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Teen Jailed for Burning U.S. Flag

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posted on Jul, 15 2005 @ 09:02 PM
Don't think the first amendment gives you the right to burn the flag. As long as we practice Federalism in this country the sates have something to say to the US Supreme Court which in this case is a nice big ol’ finger.

While the case could test a state statute against flag burning — an act the Supreme Court says is protected under the First Amendment — prosecutors said Andrew Elisha Staley has yet to argue that he was exercising free speech rights.

The teenager was released from jail Thursday on his own recognizance while he awaits his Aug. 2 trial on charges of desecrating a venerated object, underage drinking, littering, evading arrest, burning personal property and theft.
The Tennessee flag-burning statute makes the crime a misdemeanor, punishable by less than a year in jail and up to $2,500 fine.

Yahoo AP

[edit on 15-7-2005 by WestPoint23]

posted on Jul, 15 2005 @ 09:29 PM
I can understand why this would tick authorities off. It bothers me a bit too, however, as much as I'm against it, I feel that if someone wants to burn the flag, then they should be able to do disrespectful and rude as it is.

posted on Jul, 15 2005 @ 10:30 PM
US Flag Code

(k) The flag, when it is in such condition that it is no longer a fitting emblem for display, should be destroyed in a dignified way, preferably by burning.

I assume this doesn't apply to someone burning a flag in protest, but I think it's kind of funny that burning the flag is considered a dignified means of destruction.

posted on Jul, 15 2005 @ 10:47 PM
That's the proper way to dispose of the flag its piled up or folded up I’m not sure and burned in a controlled enlivenment. Its much different than someone putting gasoline on it or lighting it up and waving it around or stepping on it.

posted on Jul, 15 2005 @ 10:53 PM
This is a good find WestPoint.

It shows that states still matter. I believe states are what should matter most when it comes to things that don't, IMO, neglect the US Constitution.

I think Tennessee has every right to do what she is doing concerning flag burning as long as it isn't made a felony which IMO would be stretching it to far based on the freedom of speech precedent because felonies go across state borders and small crimes don't. In other words a felony in one state will cross over to other states where a county jail offence usually wont.

If people dont agree with the State Government of Tennessee they should move to a different state that is in line more with their personal beliefs. I dont feel that a state making it a crime to burn the American flag is in violation of the 1st Amendment or Federal law based on the states rights vs. Federal law as long as it isn't a major offence that will follow the person across state borders within the United States.

posted on Jul, 15 2005 @ 11:29 PM
I have never opposed the Supreme Court in this matter, except to the extent that it trampled the rights of the States. I don't support an amendment to protect the flag, because what we really need is an amendment to protect the Bill of Rights. "The Flag" is kind of a slippery concept and like the Koran, there is no one flag. In order for me to burn "The Flag," I either have to steal one, as this boy did or buy one, in which case "That Flag" belongs to me.

Clearly, if I steal a flag, I have committed a crime regardless of what I do with it. If I buy a flag, who's to say what I can or cannot do with it. In this case, I would say that States and municipalities have jurisdiction in this matter and can and should make illegal the public desecration of the flag, but that decision should not be made at the Federal level or be included in the Constitution.

What of those who make their own flag? What if that flag has fourteen stripes or 51 stars? Would that be a crime? What about those who leave a flag out in the rain or on a flag pole until it is nothing but ribbons? Are they guilty of a crime?

Congress has never seen fit to pass any law regarding the treatment of "The Flag." It should not begin now. But, there should not, likewise, be any Federal law that prevents any state or municipality from having such a law.

[edit on 2005/7/15 by GradyPhilpott]

posted on Jul, 15 2005 @ 11:36 PM
The Constitution is the venerated object, the flag is a symbol for it. There is no United States without a Constitution. Amen.

posted on Jul, 15 2005 @ 11:38 PM
I'm glade the punk got arrested, Hating your country and disrespecting your country are too different things.

posted on Jul, 15 2005 @ 11:47 PM
If someone has strong feelings against the flag, it still doesn't make him bad citizen, maybe it is an act of patriotism - overreaction, though.
It makes the guy at least thinking about the flag.
Most of other people doesn't.

posted on Jul, 15 2005 @ 11:51 PM
Yes, but that would be like shooting the middle finger to every American who died protecting that flag. If they have Strong feelings there are other actions they can take besides burning it.

posted on Jul, 15 2005 @ 11:53 PM
It seems I am mistaken. From the simple fact this was posted here I thought The kid burned a flag that belonged to him.

GP you say the boy took the flag. I should read more mainly the link.

That IS a crime that should be punished under state law. Hence there should not even be a debate. If you steal then you should go to jail, on the state, county, or city level. Wrong is wrong. Sorry for the skimming. I do think the state in question should be the deciding factor.

However if the kid did burn his own flag it should STILL be a states' right to decide punishment if any based on the feelings of the people in the state in question.

posted on Jul, 15 2005 @ 11:56 PM
To dispose of a flag, you separate the blue field from the stripes, and then you burn the two pieces together.

As far as the 1st Amendment is concerned, it protects your right to speech. If you're too stupid to say what it is you have to say, rather than lighting up the flag, you need to stop lighting up the pipe! Maybe then you can speak.

posted on Jul, 16 2005 @ 12:03 AM
Burning a worn flag is a sign of respect. Burning a flag on Main Street is a sign of disrespect. Burning a flag might be a form of protected speech and in fact, if someone wants to get his friends together and burn a flag in his back yard, I don't know why that would be a crime, as long as he obeys local laws regarding burning, but if he does such an act on public property or in public view, then I think that local jurisdictions should be able to control that in the same way that they might decide that no matter what you are trying to convey, you have to keep your clothes on if you are conveying that message in public. I believe that a community has the right to say to the public, "Think what you will, but here you will treat the flag with respect or not at all."

So, I am not against local laws to prevent flag desecration, but I do oppose a change in the Constitution or Federal laws, because they are unnecessary and there is no precedent for such, to my knowledge.

[edit on 2005/7/16 by GradyPhilpott]

posted on Jul, 16 2005 @ 10:07 AM
I suppose what you Americans contrive in respect to your own flags and symbols is your own affair.

But, I can't help thinking this current vogue for elevating symbolism to the point where it is seriously being debated that 'burning the flag' is worthy of a incarceration is just nuts.

It's kind of ironic that some of those here who say they can't abide the idea of a 'hate crime' or 'incitement' are only too happy to have a similar set of law on such a weak impersonal 'attack' as on the object of 'the flag'.

posted on Jul, 16 2005 @ 11:25 AM

Originally posted by sminkeypinkey
But, I can't help thinking this current vogue for elevating symbolism to the point where it is seriously being debated that 'burning the flag' is worthy of a incarceration is just nuts.

Hear! Hear!

I am dumbfounded at what passes for 'patriotism' today and how showing patriotism (waving the flag, magnetized vinyl ribbons) seems to have become more important than the actual feeling of love and pride for one's country.

I am astonished that the symbol means so much that destroying it (in whatever manner) is a crime. It's a physical symbol. Am I going to be arrested for not saluting the flag next?

I have no desire to burn a flag, I think it's juvenile and stupid, but making a law against it is an invasion of expression (I agree it's not about speech). I mean, how big is this problem that we have to have a law about it? Most US flag-burnings are in other countries, anyway.

If this kid stole the flag, he needs to face the legal consequences for theft. But I hate the idea that he's getting so much attention for this. If people ignored him, he'd have to go find something else to tick people off...

I have started a thread on Patriotism and what it really means here:
If anyone is interested or would like to contribute, I'd love to have your thoughts.
I thought it was the most appropriate spot.

[edit on 16-7-2005 by Benevolent Heretic]

posted on Jul, 16 2005 @ 12:48 PM
My very humble opinion...

The kid should be charged, and if guilty, convicted of those crimes...with the exception of burning that flag.

Sorry, but unless it was someone else's property, he should be free to do whatever the flying heck he wants to his own property, as long as it's not endangering anyone else.

There shouldn't be any such animal as a "flag burning statute".

My fear is if we start to hold a material object higher than the rights of a citizen, we're going to fall down a very slippery slope.

posted on Jul, 21 2005 @ 02:26 PM

Very succintly put my friend.

This case and the reactions of the posters above is just another example of the descent into mindlessness of the so-called country that flag denotes.



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