Terry Lakin

Lt. Col. Ter­rence (“Ter­ry”) Lakin

Lain leaving courthouseDr. Ter­rence (“Ter­ry”) Lakin — then a US Army Lt. Col. Mil­i­tary Doc­tor — appeared on the scene in March of 2010 with a slick site (SafeguardOurConstitution.com, reg­is­tered March 23, 2010) and a claim that he planned to refuse deploy­ment or all mil­i­tary orders unless Oba­ma proved his eli­gi­bil­i­ty to be Com­man­der-in-Chief. 

Over the com­ing months he and var­i­ous spokesper­sons stat­ed repeat­ed­ly that the ‘Long Form Birth Cer­tifi­cate’ would be enough to  ‘make this whole thing go away.’ (The already-released COLB was not con­sid­ered suf­fi­cient because it was: sim­ply a ‘digest’ pro­vid­ing insuf­fi­cient infor­ma­tion to serve as a legal birth cer­tifi­cate [false]; ‘just an image on the inter­net’ [false]; ‘any­body could get one of those’ even if not Hawaii-born [false]; and a LFBC was read­i­ly avail­able for a small fee [false].) All this despite the fact that his own birth cer­tifi­cate, which he proud­ly offered as being avail­able for inspec­tion, was a Col­orado COLB sim­i­lar to Hawai­i’s, with­out doc­tor or hos­pi­tal name. Lak­in’s par­ents have gone on record as being Oba­ma sup­port­ers (pay­wall).

Of course the dis­cus­sion of birth cer­tifi­cates is a red her­ring any­way. As the dra­ma unfold­ed, it became clear that mil­i­tary jus­tice views the Offi­cer Oath quite dif­fer­ent­ly than ‘birthers’ do — not as a tool for under­min­ing the Con­sti­tu­tion, but rather as inte­gral to dis­ci­pline and order in the great­est fight­ing force on Earth. Lak­in’s com­mand to report for deploy­ment was not ille­gal on its face, and would not have been even if it were known that Oba­ma was ille­git­i­mate — or even if there were no act­ing Com­man­der in Chief what­so­ev­er at that moment. Ulti­mate­ly all argu­ments relat­ed to Pres­i­den­tial eli­gi­bil­i­ty were barred from tes­ti­mo­ny on Con­sti­tu­tion­al grounds, and in the end Lakin plead­ed guilty and admit­ted his crimes.

Lak­in’s ini­tial spokesper­son was Mar­garet Hemen­way, birther writer and daugh­ter-in-law of birther attor­ney John D. Hemen­way. Lakin was first rep­re­sent­ed by Paul Rolf Jensen, and they appeared on CNN togeth­er. Through the Safe­guard site Jensen and oth­er indi­vid­u­als back­ing Lakin — even before he missed his deploy­ment and was charged under UCMJ — were try­ing to raise as much as $500,000 for his ‘defense.’ It is unknown how close they came to that goal.

Part­way through court mar­tial pro­ceed­ings, Lakin sep­a­rat­ed from Jensen and got a real mil­i­tary law attor­ney (Puck­ett) in an attempt to escape severe pun­ish­ment. It did­n’t work. 

Lak­in’s court mar­tial con­clud­ed in Decem­ber of 2010, with a sen­tence of six months’ con­fine­ment, loss of pay and pen­sion, and dis­missal from ser­vice. He was released in May 2011 after serv­ing five months of his sen­tence. 

He remained in the mil­i­tary for a short time pend­ing the appeal to which he was auto­mat­i­cal­ly enti­tled under the UCMJ, and was not paid, pro­mot­ed, or assigned dur­ing that peri­od. He ulti­mate­ly chose to with­draw the appeal, and was for­mal­ly dis­missed in Novem­ber of 2011, and has lost the right to be called by his for­mer rank as a result.

Over the months of his dra­ma, the ‘birthers’ reached pin­na­cles of eupho­ria, sure that the chal­lenge of a dec­o­rat­ed offi­cer would com­pel dis­cov­ery of Oba­ma’s his­to­ry, which Oba­ma would fail at, result­ing in his down­fall and nul­li­fi­ca­tion of the 2008 elec­tion. Their dis­ap­point­ment was fore­or­dained, not by con­spir­a­cy, but by truth, and the law.

Lak­in’s is by some accounts a trag­ic tale. We may nev­er know to what extent he was coaxed by oth­ers who sought a ‘mil­i­tary’ plain­tiff with ‘stand­ing’ in order to bet­ter attack Oba­ma’s Pres­i­den­cy in the courts; and to what extent he was a fool act­ing on his own delu­sions. As far as we know his wife and chil­dren are the true vic­tims, as he threw away his pen­sion and an hon­or­able career on a mis­guid­ed attach­ment to the lies of strangers. As of this writ­ing (2012) there remain scat­tered links around birther web sites invit­ing con­tri­bu­tions to his cause; though it is prac­ti­cal­ly cer­tain that oth­ers, like World Net Dai­ly, prof­it­ed from his saga, even while Lakin him­self fell into obscu­ri­ty.

Thanks to Bad­Fic­tion for much of the above, and to Maine Skep­tic for use­ful edits.

Falsehoods Unchallenged Only Fester and Grow