Trump-hating flag-burners in Iowa absolutely, positively foiled
It’s your feel-good video of the day.
The Supreme Court may rule that flag-burning is protected expression under the First Amendment, but that doesn’t mean that it is acceptable to endanger ordinary citizens, who also have rights to express themselves. In this case, with a fire extinguisher.
The national media is much less interested in what happens in Iowa City, Iowa than it is in New York, D.C., Los Angeles, and other parts of the Blue Bubble. So we rely on the Iowa City Press-Citizen to learn about what happened when a couple of America-hating, Trump-hating protesters set multiple versions of Old Glory ablaze.
Stephen Gruber-Miller writes:
A group of protesters set fire to multiple American flags on the Iowa City pedestrian mall on Thursday, setting off a scuffle and heated verbal arguments with bystanders. (snip)
"We are looking at fascism, and I believe that it’s my First Amendment right to protest that in a nonviolent way," Osgerby said.
The sight of flags being burned did not sit well with other Americans who saw what was going on in downtown Iowa City.
… the actions caused a scene on the pedestrian mall across from the Old Capitol Mall, as onlookers shouted and a man in a FedEx uniform, Matt Uhrin, rushed out with a fire extinguisher to put out the blaze. Uhrin took one of the flags from protesters, scuffling with a number of protesters in the process.
I’d have to say he was right on time.
It is theoretically possible that FedEx could react negatively to someone in their unform taking politically motivated action in the public eye, although that would be stupid. Matt Uhrin obviously is no dummy:
Uhrin declined to comment except to say his actions were not related to his employer.
Others were not impressed with the demonstrators:
One onlooker, Bob Guyer, said the act was disrespectful to military veterans.
"Probably every one of them has a relative at one point or another that died for that," Guyer said, referring to the flag.
"That's not free speech. Too many people have died for it," he said.
Iowa City Police Sgt. Scott Gaarde said the two were charged because they failed to seek a permit from the fire department to burn the flags, not because of what they were burning. Iowa has a law on the books that makes it illegal to defile, cast contempt upon, satirize or deride a flag. That law, however, was declared unconstitutional by a federal judge in December 2014 and state prosecutors were told not to enforce it.
"It’s not for the content of what they were burning but rather for violating the city ordinance of open burning," Gaarde said.
Here is the best part:
Two members of the group, Osgerby and Kelli Ebensberger, also of Iowa City, were charged with violating Iowa City's public burn ordinance, a simple misdemeanor punishable by up to 30 days in jail or a fine of up to $625.
You have the right to free speech, but you don’t have a right to create a public hazard. This claim that harming or endangering others is speech will be a big issue going forward, as many Americans are tired of getting stuck in traffic when lefties decide to close down a freeway or whyen they riot or light fires.
Ebensberger said she and the others knew they were violating the ordinance but said protesting should not be criminalized, expressing concern about a bill in the Iowa Senate that would make blocking traffic on highways a felony charge punishable by up to five years in prison. The bill comes after around 100 protesters marched onto Interstate Highway 80 in the days following Trump's election.
"If you start criminalizing one aspect of protesting it's only a matter of time before That is moronic. You don’t have the right to kill someone in protest, nor break store windows, not create a fire hazard.
And you absolutely do not have the right to inflict immobility on others as they seek to do their daily activities.
Here is the video:
Hat tip: David Paulin