Steve Barr (pictured above between Delegate Nic Kipke and new Anne Arundel County Executive Steve Schuh) lives in Pasadena and claims he was a prisoner of war in Vietnam. He was honored – along with other veterans – by the Lake Shore Volunteer Fire Company last month and Kipke tweeted the above photograph, which Schuh retweeted.)
Unfortunately, This Ain’t Hell reports that Barr is lying about being a POW. TAH has his service records which show he did serve in Vietnam honorably, but that he wasn’t a POW. Barr even fooled Voice of America News and told them a story about a supposedly fallen comrade who died well after Barr’s service in Vietnam. TAH also notes that only one POW in Vietnam had the last name Barr and his remains were repatriated to the US in 1995.
I have written things that were less than flattering about both Kipke and Schuh in the past so I want to make sure to emphasize that I am not doing that here. They, along with everyone else Barr lied to, are among the victims in this situation. As a veteran, I am astounded that someone who went to Vietnam and was honorably discharged would betray his brothers who were held prisoner and, in many cases, died in captivity. It seems to me in some way that people who actually have a service record and embellish it this way are guilty of a worse offense than people who make their service up from whole cloth. Either way, people who commit this offense of stolen valor are reprehensible people.
Stolen Valor was in the news earlier this week after video emerged of Sean Yetman, a fake Army Ranger who never served, being berated in a Philadelphia-area mall last Friday by a veteran who saw him for the phony that he was. Officials are looking into whether Yetman benefited from his lies so that they can decide whether to charge him. A federal law that banned lying about your military service was struck down by the Supreme Court, so getting people for fraudulently obtaining benefits is the only avenue now in most cases.
I would suggest to Delegate Kipke and other members of the General Assembly that they might want to explore their options to pass a state law dealing with this issue. It might not help in the case of Barr (although it could – I’m just not sure what specific benefits he might have received solely because of the POW claim) but it’s something that needs to be looked at and would likely enjoy bipartisan support.
Stolen valor cases in this area are a topic I will continue to cover in the future.
Here’s the original tweet from Kipke:
— Nic Kipke (@Kipke) November 24, 2014