Have you ever seen those stolen valor videos on YouTube? The ones where some guy in a mall spots another guy wearing a military uniform that looks out of regulation so he takes cell phone video of the guy and asks him pointed questions about his military service in order to confirm his suspicions that the guy is an imposter? I had an online version of that happen to me today.
Without going into too much detail, I noticed that this guy’s pro-America 9/11 posts were coming in unusually fast and furious along with claims of having been a special operations soldier. Something seemed off about it so I asked a few questions in a veiled attempt to see if he was legit – when I was starting from being 99% sure he was full of it.
I have to say that I have seen a few of these stolen valor videos and think that some of them are a bit over-the-top and unnecessarily humiliating for the imposter. It seems to me that about half of the imposters are apparently dealing with significant mental issues and they don’t need to be publicly shamed – those are the videos that I have trouble with. The other 50% seem to be losers, liars and scam artists and I’m all for publicly calling them out.
Anyway, I elected to send this guy a private message to inform him that both he and I knew that he was lying and it’s my opinion that it’s extremely disrespectful to those who have actually served when you’re out here making up stories and bragging about something that others have done but you didn’t do. My intent was to simply let him know that I knew he was full of excrement, as did other friends of mine, and he needed to stop. He blocked me without response – which is genuinely ok with me. I didn’t expect my four paragraph written lecture to change him as a person, I just wanted him to know that I knew, that it’s such a disrespectful thing to do and one of these days he’s going to get himself into a bad situation with someone when they easily detect his fraudulent claims and they’re having a rough day and want to take it out on someone.
I’m not telling this story so you’ll think any less or more of me. I mention it because it just amazes me that someone would string such a series of lies together to falsely and unnecessarily build up part of their life story. You can still be an outstanding human being and not have ever served in the military – I know plenty of people who fit that description. They’re all fantastic people and don’t feel the need to lie about their past. It shouldn’t have to be said that those who have elected to volunteer (or be drafted) for military service and have put themselves in peril in the name of national defense should not have their honor tarnished by people who have no qualms about living a lie that boosts their low self esteem.
There’s no “I almost joined the Marines” or “I almost signed up for Navy Seal BUDS training” – you might have thought about it but you didn’t do it…and that’s ok. But the moment you turn your unfulfilled fantasy dream of being a Delta Force operator into a web of lies to try to impress people, it becomes a pretty dark thing you’re doing. There are enough people walking around this world who know just enough to sniff out an imposter. My advice is to never play that game because you’re going to be exposed by one of those people.
Be proud of who you are and what you’ve done. If you’ve even made it through a day of life, that’s something to be proud of. (Back to my normal senseless writings now.)