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Most people who take the time to write to me present their comments, either for or against the flag burning amendment, in a well-written manner. Several of the replies I've received have been (in my opinion) worthy of publication in Editorial sections of major newspapers.
Some people, however, express themselves by throwing insults and calling names. Comments like those belong on a separate page, as they tend to distract from the intellectual debate being presented on the Comments Page.
Anyone who sends an email which (again, in my opinion) has little value in a debate, will get the following notice:
Every day, the flag burning page generates a large volume of email. Most of it consists of well-constructed arguements, both for and against a Constitutional amendment to restrict the First Amendment as it applies to flag desecration.
Unfortunately, many people prefer to express themselves, as you did, with short-sighted insults and barbs. Although I will defend your right to your views, statements such as:
>(Insert sender's comment here)
tend to clutter up an otherwise logical and intelligent discussion about the effects of flag desecration and Congressional Legislation.
I have set aside a portion of the flag-burning comments to accommodate remarks such as yours. In 7 days, your comment will be posted to this page.
Since being relegated to such a position may well be considered an insult to you and your ability to construct a logical comment, I offer you this: before this 7 day period elapses, reply to me with a comment that you feel is more suited to inclusion on the comment page. I will refrain from including your first comment on the insult page, and will happily include your updated thoughts on the main Comment page.
Thank you for your interest in the Flag Burning page.
See, I'm a pretty reasonable guy. So far, almost everyone who has received this notice has mailed back a better comment.
Unfortunately, a few people send their flames anonymously, or have never set their return address. I get flames now and then from YourNameHere@internetprovider.com - of course, my replies come back return to sender. There are also people who send flames from libraries, schools, or internet coffee houses.
Here are a few of the anonymous flames. (the italics are my comments...)
Warning!!! There are plenty of people out there who use language I wouldn't use around my Grandma. I'm not going to censor their letters, though. If you scroll down any further, you're going to read some stuff that might offend you. Of course, if you get offended by it just remember that it was directed at me. I get to sift through this stuff daily.
Here are some of the most recent flames. The "all-caps" stuff is theirs, not mine.
These first were all from the same guy.
You want freedom of Speech I'll give you freedom of speech you mother fucking, Ass hole. Get the FUCK out you Dick sucking, ass fucking, man loving Fagot. The U.S.A Doesn't need Retards like you in here. I would slit your throat from ear to ear if I ever saw you burn a flag. I hope You get the shit kicked out of you, you Mother Fucker. Go to Hell, I know this is an immature letter but it does not compare to the amount of immaturity of your page. I wish you and your Mommy were in the Trade Center on 9/11/01. You Son of a Bitch
WARREN YOU SUCK! GO COMPLAIN SOMEWHERE ELS YOU FAGOT!
I THINK YOU AND YOUR FELLOW ASSHOLES SHOULD TAKE THE FLAG POLE FROM THE FLAG YOU BURNED AND SHOVE IT UP YOUR ASS! AND QUIT TRYING TO GET PEOPLES GOAT BY ACTING ALL CALM AND COOL YOU FAGOT! GO TO HELL!!!!!!
LETS SEE HOW TOUGH YOU ARE AFTER A BUNCH A PATRIOTS BEAT YOUR SORRY ASS! I HATE HOW YOU PEOPLE TAKE ADVANTAGE OF YOUR FREEDOM HERE IN AMERICA!!! OH SURE YOU CAN BURN FLAGS AND CALL US FREAKS BECAUSE WE LOVE OUR COUNTRY! YOU hIDE BEHIND OUR CONSTITUTION AND THEN STAB IT IN THE BACK!! YOU BASTARDS SHOULD GO STRAIGHT TO HELL FOR THIS! I'M GOING TO START BURNING YOUR STUPID ANTIFLAG PATCHES AND THOSE DAMN NAZI SYBOLS.......OH YEAH DON'T YOUY GET I THERE ARN'T ANY NAZIS ANY MORE!!!!!!
OH AND QUIT CALLING EVERYONE A PSYCHO WHO STICKS UP FOR THEIR FLAG YOU FUCKING IDIOT! GOD YOUR SUCH A FUCKING LOSER, AND WHO IN THEIR RIGHT MIND WOULD SEND A SORRY PIECE OF SHIT LIKE YOU MONEY! ME AND ALL MY FRIENDS WILL KICK YOUR SORRY ASS IF WE FIND YOU!
PS: PLEASE DON'T RESPOND WITH SOME IDIOTIC COMMENT ABOUT HOW MATURE YOU ARE AND HOW IT SOUNDS LIKE A THREAT OR HOW I'M A PSYCHO, ITS GETTING REALLY OLD WARREN, YOUR WHOLE STUPID ISSUE IS GETTING OLD, PEOPLE LIKE YOU SHOULD HANG!
WARREN YOU SUCK COCK, YOU SEND THIS SAME EMAIL TO EVERYONE, YOU AND YOUR OTHER LIBERAL COCK SUCKERS CAN GO BURN AT THE STAKE, I WOULD LIKE TO SEE YOU HANG!!! YOUR CALLING MY E-MAIL IDIOTIC, YOUR FUCKED UP PAGE IS IDIOTIC, YOU SHOULD LEARN TO GROW UP AND GET A REAL LIFE AnD RESPECT THE COUNTRY THAT TOUR TAKING Advantage OFF, YOU SIR ARE A FAGOT WHO HIDES BEHIND THE CONSTITUTION, YOU AND YOUR GAY FRIENDS ARE LUCKY THAT WE HAVE LAWS LIKE ASSAULT AND BATERY, THESE LAWS KEEP TRUE PATRIOTS FROM KICKING YOUR SORRY ASS, I THINK YOU NEED TO COME BACK WITh SOME BETTEr COMMENTS THAN " I'M SO MATURE, THAt SOUNDS LIKE A THREAT, OR SOME OTHER CRAP" WATCH YOUR SELF WARREN ( wARRENS A FAGOT NAME ) YOU AND YOUR CHILDISH ACTS WILL ONLY GET YOU INTO DEEP SHIT SOME DAY. I HOPE CHARLIE DANIELS AND KID ROCK KICK YOUR ASS! FUCK YOU!!!!!!!!!!
ARE U SCARED TO RESPOND SISSY?
HEY WARREN, WHERE THE FUCK IS MY LETTER YOU SAID U WOULD PUT ON YOUR FLAG FLAMES PAGE ( THE ONLY GOOD PART OF UR WEB PAGE ) AND ALL THE OTHER PEOPLE I KNOW WHO HAVE WROTE U NASTY LETTERS, DID UR COMPUTER RUN OUT OF SPACE FOR ALL OF THEM. YOU FUCKING SISSY!!!!!
Here are some other recent flames:
People like you should be hunted and exterminated. I hope you burn in hell. THAT would be the best thing to watch burn!
-Someone who knows exactly what your motives are (free speech, blah, blah, blah), has fought for your right to it, and still wishes he could wake up and pound your fucking ass EVERY SINGLE DAY, and make your life worthy of the piece of shit you are.
you need to be moved to a comunist country to live!! you discrace the american flag and all its honor!! all the men and women who died for you and our freedom flag and you burn it!!?? shame shame...........
YOUR PAGE SUCKS EVERYONE KNOWS THAT YOU ARE CANADIAN AND YOU SUCK. AFTER ALL AMERICA HAS DONE FOR YOU THE SOLIDERS THAT FOUGHT IN A WAR WITH OUR FLAG FOR OUR FREEDOM AND YOU THROW IT ALL AWAY. YOU ARE A DISGRACE AND SHOULD BE DRAGGED OUT INTO THE STREET AND SHOT. MOVE BACK TO WHERE YOU CAME FROME
You are a communist Prick, you don't deserve to live in this country.
YOU DUMB ASS--- YOU DONT DESERVE TO EVEN LIVE IN AMERICA! I SAY WE SHIP YOU OFF TO A THIRD WORLD COUNTRY WITH STARVING CHILDREN AND THEN WE WILL SEE WHAT YOU THINK OF AMERICA!
IT IS PEOPLE LIKE YOU WHO TEAR THIS COUNTRY DOWN! YOUR SIGHT IS SICKENING AND I AM ASHAMED THAT I FOUND MYSELF IN HERE! WHEN A PERSON BURNS A FLAG THEY ARE NOT EXCERCISING A FREEDOM, THEY ARE SLAPPING THE POWER THAT GIVES THEM ANY FREEDOM IN THE FACE! HECK IF YOU WANT TO BURN MY FLAG WHY DON'T YOU DIG UP GEORGE WASHINGTON AND SET HIM A BLAZE AS WELL!
you said that you do not hate the country. well maybe not but you have no respect for this country. and don't give me some bullshit like you can still respect the country and burn the flag. becuase you can not. so since you gave me your opinion i'll give you mine. i think you should be hung from a tree and left to sway till your fuckin body decay's. how do you like that for freedom of speech. by the way this isn't a threat either so don't pull some shit like that.
Hey asshole, why don't you wrap yourself in a flag and set it on fire. That would be the only way you would get anyone who has any amount of patriotism in their body to even consider burning the flag as " freedom of speech". As a 20 year veteran of the United States Marine Corps I feel the bile in my gut everytime I hear one of you candy ass liberal turds complain that your rights are being infringed on by the government. Hey dip shit who do you think made this country free? It wasn't assholes like you hiding behind an interpretation of the Constitution, It was men and women in the service sacrificing it all so to protect scum like you and keeping this country free.
If you think your safe from burning the flag try doing it on a military base sometime and see how far the "law" protects you. It must really make you feel like a puss knowing that there are hundreds of thousands of service men and women who have lost their lives for their country so you could burn my flag. People like you are the reason why people like me have a job. Your weak and you need someone else to protect your worthless carcass. Enjoy your freedom today dickhead, complements of the proud people serving their country.
you cocksucker, if you hate the U.S. get your faggot ass out of here
Warren, you are by far one of the lowest pieces of garbage in the entire world. There are much better ways of expressing your views (which might I ad are probably also garbage)than burning a symbol of the best country in the world. The disrespect you show to this country by endorsing a web site such as this is incredible. Every time you burn a flag you discrace every American who has died in battle protecting the American flag, fighting for your freedom. But I suppose that is probably something you have never had to worry about; to you soldiers are no more than fictional characters in a movie. Believe it or not Apel your view on this issue is wrong, and your disrespect for this country is appaling. It is people like you that deserve to live in Cuba. you a-hole
You are a stupid jerk. If you believe in this crap, you should be deported. All of you stupid hippie idiots are ungreatfull jerks.
Please get some real motion video for the flag burning, It's just not the same unless i can feel the heat. Hey, why don't we bomb a Federal building and kill innocent children. The U.S. has miltia too and sorry to say now we know where you are.
And some older flames. . .
And then there are those whose service gets unplugged before I get a chance to reply...
And then there are other threats from psychos who just never respond again. Like
Your father proudly served in the Air Force, yet you press to bastardize the First Amendment to justify your perversion? SHAME!
Like Zeke, I am in the US military, and damn proud of it. I share his attitudes 100%. How can you see our beloved Stars and Stripes everywhere and say it's your "right" to do something so abominable? Curse you and your kind. You're not protecting anybody's rights; you're looking for a way to get away with this and a sympathetic ear in a PC climate.
Go to hell, and don't ever come to Wisconsin. We don't take to your kind here; we TRULY love our country.
And give me the E-mail address of that guy who said "Long may it drag."
William M. Sentowski
University of Wisconsin-Green Bay
"If you've got the right to burn a flag, I've got the right to test my fire extinguisher right next to you...for your safety, of course."
of course, I don't send out email addresses - especially to psychos. I made him the offer to write something nice for the challenge page, but I guess 'if you can't say something nice...'
Here's one person who read the flames page and wanted to comment on it:
after reading your flames page I only had one thought in my head ... and I thought it was a DAMN good one if I do say so myself. that is this: all of these obscene, ruthless, closed-minded emails are written by the "patriotic flag-wavers" after which we should all be molded? they are taking advantage of their freedom of speech by writing these gross emails, but don't believe that others should be able to just because they disagree on ONE issue that THEY should be all-for since they are totally pro-American government? I also wanted to comment on how most of them are calling you a "flag-burning nazi, blah, blah" even though this is my first time seeing this page and you have made it CLEAR that you have never burned a flag and that you respect it. I don't like closed-minded people. I have the right to say that without them freaking out on me, right? give them my email address if they want it so they can send some of that ever-so intellectual hate-mail this way and I can take it off your hands if you want.
that was hopefully for your comment page, here's one for the "flames" page .... ill try to match their intellect:
DYE MUDDA FUCKEN BICH AZZ FLAG-BERNEN LUSR! NOW EYE MUST GO TWO REED MUH KNEW HUKED ON FONIX BUK THATS COMED IN DA MALE.
--That was "the American dream," eh? I don't know if I should laugh or cry. I'll choose laugh because if I cry I'm afraid they might call me a "pussy." their elementary vocabulary is pitiful.
Here are a few other flames that didn't get upgraded to comments. These people didn't bother to reply to the flame warning.
And then there are the few who do reply, but don't get any nicer....
Pete Carruth says: People like you need to be burned at the stake!
and after the flame warning, he wrote (among other bizarre ramblings):If you don't like it here go back to the shit hole you came from. If your from the US get the fuck out; you don't belong to be here.
Ron Capute says: You wanna burn a flag? Or want the right to? Get
the hell out of America and do whatever the fuck you want. If I see you burn a flag,
expect your ass to be burned along with it. Fucker. Note: his subject line was
"Hey Nazi Bastard"
after the flame warning, he wrote:
Spick. Honky. Kike. Nigger. Chink. Etc.
Do these words offend anyone? Well they offend me. They offend me as much as someone burning a flag in public. Should publicly burning a flag be considered against OUR laws? The laws of the people who work to make this country what it is? Yes. Should these laws also include any public dislay of hatred or bigotry? Yes to that also!
I pointed out to him that if he was successful in outlawing the words he was using, he would be imprisoned -- not only for the racial terms he used to make his point, but also for the death threat and offensive language in his original letter to me. He replied that he didn't consider a private email to be a public display. So it's OK to call someone a Nazi bastard as long as it's via email. He still refused to compose an essay for the challenge page, saying:
Go ahead and post whatever you want. I'm not intimidated, and I don't think your thoughts are extremely coherent either. In my opinion, people like you contribute to the moral decay of our society. You seem to be crying out, "Hey, look at me I'm a rebel!" But then again, you claim that it is your right to do so.
Zanocause says: You suck.
His reply to the flame warning was: "I don't like the flagburning page. Don't go here."
So I write to him, saying:
I'm sorry you feel the way you do about my page. My original offer still stands, however. Give me a logical counter-argument to my opinion, and I will refrain from including your comments on the flames page.
His reply: "Perfect timing. Right around Oklahoma City. What are you trying to do, diminish America's spirit? I couldn't think of a counter argument if my life depended on it."
After the Newsweek article came out, I got one person who couldn't accept my request to write a logical comment.
People have died for that flag. People in wars would throw down their weapons and sacrifice their lives just so the flag wouldn't touch the ground. Now a disrespectful prick like you wants to promote the burning of the icon of America. Don't use "Freedom of Speech" either. Courts all around America have decided that freddom of speech is not absolute.
Anyone, under any circumstance, who says burning a flag should not be illegal, is not very respectful in my book. I don't have to read your stupid reasons. I know how many people have died for that flag and you don't care if people destroy it.
People have died for that "piece of cloth." Do you know how many troops in the Civil War would throw down their arms just to hoist that measly old piece of cloth above their heads? Now, I know you are not anti-American, but anyone who promotes the desecration of the symbol of the greatest country in the Universe, is not very respectful or not very smart in the history department. And you're right, I won't listen. Because I don't listen to horseshit.
-- MR THOMAS M SHAPLAND
It is true that during the civil war in this country, it was common for soldiers to drop their weapon and carry a flag. But one should understand this in its true context. Flags were the method by which orders to troops were often communicated, especially in battle. The flag would communicate what direction the troops were to move. There were flags used to indicate retreat, surrender, different kinds of strategic moves, etc. If the guy carrying the flag were shot, it was important for someone else to pick it up and carry it so the troops would not become confused. Buglers were also used to communicate as well although in the relative noise of a battle field they were hard to hear. 21 gun salutes, taps, reveille, battle flags, banners, and cannon fire all find their way back to the methods of communication of days before radios and satellites.
Today, armies generally don't do this. They have radios. But much like the old flag, if the radio man gets shot, someone else picks it up a carries it. They can be very heavy. Quite often, especially in WWII and Vietnam, they were so heavy that the soldier who carried them would not carry much else. Also, like the flag men of old, they could be prime targets for enemy fire. A man who picks up this radio quite often must relieve himself of much of his ammunition.
The point of all this is that the Supreme Court was absolutely correct. And Mr. Shepland quite accidentally presents a case which supports their conclusion. The flag was and is about communication. If a picture is worth a thousand words, how simple an expression burning a flag is. Burning a flag is about expression. It is about communicating ideas. If the first amendment is about anything, it is about the free expression of ideas. If we have a freedom of expression, and in this country you are allowed to fly a flag to express some feelings about this country, must you not also be allowed to use the same flag to express dissent?
I'm actually happily surprised that there are so few people who I've had to include on this page. I hope that, since so many of our legislators think that this is a necessary step in our Country's history, I will hear from more than two logical people who support them. Where are their constituents? If the opinion of the American people in general is reflected even slightly by the mail I get, this "mandate" is far from mandatory.
Although, when you really stop to think about it, I'm doing the "other side" a bit of a favor, aren't I? Most of the mail coming in to the flag-burning page is supportive. If I allowed the few people who vocally oppose my opinions to stand by their original views, I could portray my opposition as idiots with nothing better to do than insult. I could really make this whole issue seem a bit one-sided. And yet, that goes against the whole idea of the page. I want to start a debate on the subject. I want to hear from the people who think we need to change the Constitution. I defend every American's right to their point of view, even when I don't agree with them -- even when their point of view is that I should be deported for my point of view.
Back to the Flag Burning Comments Page