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Story Info

Posting Date 2003-06-29 17:19:54
Author naotalba9
Title Federal Felony
Category commited a crime
Where it happend California
Age then 18
Age now 40
Gender MALE
Viewed 43
Story Length 451
Status
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(2 votes / 13 points)

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Federal Felony

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I committed a federal felony when I refused to register for the draft when I turned 18 in 1981. Just as now, federal law required all men to register when they turned 18, but I never did so. Over a period of a few years during the 1980’s, I received a few threatening letters from the Selective Service System saying that I might be prosecuted for my crime, but nothing ever happened. In 1984 I was denied the federal Pell Grant for college because I refused to answer whether I had registered for the draft. Men had to register for the draft in order to get federal financial aid. I refused to answer that question on the financial aid form not only because I couldn’t honestly say I had registered but also because I objected to the draft registration requirement to receive financial aid. Fortunately, I had other sources of financial aid, and I was able to finish my bachelor’s degree. In the end, I never suffered any punishment for this federal felony. There were a handful of draft resisters who were actually prosecuted in the 1980’s, but I haven’t heard of anyone being prosecuted in recent years.

I had multiple reasons for refusing to register for the draft. I am a pacifist and thus would refuse to engage in or support organized acts of violence like war. Secondly, I oppose the government’s assertion of its authority to take over the lives of young men with the draft. In plain terms, the draft is involuntary servitude. It is a violation of a man’s most basic rights to force him to serve in the military and to kill and die in war. I saw draft registration as the first step to resumption of the draft, and thus I felt it had to be opposed. At the time, I thought that draft registration would lead to the draft, and both would encourage the government to get the US involved in adventuristic wars because our leaders would know they could call upon the forced labor cannon fodder of draftees to fight their wars. In the ensuing decades these latter worries did not materialize, and it seems our belligerent government is happy to fight war after war with volunteer soldiers. In the tide of history, it’s impossible to say whether the non-compliance draft resisters like me actually prevented re-institution of the draft, but there still is no draft today in the US.

I didn’t publicly announce to the world that I had refused to register. I did tell family and close friends who were interested. No one that I told ever criticized my decision.


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