Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Flag Burning!

Three Yalies, Hyder Akbar Said, Nikolaos Angelopoulos, Farhad Anklesaria were arrested for burning an American flag. "How can that be?" you might be asking, as flag-burning is constitutionally-protected. Well, it turns out that the flag which they decided to burn was attached to somebody's house, and that the threesome have been arrested for arson. It's kind of funny in a way, and apparently nobody was hurt in this case. But they could have burned the victim's house down, could even have killed some of the occupants, or firefighters coming to extinguish the blaze. Let's hope that this is treated like the serious criminal offense it is, and not as a college "prank."

And by the way, I don't think that Yale gets off blameless here. Two of these guys are foreign students studying at Yale, and the third is an American citizen born in Pakistan. If nothing else, they are being bad guests. Two of these guys are visiting another country getting a chance to study in one of our premier educational institutions. A lot of young American citizens don't get into Yale. Isn't it just really rude to burn an American flag while you're studying here? To commit arson while a guest in another country? And shouldn't Yale impress upon its foreign students that they have some obligation to behave while they are here?

UPDATE: As I predicted, the students are now trying to characterize this act of arson as a prank. Lighting fire to a flag that is attached to a house is arson; it doesn't become a "prank" because the arsonist is a college student.

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