Suspected flag burner pilloried

Again, I really must ask those supporting punishment for flag burning–how do you reconcile free speech with your views? Does the right to free speech end where the flag is concerned? If so, what standard do we use for determining what things are too important to allow people to demonstrate freely about?

If free speech survives where flags are involved, then how is burning a flag anything worse than the potential destruction of property (assuming it is another’s flag)?

The U.S. Supreme Court has been analyzing free speech as we know it for nearly a century, and has declared flag burning to be a constitutionally protected form of free speech. If any of you has an argument why this is not so, let’s hear it. Or if you think the constitution is bunk, well, I wonder what it is about the flag that you care for so dearly. If we don’t have freedom in this country, what is there that is worth defending?

As a former service member, I’m as disgusted by the idea of someone burning the flag as anyone. But as a citizen, I understand and recognize the importance of allowing such despicable activity.

How do you reconcile that the discussion is based on a flag burner STEALING the flag they burned? No one hear has called for laws to be changed against flag burning, merely expressing their distaste for it.

If you support the law allowing flag burning, then you cannot support punishment of legally protected behavior. What if similar punishment were done by a very pro-choice town to a abortion protester? There is no free speech if someone is punished (or flogged, even, as suggested by posters on this thread) for exercising that right.

Of course, anyone who steals ought to be punished. But undoubtedly the nature of the punishment (and of this discussion) has nothing to do with the nature of his violation of the law, and everything to do with the violation of your concept of decency.

Think about what burning a flag means.

It means that you disdain and wish to destroy everything about what that flag stands for.

A person who burns an American flag says I hate life, liberty, justice for all. I hate the men and women who were tortured, suffered, sacrificed and died for this much envied freedom we take for granted in this country. A person would have to have something wrong with them to do such a thing.

A person who makes a formal protest against a policy of the country they don’t like and burns the flag should be able to do so without being incarcerated. But the rest of us have a right to disdain and protest the person doing so.

Were the tea party people to burn Obama in effigy, they would be much maligned, and rightfully so. Burning the flag is burning our heroes in effigy, and is far worse, since O is
doing in actuality what flag burners do symbolically.

This incident is not the same thing, and has nothing to do with freee speech rights. Why can’t you see that?

So we have a non-veteran who burns a flag at a veteran’s facility, and it’s no big deal—free speech.

Suppose we had a non-black who burned a flag at an NAACP meeting? Oh, that’s a hate crime.

See the double standard here?

Burning some one else’s flag, was a low level crime, imprisioning and taking the law into your own hands, also a crime. Crime victims have no police powers to threaten or inprison. Sounds like no one was thinking and appears to be just a town of angry people?:shrug:

It was a big deal-he destpryed th poperty of others-which is a crime regardless of what the propertry is. The problem is the vigilante justice they dished out.

Lets say for example that i threw red paint on an abortion clinic. Would you aprrove of it if the owner tied me to a post in front of the clinic with a sign around my neck saying"every women should have a right to an abortion" What is they had given me this choice instead of calling the police or fighing one of their employees-would that make it right?

Well, it seems we are in agreement, but we are both in disagreement with many on this thread who suggest that those who burn flags suffer “harsh, embarassing punishment” or be flogged or put in stocks.

Frankly, when people burn flags here, it is unpleasant but it also is greatly reassuring to see we still live in a country where this is legal. The reason I posted on this thread to begin with is that much of the talk here disturbs me much more than a fellow burning a flag. Many of you wish to root out free speech. Indeed, were we to lose our liberties, it would be by those like you who wish to prevent people from being subversive and disrespectful, not from someone burning some icon of ideals which could never be tarnished by flames.

It was a big deal-he destroyed the property of others-which is a crime regardless of what the property is. The problem is the vigilante justice they dished out.

Lets say for example that i threw red paint on an abortion clinic. Would you approve of it if the owner tied me to a post in front of the clinic with a sign around my neck saying"every women should have a right to an abortion" What is they had given me this choice instead of calling the police or fighting one of their employees-would that make it right?

Well put,


So if I wish to protest against an abortion doctor, then by your reasoning I have every reason to break into his/her place of business in order to protest.

You don’t seem to get it: if this kid burned a flag HE owned, then we wouldn’t be having this discussion. When you break the law like he has, then there is no free speach involved, merely distruction of someone elses property.

Tell me: if you had a flag flying on your front porch, you would have no problem with me coming and taking it off your porch and burning it in the street in front of your house?

I fully agree with you—I was merely playing devil’s advocate.

More wisdom and good sense has been imparted to me by a swift smack on the butt, than by lectures, pleas to conscience, and rationale discussion.

Abortion protest is not a good analogy. People are actually being murdered in a place like that. Breaking and entering in an attempt to stop it, while futile, would not be immoral.
If I thought it would help, I would do it myself. Unfortunately, it would energize them and cause more aggressive killing. These people are proud of what they do.

Flag burners are too. Criminal minds have no conscience.

I am not against flogging or putting flag burners in stocks. I wouldn’t do it myself. I would look the other way. I just don’t think they should go to jail. What for? It would just energize them and give them rationalization for what they do. Same diff.

You people who keep saying these angry men were immoral to do what they did are just plain wrong.

Estesbob, this will be added to the VERY short list (could count on one hand) of things I disagree with you on. I see no vigilante justice since the kid was given the option of being turned over to the police.

If you decide you would whether degrade yourself buy wearing a pro-abortion sign in your scenario vs being turned over to the police, then that would be your problem b/c you chose it versus other reasonable options. Not trying to be rude or flippant, so please do not take it that way.

Whre does the law give citizens the right to give alleged lawbreakers a choice of their punishment?

BTW, I dont diagree with you very often either!

How many times do we see homeowners telling teens pulling pranks (toilet paper the yard, egg the house, etc) that they give them the opinion to clean it up or have the police called? This is taking the law into their own hands.

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