05 October 2007

Soldiers Led By Stupid Deadbeat Dad Crooks

An Army Colonel is a pretty powerful guy, one step below a General. Traditionally, that rank has been sufficient to lead a combat brigade of about 5,000 soldiers. A Colonel usually doesn't make high level strategic decisions, like how to distribute soldiers within Iraq, but does make vast numbers of life or death high level tactical decisions. They also have quasi-judicial court martial authority over junior officers and enlisted men.

Alas, at least one of those men is a dead beat dad, and at least two of them are stupid criminals.

Army Colonel Scott M. Carlson, 51, is the deadbeat dad.

Carlson had been paying a Virginia woman child support for her 9-year-old daughter and she was seeking an increase, Senior Assistant District Attorney Derek Clepper said. . . After the criminal investigation started, Carlson sent a letter to the domestic relations office in August and said he had been paying support since January 1999, had not paid since December 2006, and wanted to resume paying.

Both Carlson and Bruce S. Adkins, 44, are also both stupid crooks:

Both men had been members of the class of 2007 at the Army War College in Carlisle. . . . Carlson appeared at the Cumberland County domestic relations office in March to arrange for a paternity test.

County domestic relations employees became suspicious when another man showed up in April, claimed to be Carlson and wanted to take the paternity test.

The man presented Carlson's out-of-state driver's license, signed papers as Carlson, provided a thumbprint, and provided a DNA sample . . . the man was identified through the thumbprint as Adkins.

This takes the cake when it comes to leaving a trail of evidence that will irrefutably prove that you are guilty. Does military TV not offer CSI?

Adkins has, sensibly, admitted wrongdoing when caught and is trying to get leniency by testifying against Carlson. Putting aside their demonstrated disrespect for the law, these are jobs that call for a high level of tactical intelligence, which both men clearly lack. This case would funny if it involved a couple of nobody buffoons, but when you consider just how powerful they were, it gives you pause.

As a footnote, this case also illustrates an interesting point. While members of the U.S. military are subject to the jurisdiction of the military court system everywhere, they are not immune from prosecution under U.S. civilian law for crimes committed in the United States. This case is being prosecuted by an ordinary county district attorney.


Anonymous said...

"Soldiers Led by Stupid Deadbeat Dad Crooks"

Interesting how you summed up a person's life in one misleading sentence.

Apparently, as of September 2008, a jury convicted Scott Carlson on the charges of having faked the DNA test.

Yes, if Scott is in fact guilty of the charges, then he showed poor judgment and made some bad decisions.

It is easy for anyone to play a holier-than-thou role in situations like these. I suspect, however, that most of those throwing the pejorative terms around are not morally superior to Scott and that many of them are hypocrites.

Let's talk about two things here: One is the public expectation of how military officers should behave and the second is what the reality is. It is one thing to go on about "duty, honor, and country"; it is quite another to practice it flawlessly for over twenty years.

Over twenty years ago, I knew Scott Carlson. We weren't great friends, but we were professional colleagues in the Army. I can assure you that at the time I knew him, Scott Carlson was neither stupid nor dishonorable. In fact, he was a very solid officer and the unit was glad to have him and would have gone to war with him without a moment's hesitation. In other words, he got to be a colonel because he knew what he was doing.

Assuming the charges against him are true, then one must wonder what happened. I think the likely scenario in that case would be that he let his desire get the better of him. And when a child was born, Scott realized his family, his career, really, his entire life stood in the balance.

That realization probably scared him, and I would guess it was on the basis of the fear that he made the mistakes you characterize as "stupid". Stupid? No. Made mistakes because he feared his life being turned upside-down? Quite possibly.

HarryBraff said...

Soldiers Led By Stupid Deadbeat Dad Crooks

Anonymous said "....if Scott is in fact guilty of the charges". Well he is. He was found guilty by a jury after a trial. His story was too preposterous to dupe any jury.

Is he stupid? Maybe he isn't under the strict definition of the word, but he did do something that was incredibly stupid and got caught.

Note he did not do this on a whim. He actually planned it over a lengthy period of time. Read the account of the trial at Pennlive, which is a Harrisburg, Pa. news outlet. It does show "Scott" to be morally bankrupt.

He is now a convicted felon, was forced to retire from the military at a reduced grade and is paying support for his child at far more than the plaintiff asked for while he is on a lower income. He was recently sentenced to 4 months to 23 months in jail. Lucky guy did make the front cover of the Army Times though.

As the Cumberland County District Attorney said: "this guy is a disgrace to the uniform." Talk about turning your life upside down.

Anonymous said...

My ex works at NSA at Fort Meade, as a senior intelligence officer, and has been there 30 years, and nobody ever told me - I was married to him 8 years and we have a daughter - he's still the nation's biggest deadbeat - and Federal prosecutors won't go after him - but before you go "hey, sorry that was 30 years ago" "get a life" ---- south carolina prosecutors nailed a deadbeat after 25 years, no problem. So there's no excuse for the Feds not going after one of their own. The military is full of cronies and deadbeats all covering for each other.

Andrew Oh-Willeke said...

Ordinarily not paying child support, while dishonorable, is not a crime. It is ordinarily a civil matter enforceable through wage garnishment and property seizures.

@ Anonymous. Sticking up for the honor of a convicted felon on the strength of your own anonymous knowledge isn't very impressive.

Anonymous said...


At least I know the person involved and am not preaching from a standpoint of ignorance.

He made mistakes regarding this incident. Try being Christian enough to forgive instead of cheering on a vindictive judicial system that imprisons people far too often for non-violent offenses.

andrew said...

Nothing that I have seen in this case suggests a disproportionate punishment. Less than two years in prison for intentionally defauding the judicial system is hardly overkill, nor is discharging a military office convicted of a felony. He can move on with his life duly chastened for a serious crime.

I am not a Christian, so I won't try to be "Christian." I am a strong supporter of proportionality and quite a bit more merciful in that regard than most conservative Republican Evangelical Christians in the Americna South. But, that doesn't mean that serious crimes, like brazen fraud to harm and disown one's own child, shouldn't have proportional punishments.

Anonymous said...


I didn't mention "Republican Evangelical Christians" -- I mentioned the religious philosophy that plays a guiding role in our society, and yes ... even in our justice system although in our country the separation of church and state is touted.

We disagree on the proportionality of the punishment -- so be it. Punishment should be there, but imprisonment is overboard in this case -- a typical overreaction of a country that appears to be addicted to imprisonment of even non-violent offenders.

I question the tone of your blog on this topic because it just mimics the other chest-beating hypocrisy of the mainstream media.

My point is this: Scott made mistakes and did things he should not have done. That does not make him an evil man, or even a "stupid deadbeat dad crook". It means in once situation in his life he made mistakes, got scared, and compounded the original mistakes by trying to commit fraud in regards to his child support obligations. For me, that does not erase the rest of his life in which he behaved honorably.

I hope you do not kid yourself that prison time for people like Scott "straightens them out". It likely will only produce further harm -- much more so than had he been simply given a hefty fine and an alternative punishment like community service.