On February 20, 2013 I wrote and posted the first article on my blog titled “Disarming America’s Heroes” detailing what was happening to veterans who were being denied their Second Amendment and Fifth Amendment rights. It was reposted on many websites and within a few days attacked on Michelle Malkin’s blog called “Twitchy”. The article attacking my article was posted anonymously by someone using the handle “GothGuy” who claims to be a former Veterans Advocate.
He basically claims that my article is totally inaccurate and misleading and that no veterans are losing their Second Amendment rights. It is in fact his claims that are totally inaccurate. For example, he makes the following statement “What he (the author) has written is misleading on a couple of points (actually, more than a couple). Not just ‘someone in the VA’ can declare a veteran incompetent, the veteran must be diagnosed by a doctor as incompetent during an examination”
In fact, virtually none of the veterans we are representing at the USJF have ever had such an examination by a doctor, and certainly not by a psychiatrist or a psychologist. They may have been diagnosed with having PTSD, but that is not classified as a mental illness and certainly doesn’t make someone incompetent to handle their own financial affairs, or incapable of owning a firearm.
The anonymous writer then goes on to state: “Further, the author cites the 5th Amendment, well, again, it’s misleading the way he wrote this. The veteran is free to submit evidence, request a pre-determination hearing before being declared incompetent to handle his or her affairs, and trust me, I have participated in those hearing many times over 16 years, and have won virtually all of them prior to the final determination. No 5th Amendment rights are violated.”
In fact, this comment proves the very point I made in my article. The due process clause of the Constitution requires the government to prove that someone is guilty or in this case incompetent. Yet, what the writer states is that the veteran bears the burden of proof at his or her own expense to prove that they are competent. There are numerous other inaccuracies in this article but the bottom line is that this anonymous writer is clearly defending the illegal actions of the VA.
What is even more disturbing to me is that within a few days of the appearance of this attack on a conservative website, the article was posted on a blog sponsored by the American Legion called “Burn Pit”. The person who posted it is named Mark Searcy and he not only endorsed the comments of the writer, but added his own inaccurate comments like: “A lot of well-meaning folks are sending me links to this piece at "Red Flag" news about how the VA is trying to confiscate the guns of people with PTSD. It's not entirely accurate.”
Unfortunately, it appears that Mr. Searcy either did not read my original article or has distorted what it says. It dealt with veterans losing their second amendment rights for numerous other reasons than just PTSD. He concludes his comments by stating: “So here's the real deal....yes, it is happening, but only to people who are adjudicated as being mentally incompetant for purposes of handling their financial dealings. It isn't everyone with PTSD, everyone at 100 percent disability, or anything of the like. If there is someone out there who has been adjudicated incompetant, and is worried about being added to the NICS list, contact us immediately so we can help you.” (The misspellings of incompetent are his, not mine)
As I clearly point out in my article, there is no legal adjudication involved, and Mr. Searcy seems totally uninterested in the fact that these veterans are losing their right to own a firearm and being put on the FBI National Instant Criminal Background Checklist. Yet there are thousands of veterans who have lost their right to own a firearm who have not been adjudicated to be “mentally defective to the point of being a danger to themselves or others.”
It is obvious that neither Mr. Searcy nor the person known only as GothGuy have never talked to any of the veterans I have nor have they talked to the VA whistleblowers who have provided me with confirmation of the information in my articles. Yet, this anonymous article was posted on a conservative website, picked up and amplified on an American Legion website and is now being forwarded to veterans all over the country.
Ironically, I am a lifetime member of the American Legion and a past post commander, yet no one at the Legion ever contacted me to give me a chance to show the evidence we have accumulated and verify that everything I have said is true. Our veterans deserve better.