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Saturday, January 17, 2015

Hire a Veteran! Not! EJF Newsletter

 EJF Newsletter —Why Veterans Can't Get Jobs — Part One

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 and publicized.
If nothing else perhaps these essays will chart some of the rocks and shoals veterans must avoid if they are to reach safe harbor.


Issues The Equal Justice Foundation Deals With



Part One — Hire a veteran! Not!

January 10, 2015
by Charles E. Corry, Ph.D.
President, Equal Justice Foundation
The endless wars of the 21st Century have produced a multitude of veterans suffering from both visible and invisible wounds. They have not found a return to civilian life an easy transition and a major problem for them is employment, or rather the lack thereof.


Deceptive advertising

Many companies trumpet their intent to hire veterans. Real patriotic! So why is it so difficult for so many veterans to find a job?
The fine print requires a drug test!
It is a rare individual who doesn't suffer some symptoms of stress following a traumatic event, and few events are more traumatic and disturbing than modern combat.
A universal symptom of this stress is sleeplessness and commonly veterans first choice is to self medicate, usually with enough alcohol that they can sleep.
For the lucky ones the symptoms subside but for many, possibly the majority, the symptoms continue and grow into what is now known as post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD, see endnote). That outcome is particularly likely if they have done more than one combat tour or suffer from traumatic brain injuries (TBI), the signature wound of the current conflicts. Of course other wounds, amputations, sexual assaults, training or other accidents can cause PTSD as well.
While alcohol is the usual first choice for self medication by a veteran, they are often also given a smorgasbord of pills by the military or the Veterans Administration (VA). But eventually most use marijuana either because a buddy talks to them, they get a DUI, or they have pain from wounds or injuries and hate the opioids and the zombie feeling.
In practice marijuana has proven to be the safest and most effective drug available to help veterans sleep, subdue their irrational anger, help with their pain, and other beneficial results with few side effects.
But many companies purporting to hire veterans will not employ them if they test positive for marijuana.
In 1933 the Twenty First Amendment to the United States Constitution repealing prohibition was, uniquely, ratified by state ratifying conventions. No Congress since has been so foolish as to propose any new Amendment allowing prohibition. And the Tenth Amendment unequivocally states: "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people." The federal government is thus denied the power of prohibition.
As it is clearly within the rights of a state to mandate or legislate, the citizens of Colorado have passed two amendments to their state Constitution regarding marijuana. Passed in 2000, Amendment 20 allows for the medical use of marijuana for a variety of conditions. Then in 2012 Colorado citizens passed Amendment 64 that made the personal use of marijuana legal for persons over 21 years of age. The State of Washington has passed similar legislation. As of 2015 medical marijuana is legal in 23 other states and two more states have made personal use legal. More states are being added to this list yearly.
Employers have a clear interest in employee behavior while on the job but what freemen do on their own time is, for the most part, their business alone. In many professions, e.g., airline pilots, employees may not partake of alcohol for a prescribed number of hours before reporting. Similar rules regarding marijuana would be reasonable and just. But to make a veteran unemployable because the wounds of war require a legal medication some bluenose disapproves of is unconscionable.
Since Colorado citizens clearly have an explicit constitutional right to the use of marijuana, any refusal by an employer to hire veterans using this drug is de facto, and likely de jure discrimination. That is particularly true where the use of alcohol, tobacco, and other mind-altering prescription drugs, e.g., Prozac, are permitted and tolerated when the employee is not working, and oft times when they are on the job.
Why is this blatant employment discrimination tolerated?
If there exists a bona fide need to insure a person is free of any drugs in order to perform their job duties, e.g., flying, surgeons, truck driving, crane and forklift operators, etc., then the employee should be tested for all possible drugs that are known to interfere with job performance, e.g., ethyl alcohol. Then there are prescription drugs such as opioids like Oxycodone, antipsychotics, antidepressants like Prozac, and a host of other prescription drugs that are known to interfere with mental and physical functions. There are also many over the counter drugs such as antihistamines that have the same negative effects on one's ability to operate machinery or perform complex functions. Many of these drugs have a more negative impact on job performance than marijuana.
Equal opportunity demands equal standards.


Giving veteran jobs to foreigners —H1B and other visas

The military trains thousands of computer geeks (programmers, network, security, etc.), mechanics of all types, demolition, construction, contracting, personnel, hydraulics, etc., as well civil, structural, and a dozen other engineering specialties and hundreds of other trades. One would think companies would be lining up to hire these veterans when they are discharged.
So why aren't they?
In addition to the 140,000 permanent immigration visas issued annually for skilled workers Congress, those "friends of veterans," have created a host of other visa categories to flood the country with cheap labor, i.e., not veterans.
In large measure the problems with H1B and similar visas stem from deceptive advertising as well. Generally in order to bring in a foreign worker a company must first advertise the position and then demonstrate that no qualified American can be found to fill the position. That is generally done by briefly advertising the job in an obscure location or deeply buried on the company's web site. And those Americans who somehow manage to find the advertisement and apply either receive no answer, or are told their salary demands are too high, or that they are overqualified, etc. Having "failed" to find an American candidate they then move to bring in a foreign worker under an H1B or similar visa.
There are many variants on this game but the end result is no job for a veteran.
Once again Congress promises one thing to one group (veterans in this case) and delivers the rewards to another.
H1B and similar visas were initially authorized under the Immigration and Nationalization Act of 1965 that was enacted into law in 1968. During the dot.com boom in the 1990s businesses screamed to Congress that they couldn't find enough skilled workers, particularly computer programmers although doctors, nurses, engineers of all sorts, mathematicians, mechanics, various scientists, etc. are also admitted on these visas. Although the real problem was businesses were unwilling to pay market wages Congress expanded H1-B visas so that up to 115,000 foreign workers could enter the U.S. every year to take these generally high paying jobs. The cap has since been lowered to a nominal 65,000 per year but there are a number of exceptions, e.g., the masters exemption that admits an additional 20,000 per year for those who presumably hold advanced degrees. These visas are issued for limited time periods, three years initially with a virtually automatic renewal for another three years for good little servants.
Other exemptions exist for Australians (E3 visas) and Canadians and Mexicans (TN1 visas). There are also H2B visas presumptively for "seasonal" work such for hospitality and tourist industries where the yearly quotas are nebulous to non-existent.
Foreign companies can and do bring in many more employees on L1 visas claiming they are senior employees needed for successful operations in the United States. Apparently more than 70,000 of these have been issued in the past decade and evenCongress and the immigration service are becoming suspicious.
Then there are student visas without which the graduate science and engineering programs of many universities could not exist. There are also J1 short-term training and learning visas to further a foreigner's job skills in the USA and then, presumptively, to return to their home country to apply them, in the process exporting American know how and jobs.
Remember that all these are in addition to the 140,000 permanent immigration visas issued each year.
Critics note that the benefits to U.S. tech firms are numerous and campaign donations to Congress are generous. First, from personal observation, H1B workers are usually paid much lower wages than U.S. citizens. Typically they cannot ask for a raise during their tenure and are often asked to work unreimbursed overtime. If they are fired they lose their visa and they cannot leave to go to another employer. Most are not paid benefits and they cannot complain on pain of being fired. Note that such conditions meet the definition of indentured servitude, which was abolished by the Thirteenth Amendment in 1865. Nonetheless, U.S. firms have, with the blessing($) of Congress discovered the ultimate employee.
ABC News estimates that there were a half million foreigners in the United States on H1B visas in 2010. And that is just the tip of the iceberg. Of course some move to obtain a green card and become permanent residents and eventually citizens. But many simply stay on after their visas expire or they graduate from college. And virtually no effort is made to find and deport them, often even if they commit crimes. While the exact number of foreigners who have overstayed their visas is unknown, an article in the April 7, 2013, Wall Street Journal suggests that about 40% of 11 million undocumented workers arrived legally but simply stayed on. That would put a low estimate of 4.4 million. Since many estimates suggest there are currently ~22 million illegal immigrants in the U.S. a value closer to 9 million might be more accurate.
But even if the H-1B worker doesn't stay in the U.S. they learn the job and then rotate back to the home country and take the work with them along with American know how and jobs.
Veterans are left with whatever scraps of jobs remain.
2007 study by the Urban Institute concluded that America was producing plenty of students with majors in science, technology, engineering, and math (the STEM professions)—many more than necessary to fill entry-level jobs.
As quoted by Mother Jones, Norman Matloff, a computer science professor at the University of California-Davis, sees this changing as H-1B workers cause Americans to major in more-lucrative fields such as law and business. "In terms of the number of people with graduate degrees in STEM," he says, "H-1B is the problem, not the solution."
Impact of these visas is particularly hard on older veterans or those who have made a career of the military. Older workers are virtually always more expensive than younger ones or students just out of college.
And if a company can get a foreign worker for even less than that...


Part Two — And justice for none

Part two covers the impact of an overcriminalized justice system on veterans


Part Three — Dying to get an appointment with the VA

Part three will look at some of the problems veterans encounter with the Veterans Administration and why this anchor is dragging.


Endnotes

Summary of symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) observed in local veterans:

• Sleeplessness (probably the most common and the first thing one notices);
• Dissociation from actual events and no memory of them is diagnostic;
• 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, 2nd Ed., p. 156-157) call the Universal Warrior Nightmare;
• Impotence in males;
• Irrational anger or irritability accompanied by emotional or violent outbursts;
• Anxiety and a need for unconditional control of almost every situation in order to feel safe;
• Panic attacks and hyperventilating (veterans are known to put on their body armor in such cases);
• Social withdrawal and fear of crowded places (often will not leave house or go shopping until early morning hours);
• Difficulty concentrating, focusing, or remembering (short-term memory loss);
• Hypervigilance often expressed as a fear of crowds and a need to do a reconnaissance before entering an area or building, e.g. WalMart;
• Flashbacks to the event(s); and
• An exaggerated and often violent startle response.
For a comprehensive diagnostic description of post traumatic stress disorder see the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders DSM-5 pages 271-280.
To officially fall within the diagnostic guidelines the symptoms must last for at least a month.


About the author

He has been doing research on domestic violence, particularly abused men, since 1997.
In 2008 he and former EJF Director Robert Alvarez began pushing for a veteran court in Colorado Springs. That court is now up and research continues on veteran arrests.
After service with 1 st 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 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.


Issues The Equal Justice Foundation Deals With

EJF Newsletter - And Justice for None

 EJF Newsletter —Why Veterans Can't Get Jobs —Part Two

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.



Issues The Equal Justice Foundation Deals With




Part One — Hire a veteran! Not!

An examination of the hypocrisy, lies, deceit and Congressional acts that underly veteran unemployment.

Part Two — And justice for none

January 11, 2015
by Charles E. Corry, Ph.D.
President, Equal Justice Foundation
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.



War on Drugs

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.
Harsh sentencing associated with drug laws has sent millions of citizens to prison.
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 thanmala 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.
However, getting a job after a veteran has a drug conviction, or any conviction, on their record is difficult to impossible.



Domestic violence (DV)

The feminist movement dating from the 1960s has also has proven disastrous for veterans for many reasons.
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.
Veterans are now driven from their homes and children with only the clothes on their back with no notice and without a hearing or trial. Their property and children are seized without redress.
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 inCrawford 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.
Laws such as VAWA might be useful if women never lied, cheated, or stole.
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.
VAWA is particularly dangerous for veterans whose wife or girlfriend isn't a U.S. citizen.
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).
The problems are by no means trivial.
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."
Nonetheless, a conviction (plea bargain) for misdemeanor domestic violence or any felony carries the following penalties today:
• Barred from holding many jobs;
• Denied a security clearance or they lose an existing one;
• Unable to rent an apartment;
• Forbidden from obtaining school loans;
• Unable to hold professional licenses;
• Unable to get or hold a teachers certificate;
• Denied credit or a financial bond;
• Unable to become police officers or firefighters;
• Denied a commercial drivers license;
• Unable to obtain medical insurance;
• May not be able to vote;
• May not hold a public office;
• May not serve as a juror;
• Denied work involving hazardous materials (hazmat) or explosives;
• Their children are taken from them, particularly if they suffer from TBI;
• Subjected to federal felony charges if they are even around a weapon or ammunition with a mandatory 5 to 10 year prison sentence;
• If they have a job they will probably be fired;
• 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.



Sexual assault and harassment

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.
Sexual harassment today is anything a crude and rude veteran might say or do that a woman can possibly misinterpret or phrase in politically correct terms as demeaning, threatening, or insulting.
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?



Weapons of war between the sexes

Military service, particularly combat, predisposes veterans to run afoul of current laws regarding domestic violence and abuse as well as sexual assault and harassment.
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 reain such cases.
We have a problem with the behavior, conduct, and choices of many women and we need to address it for what it is and stop pussyfooting around the problems for fear of whom we might offend.
Such misbehavior is having a massive negative impact on the ability of veterans to find employment.



Overcriminalization and veteran courts

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."
Husak (2008, p. 118) goes on to say that:
"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.
Without justice many veterans will never be able to return to our communities as productive citizens.



Part Three — Dying to get an appointment with the VA

Part three will look at some of the problems veterans encounter with the Veterans Administration and why this anchor is dragging.



Endnotes

Summary of symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) observed in local veterans:
• Sleeplessness (probably the most common and the first thing one notices);
• Dissociation from actual events and no memory of them is diagnostic;
• ·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;
• Impotence in males;
• Irrational anger or irritability accompanied by emotional or violent outbursts;
• Anxiety and a need for unconditional control of almost every situation in order to feel safe;
• Panic attacks and hyperventilating (veterans are known to put on their body armor in such cases);
• Social withdrawal and fear of crowded places (often will not leave house or go shopping until early morning hours);
• Difficulty concentrating, focusing, or remembering (short-term memory loss);
• Hypervigilance often expressed as a fear of crowds and a need to do a reconnaissance before entering an area or building, e.g. WalMart;
• Flashbacks to the event(s); and
• An exaggerated and often violent startle response.
For a comprehensive diagnostic description of post traumatic stress disorder see the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders DSM-5pages 271-280.
To officially fall within the diagnostic guidelines the symptoms must last for at least a month.



About the author

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.
He has been doing research on domestic violence, particularly abused men, since 1997.
In 2008 he and former EJF Director Robert Alvarez began pushing for a veteran court in Colorado Springs. That court is now up and research continues on veteran arrests.
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.



Issues The Equal Justice Foundation Deals With