In the days since Donald Trump’s ascension to the White House there have been protests all across the country. The largest, of course, was the Women’s March On Washington last Saturday. But there have been many other, smaller protests as well. At one of those protests, in Iowa, a FedEx delivery driver decided it was on him to take on protesters, and Fox News Insider is praising him for his efforts, calling him a “hero.”
A reporter for the Iowa City Press Citizen, Stephen GruberMiller, captured the confrontation and shared it on Twitter.
The driver, identified by Fox as Matt Uhrin, is seen on GruberMiller’s video stepping in with a fire extinguisher and grabbing a flag from protesters. He returns a moment later as the protesters try to light another flag and douses it as well as a protester with spray from his extinguisher. So he committed assault and attempted theft in addition to interfering with the group’s constitutional rights. But as far as we know, he wasn’t charged with anything. However, two protesters were charged with violating the city’s public burning ordinance.
Happening now: a confrontation on the ped mall as people burn an American flag as protest. pic.twitter.com/aPkMdls6oQ
— Stephen GruberMiller (@sgrubermiller) January 26, 2017
Ann Coulter crawled out from under her rock to praise Uhrin.
I will only use Federal Express now. THANK YOU, FED EX MAN! https://t.co/ZYTWJ8szdk
— Ann Coulter (@AnnCoulter) January 27, 2017
Replies to GruberMiller’s tweet indicate support for what Uhrin did, including this clueless remark:
@sgrubermiller if there’s “freedom of speech” to BURN a flag, there’s freedom of speech to STOP it. Kudos Mr FedEx!
— arcturus39 (@starrydays12) January 27, 2017
First of all, “arcturus39” needs to have someone explain to him that his rights stop at the moment they impede upon somebody else’s rights.
Second, whatever happened to conservative complaints that liberals always attempt to silence speech they disagree with? In this incident the exact opposite happened, and it is being cheered by Fox News. Yet that same network has attacked liberals for supposed violations of conservative free speech on multiple occasions.
It is my opinion that flag burning is an ineffective form of protest in most instances. It inflames passions and diverts attention from the reasons for the protest. But it is protected speech, and FedEx driver Matt Uhrin, no matter how big a hero he may be to conservatives, was out of line.
Conservatives and their media allies such as Fox News who claim to love the constitution need to admit that the purpose of protecting speech was not to protect “safe” speech that everybody agrees with. The First Amendment was written in part to protect speech that may be unpopular, because that is the type of speech that a government — particularly one headed by a Donald Trump — would find easiest to do away with.