[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; if you have tips, please send them here. Or by Twitter @AaronWorthing.]
I meant to mention this the other day, but besides the time crunch there was the natural aversion borne from the fact that, wow, so many people are getting so much wrong in all of this it makes my head hurt.
So let’s dig in, shall we? Remember that night when all of us were celebrating the death of bin Laden? Well on that same night someone went to LSU’s war memorial, removed the American flag that flew there, and burned it:
The American flag that flew on the pole over the LSU War Memorial was cut down and burned early Monday morning, LSU Police Department and witnesses report.
The burning occurred only hours after President Barack Obama announced Sunday night al Qaida leader Osama bin Laden’s death in combat.
Cpt. William Conger, University military science associate professor, said he and three ROTC students discovered the charred remains of the flag at 5:45 a.m. during physical training. They later retired the flag.
The Louisiana and University flags were also cut down, Conger said. The state flag was left unscathed, but the University flag is currently missing, Conger said.
Now this flag burning is obviously an expressive act, but it was likewise illegal. I mean the constitution protects your right to burn your own flag, not to steal someone else’s and vandalize it. The good news is that we then caught the (alleged) bastard who (allegedly) did this:
A 23-year-old student accused of cutting down and burning a U.S. flag at the Louisiana State University War Memorial turned himself Thursday, LSU police said.
Isaac Eslava, who has dual U.S. and Colombian citizenship, showed up with his attorney and was booked with charges including felony criminal damage to property and arson, Sgt. Blake Tabor said.
He said Eslava was then taken to the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison.
Tabor said he did not know the attorney’s name.
LSU police said a university flag taken from the same pole, a piece of Eslava’s clothing, drug paraphernalia and red and black spray paint were found in a stolen car, and red and black graffiti was sprayed early Monday on apartments north of campus.
The incident occured hours after the first word that a U.S. Navy SEAL team had killed Osama bin Laden, but there’s no indication the two were related.
Don’t you love our media? On the same night we kill bin Laden a man steals and burns an American flag and no one can guess the motive. A Yemeni charges the cockpit of a plane, banging against the door in an attempt to break in, while shouting “Allahu Akbar!” and the media will say, Gosh, we don’t know what might have motivated that… But on the other hand a communist truther shoots a Democratic Representative, and everyone is sure within hours that the killer was motivated by a map with bull’s eyes created by Sarah Palin.
Look, I don’t mind if the media waits until the facts are in before they speculate. I just wish they did that consistently.
As if this wasn’t dumb and infuriating enough, then a second man named Benjamin Haas announced that he was going to burn a flag in protest of Eslava’s arrest. Yes, really:
Benjamin Haas, a communications studies graduate student, says he’s burning the flag in support of Isaac Eslava.
Time to deploy the…
So he planned to burn one on Wednesday, but then he couldn’t get a permit for some reason (hopefully not based on the nature of his speech) so he showed up to deliver a written statement. Here’s the prepared remarks he wrote, with me breaking in to fisk him some:
Funny Facebook said that there were only going to be 64 of you. I initially began this flag burning protest to define due process for students…
In what exact way is that student’s due process rights being violated?
and suspected terrorists alike…
Aw, sounds like someone is sad poor whiddle Osama was killed…
to call on LSU and universities across the country to defend basic human rights and avoid putting students into the criminal justice system when it can be taken care of internally.
Right, because when a crime is committed on campus, it should be treated differently than other crimes.
Solidarity means standing with those who are treated as guilty until proven innocent, instead of the other way around. That’s what freedom is, standing with those who express their constitutional rights in ways that may be unpopular,
He isn’t in jail because his views were unpopular. He is in jail because he allegedly stole and destroyed someone else’s property.
especially the accused and the marginalized no matter the consequences.
In the name of peace, there will be no flag burning today.
No, you aren’t burning it because you don’t have a permit and this is just after-the-fact spin:
This country and the flag that flies over it stands for freedom, democracy, love, peace and the ability to question our government.
Anyway, so this idiot wanted to read off this stupid statement, but instead this happened:
A mob of angry protesters chased a would-be flag burner at Louisiana State University (LSU) off campus Wednesday to chants of “USA, USA.”
Graduate communications student Benjamin Haas had earlier been given permission by the school to burn the flag.
He’s a grad student in communications. Why am I not surprised?
But because he lacked a local burn permit, he agreed instead to read a statement in an area of the university known as free speech alley.
As Haas read the statement, a crowd around him erupted into cheers and jeers, many shouting “Go to hell, hippie, go to hell.”
“You had a lot of people on both sides of the debate getting into a lot of fights,” said James Haralson, manager of Tiger TV, the university television station. “The students started yelling obscenities at him. People started throwing bottles at him.”
Other versions I have seen also said they threw water balloons at him, suggesting perhaps they thought he was going to try to light a flag and were trying to douse it.
Now part of me admittedly smiles at the fact that these college students love this country enough to feel this strongly. And they are rejecting hippies! Frank J. Flemming would surely approve. But as much of a completely idiotic douche as Haas is, that is the wrong response. Standing around him and shouting at him? Fine. But throwing things, even relatively harmless water balloons, is wrong. Let him feel your spittle as you shout at him, but nothing more.
And direct your patriotism in a more appropriate way, too.
[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]