An Oregon National Guard member has been “disciplined” following an online statement that advocated “executing” immigrant families, The Oregonian is reporting.
The Trump administration’s “Zero Tolerance” policy on immigration, which has resulted in families being separated from each other at the border, has been controversial to say the least. And while the policy has drawn heated condemnation, as well as protests, some have opted to channel their ire toward fundraising, with the goal of reuniting separated children with their parents. Facebook users Charlotte and Dave Willner did just that, setting up the Reunite an immigrant parent with their child crowdfunding campaign.
Oregon National Guardsman Gerod Martin, who has been with the Guard as a military police officer since 2013, apparently wasn’t feeling it. In a post that has since been deleted, Martin let his feelings about the issue be known.
“Waste of money…. They’re lucky we aren’t executing them.”
Martin was dressed in his military uniform in his avatar cover photo at the time of the post.
Major Stephen Bomar, a spokesman for the Oregon Military Department, said that the post generated a “large outcry” even within the unit where Martin served.
“This is a horrible thing that he posted, we all know that. It’s unacceptable, horrific and doesn’t reflect the values of our organization as a whole.”
But What About His First Amendment Rights?
The First Amendment limits the government from punishing you for your speech. It does not, except in rare cases in some states, protect you from being punished by your employer for your speech. That’s especially true if your employer is the Department of Defense, which has social media policies that are explicitly clear about these sorts of things, says Bomar.
“You can’t endorse any sort of political action while in uniform. You always have to think before you post. Sometimes you can get caught up in the moment, but it’s not an excuse.”
In fact, Gerod Martin is not the first person to learn the hard way that the military does not take kindly to its members misbehaving on social media. As previously reported by the Inquisitr, a Missouri Air Force recruit found her career in the military over before it even began, thanks to a poorly-timed video that emerged on social media.
Tabitha “Tabbie” Duncan, 20, could be heard, along with her friends, discussing their plans to go “n****r-hunting,” a drunken boast that cost her not only her Air Force career, but also her job as a waitress at a St. Louis restaurant.
Martin, for his part, appears to have “scrubbed” his Facebook account, as the Oregonian describes it, leaving only the bare minimum of information about himself.