Well, it had to happen sometimes. While I may believe that burning the flag should be considered free speech (our forefathers burnt the flag of England amongst other things when they were still, technically "British Citizens"), I had to laugh a little. It just goes to show, ignorance of the law is no excuse for breaking it:
Woman Arrested During Soldier's Funeral
OMAHA, Neb. -- A woman was arrested in Bellevue on Tuesday during the funeral for a fallen soldier.
Shirley Phelps-Roper was arrested on suspicion of contributing to the delinquency of a minor for allowing her 8-year-old son to stomp on an American flag.
Now, how exactly did that happen? I will tell you, I've seen these folks at protests and it is usually one or two adults with several children. It is the same tactic that Palestinians and other religious extremists use to indoctrinate their children. They think they can get away with things because no one will prosecute children. It doesn't mean that the adults can't be charged with endangerment, neglect or, in this case, contributing to the delinquency of a minor.
Police said the group to which Phelps-Roper belongs had a permit to protest 300 feet from Bailey's funeral.
Bellevue Officer Joe Gray, who made the arrest, said that at first the group brought out a couple of members' own American flags.
"The arrestee, Ms. Phelps-Roper, put one around her waist. The second one was given to a 10-year-old, who put it on the ground and started kicking it in the area they were protesting," Gray said.
Nebraska law states that it is a Class 3 misdemeanor when a person "intentionally casts contempt or ridicule upon a flag by mutilating, defacing, defiling, burning or trampling upon such flag." The law was passed in 1977.
"It appears the adults weren't stepping on the flag because they knew it was a violation of the law. But they allowed the children to go ahead and do that," Gray said.
Okay, so they knew the law, but were stretching it. Of course, if you know you are not allowed to drink in public, but you hand your 12 year old a beer, you still broke the law.
The officer said it was nothing personal, it was simply Nebraska's law and he was enforcing it. (Why do I feel a big "wink" at the end of that statement?)
The county prosecutor said, paraphrasing, "that's not free speech; them thar's fightin' words".
Mother Phelps-Roper said she is going to appeal the charges because the law is "outdated".
I don't know...seems rather timely to me. If it was just against her for "desecrating the flag", I imagine the judge would just throw it out to get rid of the people. However, if the prosecutor were able to prove that the adults were purposefully not breaking the law, but allowing or even encouraging the children to do so, regardless of the law in question I think I'd prosecute it. Just on the principle of the thing.