Grappling with the Gray

Grappling with the Gray #23: Secret Identity?

October 31, 2022 Yonason Goldson
Grappling with the Gray
Grappling with the Gray #23: Secret Identity?
Show Notes

When you do the wrong thing for the right reason, it is still the wrong thing?

Is it possible to apply the principle of fairness so even-handedly that it leads to unfair outcomes?

Since mercy is the suspension of justice, how do we avoid sacrificing a core value when we have to choose between them?

Few things in life are black and white.  That’s why we have to learn to Grapple with the Gray.

Here is this episode's ethics challenge?

A St. Louis man who lived in Germany for three decades under a false identity was sentenced in federal court yesterday to time served and three years of supervised release.

After graduating high school in 1981, DeLeo Barner joined the military.  In 1984, he was dismissed from the military for "missing a readiness alert."

Within three weeks of returning to the home of his youth, two of Barner's friends were shot dead on the streets of his neighborhood in St. Louis.  Many others were either dead or in prison.

Wanting to rejoin the military and escape the violence of his neighborhood, Barner stole the identity of another St. Louis man and joined the army as Joel Sanders.  He was stationed in Berlin for many years until receiving a medical discharge in 1988.

For three decades, he remained in Germany working for security firms there. He built a civilian life as Joel Sanders until 2018, when his ruse was discovered. At the time of his arrest, Barner had a German girlfriend and eight children, six of whom still reside in Berlin. He pled guilty to one count of fraud and was sentenced to time served, but the terms of his release prevent him from returning to his home in Germany and to his family, including his 13 year old daughter.

Granted that he had been actively engaged in the crime of fraud for three decades, should the law take into account specific conditions of essentially victimless crimes committed in the distant past, or does the integrity of the legal system require accountability from offenders regardless of collateral damage?

Meet this week’s panelists:

Nick Gallo, aka the Ethics Evangelist, is CEO of Compliance Line, as well as creator and host of The Ethics Experts podcast.

Kimi Hirotsu Ziemski is Founder of KSP Partnership, providing project management and project leadership courses and workshops to improve team dynamics and communications.

Annette Simmons is a speaker, trainer, consultant, and author of The Story Factor -- named one of the 100 Best Business Books of All Time.