March 5, 2007
Should we allow people in the armed services who have been arrested? Or should be think of the military as a place where their bad habits can be eliminated?
What kind of military do you want fighting for your country? Do you want the most honest and trustworthy people we can find? Or do you want someone who has been charged with 197 counts of computer tampering, harassment and stalking for hacking into his ex-girl-friend’s online dating account and setting up dates for her with men she didn’t know? According to prosecutors, Michael Valentine, 29, a former police officer, assumed her identity and contacted 70 men in her name, some of whom showed up at her house for dates he had arranged.
According to an article in Newsday, and reprinted in the Los Angeles Times on February 27, 2007, Valentine said he was planning to join the military when he was arrested. This gave prosecutors the great idea that if he would go ahead with those plans (within the next nine months), he could avoid three years probation.
Now, I’m a believer in redemption of the fallen. Both men and woman can make mistakes and turn their lives around. And it is possible that this man is terribly sorry for his transgression against his former girlfriend and will live an upstanding life from now on. BUT should the military take a chance that he may not?
What may happen if he gets disgruntled against his commander and decides to hack into the computer system on the base? If someone is going to protect our country in my name, I want them to have a stronger character than Valentine has demonstrated.
The vast majority of military service men and women are honest, hard working and committed. But if past behavior is any prediction of future behavior, should we be offering military service in lieu of probation for someone whose character has some pretty serious flaws, a person who, as a police officer, is swore to uphold the law?
When Abu Graib happened, we were told it was caused by a few rotten apples. Are they the ones who slid into the army through the back door, as Michael Valentine is apparently going to do?
Funny, isn’t it? We won’t allow gays to openly serve in the military, even though they have a clean record and are patriotic. But we’ll welcome a cyber stalker with open arms—in lieu of probation for breaking the law. Since he had already said he wanted to join the service, what kind of punishment is he getting if he is allowed to do what he said he wanted to do? The young woman didn’t get the chance to be free of unwanted men showing up at her house for a date she didn’t arrange!