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Letters to the Editor: The 1st Amendment is meaningless if it doesn’t protect flag burning

A protester burns an American flag during a rally against police violence in Los Angeles in 2014.
(Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: If you burn your personally owned American flag, you’re destroying your property and not someone else’s. To prohibit this would negate the core 1st Amendment principle that no form of expression can be banned for nothing more than how much it offends others. (“Meet the man who made it legal to burn the American flag,” Opinion, July 1)

Leftists wanting to ban certain ideas from being expressed on public university campuses, right wingers wanting to ban flag desecration, and those on both the left and right seeking to ban pornography, all ignore the Constitution.

The 1st Amendment knows no political partisanship. No exceptions to its universal protection of free expression exist because of the hurt feelings of conservatives or liberals.

If any expression can be outlawed only because of its degree of offensiveness, we reduce the 1st Amendment to an umbrella that is taken away the moment it begins to rain.

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Edward Tabash, Los Angeles

The writer is a constitutional lawyer.

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To the editor: Has the Los Angeles Times no shame? Did the editorial staff actually approve for publication a column by Robin Abcarian celebrating the “accomplishment” of some leftist radical who systematically and unapologetically sets the American flag on fire?

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This is such a low blow and slap in the face to every patriot and military veteran out there, even for the liberal L.A. Times.

Bill Sutton, Glendora

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To the editor: While Abcarian’s column was accurate and fair, I do want to correct one possible misimpression -- the idea that the movement for revolution has no actual alternative.

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There is a Constitution authored by Revolution Communist Party Chairman Bob Avakian for the new socialist republic we aim to establish, and Avakian has also developed a strategy through which millions can be mobilized, as conditions develop, to make revolution.

Gregory Johnson, Los Angeles

The writer was the plaintiff in the Supreme Court case Texas vs. Johnson, which invalidated laws on desecrating the American flag.


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