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5:00 PM Sat, Nov. 17th

Editorial: Background truths matter for everyone

For some time now, here at The Daily Courier, we've been familiar with the issue of "stolen valor" - when people put themselves out there as medal winners, former soldiers of a certain rank or even simply calling themselves a veteran - when they actually were none of the above.I was reminded of this recently because the Courier, at the beginning of the year, launched a weekly series of veterans' stories. We continue to take care with all of them; we vet them carefully. A local example in recent memory was a man who said he had been a Navy SEAL. Unbeknownst to him, many "military watchdogs" exist who work to protect the truth against countless wannabes. The FBI estimates that for every real Navy SEAL there are 300 impostors, and for every one of the 120 living Medal of Honor recipients, there is at least one faker.The classic example in this state is that of Darrow "Duke" Tully, who in the 1980s was publisher of the Arizona Republic. Tully embellished his "resume" with a story about his military record. Under pressure, Tully resigned from the Republic in 1985, admitting his heroics as a fighter pilot in Korea and Vietnam - his entry into military functions, where he showed up in the dress uniform of an Air Force lieutenant colonel - were all lies. It turns out, he never served in the armed forces at all.Yes, some people overdo it.Knowing all of that, however, it also has piqued my interest that regular Americans - not necessarily veterans - also bend the truth or don't know better. There's no way to know how many people lie on their resumes.That's why I could not pass on the following; an Arizona lawmaker said March 12 he wasn't trying to bend the truth when he incorrectly identified himself as a peace officer.Rep. Anthony Kern urged passage of police-related legislation, telling a Republican caucus that he was endorsing the bill "as a certified police officer," according to the Associated Press.Problem is Kern is not certified by the Arizona Peace Officers Standards and Training Board, the Arizona Capitol Times reported. He thought he was certified after graduating from the Glendale police academy in May 2014. "I think we're talking technicalities here. I wouldn't say I was a certified peace officer if I wasn't a certified peace officer," Kern said.A newspaper columnist said Kern misrepresented himself. Kern says he wasn't trying to misrepresent anything. Call it an honest mistake? It is ironic Kern is among the supporters of a proposal that would withhold names of police officers involved in a shooting for 90 days after the incident.Bottom line is don't lie or bend the truth. You will get caught and, in the case of the military, it is a federal crime; otherwise, it's very bad form.- Tim Wiederaenders, city editorFollow Tim on Twitter @TWieds_editor