This Week in American Military History
Two Marines

Should crimes against veterans carry stiffer punishments?

Recently, criminals in Colorado broke into a car and stole irreplaceable personal effects from the widow of a fallen veteran of Afghanistan. When I posted on the incident, one of our readers posted that "military veterans should receive special legal privileges and protection similar to hate crime legislation that protects homosexuals, ethnic minorities, religious minorities, women, etc."

Should they?

To those who have sworn an oath to "support and defend the Constitution," I direct you to the Fourteenth Amendment: "no state shall ... deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."

My take on this is that the race, color, creed, religion, sexual preference, or in this case the occupation of the victim should not affect the sentencing of a criminal act. If a veteran of Vietnam or Afghanistan is murdered, they are just as dead as someone who hasn't served, right? To me, if someone steals the photos and dog tags of a fallen hero from his widow, the punishment of theft in general is not sufficient to deter the act. After all, did the thieves break into the car because the victim was a veteran's widow?

In my state, first responders are a "protected" category - if someone attacks me while I am working, it becomes a felony assault and battery. Why am I more equal under the law than, say a pizza delivery driver (who get mugged FAR more often than firemen)? And since I am a veteran, should that crime carry an even stiffer penalty?

I say no. But the purpose of this post is to open up the dialogue to the Blackfive readership. Looking forward to your responses.