Why is Ex-Marine Brandon J. Raub Being Held in a Psych Ward and What Does It Say About Today's America?


Brandon J. Raub is a 26-year-old former Marine who was arrested and ordered to stay in a psychiatric ward for a month. The precipitating factor for his commitment appears to be writings on a Facebook page, but his lawyers say no charges have yet been filed against him.

As RT explains it:

A video of his detention emerged online, triggering outrage online, including among American citizens and human rights activists.

"For government officials to not only arrest Brandon Raub for doing nothing more than exercising his First Amendment rights [to freedom of speech], but to actually force him to undergo psychological evaluations and detain him against his will goes against every constitutional principle this country was founded upon," said John Whitehead, executive director of the Rutherford Institute, a civil liberties group that has come to the Raub's defense.

The statement on the veteran's situation posted on the Rutherford Institute website points out that Brandon Raub is no different from the majority of Americans "who use their private Facebook pages to post a variety of content, ranging from song lyrics and political hyperbole to trash-talking their neighbors, friends and government leaders."

Here's the video of the arrest, which, according to the site Pixiq, was made by FBI, Secret Service, and Chesterfield County (Virginia) police:

One of Raub's two Facebook pages is filled with 9/11 conspiracy posts and violent imagery. Some of that imagery of consists of perceived threats against Raub ("The Revolution will come for me. Men will be at my door soon to pick me up to lead it. ;)") and some made by him ("Sharpen up my axe; I'm here to sever heads.").

Either way, the Rutherford Institute—best known for representing Paula Jones in her sexual harassment charges case against Bill Clinton—focuses on the lack of charges against Raub. As Jacob Sullum noted in the wake of the shooting of Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, involuntary commitment still exists, though it requires a court order to keep someone locked up against his will for more than 72 hours (at his former job, at the Daily Caller, Mike Riggs detailed some cases of involuntary commitment that are worth reading).

Based on a quick look at his Facebook page, Raub has more than a few screws loose. But that should hardly be the basis for getting rounded up and chucked into prison or the booby hatch. In the wake of the 9/11 attacks and random mass shootings, it seems easier than ever to just that, which isn't right.

Here's more from the Rutherford Institute.