March 11, 2003
THIS SEEMS PRETTY LAME to me, as does the limp response:
LA HABRA -- Antiwar protesters burned and ripped up flags, flowers and patriotic signs at a Sept. 11 memorial that residents erected on a fence along Whittier Boulevard days after the terrorist attacks in 2001 and have maintained ever since.
However, although officers witnessed the vandalism Saturday afternoon, police did not arrest three people seen damaging the display because they were "exercising the same freedom of speech that the people who put up the flags were,' La Habra Police Capt. John Rees said Monday.
"For this to be vandalism, there had to be an ill-will intent,' he said.
Rees said in order for police to take any action, the owner of the fence would have to file a complaint.
The "ill-will intent" seems pretty obvious to me. The owner thinks so, too.
Do the police really think that destroying other people's property is just another variety of free speech? Then there's this:
It's unbelievable, because there were absolutely no political messages on this fence. It was all about supporting our troops, which could mean bringing them home, and about remembering 9-11.'
Les Howard, a sociology professor at Whittier College, said the incident might be an indication of some confusion among people trying to stop a possible war against Iraq but uncertain how to express their sentiments.
The other possibility, of course, is that they were expressing exactly how they feel.