress disorder see the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders DSM-5pages 271-280.
Dr. Corry is a Senior Fellow of the Geological Society of America and an internationally-known earth scientist whose biography has appeared in Who's Who in the World, Who's Who in America, Who's Who in Science and Engineering, among others, for sixteen consecutive years.
After service with First Marines Dr. Corry became involved with the early space program in 1960, doing preflight testing and failure analysis on Atlas and Centaur missiles, including all the Project Mercury birds. In 1965 he switched to oceanography and did research at both Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego and Woods Hole Oceanographic on Cape Cod. He has also taught geology and geophysics at two universities and worked as a research manager for a Fortune 500 company.
Among other pursuits he has climbed high mountains, been shipwrecked and marooned on an unexplored desert island, ridden horseback through Utah, Arizona, and Colorado, and enjoyed many other adventures during his long career.
Presently Dr. Corry is president and founding director of the Equal Justice Foundation.