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NEWS: Tennessee Teen Jailed for Burning U.S. Flag

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posted on Jul, 15 2005 @ 09:23 PM
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A Tennessee teenager is facing a criminal trial for burning the American flag. Andrew Elisha Staley was jailed 9 days after he was accused of burning the flag on July 4th. His mother indicates he has never been in trouble before and was drunk at the time. The state law makes the crime a misdemeanor.
 



news.yahoo.com
MARYVILLE, Tenn. - A teenager was jailed for nine days after being accused of burning an American flag on the Fourth of July, and he faces trial next month.

While the case could test a state statute against flag burning — an act the U.S. 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.

"Bottom line is, the kid got drunk," said Lisa Lee, his mother. "He's never been in trouble before."


Please visit the link provided for the complete story.


This is yet another one of those sticky free speech issues. Who knows if he was making a political statement or was just drunk and bored as his family asserts? If the burning of the flag a free speech issue? As much as I hate to say this, it does fall under free speech provisions. There is such a visceral reaction she I see the flag burned in protest, but after that I settle down and realize that free speech is a cornerstone of our country.




posted on Jul, 15 2005 @ 09:37 PM
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The state law makes the crime a misdemeanor


What State law? The question is important because he could be tried on a completely different ideal.....i.e. destruction of personal property, or reckless endangerment. That would make this not a free speech issue, but still result in a media exaggeration due to the specificity that it was, indeed, a flag.

If he is being charged on burning a flag straight up and proper like, then WTH? Granted, this is one of those issues that is meat and potatoes in the long-term, imo, because a flag is just a flag, but the free speech implications are important......

....I for one don't agree with the idea of forcing a patriotism that means something different for everyone.......in some cases, America as a symbol and a nation doesn't deserve the respect it expects and I don't want a future where my good nature is called into question due to my sometimes vehement distaste for what some americans have accomplished in the name of god and country...........

Context is everything and we have a lot of issues that are being purveyed as open/shut, black/white............that, imo, is unacceptable.



posted on Jul, 16 2005 @ 01:40 AM
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Fred did you or WestPoint post this first? I've been posting my opinions to WestPoints.



posted on Jul, 16 2005 @ 01:58 AM
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Burning the flag is not free speach! This is your country and disrespecting it is not your option! You either put up or shut up!

A flag is more than a mere peice of cloth, it symbol of all that we all hold true, if you disrespet the flag you not only disprespect others but also your self and your cause, you disrespect the freedom that you are granted. The life you have been allowed to live and the thousands of people who have died to make sure your country is what it is today.
i think legislation must be passed to hang anybody who disrespects the US flag in the USA . We need to put the fear of the devil in people, flag burning is not fashionable nor does it show that your cause is worthy, it is deeply reprehensible and shows that any cause that you are fighting for is a desperate act.
I think people need to be hanged not jailed, jail is too easy.



posted on Jul, 16 2005 @ 02:00 AM
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Originally posted by TexasConspiracyNut
Fred did you or WestPoint post this first? I've been posting my opinions to WestPoints.


I did not see it on ATSNN so I posted it up. I will check it out.
Edit: No other ATSNN article I could find on this story. ATS and ATSNN can have parallel threads.

MemoryShock

The state in question has a law on the books making this a criminal act. However even the prosecutors in the article state it will be bucked up to the SC if he gets convicted.

[edit on 7/16/05 by FredT]



posted on Jul, 16 2005 @ 02:06 AM
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IAF
That's your opinion.

In my opinion, an American flag is a symbol for something long gone, created in Korea, shipped to America and sold to Americans for the purpose of reinforcing words and ideals that have completely lost their meaning in modern society. Freedom? Liberty? Justice?

If he burned someone else's flag, that's destruction of property.

If he burned his neighbors house down with a flaming flag, that's arson and a host of other charges like reckless endangerment.

If he burned a flag because he was too drunk and stupid to do anything else with his time, he's not a criminal, he's just drunk and stupid, which is much, much worse than being a criminal.

The things that pass for crimes in some places...



posted on Jul, 16 2005 @ 02:09 AM
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A flag is just a piece of cloth. It's not like he's damaging someone else's property. Go out buy a $100 US flag from Home depot, burn it and see the green go with it.

God would only know what would have happened if he dragged it through the mud white it was raining, or
- patched a small USA flag onto his underwear
- patched it onto his bathing suit
- taking the flag out of US jurisdiction or to another state
- getting it dirty
- letting it wear and tear due to weather conditions in the long run
- using it inappropriately
- being accused of a terrorist for having one in the first place
- taking it to a strip club
- using it as a bath robe

and the list goes on. The courts have too much time on their hands these days, especially when you have serial killers/rapists roaming the streets but thats not important, because some kid decided to burn a flag.

The cops instead of eating donuts and hanging out at the coffee shop are now going after and assaulting drunk teens for damaging their own property. Yes I said once you buy a flag, its your property as the flag was paid for by the citizen or tourist.

pathetic what the security in the states is doing these days. While police have their undivided attention on this particular incident someone else is being shot and killed.

Good to know that american tax money is being spent on the correct resources. Go after troubled teens that own a US flag.



posted on Jul, 16 2005 @ 02:14 AM
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in regards to burning the flag.. if you own something you can do what ever you want to it.. if it is someone elses then it is destruction of private property.. instead of burning the flag it may have been a better idea to burn the administration at the stake for going to war on a contrived terrorist act. what wmd's ???



posted on Jul, 16 2005 @ 02:23 AM
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i know it sounds stupid..but i dont support burning the flag BUT i would defend TO THE DEATH someones right to burn the flag. our country was founded on the fact that if you dont like it you should be able to say it. whether you say it by burning the flag or writing a declaration of independence is on you. now if its not your property you should be criminally charged for destroying someone elses property. but if its your flag and you feel like burning it I say burn away. I dont think you should but if you think it should be burnt.. GO FOR IT. We should be able to burn flags if we want... Just like we should be able to buy guns if we want. this all goes straight to the constitution. our forefathers wrote it in the mindset to prepare for the next revolution. if you think its time for that next revolution burn away my friends because in the end, its your RIGHT to speak out, whether by burning the flag or waving it high, Its YOUR choice.



posted on Jul, 16 2005 @ 02:25 AM
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Originally posted by BluDobermann
i know it sounds stupid..but i dont support burning the flag BUT i would defend TO THE DEATH someones right to burn the flag. our country was founded on the fact that if you dont like it you should be able to say it.


THat does not sound stupid at all and is the crux of my dilemma. I am patriotic as the next man, but is this act worthy of taking away the First Ammendment right to do this? I know it has been tested by the Surpreme Court, but does anybody know when? How would a more conservative court rule on it?



posted on Jul, 16 2005 @ 02:52 AM
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Thats jsut crazy, the Flag is NOT a toy or a car or a cloth, it is a symbol of your identity, it is what represents your country.
It is a symbol of America, and if people say that this country was formed so that people can say what they want well, thats not what is was formed for. It was formed to be able to live in pride and be free from colonial rule, not so we can burn our flag.
If we were in a state of emergency like in war, flag burning would be treason, i think it should be still so.
Just because you paid for it doesnt mean it is your! You merely have paid for the privelege of having it, and it is your duty to respect and care for it always especially if you are an American citizen.
Obviously most americans wont understand as they have never lived outside america, they dont understand the comfort of seeing your flag not do they understadn that this attitude of "free speach" is what gives free speach a bad name!
If our the US has come to such a state that its people no longer feel the need to hold on to their country then it is a sad time truly!



posted on Jul, 16 2005 @ 02:57 AM
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He was under the influence, so in a differant way, he didnt really burn it. He should get alchohol treatment instead of this mess.



posted on Jul, 16 2005 @ 03:10 AM
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Originally posted by IAF101
Thats jsut crazy, the Flag is NOT a toy or a car or a cloth, it is a symbol of your identity, it is what represents your country.
It is a symbol of America, and if people say that this country was formed so that people can say what they want well, thats not what is was formed for. It was formed to be able to live in pride and be free from colonial rule, not so we can burn our flag.
If we were in a state of emergency like in war, flag burning would be treason, i think it should be still so.
Just because you paid for it doesnt mean it is your! You merely have paid for the privelege of having it, and it is your duty to respect and care for it always especially if you are an American citizen.
Obviously most americans wont understand as they have never lived outside america, they dont understand the comfort of seeing your flag not do they understad that this attitude of "free speach" is what gives free speach a bad name!
If our the US has come to such a state that its people no longer feel the need to hold on to their country then it is a sad time truly!


What originally represented our country is lost within the scrutiny and greed of man, no more American dream. If someone was to burn the flag that would show who he is and that he doesn't applaud the fact that what made up our country is fading away. And where's the pride in that? I'm not saying that I hate America but the people is what it is, its what makes it up, the obsessive consuming and wasteful acts, government lies.

Sure, if there were Terrorists everywhere in the open and it was like Iraq than I would accept the fact that flag burning would be treason, because in this drastic situation it wouldn't symbolize what America stands for, it would symbolizes what people think it stands for, and that's why someone would burn the flag, because they thought it stood for something lost and now turned dire. And, free speach can name itself based off of the oppinions of others. If someone wanted to burn the flag, than people should be able to think what they want of him, weather they agree or not. The US government dousnt want people burning flags out of control, because it represents the downfall and long term revolution of a contry. Its allways going to happen though, and no one can stop it.

But I think your right; we don't know how lucky we are compared.


[edit on 16-7-2005 by The Surrealist]



posted on Jul, 16 2005 @ 04:48 AM
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Originally posted by IAF101
Obviously most americans wont understand as they have never lived outside america, they dont understand the comfort of seeing your flag not do they understadn that this attitude of "free speach" is what gives free speach a bad name!
If our the US has come to such a state that its people no longer feel the need to hold on to their country then it is a sad time truly!


I lived outside America for most of my life, and every time I saw my flag hanging outside the consulate, embassy, or on the US military base of whatever country I happened to be in at the time, I felt a lot of pride and comfort upon seeing it. I, for one, would never burn a US flag, because I think there are better, more productive and less offensive ways of expressing your discontent with the country.

I agree that free speech should be used responsibly, and I think flag-burners do give free speech a bad name... but, at the end of the day, a symbol is just a symbol. It's something that stands for something else... and it's that something else that I cherish (America and the ideals for which it stands)... NOT the piece of cloth that actually constitutes the symbol. I think it's stupid, yes, but at the end of the day I just can't get worked up over symbols. It's the reality that counts.

-koji K.



posted on Jul, 16 2005 @ 04:51 AM
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Me and my greater family also burned a flag on July 4th. It was torn and tattered, so we retired it the traditional respectful way. We also would do this with a Texas flag (the only flag that can fly at equal height to the American flag).
Should we lose this right to show respect?

If we are truly free, even disrespect should be legal. It has to do with the persons opinion of the county. Are they not allowed to have and express that opinion? Our forefathers would be rotating at a very fast pace in their graves.

People who burn flags as protest see it as symbolism, as the way an upside-down flag means distress. To me they are embracing the American spirit and making their voices heard when they disagree with something, even if I often don't agree with them. The flag is a powerful symbol, and maybe they feel they have a powerful message to get across.

This country needs a lot more tolerance and a lot less whiners. If someone is doing something that offends, and doesn't hurt you, be glad you live in a country where this is possible (where applicable). A lot of the things every one of us does is going to offend someone out there.

GOD BLESS AMERICA!



posted on Jul, 16 2005 @ 05:16 AM
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Burning a flag for any reason shouldn't be against the law IMO. I was taught long ago that the proper way to dispose of a torn or damaged US flag was to burn it. I'm not sure what people do nowadays.



posted on Jul, 16 2005 @ 05:24 AM
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the freedom we are granted IAF?

Last time I checked free speech is not something that is optional in the US it is one of those INALIENABLE RIGHTS our constitution lists. The fact that you can call a legitimate display of displeasure with the government covered under free speech to me is chilling. So what's next if we should be hung for burning a flag should we be imprisoned for disagreeing with international policy on a web forum? I am afraid I don't like the neocon version of freedom much at all. You are free to think and say what you like as long as you agree with the party line... sounds a bit like communist russia to me.



posted on Jul, 16 2005 @ 07:22 AM
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Originally posted by Sugarlump
the freedom we are granted IAF?

Last time I checked free speech is not something that is optional in the US it is one of those INALIENABLE RIGHTS our constitution lists. The fact that you can call a legitimate display of displeasure with the government covered under free speech to me is chilling. So what's next if we should be hung for burning a flag should we be imprisoned for disagreeing with international policy on a web forum?

Yes Sugar! Freedom!!
Inalienable but not all protecting, your rights are your own and not your property! You didnt earn them you were given them! You have the privelige of having them when you are part of the US. It is a right no doubt but a right in moderation. Jsut because you dont hurt somebody physically doesnt mean that it is okay! It never will be and never was okay to burn your flag with contempt!
Free speach is speach and not vandalism! When you buy a flag it is your duty to treat it with utmost respect, Free speach is about expressing disagreement or your problem not about enthusiastically corrupting national prestige!
What ever your problem, even if you hate the government that doesnt give you the right to burn a flag that you had no part in making! That you owe your exsistence to and that provides you and your people security! Those are NOT American morals!
In all nations the world over find buring their countries flag as unacceptable by most! In china you are shot for such things!!
Our founding fathers trusted us to have enough maturity to use the rights they have given us with proper discretion, and this is certainly not the way!
Free speach is always welcomed but this involves no speach, it is just another poor attempt at histrionics. Their has never been a restriction of free speach in this country and their will never be but burning a flag is much more than free speach, it is an attempt to redicule the very fundamental principles from which our nation was fromed! It should not be seen as any less!



posted on Jul, 16 2005 @ 09:22 AM
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IAF101:
First of all, you spell "speech" incorrectly.

Secondly, the courts have ruled that "speech" means expression. Burning a flag is a strong expression of displeasure with the government. You must interpret what the burner views the flag as when they burn it. If it were in the middle-east, it could either be displeasure with the government (people who don't want us in their area) or hatred of America (radical Islamists who want to kill everyone who disagrees with them).

In America, more often, it's displeasure with policy of the government. Perhaps there are some anarchists and other random people who hate the country (which would be a bit silly if they're living in it, but that's their right) but generally it's displeasure with the government.

With your view of "burn the flag and die!" it pushes us dangerously closer to tyranny and blind nationalism (something which already exists in many people). The. Flag. Is. Just. A. Piece. Of. Cloth. It represents our country and its freedom, but it's just a piece of cloth. Our freedom is in the Constitution, not the flag. Try respecting that. I don't see people burning it in protest... I wonder why. Maybe it's because they're protesting the fact that the government is taking away the rights defined in it.



posted on Jul, 16 2005 @ 11:41 AM
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That just goes to show how crazy America is, no offence to any Americans but lets face it
thats like me burning a piece of paper with the Irish national anthem on it ,OR smashing a cup or mug with the American flag on it its a joke, its bs



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