Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Marine Pays Steep Price for Criticizing Obama on Facebook

In an incident that seems to have created an interesting controversy about freedom of speech on social media, in a time when so many feel so passionate about politics, Sgt. Gary Stein will not only lose all his military benefits, but will also receive an "other-than-honorary-discharge" from the service for posting something negative about the President on social media.

According to Huff Post politics, this is what Sgt. Stein posted on facebook:

The Marines acted after saying Stein stated March 1 on a Facebook page used by Marine meteorologists, "Screw Obama and I will not follow all orders from him." Stein later clarified that statement, saying he would not follow unlawful orders.

Stein also made this statement:

"I love the Marine Corps, I love my job. I wish it wouldn't have gone this way. I'm having a hard time seeing how 15 words on Facebook could have ruined my nine-year career," he told The Associated Press.

You can read more about it here.


T.D. McFrost said...

There should be consequences for saying imprudent things on social media (or anywhere for that matter), especially when there is no basis for such statements. People nowadays think they can say whatever they want and that is bad. Sure, your're free to voice your opinion but that should not mean you do so without a censor.

This is his fault and now he's paying the price for not thinking before he spoke. The Marine Corp. is making an example of him because the message he sent by posting that statement is terrible: a serviceman is highly opposed to the man in charge, so it's okay for us to slander him on social media too. If he were a regular citizen this wouldn't have been a big deal, but he is serving the country and should know better. It was just bad ethics on his part.

ryan field said...

"If he were a regular citizen this wouldn't have been a big deal, but he is serving the country and should know better."

That's where I would assume the law came into play. I'm sure there are rules about this.

Kathy H said...

Yes there are rules. It's called the UCMJ(Uniformed Code of Military Justice) The reasoning behind most of the code is antiquated. They still don't give saliors lashes anymore for crimes on board ship the UCMJ still has a clause allowing this punishments. You can be charged with adultery and receive a 20 year sentence.
They are not innocent until proven guilty. The UCMJ allows people to abuse their power. Men stand before a board of superiors with one enlisted representative. The burden of prove is on the defendant. Railroading a person is not unusual. I have seen plenty of very good men lose careers for things imagine or trumped up.

I do think the Sqt was implusive and careless with his comments. This is the thing that gets me. Public displays of affect are disapproved of even for hetrosexuals. When will they start to use the UCMJ to prosecute people for displaying sexual content or photos of kisses on Facebook. Where is the line? Should a memmber of the service be disavowed their freedom of speech because it may offend someone he works with politically or morally? We just came out of DADT. The men and woman that were forced to live in the closet were made to do so under this same antiquated code.

Should service memeber be treated as 2nd class citizen? Should the UCMJ be able to subjugate any of their basic rights under The Contitution. Should a military man dressed in civilian clothes on his on free time be charged by the military for attending a political rally? It happens. Let's clarify not a protest but just goes to meet the canidate

These are the people that serve us with honor and loyalty. They are people willing to give up their lives to guarantee our Rights. Should shouldn't we be as passionate about their civil rights?

Oh and before anyone goes off saying you don't know what you are talking about. My husband spent 20 yrs in the Navy. We counseled many young people regarding staying out of trouble and voiceing their opinions. There was one good anser. Just shut up and say nothing. DADT is the pervasive theory in the military when you have a opinion or viewpoint that does not fit the current sitting president. You just don't talk about it in public or around anyone that does not support your opinion or you are asking for trouble. While civilans run around spouting off their opinion openly daily. You think the service member doesn't realize they sacrificed the civi rights when they signed the contract. No they teach you that in bootcamp. After you are in your contract you learn that you lost your basic rights as a US citizen.

I think change is necessary. The reasoning behind these laws were potential mutanty. That the military would choose to rise up and take over the government. I really don't see that happening. I am sure it could, but let's be honest. I don't really believe it will. In any case the USMJ could amend itself to temper the code to fit into today's society.

ryan field said...

Didn't know all that. Thanks for commenting. We're living in scary times right now, and I'm not just talking about this case. With social media and less privacy, anything anyone says can be held against them. It used to be Jane Fonda...or someone, I'm not singling anyone out...would speak up in public. And now we're all subjected to the same kind of scrutiny.