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AZ Senator Jack Harper discusses the details of a gay soldier’s life (without permission) in order to advance his anti-gay agenda

Timothy Kincaid

February 5th, 2010

Arizona’s anti-gay State Senator Jack Harper felt it necessary to go to the floor of the statehouse on an issue over which that body has no say: the open service of gay military personnel. He had to warn everyone of just what would happen if, gasp, gay people were allowed to tell the truth.

They’ll smoke pot, go AWOL and infect their roommates with HIV. Because gay people are individualists and can’t “come together for the good of the unit” (a rather unfortunate choice of words).

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The text of Senator Harper’s monologue.

I’d like to tell a story about one of my experiences in the Military and how it um, how it related to the President’s speech last night. I understand the President will be making a um, a push to allow gays to openly serve in the military. And, uh, from my experience this is, uh, this is a mistake.

Back in 1989 when I was in the first infantry division, I got there in 1988, and we were in old barracks and we were moving into new barracks and went from bays to two-man rooms. And, um, sergeant first class of my platoon wanted me to room with a person that we all knew was a homosexual.

And I said, “Sergeant, if I have to room with him I’m going to turn him in.” So he ended up assigning another soldier to serve, um to room with this person.

Specialist Rollins was the individual. Specialist Rollins was quite an individualist. I think that might have been the biggest problem cuz when you’re in the military you’re about, you’re supposed to be about putting your personality aside and coming together as a unit for the good of the unit, for the good of the country. And being an individualist there is not room for in the Military.

Specialist Rollins at the time, one time tested positive for THC which means he was smoking pot. He got an Article 15, lost a stripe, and had to do seven days of extra duty. Another time PFC Rolling went AWOL for a number of days. Our platoon had to go down and inventory his stuff including his personal effects which were very evident that he was openly homosexual.

After PFC Rollins was eventually captured he was court-martialed out, not because he was homosexual but because he had gone AWOL.

Um, being an individualist does not match well with being in the Military. You’re supposed to conform to the standards and come together as a unit for the good of the unit and for the good of the country.

Now, after Rollins had been court-martialed out of the military, his roommate had PCS, Permanent Change of Station, gone on to another thing. About a month later, cuz I was the uh, the battalion sid burse clerk which means I ran the computer that kept the database of the grade changes, positions, things like that, rank. Uh, the uh, medics came to me and said we have a person that tested positive for, uh, for HIV and we only have the last four of his social security number and we need to look him up. It was the person who had roomed with PFC Rollins. Now this was a promiscuous soldier so it might not have been that he had a relationship with Rollins.

But, ah, we had problems from the beginning because we decided that we would not turn in someone who was openly serving in the military that was a homosexual, that we knew to be a homosexual. We tried to be tolerant, but it didn’t work. It didn’t work for our platoon, it didn’t work for the first infantry division, and it will not work for the United States of America.

Thank you

I can’t even begin to discuss how inappropriate it is for a state senator to go to the floor of the senate and discuss the military career and life of another person. By name.

This is beyond foul, and he should be censured.

Comments

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Rodg
February 5th, 2010 | LINK

Good thing that heterosexuals never smoke pot, go AWOL, or have sex, or this could all be considered a big load of crap!

If nothing else, it’s good to see these neanderthals wandering out of their caves to display how truly backwards they are…

penguinsaur
February 5th, 2010 | LINK

“Good thing that heterosexuals never smoke pot, go AWOL, or have sex, or this could all be considered a big load of crap!”

My dad was in the navy for years. If you tried to tell him the average sailor doesn’t smoke pot or have random sex and follows the rules to the letter he’d fall over laughing. And then he’d tell you about the time him and 4 other sailors rolled one of those giant papers that came with Cheech and Chong records and smoked it for a whole weekend.

Mel
February 5th, 2010 | LINK

This is a major, major, MAJOR lawsuit in waiting. To disclose personal medical information like that is much more than inappropriate, it is a crime!

John
February 5th, 2010 | LINK

I suspect that this story he just told is going to get a lot more scrutiny than he ever expected. In addition, Mr Perfect Soldier might not have been so perfect back then either. We’ll see what comes out.

joe
February 5th, 2010 | LINK

“This is a major, major, MAJOR lawsuit in waiting. To disclose personal medical information like that is much more than inappropriate, it is a crime!”

No it’s not.
He revealed no identification of the person he claims had HIV.
He is also not bound by HIPAA, he is not a covered entity under that scheme.

You may not appreciate his story but it is by no means illegal.

Try again.

Eddie89
February 5th, 2010 | LINK

This is a flagrant violation of HIPAA! Sad to say, I live in Arizona and I’m now more ashamed to live here than I did before!

joe
February 5th, 2010 | LINK

“This is a flagrant violation of HIPAA!”

No it isn’t.
You know nothing about HIPAA if you think it does.

You have to be a covered entity for it to apply and you also have to reveal identifying information, which he didn’t.

HIPAA is not a catch all.

Ray
February 5th, 2010 | LINK

Ha! I lived in the barracks with a convicted DRUG DEALER in the service who also went AWOL because his girlfriend got busted for prostitution and couldn’t take care of his three kids!

Practically every guy in the barracks smoked pot, drank like skid-row bums and chased women from dusk till dawn.

This is cherry picking.

AJD
February 5th, 2010 | LINK

What’s Harper’s number? I’ll come together with him for the good of the unit, even if it gives me nightmares.

John
February 5th, 2010 | LINK

Interesting. So I guess that the sailors I knew while in the service that were busted for cocaine, being UA, DUI, etc. were all actualy gay despite the whoring around they did with townie girls. Who knew? Well I never did have the best “gaydar” so I suppose it’s possible…

Stefano A
February 5th, 2010 | LINK

He is also not bound by HIPAA, he is not a covered entity under that scheme.

Actually, that’s a rather dubious assertion considering that he was bound by HIPAA at the time he came by that information performing a specific duty for the military. Just because he is no longer in the military does not exempt him from disclosing information obtained while he was bound by the privacy restrictions.

joe
February 5th, 2010 | LINK

HIPAA was passed somewhere around 1996, his anecdote is from before 1990.
HIPAA would not have applied to him no matter any hair-splitting.

Besides, to violate HIPAA you have to release personally identifying information, which he did not.

His statements do not identify the person with HIV.

Stefano A
February 5th, 2010 | LINK

Using your logic, joe, while I was an employee for a government contractor with a military classification of secret and working on sensitive military materials, I was bound to secrecy. But, hey, now that I’m a civilian I can run around blabbing that information (even though it remains classified) simply because I’m no longer retained by that military contractor.

I don’t think so!

Medical information, likewise, obtained while you are engaged in a situation where you have legitimate access to the information does not become property of the public domain simply because you change jobs or leave the field and no longer have legitimate access to such information.

But I do think this tangential concern of what Harper did; i.e., naming the gay soldier (setting aside the HIV positive individual and a discussion of whether that was legal or not remains) still remains bad form, unless he clearly indicated he was using a pseudonym; and even then, is a distraction to what the very first commenter clearly indicated — Harpers personal anecdote was indicative of nothing other than a what he considered to be particular specific individuals vices and was not indicative in any way of an entire group.

Stefano A
February 5th, 2010 | LINK

HIPAA was passed somewhere around 1996, his anecdote is from before 1990.
HIPAA would not have applied to him no matter any hair-splitting.

For clarity…
The post containing the above quote hit the board while I was making the addendum to my first post and thus my second post was not a reply. I didn’t see it until after sending my second post. Thus, I’ll concede that point on the technicality regarding HIPAA not being retroactive.

joe
February 5th, 2010 | LINK

Your first example does not transfer over to a violation of HIPAA laws.
Your access to classified information is governed under different laws and signed agreements made when those security classifications are issued.

The comparison is apples to oranges.

Now you can argue back and forth all day long about whether it’s bad form or whether it is indicative of a group, but the upshot is the man did not violate any law.

That is the only point I have to make.

It serves no purpose when people do not understand the law and get all riled up about something they do not understand.

Trust me, I am a practicing attorney and the firm I work for handles medical lawsuits. We wouldn’t touch it, waste of time/money.

Congress provided for no private right of action under the statute. There are no good precedents set yet for individual suits under HIPAA.

Timothy Kincaid
February 5th, 2010 | LINK

Besides, to violate HIPAA you have to release personally identifying information, which he did not.

His statements do not identify the person with HIV.

Sen. Harper implied that Specialist Rollins of the First Infantry Division who was discharged in 1989 had HIV.

That’s pretty specific.

In any case, he stated that Rollins’ roommate was HIV positive, an identity that is most certainly known to his fellow soldiers if not a great many other people.

One cannot be excluded from HIPAA by saying, “I’ll not tell you the person’s identity but this is the name of his roommate.”

Whether or not this disclosure is illegal, it is without question unethical. Sen. Harper should be censured.

Frankly, he should be tarred and feathered and ran out of town on a rail.

Stefano A
February 5th, 2010 | LINK

Your first example does not transfer over to a violation of HIPAA laws.
Your access to classified information is governed under different laws and signed agreements made when those security classifications are issued.

I’ll concede that a better analogy would have been a reference to when I worked in the field of mental health in the 70′s and 80′s, although in that field (whether specific employer related or not, and whether the employer was acting under legal guidance or as an optional choice of the employer I don’t know). . . but at that I did have to sign confidentiality agreements to not disclose client information which I would assume were binding even after I left that employer, unlike other confidentiality agreements such as in the banking field where the confidentiality agreement had a specific time frame at which point the agreement would become void.

I agree that whether or not he broke a law is irrelevant to the fallacious argument he was trying to make regarding the character traits of a group of people as a whole.

Prospero
February 5th, 2010 | LINK

The discussion of HIPAA may be distracting people from the fact that HIPAA or no, this is certainly a violation of respect for people’s individual privacy. Here in California, where I live, that’s a constitutionally protected right (we still have some!). I can’t speak for how this plays out under Arizona law. But even if no specific legal provision prohibits this, the liberties Sen. Harper has taken in disclosing the details of another man’s private life in his public comments are certainly rude, hardly respectful, and definitely worth condemning.

Burr
February 5th, 2010 | LINK

So I guess we can throw out all the examples of highly decorated gay military officers because of the example of this one jackass.

Cole
February 5th, 2010 | LINK

Typical heterosexual tactic; use a single individual to represent all gay people and justify your prejudices. I’m sure this gay soldier felt the bigotry from the heterosexual soldiers and acted on them by self-destructing.

Priya Lynn
February 5th, 2010 | LINK

Joe can’t seem to look beyond what is legal to consider what is ethical, that’s part of why lawyers are viewed as they are.

Edwin
February 5th, 2010 | LINK

Another politian shooting off his mouth instead of keeping it shut. The HIV person could have very easly got that HIV from his girl friend.
Jesus Loves Me and I Am His Favorite!

Christopher Waldrop
February 5th, 2010 | LINK

Funny, I used to work with someone who’d say “Careful…” any time he thought someone was about to make a statement disagreeing with him. It was his way of cutting off debate. He was a strong believer in freedom of speech…as long as he was the only one who got to speak.

I see a lot of attempts to distract from the real issue here, though, but I’m curious about something. If, for instance, someone knew that Senator Jack Harper had been caught smoking pot while he was in the military, and discussed it openly without his permission, what would the consequences be? It may not be illegal, but it would be deeply unethical, especially if one were to use this information to justify, say, a belief that anyone named “Jack” was unfit to serve because of this one example.

Bruce Garrett
February 5th, 2010 | LINK

At a glance I’d say there is plenty of lawsuit material here, but more then that it’s beyond disgusting. This man all but put someone’s HIV status out there in neon lights, added to it that he was sexually promiscuous, and insinuated that he’d committed sodomy…which as I understand it is still a criminal act in the military.

But beyond that…light years beyond that…is the sight of that open sewer that is Harper’s conscience. Never mind your legal opinion…Joe…what Harper did was beyond contemptible. He didn’t need to actually identify anyone to make his point, such as it was. What he did was gratuitously cruel to two people he served with, whatever he thought of them personally. He waved their personal life tragedies around like they were some sort of trophy he’d won and now he was taking a victory lap. It was completely unnecessary and he didn’t think twice. What the hell kind of man is that?

“We tried to be tolerant…” What a laugh. Be nice if they’d found Harper’s AWOL conscience too while they were looking for Rollins. By now its probably gotten asylum somewhere.

Evan Hurst
February 5th, 2010 | LINK

What a foul little man.

I agree with whoever said (too lazy to scroll back up, fingers are tired) that it’s sort of good that the bigots are really being scared up right now. True colors and the like.

Lynn David
February 5th, 2010 | LINK

I guess this wouldn’t have sounded familiar to anyone concerning Vietnam War protests by soldiers? There was a Specialist Fourth Class John D. Rollins, who went AWOL from the Army back in 1968.

http://www.thecrimson.com/article/1968/12/20/fort-devens-colonel-jails-army-awol/

But on the other hand, what does one person have to do with everyone else. I’d suspect that others where just as much screw ups in his unit.

johnathan
February 6th, 2010 | LINK

AJD (and others, if interested):

The contact information, obtained entirely from the Arizona Legislative website, for Senator Jack Harper, is as follows:

Arizona Senate
1700 W. Washington
Room 301
Phoenix, AZ 85007
Phone Number: (602) 926-4178
Fax Number: (602) 417-3154

jharper@azgov (Senate email)

jhrtp@msn.com (personal email *listed on Senate biography page)

Hope this helps.

johnathan
February 6th, 2010 | LINK

Correction: The senate email is:

jharper@azleg.gov

His Senate biography can be viewed at

http://www.azleg.gov/MembersPage.asp?Member_ID=97&Legislature=49&Session_ID=93

Donnchadh
February 6th, 2010 | LINK

Rodg, there is good evidence that Neandarthals were just as intelligent as Homo Sapiens. We can’t know for sure but comparing them to someone like this is insulting the extinct. De mortuis nils nisi bonum.

homer
February 6th, 2010 | LINK

Meanwhile, the State of Arizona is facing enormous budget cuts and the Republicans, including Harper, are cutting funding for hospices, insurance for children, and care for disabled people. And our governor is concerned that Sparklers be legalized!

Regan DuCasse
February 6th, 2010 | LINK

Considering that hetero soldiers can ALSO catch an STD, AND make the women they have sex with pregnant, didn’t he ALSO concern himself with the health status of the OTHER soldiers who WEREN’T gay?

Is this story even TRUE? Because it just seems WAY too convenient a stereotype to ring true.
We all know that people like him will make up a story to lend gravitas to the essential reason why they were all there.

But he’s forgetting, that what he’s describing isn’t exclusive to gay people, and the consequences of hetero soldiers sexual conduct are far worse because they HAVE made babies that would complicate their lives as well as that of the mothers.

I don’t care what Harper violated or didn’t, I think his story deserves serious scrutiny on it’s veracity first and foremost.

Trace
February 6th, 2010 | LINK

Isn’t this a breach of the HIPPA medical privacy act? The senator is releasing private medical information that he was privy to as a result of his job.

Eric in Oakland
February 6th, 2010 | LINK

It is very ironic that he keeps insisting that soldiers should “come together for the good of the unit and the good of the country”. The only reason that he and other homophobes are supporting DADT is that they place their prejudice before the good of the country and the military.

Troof
February 6th, 2010 | LINK

“Typical heterosexual tactic; use a single individual to represent all gay people and justify your prejudices. I’m sure this gay soldier felt the bigotry from the heterosexual soldiers and acted on them by self-destructing.”

Bingo.. Also insinuating the gay soldier gave his roommate HIV?!? Seriously?!? I hate the right wing nuts in this state!!

Edwin
February 7th, 2010 | LINK

I’ve got the Tar and Feathers. Somebody
find the Rail and we will send them to AZ. with the idea on how to use them on Harper.
So where does Harper does he think straight get AIDS?
Jesus Loves Me & I’m His Favorite!

Mortanius
February 8th, 2010 | LINK

Someone popped positive for smoking pot in the military? OMG I am totally shocked. I went in the service in 1985 and the common belief at the time was that if you didn’t smoke pot you were a nark and not to be trusted.

If smoking pot and going AWOL is a gay only thing, then there must have been 99.5% gay men in my unit and I was the only straight one apparently.

Don Craddock
February 8th, 2010 | LINK

As a former medical representative in the military there are a couple of issues that the state senator brought up in his story that concern me. When HIV results come back to commands, the identification goes to the commanding officer, executive officer, they certainly know exactly who the party is, if the last four of the social security number is given to medical, then they would have no problem whatsoever knowing exactly who it was either. That is precisely how health records are filed according to the last four of the social security numbers, usually the second to the last number being the one that is used in the filing cabinet being the locator number. I seriously doubt that the medical personnel had to come to an admin person to help find out who the last four belonged to. I find his story not credible on several levels. He has violated the privacy of the service member he identifies as gay by name for testing positive for THC, for going AWOL, for being court martialed and kicked out of the Army for that. This is all a clear violation of that ex soldiers privacy. Yes it is all a matter of public record, but without his name, you’d never know anything about it, and certainly not that he was a homosexual, or reportedly. Senator Harper needs to be reprimanded, censured, pronto, and someone should find out what other violations of privacy he may have breached while he was in a position to abuse that information, and now as well. He can not be trusted.

News bytes: your weekly news roundup | Pundit Country
February 8th, 2010 | LINK

[...] Box Turtle Bulletin: AZ Senator Jack Harper discusses the details of a gay soldier’s life (without permission) in order to advance his anti-gay agenda. [...]

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