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Flag Burning and Free Speech

September 20, 1998

Re "Overkill on Flag Burning," editorial, Sept. 15: You say in your editorial that it is wrong for America to outlaw flag burning. You say that by doing so, we go against what our flag stands for. I know being in the newpaper business, you believe in copyrights. We can buy a product with our own money but then there is a copyright that tells us we cannot do certain things with that product. What's wrong with America copyrighting our flag and saying there are certain things you cannot do with it? No one says you have to buy a flag but if you do, you are to show it the respect it deserves.

To me, the flag not only represents freedom but also all the service men and women who have given their lives so we could be free.

TED PEACOCK

Seal Beach

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As the dim bulbs in Washington try yet again to disembowel the 1st Amendment, this time by banning flag burning, it would be well to remember the suggestion of perennial presidential candidate Norman Thomas: "If you want a symbolic gesture, don't burn the flag, wash it."

HOWARD R. COHEN

Los Angeles

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As far as the American flag-burning amendment goes, the proponents demonstrate that they are nonthinking, anti-freedom, illogical and irrational. What these people are really saying is that a mere symbol of freedom (the flag) is more important than the actual practice of freedom (burning the flag). To put it very bluntly, that is, as Talleyrand once told Napoleon, ". . . not only wrong, it is worse than wrong, it is stupid!"

NEIL C. REINHARDT

El Segundo

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