The tragic return of Terry ‘Col Birther’ Lakin

He is the medal-winning former Army doctor from Greeley who became a hero to “birther” conspiracy theorists like Denver radio talker Peter Boyles when he refused to deploy to Afghanistan, demanding to see his commander-in-chief’s birth certificate. Lakin didn’t get to see any birth certificate. He was court martialed, stripped of his rank, salary and pension and hauled off to Leavenworth. After six months in prison, he is coming home. His supporters are trying to organize a rally to greet him at the airport in Baltimore, where his wife and three children live. As Salon’s Justin Elliot reports, the Lakin saga is perhaps the most tragic story so far to “emerge from the birther carnival.”

In what promises to be one of the stranger political spectacles of the year, a homecoming event is planned Saturday at the Southwest Airlines baggage claim area of Baltimore Washington International Airport. The website set up to support Lakin advises potential attendees that “there are no less than about 20 hotels within a mile or so of the airport” and suggests:

All we ask you to do is bring a home-made poster that says, “Welcome Home Terry.” or “Thank You Terry” or any appropriate messages about the issue. Bring a small US flag if you have one.

We will text the coordinators when we deplane so you can all get ready to greet Terry as he descends on the escalator to baggage claim. We need a big hurray and lots of applause (of course). He may say a few words. Then we’ll get him to his luggage, to his car, and home.

Unlike the folks over at WorldNetDaily, who have been enriched by years of pumping up birtherism, Lakin’s commitment to the conspiracy both torpedoed his career and put his family in financial peril. His website notes:

Please consider making a special gift at this critical time. We have been able to provide for the family’s monthly expenses, but contributions have dropped off since the release of the proposed birth document by the Obama administration.

In addition to organizing the baggage claim rally, the Action Fund documented Lakin’s release from Leavenworth today in Kansas:

Jim and Peggy rush across the street and jump out to embrace Terry. They began visiting Terry in prison shortly after his sentencing. They have provided a room in their house for visitors and visited him two to three times a week since then. They are fast friends.

More tears and hugs. We hand Terry a netbook running Skype so he can talk to his family. The children are home waiting for his call. Pili appears on the screen with a huge smile. “Come hear kids, your dad is on the phone!” Holly, Jack, and Andrew rush over. Jack, the three year old takes over the screen making faces and laughing. Lot’s of “We love you, dad,” and “See you tomorrow!” Then a call with Terry’s parents. “Hey mom, this is your son, Terry.” “Wait, let me get your dad on the extension.”

The Colorado Independent called the Action Fund the day the president released his “long form” birth certificate.

“I’m hearing that there are some anomalies on this birth certificate,” said staffer Marco Ciavolino. “The main thing is, even if this birth certificate is legitimate, it doesn’t address the question about whether [Obama] is a natural-born citizen of the United States. This is about the Constitution. The Constitutional question has never been addressed by the courts.”

In his prison diary hosted at the Action Fund site, Lakin continued to defend the birther cause and argue its case. He also regularly lamented the way Leavenworth wasted the time and talents of its inmates.

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