Dude, Where’s My Quran?

Most excellent:

A planned Quran burning Saturday in Amarillo was thwarted by a 23-year-old carrying a skateboard and wearing a T-shirt with “I’m in Repent Amarillo No Joke” scrawled by hand on the back.

Jacob Isom, 23, grabbed David Grisham’s Quran when he became distracted while arguing with several residents at Sam Houston Park about the merits of burning the Islamic holy book.

“You’re just trying to start Holy Wars,” Isom said of Grisham after he gave the book to a religious leader from the Islamic Center of Amarillo.

***

Jeremy Danielson of Amarillo, who attended with other members of the Unitarian Universalist Church, carried a “Love Thy Enemy” sign.

“Any time you burn books, that’s ignorant,” Danielson said. “For us to burn their religion is showing hate.”

Protesters threw their hands on the grill Grisham planned to use to burn the Quran, someone took his lighter and Isom stole the Quran, leaving him with just lighter fluid.

“I kind of expected the reaction,” Grisham said of the turnout.

As the crowd jeered, Grisham got into a car and left peacefully without burning any copies of the holy book.

Don’t get those Unitarian Universalist folks riled up. Goodness knows where that will lead (obligatory Unitarian Jihad link).

(via the comments)

*** Update ***

Dude, you have no Quran…

We’re going to score this as a solid win for the DFH crowd.

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244 replies
  1. 1
    New Yorker says:

    Yeah, I posted the video from the local news broadcast of Isom’s “dude, you HAVE no Quran!” quote on my Facebook page.

    The fact that this happened in redder-than-red Amarillo, Texas gives me hope for this country.

  2. 2
    Steve says:

    You really have to see the video. Watching this shirtless skater saying, “Dude, you HAVE no Koran!” is as priceless as it gets.

  3. 3
    Silver says:

    It’s not really excellent.

    Isom stole Grisham’s book and gave it to someone else. That’s not cool, no matter what the sentiment is.

  4. 4
    El Tiburon says:

    Meh. Seen it before.

    Remember the movie “True Lies” when a young Eliza Dushku swiped the key to detonate the nuclear weapon when the Iman Rauf, I mean the terrorist dude, was grandstanding?

    So derivative really. Even our news stories are sequels.

  5. 5
    Rick Massimo says:

    Dude, you have no Koran!

    New front-page tagline?

  6. 6
    stuckinred says:

    @Silver: Bullshit

  7. 7
    Rick Massimo says:

    Isom stole Grisham’s book and gave it to someone else. That’s not cool, no matter what the sentiment is.

    Right. Maybe Isom should have burned it.

  8. 8
    debg says:

    @Steve: I’m with you–the video ROCKS. I keep playing that bit over and over.

  9. 9
    Ash Can says:

    @Silver: Sure it’s cool. Grisham obviously didn’t want the book in the first place.

  10. 10
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    @Silver: In my liberal urge to be fair, I won’t be all that bothered when someone takes away a flag that a DFH is trying to burn.

    I believe and love the First Amendment, and still believe that FOX should be shut down.

  11. 11
    Comrade Colette Collaboratrice says:

    I’m guessing Silver is running for Fire Chief as a member of the Fahrenheit 451 party.

  12. 12
    New Yorker says:

    @Silver:

    At the risk of going into hyperbole hyperdrive, I will also note that the Underground Railroad was stealing property from people (southern plantation owners) too.

    Grisham had that book for one reason: to destroy it and further inflame an already tense situation with Muslims here and around the world. Grisham is a disgusting media whore and Isom is absolutely right in stating that he wants to start a religious war. Fuck Grisham.

  13. 13
    licensed to kill time says:

    I read about this yesterday. The only thing that would have made it better is if the kid had been ON his skateboard as he zoomed past the guy and snagged the Koran with an Airwalk Grab. Epic!

  14. 14
    singfoom says:

    So from Skate or Die to Skate and Prevent Intolerance? I find this whole thing awesome. Did he steal that guys book? Yes, he did.

    Minor theft, oh noes! The guy was a douchebag about to burn a book he has no understanding of for stupid reasons.

    No one’s 1rst amendment rights were trampled on and reason triumphed over idiocy.

    Good show Isom, good show.

  15. 15
    Silver says:

    @New Yorker:

    Ah yes. A copy of a stupid book is exactly the same as owning a human being. How did I not realize that?

    You guys realize that you’re imbuing paper with much more power than it has?

  16. 16
    MikeJ says:

    The idiot had a right to be an idiot. You don’t like what he was going to do with his property, I don’t like what he was going to do with his property. But it was his.

    If I want to burn a flag, I have that right as long as it is my flag. If he wants to burn a book, it’s his right, no matter who it pisses off. Yes, burning books is stupid. Stupidity is not illegal, theft is.

    People have a right to be do stupid things.

  17. 17
    Oscar Leroy says:

    I would buy a “Dude, you have no Quran” T-shirt if I had disposable income.

  18. 18
    stuckinred says:

    @Silver: You realize you are a fucking idiot?

  19. 19
    singfoom says:

    @Silver:

    You realize that you’re missing the bigger picture for a small technicality? I didn’t make the comparison between slaves and the book, but come on. The fact that he was going to burn it is close enough to throwing it away.

    If he wants to press charges over the theft of his Koran and continue this whole episode and make himself look like an even bigger asshole, he has legal avenues.

    Where’s the problem?

  20. 20
    Oscar Leroy says:

    @Silver:

    Oh, I don’t know. If someone is about to totally destroy an item, I don’t think they should complain if it gets swiped.

    edit: with obvious exceptions, of course (chemical weapons, confiscated cocaine, etc)

  21. 21
    Steve says:

    This is why it rocks to be a liberal. No matter how awesome something is, someone will always have their panties in a bunch. It’s guaranteed.

  22. 22
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    @MikeJ: You mean like possibly getting arrested for theft?

  23. 23
    beltane says:

    This young man is my hero. Maybe there is some hope for this country after all.

  24. 24
    Ajay says:

    Also worth noting is that the guy who tried to burn Quran, guards Plutonium at a nuclear facility as his day job:

    http://tpmmuckraker.talkingpoi.....ay_job.php

    Wonder if he believes in world coming to end…

  25. 25
    New Yorker says:

    @MikeJ:

    So let Grisham press charges against Isom for theft. I’ll pay Isom’s bail and legal fees.

  26. 26
    WereBear says:

    @Silver: Okay, he “rescued” it from a bad home, then.

    Sheesh.

  27. 27
    Oscar Leroy says:

    No reason to call people names.

  28. 28
    singfoom says:

    @MikeJ:

    People have a right to be do stupid things.

    Indeed people do have a right to do stupid things. So one guy does stupid thing A, guy B does stupid thing in response to guy A. Guy B technically committed a crime. If guy A wants to press charges, let him.

    If it was reversed and some wingnut stole my Sarah Palin effigy I planned to burn, I would have the exact same recourse. So both of them are stupid, I approve of the actions of one even if he is criminally liable for said stupid action.

  29. 29
    NonyNony says:

    @singfoom:

    No one’s 1rst amendment rights were trampled on

    I would agree with this, actually. Because the government didn’t step in and take away his Koran.

    Now, some property rights might have been violated, but that’s a civil matter between the guy making the “look at me, I’m a giant asshole” statement and the kid on the skateboard. Two Americans having a difference of opinion in a public square.

    But no one’s first amendment rights were violated because the kid isn’t an agent of the government.

  30. 30
    Betsy says:

    @Silver:
    It’s called “civil disobedience,” and it can be a beautiful thing.

  31. 31
  32. 32
    Silver says:

    @Oscar Leroy:

    I destroyed a couple of bowls last night. I would have been angry if someone had decided to liberate my weed because I was going to go ahead and destroy it…

  33. 33
    stuckinred says:

    @MikeJ: And people have the right to stand up. It was “illegal” for me to sleep on the Mall when we were there protesting the war in Vietnam. The supreme court said we could stay but we couldn’t sleep. We slept. So what?

  34. 34
    Silver says:

    @Betsy:

    No, it’s not civil disobedience.

    See the comment right above yours for the reason why.

  35. 35
    Jules says:

    So one guy was planning on perform a piece of Political Theater of Hate while another guy came by and participated by doing his own brand of civil disobedience….
    Awesome.

  36. 36
    MikeJ says:

    @singfoom: Except B isn’t just criminally liable. He’s also morally wrong.

    “A” was exercising his free speech rights. “B” denied him that right. It was wrong beyond the mere theft. It was trampling the constitution.

    People have a right to free speech, *especially* when they’re saying things other people don’t want to hear. Book burning, like flag burning, is political speech. Preventing a person from speaking is like preventing a person from voting.

  37. 37
    stuckinred says:

    Sissy motherfuckin wingnut wants to start some shit but doesn’t do anything when a sidewalk surfer foils his act. Sheeeeeeeeeet

  38. 38
    PurpleGirl says:

    If you’re going to mention the Unitarian Jihad, you have to mention the Unitarian Jihad name generator.

    http://www.whump.com/dropbox/other/ujname.html

  39. 39
    stuckinred says:

    @MikeJ: So go down there and get the fucking book back and give it to the asshole, Robin Hood.

  40. 40
    Midnight Marauder says:

    @Silver:

    Ah yes. A copy of a stupid book is exactly the same as owning a human being. How did I not realize that?
    __
    You guys realize that you’re imbuing paper with much more power than it has?

    @stuckinred:

    You realize you are a fucking idiot?

    And we are pretty much done with this nonsense.

    +2

  41. 41
    Betsy says:

    @Silver:

    Are you suggesting that civil disobedience is, by definition, only an action in protest of a government law/policy?

    Because I would disagree with that. I think that the people who sat in the redwoods to keep them from being bulldozed were practicing civil disobedience, although they were protesting the actions of private entities.

  42. 42
    MikeJ says:

    @Jules: A annoying as giant puppets are, nobody has a right to stop idiots from trotting them out all the time.

  43. 43
    Ash Can says:

    @Silver:

    I would have been angry if someone had decided to liberate my weed because I was going to go ahead and destroy it…

    And YOU’RE all concerned about the legal technicalities of this situation???

  44. 44
    Steve says:

    @MikeJ: You know who ELSE tried to prevent people from exercising their rights?

  45. 45
    jl says:

    @MikeJ: What the kid on the skateboard did may have been wrong, but I do not see how the skateboard dude who stole that copy of the Koran was ‘trampling on the Constitution’.

    And I think teabaggers who want to put on displays of political theatre need to be a little less delicate about the deference that others are supposed to show them.

  46. 46

    @Silver:

    You guys realize that you’re imbuing paper with much more power than it has?

    The paper has words on it. We like words. We respect them. We think they have a lot of power. We think they are part of what makes us human and not just a collection of minerals in a sack.

    You I don’t like so much.

  47. 47
    scav says:

    Yup, People cheering on Radio Rwanda for its free speech rights. See comment in earlier thread in re cutting longitudinally and not laterally when attempting suicide.

  48. 48
    MikeJ says:

    @stuckinred: Had I been there, I might have tried, had I thought I had a chance at success.

    As it is, some DFH just made the book burner look reasonable. Bravo, moron.

  49. 49
    slag says:

    We’re going to score this as a solid win for the DFH crowd.

    Agreed. This is a solid win.

    I’m not crying over anyone’s stolen Quran. Just like I wouldn’t cry over some racist wackjob’s epithets being shouted down by a crowd of DFHs. Tough noogies, asshole.

  50. 50
    Jackie says:

    I’m actually moved to tears that people put their hands on the grill. I’m not sure I’d bet my hands that kind of jackass would not light it up anyway. Unitarian Universalist Heros I salute you.

  51. 51
    licensed to kill time says:

    @PurpleGirl:

    I am the Jackhammer of Forgiveness. Who knew?

  52. 52
    Betsy says:

    @Jackie:
    Yeah, I actually think that’s more worthy of attention and praise (though decidedly less hilarious) than the skater dude.

  53. 53
    ruemara says:

    @MikeJ:
    Look REASONABLE?

    You have got to cut back on the meth.

  54. 54
    Ash Can says:

    @MikeJ: Has the statute of limitations run out for Rick Monday yet? I figure you’d know, given your obvious sensitivity about this sort of thing.

  55. 55
    Silver says:

    @Ash Can:

    I’m in California, and I have a medical recommendation. It’s actually easier for me to buy weed than Claritin-D.

  56. 56
    New Yorker says:

    @MikeJ:

    Reasonable to whom? Any human being who has decent sense of right and wrong probably reacted just as I did: by cheering the skater dude.

    Person A wants to inflame existing tensions with a religious minority in order to get his 15 minutes, and Person B did something to try to stop that, but oh noes, Person B took a piece of property from Person A!!!!

    Like I said, let Grisham put up or shut up and press charges against Isom if this is such a grave injustice.

  57. 57
    Brett says:

    I don’t see it as heroic. The guy may be a bit of a douche for burning a Quran in public, but it is his right to do so as part of his free speech. The crowd went beyond merely protesting – they actively interfered with his attempt at free expression.

    Would people be cheering if some guy was holding up a pro-UHC sign in some conservative town, and a crowd of conservative folks ran up and stole it from him?

  58. 58
    Lysana says:

    @MikeJ:

    “A” was exercising his free speech rights. “B” denied him that right. It was wrong beyond the mere theft. It was trampling the constitution.

    Actually, “B” exercised his free speech rights to protest. Action is also speech. It’s the same as shouting down Fred Phelps and blocking his protestors’ signs with signs of your own. Counter-protest for the block and win.

    What the Right fails to grasp is that actions garner reactions. They need to be prepared for that. Instead, they turn into WATBs as soon as they’re reminded the other side has a voice.

  59. 59
    Comrade Colette Collaboratrice says:

    @MikeJ: @Silver: For us humans, context is everything. How is it for your species?

    – Sister Boot Knife of Warm Humanitarianism

  60. 60
    Silver says:

    @Jackie:

    That part is really cool. And they didn’t even need to steal the grill…

  61. 61
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @MikeJ: Was the Koran burner’s message conveyed to his audience? I say, yes, it was. People understood that he disliked and despised Islam and that he was an intolerant petty shit of a person. He soaked the thing in kerosene and put on a grill FFS. His right to speak was not infringed. The skater also managed to convey a message as well. So we got two people speaking in a public forum. Moreover, no one’s First Amendment rights were violated. The skater was not a government actor suppressing speech.

  62. 62
    parksideq says:

    Isom is awesome. I’m not gonna lose a wink of sleep over my support of his illegal act of tolerance.

  63. 63
    singfoom says:

    @MikeJ:

    “A” was exercising his free speech rights. “B” denied him that right. It was wrong beyond the mere theft. It was trampling the constitution.

    BZZZZZ. Wrong. He still exercised his rights. People knew why he was there and what his message was. He got his message out without the burning.

    He did not trample the constitution. He committed a crime against another citizen. A crime of property rights. He did not prevent him from speaking or getting his message out.

  64. 64

    That’s all right, “you are just trying to start a holy war” is not exactly hyperbole with the internet and a billion or so muslims who actually do see burning a holy koran as an act of holy war.

    Good that this kid had the balls to risk arrest for theft to stop this one from happening, but there will be more of this sort of thing happening, because we have free speech protection from the government in this land of protected ocean borders.

    Pretty cool to light a match in Amarillo and watch Kabul burn, or any number of other cities in the muslim world. deep thoughts.

  65. 65
    Midnight Marauder says:

    @MikeJ:

    As it is, some DFH just made the book burner look reasonable. Bravo, moron.

    Wow. I guess those trees must be seriously blocking your view of the forest.

  66. 66
    stuckinred says:

    @MikeJ: I bet you would have. And you think this dude is a moron huh?

  67. 67
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    @Brett: Your example is not equivalent. Now if the guy was stomping on his UHC sign, then they are equivalent.

    As I said earlier, I’m not going to get all whiny when someone has their flag taken away when they are trying to burn it.

  68. 68
    MattR says:

    Wow. I can’t believe the number of people supporting Isom. What he did was wrong. Plain and simple. If you say you believe in the freedoms America stands for then you have to include the freedom to be a hateful douchebag. And encouraging this behavior is just going to lead to an escalation and real violence in the future. (I noted last night that I make an exception if the book/flag has additional historical significance, but if someone wants to destroy it simply for its symbolism than they should have the right and ability to do so).

  69. 69
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @MikeJ: In no way did the book burner come out of this looking reasonable.

  70. 70
    slag says:

    @MattR:

    What he did was wrong. Plain and simple.

    What you said was dumb. Plain and simple.

  71. 71
    bemused says:

    @Ajay:
    Terrific. A religious nutjob is guarding plutonium.

  72. 72
    Midnight Marauder says:

    @MattR:

    If you say you believe in the freedoms America stands for then you have to include the freedom to be a hateful douchebag. And encouraging this behavior is just going to lead to an escalation and real violence in the future.

    LOLWUT?

    These “justifications” just keep getting more and more lame and nonsensical.

  73. 73
    Ash Can says:

    Actually, I’d love to see Grisham press charges against Isom for stealing his koran. It would be sheer box office. This is the sort of situation where the judge would find the defendant guilty, fine him a dollar, then rip the plaintiff a new one (or three). Context, as Comrade Colette says above, is everything, and this is true for legal matters too.

  74. 74
    stuckinred says:

    @MattR: Oh, YOU make an exception. Well, that settles it now doesn’t it?

  75. 75
    El Tiburon says:

    This has been one of the most contentious debates here on BJ.

    And Hamsher was no where near it.

    It is very amusing what can set some of you people off.

    Yes, I said YOU PEOPLE.

  76. 76
    Silver says:

    @bemused:

    He’s a rent-a-cop. You should be more worried about the fanatic religious nutbags in the Air Force who actually get to have fingers on triggers.

  77. 77
    jl says:

    I am going to sound like an old fascist grandpa here, probably.

    I am not a big fan of political theatre of this type whether done by the right or left. I think it should be a last resort when other channels of protest and public action are closed.

    The federal and state governments have to keep their hands off this kind of stuff. Local officials have to keep public order and safety in mind (like I suppose the next guy will decide to burn a Koran at a gas pump to dramatize Saudi connection, maybe?

    It is a matter of judgment. Local officials certainly try to game things, like setting aside bogus free speech zones half a mile away from wherever something is happening.

    But I think if some guy decides to be a jackass in public, I have a right to be a jackass back. Facing that kind of thing is the risk you take if you decide to do street political theatre.

  78. 78
    singfoom says:

    @MattR:

    f you say you believe in the freedoms America stands for then you have to include the freedom to be a hateful douchebag.

    So what’s the difference between being a hateful douchebag and being a thieving douchebag? I’m having trouble seeing the difference here.

    Like I’ve said several times in this thread. A got his message out regardless of the lack of a burning Koran.

    B stole A’s Koran. B is criminally/civilly liable for the theft. No one’s rights were trampled on, the Republic still stands and all I see is a bunch of drama queens screaming about the first amendment being trampled on when nothing of the kind happened.

    So please, illuminate me.

  79. 79
    Gozer says:

    Who needs republicans when we have the pearl-clutching brigade ready to faint and swoon and worry about hurt fee-fees.

    Let’s not stop bigots and haters from pissing all over us because holding it in is bad for their bladders!

    *groan*

  80. 80
    Cris says:

    If stealing a Quran from a jerkass Christian book-burner is wrong, I don’t wanna be right.

  81. 81
    MattR says:

    @Brett:

    Would people be cheering if some guy was holding up a pro-UHC sign in some conservative town, and a crowd of conservative folks ran up and stole it from him?

    Good analogy that is not quite as inflammatory (pun intended) as a flag about to be burnt.

    @Midnight Marauder: Are you serious? You don’t get how the freedom of speech and the freedom to protest exist for everyone, even those people whose views you fiend abhorrent? Do I really need to dig up all the quotes from our founding fathers and other philosophers/politicians explaining this?

    And would you really have been shocked if this ended up in a violent confrontation is one of Graham’s supporters had seen Isom and had tried to stop him?

  82. 82
    me says:

    @MattR: By that logic, the bikers revving their engines at soldiers funerals to drown out the Phelps’ are interfering with his free speech rights?

  83. 83

    @El Tiburon:

    And Hamsher was no where near it.

    I thought she was still nailed to the public option cross? somebody ought to bring her down for a debate that’s relevant. Or, maybe you could pop in and say something smart…..ass.

  84. 84
    New Yorker says:

    @MattR:

    And encouraging this behavior is just going to lead to an escalation and real violence in the future.

    What? Who do you think is more likely to escalate violence in the future: a shirtless longhair and a bunch of Unitarians, or the millions of fire-and-brimstone evangelicals, armed to the teeth and egged on by FOX News and Sarah Palin to see Muslims as hostile invading aliens in their country?

    Isom was trying in his own way to de-escalate that potential for violence. Did he commit a wrong according to the letter of the law? Yes. Let Grisham press charges. Let him prove to the world that he’s more than just a demagogue after his moment of media glory.

    I don’t know how one can be a human being without, on occasion, having one’s moral sense of right and wrong clash with what the law says.

  85. 85
    slag says:

    @El Tiburon: Actually, this debate is fairly emblematic. If we weren’t all a little bit contrarian, we’d be conservatives.

  86. 86
    Ash Can says:

    @Belafon (formerly anonevent): Even then, it wouldn’t be equivalent. That UHC sign would have to have broad and obvious religious significance as well. To the people surrounding the signholder. With the signholder himself doing the stomping.

  87. 87
    stuckinred says:

    @MattR: You have to break eggs to make an omelet. All this bullshit from the wingnuts with guns and second amendment remedies and you are worried about this? Just let em roll over you.

  88. 88
    curious says:

    there’s also probably some minor ordinance about not burning crap at the local park so…. skater dude wins.

    eta: i mean you’re probably not allowed to burn things randomly, not that the quran is crap, lest anyone take offense.

  89. 89
    singfoom says:

    @jl:

    But I think if some guy decides to be a jackass in public, I have a right to be a jackass back. Facing that kind of thing is the risk you take if you decide to do street political theatre.

    This 1 million times. The burner was a jackass doing political theater. His message GOT OUT regardless of the burning not happening. He’s still known as a jackass and an intolerant bigot and is not reasonable. The script for his little street theater of burning the Koran went off the rails when a new understudy came in and upstaged him.

    Yes, it was technically a crime to steal the Koran. No, it was not morally wrong. No, it was not supression of Mr. Koran Burner’s free speech rights. The lack of a Koran did not stop him from delivering his jackassery.

  90. 90
    MattR says:

    So if stealing his Koran was OK, would stealing his car to prevent him from getting to the pretest have been OK? Or what about just spitting in his face? How about punching him in the arm or the head? About a nice mob beating instead? What exactly are you all willing to allow to prevent protests that you don’t like?

  91. 91
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @MattR: The hateful douchebag managed to convey his message of hateful douchebaggery. At the same time, a counter-message was conveyed as well by both the skater and the people who put their hands on the grill.

    As far as the taking of the Koran goes, one could argue that the skater was acting to protect the safety of the protestors with their hands on the grill because he believed that the book burner was going to light it despite their presence. He then looked for a responsible person to whom he could deliver the the Koran and placed it in that person’s hands.

  92. 92
    Rosalita says:

    @Linda Featheringill:

    The paper has words on it. We like words. We respect them. We think they have a lot of power.

    Like that thing we call the Constitution, that lists the rights that people are bickering about?

    Well said, BTW

  93. 93
    Corner Stone says:

    @MattR:

    even those people whose views you fiend abhorrent?

    Classic typo my man.

  94. 94
    MattR says:

    @singfoom: I am glad that you decided that he got his message out exactly the way he wanted it to. So I am sure you have no objection to “free speech” zones that leave the protesters out of sight from those they are protesting since they get on the news anyway and that gets their message across.

    @stuckinred: Sorry, but the flip side of that is that if you are one of the “good guys” you are naturally starting at a disadvantage. That is just one of the consequences of having a conscience and ethics and following rules.

  95. 95
    Ash Can says:

    @MattR: Can you smell Chinese food yet?

  96. 96
    slag says:

    @MattR: We’ll start with calling stealing a Quran ok and go from there. This isn’t as morally contentious as you seem to want it to be.

    Full disclosure: I jaywalk from time-to-time and have, on occasion, used company resources for personal reasons. So, take my moral compass with a grain of Himalayan salt.

  97. 97
    New Yorker says:

    @MattR:

    Are you really telling us that swiping his kerosene-doused Quran is on the same level as a gang beating him up?

  98. 98
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @MattR: the protest happened; it just didn’t go completely as Grisham planned. Protests can generate counter-protests.

  99. 99
    Tom Hilton says:

    If I ran Voice of America, I would hype the living shit out of this story (and also the story of the church in Tennessee that welcomed the new mosque next door) all over the Middle East.

  100. 100
    Mike E says:

    He would have been cooler if had Judas Priest’s “Breaking the Law!” playing on his iPod whilst swiping that shithead’s Quran… AND he should have circled back and drank his milkshake too. Also.

  101. 101
    MattR says:

    @slag:

    We’ll start with calling stealing a Quran ok and go from there. This isn’t as morally contentious as you seem to want it to be.

    What happens when a teabagger decides stealing a sign is the same as stealing a Koran?

    @Omnes Omnibus: I have no problem with a counter protest. But if we start letting the protests and counter protests interact like this, there are gonna be riots in the near future.

  102. 102
    Xinark says:

    Okay, so, as a lurker who never comments, I want to see if I follow:

    The big question is where in the legal gray area does this act fall, am I right? Most people are saying that this kid is a hero for stealing the Qur’an to counteract all the anti-Islamic furor building in this country, that what he did was justifiable civil disobedience in the face of an unashamedly ignorant act. Some, however, are arguing that what this kid did was wrong, not just from a legal standpoint of personal property, but also from a Constitutional standpoint that interprets his act as an affront to First Amendment protections and thus should be condemned.

    I don’t think either is really wrong, but while I acknowledge the legal grey area this act inhabits, I still am heartened by seeing someone of my own generation sticking up for greater ideals (universal human rights, cooperation among peoples, not trying to bomb people because they wear a different funny hat than you) in the face of someone who, despite representing why upholding Constitutional principles is a hard task that may not immediately reflect our better, more compassionate natures, would only serve to foster ignorance and violent rhetoric among the easily influenced. Yes, the kid stole his book. Yes, other people put their hands on his grill, which while not outright theft is still messing with other people’s property. But he also stood up for the things we all arguably agree upon about this situation, in a direct, nonviolent, and visible way.

    Can’t we celebrate the spirit of the act, be heartened by a moment when yes, there’s hope for us as a species and maybe as a nation yet, while agreeing that it might not have been the best means of expression of that sentiment, when others might have better preserved both our humanistic ideals and our Constitutional principles?

    Gods, I sound like a dirty fucking centrist up there, but there’s no need to treat this story as though it were bad news, even if it inhabits a murky legal ground. Learn from it, do better next time, but don’t act like this is without some good in it.

  103. 103
    singfoom says:

    @MattR:

    Are you really going to try to argue that the message he was trying to make did not get out because the Koran was not burned?

    Also, you’re really going to make an analogy between a protest of one citizen foiled by another citizen to free speech zones?

    Free speech zones are completely irrelevant to this instance. The government did *NOTHING* to the Koran burner. Another citizen upstaged his protest. Free speech zones are nothing like this situation between 2 citizens.

    I’m sorry to blow your mind, but I do support the rights of those I disagree with to voice their views. I also support Isom in his takedown.

  104. 104
    Sentient Puddle says:

    Wow.

    A lot of you really need to get laid. Or find some hobby so that you don’t otherwise argue here about the legal and ethical issues of somebody stealing a Koran from someone else who intends to burn said Koran.

  105. 105

    I really do think, this is the most fascinating thread post and discussion we have ever had at BJ. It is crossing into all sorts of relatively new ground of truth and consequence and the nature of competing liberties and civil disobedience and the synergy that hate and counter hate creates, with the letter of the law seemingly on the haters side, but the law of righteous rebellion to letter of the law on the other.

    The question then might be, is it true the constitution is sacrosanct in every circumstance, and in being such, can it become a suicide pact in practical effect and a crime for the average citizen to take matters into their own hands to counter that freedom gone wild with misdemeanor, to lead us back from moral dilemma? And what, if anything, should the role of government be for all sides?

    I’m off to ponder while walking the mut.

  106. 106
    eemom says:

    This actually strikes me as an argument on which reasonable minds can differ. I.e., that rare instance where there’s really no call for name-calling.

    I think MattR et al have a point, especially with respect to where do you draw the line. OTOH there are also cases where I would support breaking the law to further a greater good — for example if I saw a neglected or abused animal in someone’s yard, I would totally steal it if I could.

    But maybe that’s not quite the same because it’s preventing harm to an animal rather than just stopping someone from expressing his First Amendment right to public assholery.

    Whatever. As I said, reasonable minds can differ on this one.

  107. 107
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @MattR: I am starting to get the feeling that you do not have much of a sense of whimsy or fun. In that case, I will reiterate my public safety argument: As far as the taking of the Koran goes, one could argue that the skater was acting to protect the safety of the protestors with their hands on the grill because he believed that the book burner was going to light it despite their presence. He then looked for a responsible person to whom he could deliver the the Koran and placed it in that person’s hands.

    Does that make it better?

  108. 108
    jl says:

    @MattR: Well, for people who have no judgment or common sense at all, your question is difficult to answer.

    I mean, you could filch the jackass’ Koran, or you could commit a terrorist act and blow up the whole town on the basis that it contains a jackass who pulls stupid stunts in the town square.

    It is a difficult slippery slope.

  109. 109
    MattR says:

    @singfoom: Free speech zones are completely relevant. If I had been arguing on First Ammendment grounds, you would be correct. But I have been arguing that our society should allow freedom of speech and protest, so I object when that is stifled whether it is by the government or another group of private citizens.

    I am not going to argue that he got a message out but I am going to argue that we have no way of knowing if that message was exactly the one he intended.

  110. 110
    singfoom says:

    @MattR:

    I have no problem with a counter protest. But if we start letting the protests and counter protests interact like this, there are gonna be riots in the near future.

    Then people will be handled by law enforcement for rioting. Which is how it should be.

    You keep clutching pearls and sounding like Maude. “Won’t someone think of the escalation?”

    Not relevant. Future situations under different circumstances have nothing to do with this.

  111. 111
    Cain says:

    So, I think MikeJ and others are mostly correct. A crime was committed. Emotionally, I’m on the side of the skater dude. It’s up to the douchbag to press charges.

    To be pedantic, I could argue just for shits and grins that this could be national security issue. if you light up and it causes an international incident beyond our borders that stands against the interest in the United States that could cost American lives.. then perhaps the crime the boy committed is still justified. If our objectives are hindered because our troops are now under attack by hateful mobs or gives comfort to Al’Qaeda can I argue that the guy burning is acting against national security?

    In any case, my personal feeling is that regardless if it does or not, he’s got the right to do it. We’ll have to apologize and then force to guy to watch troops getting killed and tell him it’s his fault.

    We may not like what people do but this stuff is a double edged weapon. I’m going to support it because one day, someone might steal my book and my freedom of expression and justice needs to be blind.

    cain

  112. 112
    Jackie says:

    @PurpleGirl: From now on I may just go by Sister Atom Bomb or Warm Humanitarianism. Is there a similar thing by the Pastafarians? The Palin one was fun but I don’t won’t to be part of that family even in mockery.

  113. 113
    MobiusKlein says:

    I wanted to have a ‘throw water balloons at assholes’ day myself. A little pickpocketing worked better in this case.

  114. 114
    wasabi gasp says:

    Here’s a little history on the christmeister who wanted to light up that devil book.

  115. 115
    MattR says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: That would make it better if it wasn’t for the fact that it is pure fancy, as Isom’s own words indicate.

    @eemom:

    But maybe that’s not quite the same because it’s preventing harm to an animal rather than just stopping someone from expressing his First Amendment right to public assholery.

    This was kinda what I was getting at with the exception I noted up above. A typical book or flag has no lasting value and is completely replaceable so its destruction does not bother me.

  116. 116
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @MattR: Of course, the message was not the one he intended to convey. But it is the same one he would have conveyed had he burned the Koran. The man looked ridiculous and bigoted. I don’t think he believed that that was going to happen, but it did. Burning or no burning.

  117. 117
    Cris says:

    I’ll go ahead and reiterate what others have said better: citing the First Amendment is only technically correct when you’re looking at government interference. The government wasn’t stopping this. I’ll assume Grisham had a permit to use Sam Houston Park for his demonstration. The cops were there to prevent violence, but they were not there to stop either the demonstration or the counter-protest. You want government-sanctioned free speech, you have it here, folks.

    So sure, Jacob Isom (whose countertops are surely suspect) acted like a punk. A skate punk perhaps! But claiming that Ison trampled Grisham’s right to free speech is tantamount to saying you can never interrupt your opponent during a heated argument.

    Yes, I’m going down the slippery slope. All the cool kids here are doing it.

  118. 118
    MikeJ says:

    The answer to bad speech is more speech, not stopping speech.

  119. 119
    Gozer says:

    Bottom line, this preacher-man has the right to burn this book (according to local regulations or whatever), but in this instance he’s being hateful for hatefulness sake.

    If I walked down the street doing some seriously hateful shit I’d expect that someone would want to punch me in the throat. They probably shouldn’t, but come on, you have to expect a reaction. It’s like the kid that goes around insulting everyone until he gets a beatdown. Is it “right”? Maybe, maybe not. But in the real world, the dirt you do always has a consequence. IMO this is the least of what could have happened to this preacher.

    He wouldn’t pull this shit in North Philly or Southeast DC or ATL or the Southside of Chicago.

  120. 120
    MattR says:

    @singfoom:

    Not relevant. Future situations under different circumstances have nothing to do with this

    Sorry, but this is bullshit. If you punch someone in a crowded bar and the guy shrugs it off and walks away, that does not prevent someone from pointing out that punching a guy in a crowded bar could lead to a brawl in the future. (EDIT: Or if it makes you feel better, if you recklessly swing your elbows)

  121. 121
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @MattR: If he goes to trial and I were his attorney, it would be part of my defense. I am sure a jury would buy it.

  122. 122
    MattR says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    I am sure a jury would buy it.

    I am sure at least one juror would allow himself to buy it, but that does not change the fact that it is complete BS.

  123. 123
    slag says:

    @MikeJ: This was more speech. This was a counter protest. This is not rocket science.

  124. 124
    Jackie says:

    @Jackie: What do you mean I can’t edit my comment. Sister Atom Bomb OF Warm Humanitarianism says fywp.

  125. 125

    @Cris:

    Yes, I’m going down the slippery slope.

    I made it to the bottom with all parts intact. So come on down, I think the Crocodiles are taking a nap.

  126. 126
    Xinark says:

    @General Stuck:

    The question then might be, is it true the constitution is sacrosanct in every circumstance, and in being such, can it become a suicide pact in practical effect and a crime for the average citizen to take matters into their own hands to counter that freedom gone wild with misdemeanor, to lead us back from moral dilemma? And what, if anything, should the role of government be for all sides?

    I almost feel like, in reference to this case, once a piece of property is used for the sake of a public demonstration — in this case, the pastor’s copy of the Qur’an — its status as exclusively private property becomes questionable. It’s a risky assertion to make, and the line between “theatrical prop for a public demonstration” and “unrelated personal object” can blur quickly. But in circumstances such as this, when the Qur’an was being used purely as a prop for a public protest, what principles do we go by — the ones that apply to public property as central to most demonstrations and protests, or the ones that still say no matter what that person does with it to make a public, political point, it’s still to be treated as privately-owned?

    I don’t have an answer. But it’s something that’s going to be on my mind all the rest of the day.

  127. 127
    singfoom says:

    @MattR:

    You’re not getting the point I was making. Laws are already written and enforcement primed if something like that should happen. So if people do get out of hand and riot because of something like this, they should be arrested, regardless of which side they are on.

    Also, as I have said. Mr. Koran Burner can press charges againt Isom. So as far as I’m concerned, he can press charges and all is well. Same thing would happen in a bar brawl. I don’t see the danger for the republic and I don’t think his rights were trampled. Sorry.

    I’m sorry if you disagree, but my judgement of this incident is isolated from any future hypothetical incidents.

  128. 128
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @MattR: Nope, you have about five seconds of a TV interview with the guy on which you are basing your view of what he did. You don’t know what he was thinking, all of his motivations, when he picked up the Koran and left with it.

  129. 129
    MattR says:

    @General Stuck: Did you find the staircase back to the top so we can keep doing it over and over all day long?

  130. 130
    eemom says:

    fwiw, no less a “hippie” hero than Rude Pundit has come out in support of the right of racist assholes to burn the Quran. (and he’s my hero too, though hippiedom eludes me).

    He also made the point, which I think is important here, that the fact that an American burned a Quran might incite some radical Islamist asshole over THERE to declare renewed jihad on the U.S. is NOT a valid reason to inhibit the First Amendment rights of some anti-Muslim asshole HERE. Because if you believe that it is, you must also believe that the people who drew the Mohammed cartoons should be censored.

  131. 131
    Silver says:

    I assume most of you would support stealing PZ Myers’ crackers and Koran as well?

    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyn.....ration.php

  132. 132
    geg6 says:

    @MikeJ:

    Exactly how? I have no fucking idea what you are talking about. Nobody trampled on anyone’s rights. The government wasn’t involved. No rights were involved. It was two citizens having a disagreement. Now, if the cops had taken it away from the dumb fucker, that would be one thing. But since when don’t I have a right to shout down assholes when they are speaking bullshit?

    Gawd, sometimes I hate the people on my own side almost as much as I do the assholes on the other.

  133. 133
    Cris says:

    @MikeJ: The answer to bad speech is more speech, not stopping speech.

    And sometimes the appropriate “more speech” is “Shut the fuck up.”

  134. 134
    Midnight Marauder says:

    @MattR:

    Are you serious? You don’t get how the freedom of speech and the freedom to protest exist for everyone, even those people whose views you fiend abhorrent? Do I really need to dig up all the quotes from our founding fathers and other philosophers/politicians explaining this?

    Explain to me how David Grisham’s protest was infringed upon, because all I see is a protest that happened, just not with the outcome its organizer intended. He still demonstrated against teh evils of Islam, he let the world know he is an intolerant ignoramus, and then someone came along and “stole” his Quran…that he was planning on setting ablaze. If you really think the Founding Fathers would object to something like this, you are an idiot. There is nothing favorable that I can say about someone who holds that kind of deranged position. On this issue, you are behaving like a flat-out moron.

    And would you really have been shocked if this ended up in a violent confrontation is one of Graham’s supporters had seen Isom and had tried to stop him?

    Um, yes. I would have, actually. Because people like Grisham (who I assume you are referring to when you say Graham, since that is not a real person in this situation) are cowardly WATBs who are not used to being confronted with opposition to their ideas. So just like you see with Republicans who actually face a serious, prepared interviewer and then crumble in the face of adversity, so you get this with people like Grisham:

    As the crowd jeered, Grisham got into a car and left peacefully without burning any copies of the holy book.

    Also, I really like how concerned some of you are about the Quran being stolen, but not this egregious theft:

    Protesters threw their hands on the grill Grisham planned to use to burn the Quran, someone took his lighter and Isom stole the Quran, leaving him with just lighter fluid.

    OH NOES! SOMEONE TOOK THE BIGOT’S LIGHTER! GET GEORGE WASHINGTON ON THE PHONE ASAP!

  135. 135
    Cris says:

    @Silver: Sure, why not. PZ was being a provocative asshole, and he knew it. I feel like the refs can lay off the whistle and let the players play ball.

  136. 136
    MattR says:

    @singfoom: We seem to be talking at two different levels. My point is that Isom should not have taken the Quran and we should not be supporting that action. The main reason is that we should allow speech and protest we don’t agree with or find abhorrent. But the secondary reason was that it has the potential to escalate. I am not saying Isom should be blamed for potentially starting a riot or something. I am just pointing out that he is lucky that no one saw him because it definitely could have caused an incident of some sort. Even though I don’t see this as anything similar to stealing from the rich to help the poor or anything laudable like that, I don’t particularly care what the legal penalties are for what Isom did. I am more focused on what we, as a supposedly progressive community, are willing to support or allow.

  137. 137
    Tsulagi says:

    Damn, I’d forgotten about Repent Amarillo. Last I saw on their site this self-called Army of God were looking to timeshare a 50 cal M2. Great site. Shooting sound effects and everything. Training schedules. Even had a “Warfare Map” giving locations of evildoers in the Amarillo area no doubt compiled from covert countertop intel. Real Americans in the heartland.

    But shit, seems their site is no more. Not even in Google cache. Must be the anti real Americans at work, or maybe Army of God General Grisham lost his job as a security guard and now can’t pay his hosting bill. It’s hard out there for the Texas Taliban UberChristians. Sad.

  138. 138
    Cackalacka says:

    Silver, MattR, MikeJ,

    The internet notes and thanks you for your concern.

    Personal theft, intimidations by non-government parties against bigot/sectarian asshole’s 1st amendment rights notwithstanding, the Constitution is not a suicide pact, and you do not have the right to shout fire in a crowded theater.

    If you think this is hyperbole, then you obviously haven’t ready ANY press releases with bylines sourced in any location east of Casablanca and west of Jakarta in, oh, the last thousand years.

  139. 139
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @eemom: I think the guy had the right to not have the government stop him from burning the Koran. That is in the First Amendment. I also think that the counterprotestors had a right to do their thing. It does not seem like violence was likely here, so concerns about public safety are not warranted despite pro and con people being present. If violence did rear its head like Putin over Alaska, the police were present. Moreover, if Grisham was concerned over the “theft” of his property, he could have complained to the police and had Isom arrested. Finally, since Grisham did not do this and he did make the news, I am guessing that he believes he was able to express his message despite the lack of conflagration as consummation.

  140. 140
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @eemom: I think the guy had the right to not have the government stop him from burning the Koran. That is in the First Amendment. I also think that the counterprotestors had a right to do their thing. It does not seem like violence was likely here, so concerns about public safety are not warranted despite pro and con people being present. If violence did rear its head like Putin over Alaska, the police were present. Moreover, if Grisham was concerned over the “theft” of his property, he could have complained to the police and had Isom arrested. Finally, since Grisham did not do this and he did make the news, I am guessing that he believes he was able to express his message despite the lack of conflagration as consummation.

  141. 141
    MattR says:

    @Cackalacka: If this is the equivalent of shouting fire in a movie theater, who are the people being endangered and how?

  142. 142
    Xinark says:

    @MattR: On your second point, any action that can be construed as provocative can lead to an escalation. This is something friends of mine in the LGBT community have had to deal with for longer than I’ve been alive, and what others who’ve fought for civil rights have had to do.

    We can’t control how people will react or respond, and while we should be mindful of how we act, sure, we shouldn’t be afraid to act out when it’s warranted. Was this one of those times? Maybe, but if we just worry about every way this could blow up, then we’ll never get anything done.

    For what it’s worth, it was a peaceful demonstration on both sides, and the violence would’ve been contained to a burning book, but instead wound-up being stealing that book and a lighter. I don’t see how anyone but the loosest of screws would use that as a reason to start a riot, but it’s not something we’d have control over anyway — they’d just find something else to riot about if they’re going to do it.

  143. 143
    slag says:

    @Midnight Marauder: Not to mention all those people putting their hands on the grill might as well have just reached up and ripped out the asshole’s vocal cords for all the speech they let him have.

  144. 144
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Cris:

    So sure, Jacob Isom (whose countertops are surely suspect) acted like a punk. A skate punk perhaps! But claiming that Ison trampled Grisham’s right to free speech is tantamount to saying you can never interrupt your opponent during a heated argument.

    That does seem to be MattR’s position here — apparently the Marquess of Queensbury rules are supposed to apply even to protests, and even if your opponent hits below the belt, you’re not allowed to do anything in return.

    In this case, I do think that Omnes is right — the fact that the kid stole the book while the other protesters were holding their hands over the grill probably means that he prevented them from being burned. So what MattR is arguing is that it was better to let human beings get third-degree burns than it was to steal the book that was going to burn them.

  145. 145
    Midnight Marauder says:

    @MattR:

    I am not going to argue that he got a message out but I am going to argue that we have no way of knowing if that message was exactly the one he intended.

    Then you are arguing about something that does not matter. You don’t get First Amendment protections on the quality or nature of your protest; you just get the right to go out there and make it happen, with the realization that other enterprising citizens might spring up to foil your well-laid plans.

  146. 146
    singfoom says:

    @MattR:

    The point at which we disagree is that I don’t find someone stealing a bigot’s prop stifling his free speech rights.

    I’m with Isom on this, morally and from the bigger picture.I still also support the Koran burner’s right to press charges for theft. He’ll look like an even bigger asshole, so I hope he does so.

    They’re both douchebags, but there is NO constitutional issue at play. I’m sorry, but I disagree and think you’re reading this completely wrong.

    Done.

  147. 147
    Not Really Michael Vick says:

    MattR – Is it OK with you if I torture my dogs?

  148. 148
    Midnight Marauder says:

    @Silver:

    I assume most of you would support stealing PZ Myers’ crackers and Koran as well?

    Ahem. The actual event you are describing:

    I wasn’t going to make any major investment of time, money, or effort in treating these dabs of unpleasantness as they deserve, because all they deserve is casual disposal. However, inspired by an old woodcut of Jews stabbing the host, I thought of a simple, quick thing to do: I pierced it with a rusty nail (I hope Jesus’s tetanus shots are up to date). And then I simply threw it in the trash, followed by the classic, decorative items of trash cans everywhere, old coffeegrounds and a banana peel. My apologies to those who hoped for more, but the worst I can do is show my unconcerned contempt.

    Is this really the comparison you want to make? Becuase PZ Myers didn’t even hold a public demonstration, for fuck’s sake.

  149. 149
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Midnight Marauder:

    Not only that, but PZ was essentially given stolen goods (someone else smuggled the host out from the church (which is private property) and gave it to him). So if you really want to get all up in arms about a theft, I think having someone go onto private property and steal an item is a little more morally suspect than taking away someone’s protest object at a public protest.

  150. 150
    gocart mozart says:

    @Silver:

    Isom stole Grisham’s book and gave it to someone else. That’s not cool, no matter what the sentiment is.

    Meh, and MLK was guilty of tresspass as were countless other peacefull protesters/lawbreakers. Sketeboard dude is guilty of theft [I don’t know TX law but in CT it would be larceny in the 6th degree, a class A misdemeanor] but I can’t think of better case in favor of prosecutorial discretion not to prosecute can you?

  151. 151
    New Yorker says:

    @Midnight Marauder:

    You don’t get First Amendment protections on the quality or nature of your protest; you just get the right to go out there and make it happen, with the realization that other enterprising citizens might spring up to foil your well-laid plans.

    Right, which is exactly what the Patriot Guard Riders do: they try to foil Fred Phelps’ well-laid plans to antagonize the grieving families of fallen soldiers.

    Oh noes! Fred Phelps is being oppressed, or something.

  152. 152
    MattR says:

    @Midnight Marauder: I agree with all of that with the limitation that the other citizens need to stay within the law to allow me to attempt my protest. If they out voice me or find a way to shield my message or distract me with a counter protest, that is fine. But that is what not happened here. What I want to know is how is what Isom did any different than stealing the sign from a lone protester?

    @singfoom: I completely agree that there is no constitutional issue at play here. I have said all along that my support is based on what I believe we as a progressive society SHOULD stand for and allow.

    @Not Really Michael Vick: It is sad that you think a dog is worth as little as a collection of papers that can be replaced at any bookstore.

  153. 153
    MattR says:

    @New Yorker: Actually, that was an example I was going to being up to support my point. We still allow Fred Phelps to protest with whatever signs and props he wants. We don’t take those items from him. Instead, we counter protest in a way to minimize his impact.

  154. 154
    me says:

    @Silver: Sure, but they would have had to bust into his house to do it which would have been a much bigger crime.

  155. 155
    Cackalacka says:

    @MattR:

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/quran_burning_protests

    ‘Another protester, Abdullah Hanafi, said that if copies of the Quran are set ablaze, the government should join forces with the Taliban “to force all the invaders from our country.”‘

    Do you think that these narcissistic Xtian ‘clergymen’ are aware that folks in certain areas have medieval views regarding to these pages of ‘just words?’

    Does that mean we need to be sympathetic to either brand of reactionary asshole? No.

    Are acts of disobedience amoral because the actee is a private party grandstanding with prospective violence? No.

    Might some 19 year-old kid in an American uniform caught a bullet because of these assholes you empathize with? Maybe.

    Does a hippie have a right to burn the flag? Absolutely.

    Do I have an obligation to save him when a mob of conservative nutjobs tear his limbs off? Hell no.

    Are either of these analogous? No. The hippie is playing with fire and risking his own ass. These douchebags with their Coleman grills are primarily risking the lives of others.

  156. 156
    gocart mozart says:

    @gocart mozart:
    Henry David Thorough was a tax cheat also.

    Skateboard not sketeboard which I think may be the sport of wacking fake birds with a 2 by 4 and John, why won’t Balloon Juice allow me to edit my comments post post anymore? Is it because of Sharia Law?

  157. 157
    Midnight Marauder says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Not only that, but PZ was essentially given stolen goods (someone else smuggled the host out from the church (which is private property) and gave it to him). So if you really want to get all up in arms about a theft, I think having someone go onto private property and steal an item is a little more morally suspect than taking away someone’s protest object at a public protest.

    More importantly, I think it illustrates just how nonsensical and misguided the position that MattR, Silver, and MikeJ have taken up in this thread. If defending your position leads you to making comparisons to situations that are egregiously dissimilar, and wondering not if bigots got to have their protest, but if it went according to their desires and wishes…well, chances are your position is extraordinarily weak.

  158. 158
    singfoom says:

    @MattR:

    As a progressive, I support confronting bigotry. That’s what we *SHOULD* do. If someone commits a misdemeanor and hurts said bigot’s feelings doing that, I still support it.

    I also support said bigot’s right to press charges for said misdemeanor.

  159. 159
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @MattR: Actually, one could also argue that property is theft, but where would that leave us?

    Both sides conveyed their messages. No one was hurt. Grisham did not want the Koran or he would not have chosen to burn it. Grisham is also free to press charges against Isom or to file a civil suit for conversion. People have pointed and laughed at Grisham for being a hateful douchebag. Our country probably looked halfway decent to the rest of the world. It seems that the system worked.

  160. 160
    slag says:

    @MattR:

    What I want to know is how is what Isom did any different than stealing the sign from a lone protester?

    Depends. Was the lone protester about to burn his own sign?

  161. 161
    Silver says:

    @me:

    But it’s justifiable, right? Because God knows that Bill Donohue the rest of the fucktards in the “I luv pederasts club” find the cookie to be sacred and shit.

    So, the difference is that you can steal the stuff of someone you disagree with in public. And you’ll be just like MLK Jr…

  162. 162
    me says:

    @MattR: It doesn’t support your point becuase the only difference between the Freedom Riders and Isom is the actual book theft which could have been solved by the Police, who were present, if it was a big deal.

  163. 163
    MattR says:

    @Cackalacka: OK. I wanted to make sure who exactly you were going to focus on. Now I have to ask if what Wikileaks did was the equivalent of shouting fire in a movie theater? Or how about our foreign policy in general? I have to fundamentally disagree with the notion that speech should be stifled because it may be unpopular with either our enemies, our allies or those in between. It should be discouraged, but still permitted.

    @slag: Why does that matter? Many of you seem to be focused on the fact that he was willing to destroy the Quran rather than the fact that the destruction of the Quran was his actual protest.
    (EDIT: By that I mean the burning had symbolic meaning to Grisham)

  164. 164
    me says:

    @Silver: Actually, you can’t, but again the Police were at the protest. Why didn’t Grisham have Isom arrested?

  165. 165
    eemom says:

    @MattR:

    What I want to know is how is what Isom did any different than stealing the sign from a lone protester?

    It is not different. If grabbing the Quran was justifiable, grabbing the sign is too.

    I also take your point that you are not making a constitutional argument here. You’re saying (I think) that as citizens of a society that respects the First Amendment, we ought not to resort to lawbreaking to shut someone up, no matter how much we dislike what he is “saying.” That’s a fair point, and it’s being overlooked by everyone who is arguing that as long as there’s no state action, all’s fair in love and protest.

  166. 166
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Midnight Marauder:

    Based on his/her last comment, Silver is trying to claim that religion doesn’t deserve any legal protection and any action taken that can be called a protest against religion is A-OK.

    It was pretty obvious from the first “it’s just a book!” comment. When it comes to religion, for people like Silver context doesn’t exist and Unitarian Universalists are equally responsible for the crimes of the Vatican because they all believe in the same Sky Daddy.

  167. 167

    @Xinark: Good questions on this you make with an open mind. From discussing it in earlier thread, I have been doing some thinking about it. Taking this comment from an earlier thread with relevant parts of the 2003 case.

    The recent cross-burning case (Virginia v. Black, 535 U.S. 343 (2003)) turned on the factual context—whether or not the prosecution had proven a specific intent to intimidate the homeowners. The decision struck down as unconstitutional a presumption of such intent, and further found that the combination of the cross-burning (with its violent history and meaning) + intent + the present ability to enact violence was sufficient to render the statute constitutional. The Court followed earlier precedent holding that “the constitutional guarantees of free speech and free press do not permit a State to forbid or proscribe advocacy of the use of force or of law violation except where such advocacy is directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action and is likely to incite or produce such action.” Brandenburg v. Ohio, 395 U.S. 444, 447 (1969). Brandenburg v. Ohio was also an earlier cross-burning case.

    This seems like the court constructed a test of sorts to separate odious but protected speech from that which is not protected that is excluded for incitement, OR PRODUCING IMMINENT LAWLESS ACTION.

    It is obvious that the preachers actions would cause lawless action, or violence overseas, at least, as burning a koran means something quite different to muslims, than burning a bible would be to us. The question is whether, after being well informed of what his actions would create, would that then meet the test, given the internet age of worldwide communication and video, of producing violence. Or incitement thereof.

    Seems to me it may well, and I suspect the dufus preacher finally got that through his dufus skull and that is why he called it off. But I don’t think we should limit every little thing that pisses people off, like cartoons and such, but I agree with Breyer, that burning a koran in this country in public and advertised in the age of the internet, puts it at least in the arena for consideration as excluded free speech.

    If you believe The kid was right when he said you are trying to start a holy war, why wouldn’t the government be right in coming to the same conclusion, once the burner becomes aware of the consequences of his act.

  168. 168
    Silver says:

    @Midnight Marauder:

    My position was simply that it wasn’t “Most excellent.”

    That’s all.

    I’m not the one who started to make a federal case out of it, invoking slavery, MLK, and the constitution, while at the same time making up new definitions for terms like “civil disobedience”.

  169. 169
    me says:

    @me: Bleh, that’s not I meant to post and it won’t let me edit. Just call me Marty Peretz.

  170. 170
    Catsy says:

    @MikeJ:

    “A” was exercising his free speech rights. “B” denied him that right. It was wrong beyond the mere theft. It was trampling the constitution.
    __
    People have a right to free speech, especially when they’re saying things other people don’t want to hear. Book burning, like flag burning, is political speech. Preventing a person from speaking is like preventing a person from voting.

    I had to re-read this several times to be sure whether it was concern troll spoofing, or simply the stupidest thing I’d read all day. The analogy in the second paragraph is so tortured that I don’t even want to waste time insulting it.

    “A” was attempting to destroy an object.

    “B” stole that object from “A” in protest.

    Nowhere in this chain of events did “B” trample the Constitution or anything remotely similar. “B” did not abridge the constitutional rights of “A”, he stole a piece of property. That is against the law, but it is not unconstitutional.

    In terms of right and wrong, there are two issues at play here. The first is whether or not the act of taking the Quran was illegal. I don’t think anyone is disputing that it was illegal in pretty much any jurisdiction in the country. And whether or not it was civil disobedience is irrelevant to that question: civil disobedience is, by definition, illegal. When you engage in it, you do so in order to make a point, knowing that you can and are likely to be arrested for it.

    The second issue of right and wrong is whether or not it was immoral. And that is a question that is far more subjective than you seem to think, because law and morality are not the same thing. There are times when the morally correct thing to do is lie, and times when it is morally correct to steal. You do so knowing that you might be held legally accountable, but you do so because you think it is the right thing to do despite the potential consequences.

    I’ve got no issue with what this guy did here. I hope he sleeps well tonight, because the good he accomplished far, far outweighs the wrong of stealing a book from an epic douchebag who was about to burn it in order to incite bigotry and hate.

    Edit: FYWP.

  171. 171
    Midnight Marauder says:

    @MattR:

    I agree with all of that with the limitation that the other citizens need to stay within the law to allow me to attempt my protest. If they out voice me or find a way to shield my message or distract me with a counter protest, that is fine. But that is what not happened here. What I want to know is how is what Isom did any different than stealing the sign from a lone protester?

    This is where you run into a lot of problems with your position. You talk about the need to have other citizens “stay within the law” to allow you to protest, without noting that no citizen here was arrested or had charges pressed against them in relation to the demonstration/counter-demonstration. And it’s not like you can claim police presence wasn’t involved, since “Amarillo police circled the block in cruisers and several officers in street clothes stood among attendees in case the crowd turned violent.”

    You say if they “find a way to shield my message,” then that is fine. Now, if your sole message is lighting a holy book on fire and someone comes along and steals said holy book during your demonstration before you can set it ablaze, you are just pretty much SOL. What you fail to miss is that both Grisham and that lone protestor have the right to press charges if they are so inclined, something that Grisham clearly didn’t think was worthwhile. So now you find yourself arguing a position more fervently than the bigot whose actions launched the discussion in the first place.

    I completely agree that there is no constitutional issue at play here. I have said all along that my support is based on what I believe we as a progressive society SHOULD stand for and allow.

    Um…what?

    Wow. I can’t believe the number of people supporting Isom. What he did was wrong. Plain and simple. If you say you believe in the freedoms America stands for then you have to include the freedom to be a hateful douchebag

    Are you serious? You don’t get how the freedom of speech and the freedom to protest exist for everyone, even those people whose views you fiend abhorrent? Do I really need to dig up all the quotes from our founding fathers and other philosophers/politicians explaining this?

    Free speech zones are completely relevant. If I had been arguing on First Ammendment grounds, you would be correct. But I have been arguing that our society should allow freedom of speech and protest, so I object when that is stifled whether it is by the government or another group of private citizens.

    I’m a little confused exactly as to how you can be arguing about things “we should stand for and allow” and “the freedoms America stands for” without making this a constitutional issue.

  172. 172
    PB says:

    Silver’s right. If you’re going to be consistent you have to allow the nut in Amarillo to do what he wants with his property, just as you would allow someone else to, say, burn the flag. It’s completely hypocritical to deny free speech to someone because you disagree with their position.

    Tolerance isn’t just about accepting opinions that you agree with, and neither is the first amendment.

  173. 173
    Midnight Marauder says:

    @Silver:

    My position was simply that it wasn’t “Most excellent.”
    __
    That’s all.
    __
    I’m not the one who started to make a federal case out of it, invoking slavery, MLK, and the constitution, while at the same time making up new definitions for terms like “civil disobedience”.

    Right. You’re just really concerned about book theft these days.

    We get it.

  174. 174
    Mnemosyne says:

    @MattR:

    The funny part is, by grabbing the Koran, the kid probably prevented the situation from escalating into something genuinely ugly.

  175. 175
    slag says:

    @MattR:

    @slag: Why does that matter? Many of you seem to be focused on the fact that he was willing to destroy the Quran rather than the fact that the destruction of the Quran was his actual protest.

    Hey-You’re the one making up the parallel. Not me.

    The point is that the Quran in this case was not the protester’s sign. It was not his speech either. It was someone else’s speech, in fact. In this case, the protester’s speech was the act of trying to burn the Quran. And the counter protest was the act of trying to prevent the burning.

    You asked if it was any different, and the answer is yes, it is different.

  176. 176

    @MattR: LOL, no, but you are doing just fine, and while I don’t completely agree with your take, it is a righteous one to take, for what that is worth. The jackal pack can be vicious, but they calm down when the sun goes down.

  177. 177
    Silver says:

    @General Stuck:

    You start to run into some odd issues though when you make the case that producing imminent lawless action halfway across the globe can suppress speech here.

    That’s not really a power I’d like to have in the hands of the Bush or Cheney families next time they get their hands on the executive branch of government.

  178. 178
    Cackalacka says:

    @MattR:

    You are conflating the intent of an organization casting sunlight on a rather dark corner (Wikileaks), with assholes being assholes (reactionary Christianist firethrowers and their reflections in the middle east.)

    Your foreign policy comparison is only slightly less irrelevant.

    Principles of free speech and private property ownership are all well and good, but in our world, actions of belligerence of this magnitude have consequences.

    Try ripping up a crèche in rural Alabama, or wearing a visitor’s jersey at a home game in Philly sometime; I’m sure you’ll find it most edifying.

  179. 179
    MattR says:

    @Midnight Marauder:

    You talk about the need to have other citizens “stay within the law” to allow you to protest, without noting that no citizen here was arrested or had charges pressed against them in relation to the demonstration/counter-demonstration. And it’s not like you can claim police presence wasn’t involved, since “Amarillo police circled the block in cruisers and several officers in street clothes stood among attendees in case the crowd turned violent.”

    Geez. Really? If the police don’t make an arrest there was nothing illegal? C’mon. You’re better than that.

    And I think eemom summed up the constitutional distinction pretty well.

    You’re saying (I think) that as citizens of a society that respects the First Amendment, we ought not to resort to lawbreaking to shut someone up, no matter how much we dislike what he is “saying.”

  180. 180
    The Other Chuck says:

    Yes the skater committed a petty crime. Civil disobedience owns up to breaking the law and takes the consequences for it. But at the end of the day, it’s up to the DA to press charges or not, and something tells me that’s not going to happen.

    Dude you have no Quran. God that cracks me up.

  181. 181
    Agoraphobic Kleptomaniac says:

    What’s with the destruction of books that makes liberals lose their minds.

    Any personal piece of personal property can be disposed in any way that person sees fit, barring physical harm to others.

    I should not be forced to have sanctity for the same stuff that you find sanctity for.

  182. 182
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @General Stuck: Sure, the jackals calm down, but only because the wolves come out.

  183. 183
    eemom says:

    @Midnight Marauder:

    No, you don’t get it, because subtlety eludes you.

    I have nothing against a good flame war, but I’ll say again, this really should be a subject on which it’s possible to disagree without flaming.

    And since you’ve missed this point before, Midnight Loser, I’ll just point out that I am never the one to START calling names.

    @geg6:

    I hate

    Yes, you’re good at that. Too bad it’s pretty much all you do.

  184. 184
    The Other Chuck says:

    Also too for all the crying and moaning about the rights of our book barbecuer, it’s not like skater dude intimidated the guy into giving up his first amendment rights or organized a ring of thefts to shut him down. He disrupted one easily-repeated spectacle with a stunt.

    Guard your shit next time.

  185. 185
    MattR says:

    @Cackalacka:

    Try ripping up a crèche in rural Alabama, or wearing a visitor’s jersey at a home game in Philly sometime; I’m sure you’ll find it most edifying.

    If you wear a visitor’s jersey to an Eagles game and a fight ensues, the team/city is not going to sue you for enciting the fight by wearing the jersey because they know you have a right to do so. The “shouting fire in the movie theater” exception is supposed to be narrow and restricted to doing something that would put any reasonable group of people into immediate danger and not be so broad as to potentially shut down any opposition to our foreign policy.

  186. 186
    slag says:

    @Agoraphobic Kleptomaniac:

    I should not be forced to have sanctity for the same stuff that you find sanctity for.

    No one’s forcing you to “have sanctity” for anything.

  187. 187

    @Silver: LOL, you think Cheney or a new Bush like wingnut in the WH need no stinkin’ badges or cases made to be lawless. What i am suggesting is the courts doing it, or at least considering it. And so is a sitting liberal on the scotus.

  188. 188
    Silver says:

    @Midnight Marauder:

    Anything else you’d like to attribute to me, while you’re reading my mind?

    I’d kind of like some direction on dinner tonight, I’ve been stuck in a rut lately.

  189. 189
    Agoraphobic Kleptomaniac says:

    No one’s forcing you to “have sanctity” for anything.

    Blocking my destruction of your symbols, or stealing it from me, is forcing me to respect your symbol. I have a right to destroy any symbol I own.

  190. 190
    Silver says:

    @General Stuck:

    Once you start down that road, how do you escape making any speech that a party anywhere in the world reacts to strongly enough to be violent a prohibited class of speech?

    Your point about a Cheney or Bush not giving a fuck anyways is duly noted :)

  191. 191
    wengler says:

    Reading this thread reminds me of how anyone left of Attila the Hun can’t win in this country. You took a funny story of an obvious win against a guy that whose agenda is to have a religious war against a billion people and you fucking parsed it to death.

    Thank God someone in this country takes action in at least one instance instead of having the Concerned Blog Commenters of America be in control. Hippie skateboarder 1, Concerned Blog Commenters 0.

  192. 192
    LanceThruster says:

    @Silver: I tend to agree. That was the whole point of defending flag burning (and against a special Constitutional amendment). It was the property of the owner, who is allowed to destroy their own personal property.

    Others would desecrate the rights the flag symbolized by attacking the protester and forcibly taking their flag in order to “protect” it.

    It’s an OK move by the kid as an act of civil disobedience(?) if he’s willing to face the consequences but it is still theft of personal property.

    On a side note, whether flags, bibles, Korans, or Beatles records…why aren’t these things covered by fire and anti-pollution statutes?

  193. 193
    Midnight Marauder says:

    @MattR:

    Geez. Really? If the police don’t make an arrest there was nothing illegal? C’mon. You’re better than that.

    No, I’m saying that a) the police used discretion in this circumstance; and b) the idea that all protests/counter-protest must “stay within the law” is a farcical notion. Sometimes, the very act of protesting takes you outside the confines of the law (Hello, Civil Rights Movement). It’s idealistic and lovely to believe that citizens of a society “ought not to resort to lawbreaking to shut someone up,” but that’s not how the world works. Sometimes, in order to make a point, you break the law, consequences be damned. And in this case, you have an individual who clearly decided the ramifications of his civil disobedience were worth whatever price he would pay in the legal system. I am perfectly okay with that.

    I am also perfectly okay with the fact that the bigot who had his demonstration plans unexpectedly unadjusted opted not to keep the public spotlight on himself by pressing charges. Although, I would actually prefer him to press charges, because I am all for bigots thrusting themselves into the national spotlight.

    It generally tends not to work out in their favor in the long run.

  194. 194
    Catsy says:

    Sometimes, in order to make a point, you break the law, consequences be damned. And in this case, you have an individual who clearly decided the ramifications of his civil disobedience was worth whatever price he would pay in the legal system. I am perfectly okay with that.

    This.

  195. 195
    Cackalacka says:

    @MattR:

    My last paragraph above was served to illustrate that words and deeds have meaning, and stirring emotions in others may not have productive results. It is an observation that most adults and some skater dudes have made for eons.

    The “shouting fire in the movie theater” exception is supposed to be narrow and restricted to doing something that would put any reasonable group of people into immediate danger and not be so broad as to potentially shut down any opposition to our foreign policy.

    True, but you are aware that ‘shouting fire in a crowded theater’ is not specifically relegated to ‘fire’ or ‘movie theaters’ correct?

    If I own a parcel of land across the street from minorities, do I have a constitutional privilege to erect a cross and burn it? It’s my land, after all, and my wood. If that family tries to stop me, using you and your concerned associate’s logic, well, that is trespass AND theft AND vandalism, daggumit, this is ‘Murca.

    Society has tip-toed around constitutional privileges since the ink was drying on the Bill of Rights.

    You seem to be confusing this skater kid with the Alien and Sedition Acts.

    Sometimes a private party stopping assholes from performing acts that enrage other violent assholes is just a private party stopping assholes from performing acts that enrage other violent assholes.

    But please, go on, and continue your principled support of sectarian violence and bigotry.

  196. 196
    slag says:

    @Agoraphobic Kleptomaniac: No. It’s not. In the same way calling you a an idiot does not prevent you from thinking idiotic thoughts or saying idiotic stuff. Even if I shout, “Hey, STFU, you idiot!” over and over and over again until you get annoyed and leave. You can still be an idiot.

  197. 197

    silver

    there are already exclusions to free speech. That is nothing new. unless you are a original text reader of the constitution, then consideration based on merit of a particular situation is never off the table. That is a living constitutionalist viewpoint/

    Otherwise, we will descend into vigilantism to correct abuses of freedom, like say, starting a global holy war because some idiot in Amarillo gets to exercise his American free speech. This is no small thing, and powerful consequences are in play.

    I do not take this position lightly, And am a staunch free speecher, but this is one situation that needs debate and consideration imo. Because it is going to happen again.

  198. 198
    MattR says:

    @Midnight Marauder:

    Sometimes, the very act of protesting takes you outsides the confines of the law (Hello, Civil Rights Movement).

    And that is a different circumstance and not what is being discussed here.

    I am also perfectly okay with the fact that the person bigot who had his demonstration plans unexpectedly terminated unadjusted opted not to keep the public spotlight on himself by pressing charges.

    The fact that this man was a bigot was irrelevant to his right to protest so lets leave that out. And let’s be honest about what the real result of Isom’s actions was. I don’t expect you to change your mind. I just hope you realize the ramifications of accepting the mob rules mentality. It kinda sucks when the mob turns on you.

  199. 199

    And the difference between burning a flag, bible, or grandma’s cornbread recipe is that none of these acts lend reason to believe they will produce violence to any significant degree.

    We know what public burnings of korans will produce as surely as the sun rises in the east.

  200. 200
    Midnight Marauder says:

    @eemom:

    No, you don’t get it, because subtlety eludes you.
    __
    I have nothing against a good flame war, but I’ll say again, this really should be a subject on which it’s possible to disagree without flaming.
    __
    And since you’ve missed this point before, Midnight Loser, I’ll just point out that I am never the one to START calling names.

    What in the world…?

    This is twice now that you’ve come at me like this, with the absurd caveat that you are not one to start calling names…immediately after you have just called me a name (Midnight Asshole, Midnight Loser). I will note at this point in time the only real shot I ever took at you was saying you were extraordinarily dense the other week (because you were at the time). I haven’t even resorted to the top-notch name calling like eeloser and eeasshole. But yeah, I guess saying things like I think someone’s position is idiotic is pretty rough stuff here at Balloon Juice.

    I really like what you call flaming, by the way. Silver says

    Isom stole Grisham’s book and gave it to someone else. That’s not cool, no matter what the sentiment is.

    and I snarkily note they are over concerned with book theft. That’s it. But apparently, that just fucking set you off! And most importantly, I never even had a comment directed at you in this thread, so I really have no idea where this is coming from.

    But I think this is where I point out that, contrary to your beliefs, you have quite the tendency for name calling. It doesn’t really phase me, but I just think you should get your story straight.

  201. 201
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @eemom:

    You’re saying (I think) that as citizens of a society that respects the First Amendment, we ought not to resort to lawbreaking to shut someone up, no matter how much we dislike what he is “saying.” That’s a fair point, and it’s being overlooked by everyone who is arguing that as long as there’s no state action, all’s fair in love and protest.

    I don’t think that Grisham was prevented from getting his message out. His point about his views on Islam was made loud and clear. As a matter of fact, it is getting wider distribution due to Isom’s actions. Burning the Koran is symbolic speech. The point is not to destroy the piece of property but to convey a message. Does anyone disagree? If the message is conveyed, the point of the act has been accomplished whether the act has been carried out or not. Take flag burning as an example. People do not get upset because a piece of cloth is being burned. As a matter of fact, the proper way to dispose of an old flag is to respectfully burn it. People become upset at the gesture of disrespect to the symbol. Attempting to burn a flag conveys that message just as well as successfully burning it. Grisham “spoke.”
    Isom spoke as well. We had competing speech in a public forum. I say it is a win.

  202. 202
    Midnight Marauder says:

    @MattR:

    Sometimes, the very act of protesting takes you outsides the confines of the law (Hello, Civil Rights Movement).

    And that is a different circumstance and not what is being discussed here.

    No, it really is not all that different.

    The fact that this man was a bigot was irrelevant to his right to protest so lets leave that out. And let’s be honest about what the real result of Isom’s actions was. I don’t expect you to change your mind. I just hope you realize the ramifications of accepting the mob rules mentality. It kinda sucks when the mob turns on you.

    The fact that this man is a bigot is the only reason he was protesting, so I think that’s a rather pertinent detail. And if you think that Isom stealing a Quran that was about to be set on fire is the fateful spark that will unleash mob rule in this country, you really haven’t been paying attention all that much.

  203. 203
    Silver says:

    @General Stuck:

    You’re going to end up in a situation where the best way to suppress speech is to have the opposition be as radical and violent as possible. That’s not a desirable outcome.

  204. 204
    MattR says:

    @Midnight Marauder:

    And if you think that Isom stealing a Quran that was about to be set on fire is the fateful spark that will unleash mob rule in this country, you really haven’t been paying attention all that much.

    I don’t believe that at all. I think that one day the mob will be a bunch of Christian fundamentalists and I’d like the right to stand up to them without the mob attacking me.

  205. 205
    Cris says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Then the ice weasels come.

  206. 206
    MattR says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    Attempting to burn a flag conveys that message just as well as successfully burning it.

    I agreed with everything up to this point. I think not burning the flag only because someone prevented you from doing so changes the message. And I think there are some here who would agree with that and are perfectly fine with it.

  207. 207
    Midnight Marauder says:

    @MattR:

    I don’t believe that at all. I think that one day the mob will be a bunch of Christian fundamentalists and I’d like the right to stand up to them without the mob attacking me.

    Newsflash: You will still have the right to stand up to them, and they will still have the choice of attacking you and facing the relevant legal consequences.

  208. 208
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @MattR: Where was this mob? There apparently were cops all over the area, yet no arrests were made. I don’t think that a protest and counter-protest that intermingled with the most illegal thing happening being the purloining of a kerosine soaked Koran from a grill is a mob situation. Well, maybe a Unitarian mob.

  209. 209
    MattR says:

    @Midnight Marauder: And what will you and the rest of the citizenry do? I am pretty sure you told me you would say that it all worked out in the end and the voice of the larger group of people was rightfully heard.

  210. 210
    MattR says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    Well, maybe a Unitarian mob.

    This made me chuckle. I brought up mob rule to describe Midnight Marauder’s belief that as long as more people favor something they can terminate any protests against them.

  211. 211

    Silver

    If people are so angry in general as to take the step of committing violence just to shut the opposition up, then we are likely well past any realm where civilized behavior and constitutional niceties will make much difference.

    This is not opposition, it is a specific response confined to a specific action that the response does not occur absent that specific action. And is preventable.

  212. 212
    Midnight Marauder says:

    @MattR:

    And what will you and the rest of the citizenry do? I am pretty sure you told me you would say that it all worked out in the end and the voice of the larger group of people was rightfully heard.

    This made me chuckle. I brought up mob rule to describe Midnight Marauder’s belief that as long as more people favor something they can terminate any protests against them.

    Because these are real arguments I’ve been advancing in this thread?

    No, they are not.

  213. 213
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @MattR: It does not change the flag burner’s message. It adds another message from those who prevented it. That message may or may not be a good one, depending on how they stopped the burning, but the original message conveyed by the flag burning attempt is unchanged. The flag burner called attention to his message. I happen to think that flag or Koran burning is a poor way to convey a message because people get so caught up in the method that one chose that they tend to lose sight of the the message one was trying to convey. That, however, does not mean that they were not conveying a message. Inarticulate speech is still speech.

  214. 214
    Silver says:

    @General Stuck:

    The problem is we are apparently already there. If you’re seriously worried about a global holy war due to one idiot in Texas or Florida with some lighter fluid, we might as well get out the crosses and guns and start humming “Onward Christian Soliders.”

  215. 215
    Cris says:

    @Agoraphobic Kleptomaniac: I have a right to destroy any symbol I own.

    Unbelievably disingenuous. Whether we’re talking about David Grisham or PZ Myers, we’re not talking about casual disrespect of a symbol, like if you had a Koran/Communion Wafer sitting around your house and used it as a doorstop or bookmark without thinking about it. These men, and the hypothetical flag burner, and the guy carrying a confederate flag at an MLK Day parade, are being deliberately provocative. I firmly believe they have that right. I also believe they have the responsibility to accept that they’re going to get some backlash.

  216. 216
    eemom says:

    @Midnight Marauder:

    You’ve been flaming those you disagree with this entire thread. IMO, ridiculing someone’s position instead of respectfully disagreeing equals flaming.

    And you did call names first, dude. Go back and read the prior thread. Previous to you calling me “dense” and an “idiot” I never said a rude word to you. Similar to “geg6,” who distributes free blow jobs to every male commenter who insults me.

    And yes, I can call names with the best of ’em when that’s the kind of company I’m in. But just go find a place where I was the one who started it.

  217. 217
    MattR says:

    @Midnight Marauder:

    Because these are real arguments I’ve been advancing in this thread?
    __
    No, they are not.

    Unfortunately they are the logical extension of the views you have been posting. And it reminds me the question I meant to ask. Would it be OK for a large group to physically intimidate a much smaller group into not protesting? If not, can they steal all their signs instead? If not, then why is it OK to steal the Koran instead?

    @Cris: For the record, I’ve got no problem with backlash. I have a problem with theft to prevent the protest from going on.

  218. 218
    Cris says:

    @General Stuck: And the difference between burning a flag, bible, or grandma’s cornbread recipe is that none of these acts lend reason to believe they will produce violence to any significant degree.

    Except for the cornbread part, I have to disagree. Flag burning drives people fucking nuts. A lot of them will happily kick your ass for doing it. I’ve never seen a bible-burning, but I know some adrenaline-fueled Christian evangelists who I can easily imagine going medieval on anybody who did such a thing publicly.

    And maybe your grandma’s a badass, too, and doesn’t take kindly to your kindling her recipe cards.

  219. 219

    Silver

    naw, we will be singing again Aura Lea and Here’s Your Mule, and fighting us here, so we don’t fight them over there.

    I prefer we not spread our stupid getting furrners killed in the confusion is all.

  220. 220
    eemom says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    Attempting to burn a flag conveys that message just as well as successfully burning it. Grisham “spoke.”
    Isom spoke as well. We had competing speech in a public forum. I say it is a win.

    That’s a good lawyerly argument, but I don’t agree that stopping someone from making their point through the particular act they chose to make it — which act, while reprehensible, is nevertheless within their rights — is acceptable just because “everybody knows” what their message was anyway.

    If I wanted to torch a flag and someone grabbed my matches so I couldn’t, I’d be pretty goddamn pissed even if everyone there knew I wanted to burn it — wouldn’t you?

    Or, to use MattR’s example above, is snatching someone’s protest sign ok if everybody had a chance to read it before it got snatched?

  221. 221
    Midnight Marauder says:

    @eemom:

    You’ve been flaming those you disagree with this entire thread. IMO, ridiculing someone’s position instead of respectfully disagreeing equals flaming.

    Yep. No one can ever respectfully disagree while finding certain positions and comments laughably absurd. You are right.

    And you did call names first, dude. Go back and read the prior thread. Previous to you calling me “dense” and an “idiot” I never said a rude word to you. Similar to “geg6,” who distributes free blow jobs to every male commenter who insults me.

    So because you never said a rude word to me, you are hereby off-limits for having your comments criticized on their merits? Duly noted.

    And yes, I can call names with the best of ‘em when that’s the kind of company I’m in. But just go find a place where I was the one who started it.

    Pretty sure this is a good place to start.

  222. 222
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Agoraphobic Kleptomaniac:

    I should not be forced to have sanctity for the same stuff that you find sanctity for.

    You can wipe your ass with the Koran if you want. That doesn’t mean you can’t expect people to be pissed off at you. The First Amendment is not a free pass to be as big of an asshole as you want.

    What is it with people who think they should be allowed to say any offensive thing that they want with no social consequences? You sound like Dr. Laura complaining that people were mean to her just because she called a caller a n* 12 times.

  223. 223
    Midnight Marauder says:

    @eemom:

    If I wanted to torch a flag and someone grabbed my matches so I couldn’t, I’d be pretty goddamn pissed even if everyone there knew I wanted to burn it—wouldn’t you?

    Actually, that’s pretty doubtful, since no one here gives a shit that the lighter Grisham was going to use to burn the Quran was also stolen.

  224. 224
    eemom says:

    @Midnight Marauder:

    whatever. You’re dense and an idiot, and I’m an eehole and an eeloser.

    Now we’re even — so if you call me names again you OFFICIALLY started it.

  225. 225
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @eemom: If the Klan wants to march through your town and people want to form a human road block to stop them, should they be prevented from doing so?

    And as far as lawyerly arguments go, this is a legal issue, right?

  226. 226
    Odie Hugh Manatee says:

    Kudos to the guy for having the stones to pull this off. He isn’t hiding and if the bible thumper wants to sic the law on him he is free to do so. The skateboarder obviously weighed this in his mind and decided to act despite the possible legal consequences. The whiners about his actions seem to miss that this was not some anonymous crime, he did it out in the open for all to see. He knew he was breaking the law and still decided to act despite the possible repercussions.

    He put the ball back in bible thumpers court and if he wants to swing at it he is free to do so. He broke the law and he knows it, but he did so to prevent a hateful act against a religion. More power to him.

  227. 227

    @eemom: I’m still stuck on blow jobs for insulting you, that blew my gutter mind.

  228. 228
    slag says:

    @MattR:

    I have a problem with theft to prevent the protest from going on.

    Well then you should also have a problem with the people putting their hands over the grill to prevent the burning of the book.

  229. 229
    Midnight Marauder says:

    @MattR:

    Unfortunately they are the logical extension of the views you have been posting.

    In no comment have I argued that “as long as more people favor something they can terminate any protests against them.” What I have maintained time and time again is that you don’t get First Amendment protections on the quality or nature of your protest. All you are entitled to is the right to assemble and protest, and you had damn well better understand that other spirited citizens might have intentions of foiling those plans. That’s it. At no point did I argue for a situation that would result with everything “worked out in the end and the voice of the larger group of people was rightfully heard,” because, quite honestly, I’m not even sure what that means.

    My main point, again, has been that this was a rather tame act of civil disobedience and the concerns about violence escalating in this situation are ridiculously overblown. Moreover, on the issue of rights and protections, Grisham has a clear path available to him if he feels his rights were encroached upon by Isom.

    And it reminds me the question I meant to ask. Would it be OK for a large group to physically intimidate a much smaller group into not protesting? If not, can they steal all their signs instead? If not, then why is it OK to steal the Koran instead?

    Nope, I am not OK with a large group physically intimidating a smaller group into not protesting, and I will note that has little relevance to the circumstances we are discussing in this instance. Can you cite where Grisham and his group were met with physical intimidation? And as for stealing those signs, where did they steal them? Did they take them out of their hands at their actual protest, because that would seem to be a rather poor showing from the protestors? Did they break into a warehouse or private residence the night before to steal those signs, because I’m petty sure that’s an entirely different set of circumstances?

    But here’s the real kicker: regardless of my comfort or approval of these actions, if I felt like the civil disobedience was for a legitimate cause, then I would tell them to go out there and make it happen.

    And I sincerely hope you can see the major differences between all of these scenarios you keep laying out.

  230. 230
    Midnight Marauder says:

    @eemom:

    whatever. You’re dense and an idiot, and I’m an eehole and an eeloser.
    __
    Now we’re even—so if you call me names again you OFFICIALLY started it.

    To be fair, I did not actually call you either of those names. I merely cited them as examples of the kind of sophomoric name-calling I could engage in that would be representative of your playbook.

  231. 231
    Cain says:

    @General Stuck:

    @eemom: I’m still stuck on blow jobs for insulting you, that blew my gutter mind.

    “blew”? :D Double positive?

    I’m wearing tunch underwear right now Flame me bitches!

    cain

  232. 232
    gil mann says:

    Just FYI, if anybody wants to burn this thread, I promise not to skate by and snatch it away beforehand.

  233. 233
    jinxtigr says:

    I just love how AMERICAN ‘Dude you have no Koran’ sounds :)

    I’d like to say to the Middle East, yeah, that kid? We’re like THAT. I think it extremely unlikely that the kid wants to learn Sharia law. But he’s totally willing to get in the grill of some guy who proposes to fuck with YOU- not because he’s gonna become your minion, but because he’s a free skater dude American person, and sees no reason your beliefs should be fucked with for sport.

    It’s your responsibility to not make ’em look like chumps- but some of our guys just TOOK YOUR SIDE against the risk of our misdemeanor laws and against the risk of severe burns. For YOUR religious freedom. Because they still think you should have the right to even be psychotic about magic books or whatever. Why not? If you’re not setting fire to me, why SHOULDN’T I respect your passionate feelings about some book or other? I might not share them, but we have this little saying of ‘but I’ll defend to the death your right to have them’.

    I’m very proud of skater dude. Dude FTW :)

  234. 234
    sherparick says:

    One of the reasons I hate Glenn Beck and Dick Armey is the way they have stolen our liberals and liberty loving example of our history from us.

    The Whigs/liberals (the Conservatives/teabaggers were the Tories) sons of Liberty stole the tea of the British East Indian Company and dumped it into Boston harbor. Technically it to was crime against property, but as another liberal wrote in the 19th century, at times the law is an Ass.” This was not Government or a thug stopping someone from speaking, but some one risking his safety and liberty for a noble end.

  235. 235
    jinxtigr says:

    Bottom line- leaving people’s shit alone should take precedence over trolling. The fundie was trolling. Skater dude contrived to let Muslims’ shit be left alone unharmed. I rule for skater dude on the grounds of, fundie was being a dick :)

  236. 236
    Older says:

    Sounds like grade school all over again.

    I still (heart) Jacob Awesome. Skate punks rule!

    And remember, I am Older than you. A lot older. So there, nyah nyah nyah.

  237. 237
    ornery curmudgeon says:

    It is a holy book to some: the man was going to burn a holy book. An action that could lead to minor violence or much, much worse.

    The proposed burning was incitement.

  238. 238
    MobiusKlein says:

    237 comments, and nobody has won the thread yet?
    Can’t we just invoke Goodwin’s law and be done?

  239. 239
    Alan says:

    So I guess I’m too late to participate in this thread, but I just have to add that very few things tick me off like hearing “liberals” who don’t understand what liberty is.

    Liberty is the principle that I have the right to do whatever the &^%$ I want as long as it doesn’t harm anyone else. I find the Koran burner abhorrent and I find his actions abhorrent but if I expect liberty for myself, (and I do) I MUST expect it for those I disagree with also or the word has no meaning. Citizens of a free society have an obligation to allow protests to happen even and especially when they find the message of the protests abhorrent. They don’t have to attend the protest. They don’t have to like it, but they cannot interfere. Stealing the book was interfering with the protest. It had the same interference with his protest as if a racist cut off Martin Luther King Juniors microphone as he was making his speech.

    For those who disagree with me, and if you find the Martin Luther King example too ridiculous to think about, please try to think about 10 examples of conservatives interfering with a liberal’s right to protest. If you would have no problem with each of your imagined scenarios in which conservatives interfered with the rights of liberals, then you are living in a pretty messed up place and not in a civilized society. If you find yourself getting angry at the imagined interference of conservatives with liberals, then you are a hypocrite and should rethink your positions.

  240. 240
    Petorado says:

    Congrats to Mr. Isom for the having the cojones to seize the day. Skateboarders rock!

    I’d hope folks in the Islamic world can see that the actions of a single American can prove that this nation is not just a bunch of idiots in the Grisham, teabag mold.

    His “Dude, you HAVE no Quran” has to be our rallying cry. Next stop is, “Dude, you have no tea bag,” and “Dude, it’s not just YOUR Constitution.”

  241. 241
    Agoraphobic Kleptomaniac says:

    @Mnemosyne: People can be mad all they want. But they should not be able to restrict my free speech.

    If I want to use a holy book as a doorstop, you cannot steal my doorstop. As much as everyone wants to dismiss it as Petty theft, it’s worse than that. It’s restricting speech you disagree with.

  242. 242
    LanceThruster says:

    @Agoraphobic Kleptomaniac:

    I agree. And I don’t have time right now, but I hope to expand on the other problems in this one brouhahah regarding the “heckler’s veto”. There’s much more involved than meets the eye.

  243. 243
    LanceThruster says:

    @MobiusKlein: I declare “Victory!” Mission Accomplished. Hitler. Also.

  244. 244
    John Roberts says:

    I suppose I shouldn’t be disappointed to see the left react like the right, that is to applaud trampling on free speech, property rights, and basic human courtesies if they like the person who is trampling and don’t like the person who got trampled.

    But I am.

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