There’s an AP article out of Omaha explaining how the Air Force honorably discharged Jene Newsome under the “don’t ask, don’t tell” rule regarding gays in the military.
My personal stance regarding sexual orientation as pertain to individuals serving in the military is irrelevant and has nothing to do with issues brought out in today’s article.
Jene Newsome was discharged only “after police officers in Rapid City, South Dakota, saw a marriage certificate from Iowa — one of the handful of U.S. states that recoganize (recognize) same-sex marriage — in Newsome’s home and told the nearby Ellsworth Air Force Base.”
“Newsome and the American Civil Liberties Union filed a complaint against the western South Dakota police department, claiming the officers violated her privacy when they informed the military about her sexual orientation.”
A bit further into the article, “Police officers, who said they spotted the marriage license on the kitchen table through a window of Newsome’s home, alerted the base, police Chief Steve Allender said in a statement sent to the AP. The license was relevant to the investigation because it showed both the relationship and residency of the two women, he said.”
There are a couple of issues I’d like to bring up; the first would have to be, “If this all happened in Rapid City, South Dakota; why is the AP story coming out of Omaha, Nebraska?” I’m guessing Rapid City doesn’t rate a story from the AP so they had to find the nearest “real” city.
The police chief’s statement clearly indicated police knew where the suspect lived; the law does not require the assistance of a neighbor, friend, loved one or spouse in apprehending another person with or without a warrant. “Ca-ching!”
In case you’re wondering about the use of “Ca-ching!”; that’s the sound of the civil courts lottery cash register being loaded in favor of Jene Newsome when all the smoke clears.
Jene Newsome wasn’t parading about town with a sign announcing her relationship with another woman or anyone for that matter. Her lesbian marriage, while difficult to fathom by many members of our society, was legal and had been kept under the radar of the military in accordance with the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy; that is, until a police officer allegedly peeked through the kitchen window and decided to share what he’d seen.
It would appear the police officer who shared what he saw with the folks at nearby Ellsworth Air Force Base violated his oath of office and probably several rules and regulations within the Rapid City Police Department. How’d you like to be writing a letter up the chain of command explaining this one, much less have to stand in front of a panel of jurors? Jene Newsome’s rights were trampled on, her career has been destroyed along with the trauma of going through the public mockery of her lifestyle. Beyond that, a police chief believes these actions were appropriate; no citizen is safe with that kind of approach to police work.
“Even though 80 percent of “don’t ask, don’t tell” discharges come from gay and lesbian service members who out themselves, third-party outings are “some of the most heinous instances of ‘don’t, ask, don’t tell,’” said Nathaniel Frank, a research fellow with the Palm Center think tank at the University of California, Santa Barbara and a New York University professor.”
Ray Bradbury wrote, Fahrenheit 451, many years ago. There were several social issues brought to light; but for today I’ll only mention two of them.
In the pasteurized world of the book burners, neighbors could turn in anyone suspected of hiding books; all it took was an anonymous tip. There were no consequences for turning in your neighbor, your friend or even your spouse; it was your civic duty, a means of keeping society running smoothly. The “firemen” would be alerted, storm the house of the suspect, burn any books found and haul the individual off to a rehabilitation center.
The idea of a third party destroying the life of any individual, maliciously or inadvertently under our constitutional form of government should be a warning to us all. We live in a land where our founding documents define each individual’s right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness along with the right to be secure in their homes. There isn’t a clause which gives your neighbor additional rights or the police powers to remove those rights; quite the contrary, we have a Bill of Rights to protect us from such violations.
Paper burns when it reaches 451 degrees Fahrenheit; books are the stored knowledge of our society and once burned that part of our collective progress is gone. Our nation has as its foundation, divinely inspired documents, documents which are being burned away; a line here and a line there. Once the standard to which we’ve been raised has been destroyed through neglect or intentional abuse we’ve burned it; or am I mistaken?
In my reading of history I ran across many references to the Brown Shirts of Nazi Germany. One written by Gareth Jones, Germany Under the Rule of Hitler, does as good a job as any explaining the dangers of throwing away the safeguards which keep a nation free.
“They have created a secret police, which will make still more nebulous any freedom of expression which may remain.”
In our day, individual liberties are being cast aside; does it matter what color shirt the policeman wears as he/she destroys our God given rights; brown or blue? I don’t think many of us will remember Jene Newsome’s name a year from now or that a police officer appears to have shared information which wasn’t his to share; but if our police departments are not working to defend and protect individual rights they’re not much different than Hitler’s Brown Shirts.
The Moral Liberal associate editor, T.F. Stern, is a retired City of Houston police officer, self-employed locksmith, and gifted political and social commentator. His popular and insightful blog, T.F. Sterns Rantings, has been up and at it since January of 2005.