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Man Arrested For Photo of Burning Poppy On Facebook

samzenpus posted about 2 years ago | from the sticks-and-stones dept.

Facebook 534

Barence writes "A British man has been arrested for posting a picture of a burning poppy on Facebook. The poppy is a symbol of remembrance for those who died in war, and the arrest was made on Remembrance Sunday. 'A man from Aylesham has tonight been arrested on suspicion of malicious telecommunications,' Kent police said in a statement after the arrest. 'This follows a posting on a social network site of a burning poppy. He is currently in police custody awaiting interview.' The arrest has been criticized by legal experts. 'What was the point of winning either World War if, in 2012, someone can be casually arrested by @Kent_police for burning a poppy?' tweeted David Allen Green, who helped clear the British man who was prosecuted for a joke tweet threatening to blow up an airport."

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better yet (5, Insightful)

fche (36607) | about 2 years ago | (#41956385)

Arrest the arresting officer on suspicion of stupidity.

Re:better yet (5, Interesting)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 2 years ago | (#41956465)

At the risk of invoking a Godwin so early in the discussion it is rather ironic how the police are now insulting the memory of all those who died to protect our freedom.

Re:better yet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41956653)

History is written by the victors.

Hitler was in admiration of the British and sought an aliance prior to WWII. Our (at least) freedom could've easily be secured without a fight.

Don't get me wrong, we certinaly made the right choice but I doubt for anything as noble as freedom.

Re:better yet (5, Insightful)

sribe (304414) | about 2 years ago | (#41956841)

Hitler was in admiration of the British and sought an aliance prior to WWII. Our (at least) freedom could've easily be secured without a fight.

Uhm, perhaps you should look at certain other countries and how their agreements with Hitler worked out for them, before you decide that it would have been such a grand idea to trust him ;-)

Re:better yet (1)

petermgreen (876956) | about 2 years ago | (#41956875)

Lets not forget that hitler and stalin made a deal to split eastern europe between them rather than fighting each other and that hitler broke said deal. Making a deal with the devil doesn't gaurantee they won't turn on you after they have built up their power base.

Did hitler really admire the british or did he just want us out of the way for a while so he could deal with other things? since he is dead we will never know for sure.

Re:better yet (5, Insightful)

Xest (935314) | about 2 years ago | (#41956715)

This is in part, part of the West's battle with Islam, and is not the first time this has been done.

The government introduced a law some time ago against inciting religious hatred and so forth to prevent people burning Korans and starting a riot amongst muslims in the UK as a result.

The problem is then that some of the Islamic extremists in the UK started burning things like poppies on remembrance day, and burning the British flag and so forth. Obviously a lot of people were pissed off at the hypocrisy of this, so the Police then started enforcing the law against this sort of burning too.

Whether the guy in this case is an Islamic extremist or just a general dick who knows, but that's why we're at the point were at.

Honestly, the lesson is that this is why we can't create laws against burning the Koran - because it is fucking hypocritical for there to be protection against burning something one group holds sacred, but not things other groups hold sacred and having people hence burn them. This really is a case of the slippery slope in action - what started out as a noble plan to prevent anger in UK's Islamic population over the burning of a Koran, has now created awareness of assholes everywhere burning all sorts of different things due to it getting in the news and resulted in a complete waste of police time, time and time again.

I don't blame the police, they're simply enforcing the law fairly and making it clear that it's a two way street. The problem is that in this case, the law shouldn't exist at all whether it's for the Koran, a flag, or a poppy, but fundamentally it's got to be one or the other, either you can burn poppies, flags, and Korans, or you can burn none of them. Currently it's the latter case, so at least the law is being applied consistently and fairly which is more than can be said for a lot of laws.

Re:better yet (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41956795)

Let's remember, this was originally from memorializing WW1 veterans.

That war was not about protecting freedom, serving justice, or doing anything except fight over a bunch of nothing. Wilson's Fourteen Points was his own imposition, and perhaps if he had not taken ill, might have availed of something, but most of the war was just pointless warmongering.

Re:better yet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41956489)

Those responsible for sacking those who have been sacked, have been sacked.

Re:better yet (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41956523)

According to the Guardian [guardian.co.uk]

"Officers were contacted at around 4pm yesterday and alerted to the picture, which was reportedly accompanied by an offensive comment"

(The offensive comment was "How about that you squadey cunts".)

So probably more an issue of getting the arresting officer and whoever reported it in the same room and giving them both a slap.

Re:better yet (1)

Minwee (522556) | about 2 years ago | (#41956701)

If you were allowed to do that there would soon be nobody left to enforce law in all of the United Kingdom.

Before long the entire nation would be overrun with paediatricians [bbc.co.uk] . Won't somebody think of the children?

Free speech is for useful speech. (-1, Flamebait)

concealment (2447304) | about 2 years ago | (#41956389)

The point of free speech is to protect informative discussion and analysis of policy.

Emotional gestures don't actually do that.

Burning flags, burning poppies, etc. express discontent but not much else. In fact, it seems to me that these events get in the way of actually having a discussion on the issue and getting closer to resolution.

It's more like karma-whoring than political speech.

Re:Free speech is for useful speech. (2)

Hadlock (143607) | about 2 years ago | (#41956403)

Slippery Slope Argument.
 
  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slippery_slope [wikipedia.org]

Re:Free speech is for useful speech. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41956423)

Slippery Slope isn't a real argument. It's a position people take when they don't have a real argument, as slipper slope can applied to pretty much anything. Try again please.

Re:Free speech is for useful speech. (1)

zippthorne (748122) | about 2 years ago | (#41956547)

The slippery slope fallacy argument isn't a real argument either, it's brought up every time someone uses an argument that resembles the slippery slope argument, but fails to recognize that examples of the slippery slope process can be found every field.

People desirous of the slippery slope's outcome call the process progress....

Re:Free speech is for useful speech. (5, Insightful)

Baloroth (2370816) | about 2 years ago | (#41956575)

Slippery Slope isn't a real argument. It's a position people take when they don't have a real argument, as slipper slope can applied to pretty much anything. Try again please.

Yes and no. Properly used, it is a perfectly usable and completely valid point. Here, for instance, the point is that if they start suppressing one individual's freedom of speech, there is less of a barrier for them to start suppressing others as well. It's perfectly true, as illustrated a thousand times (at least) by history. It's an argument from induction (countless examples of human history) rather than deduction (it actually doesn't follow a priori that one action will lead to another... but in practice it usually does). As such, it does not always hold true... but it often does (and of course some people use it poorly, to argue that one thing will lead to another, unconnected thing).

Perhaps more importantly, it can only be used in combination with some argument that the first step shouldn't be taken at all, because if that step should be taken and further steps should not, then there is no slippery slope. In this case, the argument is that freedom of speech should be protected no matter who it offends, which is a pretty reasonable argument.

How about reductio ad absurdum (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41956637)

Slippery slope can be a version of reductio ad absurdum, which is a reasonable argument. ie. if you follow the logical consequences of the proposition, you end up in a ridiculous place.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reductio_ad_absurdum [wikipedia.org]

There is lots and lots of legislation which now covers a lot of things that weren't dreamed of by the legislators. Petty bureaucrats and over-reaching judges are really notorious for doing that. See also: unintended consequences http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unintended_consequences [wikipedia.org]

Re:Free speech is for useful speech. (1)

Rhipf (525263) | about 2 years ago | (#41956763)

Not the OP but OK I'll bite.

Who decides if the statement is "informative discussion and analysis of policy" or simply an expression of discontent?

Re:Free speech is for useful speech. (5, Insightful)

fredprado (2569351) | about 2 years ago | (#41956411)

And certainly your idea of what is useful and what is not is the correct one and should be enforced by law, right?

Re:Free speech is for useful speech. (-1, Flamebait)

SylvesterTheCat (321686) | about 2 years ago | (#41956475)

And certainly your idea of what is useful and what is not is the correct one and should be enforced by law, right?

Hey, dumbass. He never said anything that his opinion should become law.
He was expressing an opinion. Nothing more, nothing less.

Stop inferring for others what you want to hear (or read).

Re:Free speech is for useful speech. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41956645)

hahahahahahaha.

You're literally inferring for others, while accusing him of doing it?

this is comedy. do you realize how lazy a troll you are? go fuck yourself.

It's not subjective. (-1)

concealment (2447304) | about 2 years ago | (#41956483)

And certainly your idea of what is useful and what is not is the correct one and should be enforced by law, right?

This isn't subjective. It's not a question of what one person considers useful speech and another doesn't, at least unless you're trying to defend the flower-burners.

Useful speech is the kind of stuff we see on the floor of Congress, in policy discussions, in think tanks, in political essays and so on.

Non-useful speech is karma-whoring, drama queening, and other forms of non-productive activity. It's not difficult to see the difference, which was clearly anticipated by the founding fathers when they wrote the Constitution.

Re:It's not subjective. (3, Insightful)

fredprado (2569351) | about 2 years ago | (#41956543)

You can't be more subjective than what you are describing. What is "kharma-whoring" or "drama-queening"? Where exactly something crosses the line between "useful policy discussion", and "drama-queening" for example? Should any emotional outburst be outlawed? If a people cries while talkign about something should what he is talking about be dismissed, or better, outlawed?

There is no such thing as conditional free speech. Any conditional free speech is no free speech at all, because there is always someone else who will be deciding what can be said and what cannot based on his own interpretations of abstract things like "emotional acts", as you so clearly showed.

Re:It's not subjective. (5, Insightful)

slim (1652) | about 2 years ago | (#41956559)

This isn't subjective. It's not a question of what one person considers useful speech and another doesn't, at least unless you're trying to defend the flower-burners.

It's on a continuum, and there must necessarily be a blurry line somewhere along it where the distinction is subjective. So in giving the judiciary the ability to make that subjective decision, you genuinely do create a slippery slope, towards the point where you have "free speech" as long as you stay within boundaries set by the Establishment.

Also, I question the argument that "emotional gestures" aren't "useful". Sometimes a dramatic gesture is what it takes to draw attention to a worthy cause. For example, Suffragettes chaining themselves to railings.

Re:It's not subjective. (4, Insightful)

sribe (304414) | about 2 years ago | (#41956895)

Also, I question the argument that "emotional gestures" aren't "useful". Sometimes a dramatic gesture is what it takes to draw attention to a worthy cause. For example, Suffragettes chaining themselves to railings.

A single poor fruit vendor committing suicide in a very public manner...

Re:It's not subjective. (1)

Smallpond (221300) | about 2 years ago | (#41956563)

Useful speech is the kind of stuff we see on the floor of Congress

Ha ha ha ha, whew.

"The U.S. Senate is a special place. I love all of you and especially your wives." -- Strom Thurmond

The point of free speech is that its free, not useful.

Re:It's not subjective. (1)

kraut (2788) | about 2 years ago | (#41956571)

Useful speech is the kind of stuff we see on the floor of Congress

Really?

Re:It's not subjective. (2)

mwvdlee (775178) | about 2 years ago | (#41956587)

I find this entire discussion on freedom of speech useless and therefore revoke your freedom of speech.
You are not free to disagree with me nor are you allowed to argue. Since neither will change my opinion, they are useless and therefore not protected by free speech according to your own previous statements.

Re:It's not subjective. (1)

canadiannomad (1745008) | about 2 years ago | (#41956741)

Uh huh, so your right to free speech ends at my "hurt feelings" or the "hurt feelings" of someone else, real or imagined?

Have you ever visited a legislature? (3, Interesting)

Kupfernigk (1190345) | about 2 years ago | (#41956757)

I have. I've spent some time in the Strangers' Gallery at the Commons, and I've compared experiences with people who have visited the House of Representatives. I can assure you that karma-whoring, drama queening and the like occur with depressing regularity in both places. Did you know that in the HoR they even have a kind of fake PR stunt where Congresspeople are filmed making speeches to an empty chamber so they can show them back home to make it look as though they are taking part in debates? At least in the UK we haven't got quite that far yet.

To a politician, "useful speech" is something that attracts votes or money.

Re:It's not subjective. (1)

i (8254) | about 2 years ago | (#41956823)

You are an extremely obvious example of a type of mind that will ultimately destroy what free speech is left.

There seems to be some sort of a mental blockage in certain peoples thinking about human rights. Could be underlying drift towards a totalitarian state.

   

Re:It's not subjective. (1)

sribe (304414) | about 2 years ago | (#41956861)

Non-useful speech is karma-whoring, drama queening, and other forms of non-productive activity. It's not difficult to see the difference, which was clearly anticipated by the founding fathers when they wrote the Constitution.

Which part of the constitution outlines the categorization of speech into useful vs non-useful???

Re:Free speech is for useful speech. (5, Insightful)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | about 2 years ago | (#41956427)

I deem your post useless. its harmful and I think you should pay a penalty for it.

how's a few days in the lock-up sound to you?

but you ARGUED for this. you agree that some speech should be curbed if its not 'useful' and your post was certainly not useful to ME.

Double irony. (0)

concealment (2447304) | about 2 years ago | (#41956505)

Double irony: people down-voting the original post so that it drops to zero and won't be seen.

Re:Double irony. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41956777)

Did the government down-vote you? No? Then it's not irony and you've missed the point.

Re:Free speech is for useful speech. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41956891)

But in your above argument, you found his post useful for proving that it was not useful, thus making it useful.

Re:Free speech is for useful speech. (5, Insightful)

SpaceWiz (54904) | about 2 years ago | (#41956433)

The point of free speech to protect unpopular speech.

Re:Free speech is for useful speech. (1)

Baloroth (2370816) | about 2 years ago | (#41956479)

Expressions of discontent, whether intellectual or emotional, are a vital component of informative discussion. That's the entire point behind organizing protests. It lets people (both those in power and those in voting booths) know that some segment of the population holds certain views, a segment that might otherwise go unheard or even suppressed, deliberately or accidentally. Of course, some people really do it just for the attention, but that is the downside of freedom: some people will inevitably abuse it (my signature is highly relevant). Freedom is worth that price.

Re:Free speech is for useful speech. (1)

Nexus7 (2919) | about 2 years ago | (#41956497)

There is no "point of free speech." Free speech just is, as is freedoms in general. If there's supposed to be a point to it, who is to determine that it is not being served by some action, so that action should be prosecuted? If the expression of free speech in some way threatens some other fundamental rights, then that expression should be stopped.

Re:Free speech is for useful speech. (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | about 2 years ago | (#41956527)

It's more like karma-whoring than political speech.

That sounds rather emotional. What are you going to do about that?

Re:Free speech is for useful speech. (1)

kilfarsnar (561956) | about 2 years ago | (#41956545)

The point of free speech is to protect informative discussion and analysis of policy.

Emotional gestures don't actually do that.

Burning flags, burning poppies, etc. express discontent but not much else. In fact, it seems to me that these events get in the way of actually having a discussion on the issue and getting closer to resolution.

It's more like karma-whoring than political speech.

So getting in the way of a productive discussion should now be a jail-able offense? I always understood the purpose of free speech to be preventing the government from censoring dissent or criticism. Seems to me that's what's going on here. It's not illegal to be a jerk, and it shouldn't be.

Re:Free speech is for useful speech. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41956683)

No, but there should be repercussions for being a jerk. While I don't support the state charging this guy for what he did, if a war vet was offended at the act of disrespect and decided to punch the guy out, I'd be okay with that too!

Re:Free speech is for useful speech. (1)

strength_of_10_men (967050) | about 2 years ago | (#41956551)

I actually misread the headline as "... for photo of burning puppy..." and I was duly outraged and saddened.

And then I read TFA and was made even sadder...

Re:Free speech is for useful speech. (1)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | about 2 years ago | (#41956901)

I really thought that all those red noses that cars put on their front bumpers were puppy noses.

how cool is it that the UK is so fond dogs, like that.

or, is it a reindeer. it does have a red nose, afterall.

no matter, they're both cute. carry on!

Re:Free speech is for useful speech. (5, Insightful)

MozeeToby (1163751) | about 2 years ago | (#41956621)

The point of free speech is to protect informative discussion and analysis of policy.

No, the point of free speech is to allow me to say whatever the hell I want without fear of government reprisal, so long as I'm not stomping on someone else's rights in the process. Whose rights are being violated by this man burning a poppy? There is no right to never, ever, ever be offended.

Emotional gestures don't actually do that.

Yes, they do. Some of the most important political statements in history have been emotional gestures.

Burning flags, burning poppies, etc. express discontent but not much else. In fact, it seems to me that these events get in the way of actually having a discussion on the issue and getting closer to resolution.

Expressing discontent with your country's leadership is one of the very, very core ideas supporting freedom of speech. Expressing discontent publicly anounces to other people who aren't happy that they are not alone, allowing movements encouraging change to grow and flourish from small groups to larger ones.

It's more like karma-whoring than political speech.

So what? Karma-whoring should be illegal now?

Re:Free speech is for useful speech. (1)

sribe (304414) | about 2 years ago | (#41956695)

The point of free speech is to protect informative discussion and analysis of policy.

Emotional gestures don't actually do that.

Burning flags, burning poppies, etc. express discontent but not much else. In fact, it seems to me that these events get in the way of actually having a discussion on the issue and getting closer to resolution.

Bull. Fucking. Shit. Expressing discontent is a perfectly legitimate commentary on policy.

Every once in a while I see a post here that makes me think "stupidest comment ever?" But there is no need to think or question this one, this is the stupidest and most offensive comment I have ever read here. Your argument is exactly the claim that dictators use when imprisoning (torturing, killing) their critics, slightly disguised by a pathetic attempt to make it look like reasonable opinion.

Re:Free speech is for useful speech. (1)

Minwee (522556) | about 2 years ago | (#41956721)

What was it Voltaire said? "I would defend to the death your right to say it, but I disapprove of what you say"?

Yeah, something like that. I'm pretty sure he would have agreed with you.

Fighting for Rights (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41956395)

"I disagree with what you have to say but will fight to the death to protect your right to say it."

The point (5, Insightful)

Meneth (872868) | about 2 years ago | (#41956405)

What was the point of winning either World War if, in 2012, someone can be casually arrested by @Kent_police for burning a poppy?

The point was that from 1945 to ~2010, they could not be so casually arrested.

Liberty is not static; it must periodically be re-conquered from those who would deny us.

Re:The point (5, Insightful)

fche (36607) | about 2 years ago | (#41956439)

"The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants."

Re:The point (5, Insightful)

zippthorne (748122) | about 2 years ago | (#41956591)

The problem is that, in a democracy, the tyrants could be the majority....

Re:The point (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41956687)

"The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants."

Yes, but that's the US version. We're looking for something a little more British Empire here.

If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

@kent_police: You broke faith with those who died. They cannot sleep, though poppies burn on Facebook's files. (With apologies to John McCray)

Re:The point (5, Funny)

ohnocitizen (1951674) | about 2 years ago | (#41956707)

Someone needs to talk to the tree of liberty about its ghoulish drinking problem.

Re:The point (4, Insightful)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | about 2 years ago | (#41956457)

note: those who would deny us *frequently* do not speak foreign languages and do not live in some other land.

more often than not, those who try to suppress freedom are coming at you from behind your back, not in front of your face.

(there was an old saying; worry more about arrows that hit you in the back more than ones that might hit you in the chest.)

Re:The point (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41956513)

Do you ever wonder what a post-war, post-violence world would actually look like?

Re:The point (4, Insightful)

Minwee (522556) | about 2 years ago | (#41956729)

Empty.

Re:The point (1)

Anubis IV (1279820) | about 2 years ago | (#41956585)

Liberty is not static; it must periodically be re-conquered from those who would deny us.

Conquering liberty is what the developed world is doing when it interferes in the affairs of other nations. Preserving liberty is what we should be aiming for.

But! (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41956441)

But I thought America was the oppressive country hat hated free speech, surely this cant happen in the UK! Why Europeans are superior in every way to Americans!

Re:But! (2, Informative)

RaceProUK (1137575) | about 2 years ago | (#41956631)

The UK has been trying to be America for some time now. We're like that scrawny kid who leans out from behind the bully, pathetically supporting everything the bully does.

What's the problem? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41956443)

Fuck that cocksucker. Throw his ass in jail and let some niggers fuck him in the rectum. He needs his sphincter stretched, bleeding, and bruised.

He also used some words... (5, Informative)

slim (1652) | about 2 years ago | (#41956447)

As well as the picture, he published the words "How about that you squadey cunts". (A squaddie being British slang for a low-ranking soldier). This at a time when emotions are heightened with the Remembrance Day.

The Criminal Justice Act says:

(1) A person is guilty of an offence if, with intent to cause a person harassment, alarm or distress, he— (a) uses threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour, or disorderly behaviour, or (b) displays any writing, sign or other visible representation which is threatening, abusive or insulting, thereby causing that or another person harassment, alarm or distress.

So that's the legal justification for arresting him.

I think it's an unjust law -- I believe in free speech -- but it's the police's job to uphold the law as it's written, not how it *should* be written.

Re:He also used some words... (1)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | about 2 years ago | (#41956507)

not sure how it goes in the UK, but in the US police have an amazing amount of discretion. they are not forced to follow written orders blindly. if they did, almost all of us would be in constant arrest.

have you never been pulled over and given a warning? technically, they should not do this and should ticket you every single time. this is a proof that they don't always do everything 'by the book'. to argue for that is to argue for being controlled by a race of machines. no one seriously wants that.

I have to believe that the UK cops also have quite a lot of discretion.

sadly, they (and we) hire robot thinkers more than human style thinkers. but the system DOES allow for the cops to 'value' what has happened and decide if its worth booking the guy or letting him off with a warning.

if you are really arguing for strict literal interpretation of every law, I suggest you just surrender to the nearest police dept since I can guaranteeyou have broken a few laws, in just today, alone.

Re:He also used some words... (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41956649)

Discretion is WHY those laws that everyone breaks (on average, in the US, 3 felonies a day) exist and haven't been modified to be more precise.

Without discretion the court system would clog up and/or most people would be in prison, leading to a country that basically bursts at the seams. Laws would be rewritten or revoked faster than you can imagine once all tax revenue dries up.

Or we can keep letting police officers basically decide what the law is--leaving your liberty in the hands of whatever individual is wearing a badge near you. Your choice!

Re:He also used some words... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41956675)

not sure how it goes in the UK, but in the US police have an amazing amount of discretion. they are not forced to follow written orders blindly. if they did, almost all of us would be in constant arrest.

That raises the issue that is being used to oppress the USA citizens. There is such an overabundance of (often enough conradictory) legislation that everyone is always guilty of something and it is only the whim of the judiciary that determines who is punished. Fortunately, most of the morass is devoted to smallish fines.

Re:He also used some words... (4, Insightful)

hawkinspeter (831501) | about 2 years ago | (#41956677)

You're right, the UK police do have a fair amount of discretion as to what action to take. Sometimes, though, if they get complaints from the public, then they'll have to be seen to do something.

To play devil's advocate; if you allow police a lot of latitude in how to enforce various laws, you're effectively giving the police a lot of power to abuse. e.g. a racist police force may choose to always prosecute certain races, whilst allowing their own racial group to be let off with a warning most of the time.

To my mind, most police in the UK will apply common-sense to situations, so I would guess that this case has to have some kind of external agitator.

Re:He also used some words... (4, Insightful)

CastrTroy (595695) | about 2 years ago | (#41956711)

Discretion can be a tricky thing though. One of my favourites is "let's let everybody drive 20 km/h over the speed limit on the highway" thing. So 99% of the time, you are ok. But once in a while a cop will be having a bad day and decide to pull you over and give you a ticket for something that people do every day. I would much rather they set the speed limits at more reasonable levels and enforce them strictly rather than let everybody drive over the speed limit all the time and use it as a way to generate money on the day you decide to start enforcing it.

Re:He also used some words... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41956821)

but in the US police have an amazing amount of discretion

Unfortunately that discretion is easily abused. Pull buddy over and 'on your way make sure you drive safe from now on'... Pull over someone you dont like 'you were .0001 over the max speed limit and I am taking you in'.

To allow discretion is to allow abuse for those who have money to pay their way out.

The proper way is to fix the laws themselves. Or remove them all together.

My friend had a car that he had changed the tail lights out to clear (with a red bulb). He got pulled over constantly because the law read 'light must emit a red glow'. Which it did. But officers would harass him (because they did not like his flashy car). He would even say 'I know you think I am breaking the law but I have a copy here you can read'. They would then go ape-shit on him. Then cite him for the ticket anyway. Not because he was right and they were wrong. But because he was bucking up on their authority. He had no less than 20 counts thrown out over time. The law was fixed to match what officers perceived the law to be 'the lights must be made of a red clear plastic'. At which point my friend put in the original lights. They then started pulling him over for other things. He finally got rid of the car just so the cops would stop harassing him. Suddenly he went from having to goto court every few weeks to get another ticket thrown out to hardly ever going.

Why do I bring this up? That very discretion allowed officers to break the law themselves and issue tickets that had to be thrown out.

Re:He also used some words... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41956597)

but it's the police's job to uphold the law as it's written, not how it *should* be written

I'd rather they uphold the spirit of the law. A literal interpretation of what's written can result in accomplishing the opposite of the intended spirit.
Same in the workplace - go agile by the book, become less productive.

Re:He also used some words... (0)

Inda (580031) | about 2 years ago | (#41956615)

Those words must have really offended those squaddies. I've always thought they were a bunch of pansies.

Re:He also used some words... (3, Insightful)

Zocalo (252965) | about 2 years ago | (#41956661)

Probably also worth pointing out that, unlike the US etc., the UK has no legal recognition of the right to free speech. Stupid acts like this, especially coming so soon after the recent case of offensive postings to Facebook etc. in the case of the missing April Jones, are not going to help convince politicians that maybe this is something that needs changing.

Re:He also used some words... (1)

serviscope_minor (664417) | about 2 years ago | (#41956663)

but it's the police's job to uphold the law as it's written, not how it *should* be written.

Absoloutely one hunderd percent not. Just following orders has never been and will never be an acceptable excuse. If you go down that road, you justify the actions of the SS.

+1 for Goodwin.

i thought britain was a democracy... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41956455)

i always thought it would be awesome to live in the UK because of the healthcare system but as a chronic troll I don't want to risk getting arrested for posting flamebait!

Re:i thought britain was a democracy... (2)

hawkinspeter (831501) | about 2 years ago | (#41956739)

Democracy is a sheep and two wolves voting on what to have for lunch.

The BBC has pedophiles and incompetent editors (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41956477)

The BBC has pedophiles and incompetent editors that post stories that are meant to suppress free speech and now this.... UK isn't as free as its citizens say.

Afghan farmer wants to know... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41956481)

...why the f*** you burn his poppies if it's illegal?!

Re:Afghan farmer wants to know... (1, Insightful)

hawkinspeter (831501) | about 2 years ago | (#41956705)

It's not the burning, it's the posting on Facebook that's the problem.

By the way, please don't be frightened of saying "FUCK", especially if you're posting anonymously.

Freedom of speech in the UK (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41956491)

Most UK subjects do not realize that we don't actually have it. Speech is not protected in the UK and that won't get fixed until the people in the UK realize that, because of the cultural cross-contamination from the US most UK subjects think we have the same protected speech as you fellows across the pond.

Re:Freedom of speech in the UK (4, Informative)

Dupple (1016592) | about 2 years ago | (#41956753)

Not freedom of speech as such but we do have the European Convention's article 10 guaranteeing freedom of expression in our Human Rights Act. There are some exceptions to this, however

Re:Freedom of speech in the UK (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41956839)

most UK subjects think we have the same protected speech as you fellows across the pond.

There's your problem right there, in the US they have citizens, in the UK they have subjects.

Re:Freedom of speech in the UK (4, Informative)

Bogtha (906264) | about 2 years ago | (#41956907)

Most UK subjects

That's "citizen", not "subject". Since 1983, practically nobody qualifies as a subject any more.

Speech is not protected in the UK

Yes, it is, through EU membership. Common law probably has a fair bit to say on the matter as well.

because of the cultural cross-contamination from the US most UK subjects think we have the same protected speech as you fellows across the pond.

Both the UK and the USA have limitations on the protection of speech. Lots of people fetishise the protection in the USA though, which is worrying because a belief that they have absolute freedom of speech results in an Orwellian redefining of unprotected speech as some kind of "unspeech".

Burning Puppy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41956549)

I read that as "photo of a burning puppy" and thought "fair enough". Not sure if I should be disappointed, or relieved for the puppy.

Random thoughts on this (4, Interesting)

ratbag (65209) | about 2 years ago | (#41956605)

Somebody brought this to the police's attention - they don't actively "police" facebook, looking for this kind of stuff.

We in the UK have a glorious (sarcasm alert) tradition of being offended and/or taking things personally at the drop of a hat - eg Mary Whitehouse' organisation, or the braying mobs demanding "death to all paediatrics" (sic) whenever a kiddie is murdered (most often by a member of the child's family, it seems, so why aren't they calling for "death to all relatives"?).

I suspect someone, maybe a member of the armed forces or somebody close to them, has seen the poppy burning and rather than thinking "idiot, let's not give them the oxygen of publicity", has instead gone off the deep end and started "shouting the odds", stating that "I'll swing for him, I will", "death's too good for them", "I didn't fight a war for the likes of them" etc. and called the police. Notwithstanding the fact that they would normally the sort of person who decries the wasting of police team and the fact you "never see a bobby on the street these days" and "the streets aren't safe for our kids anymore".

Unsubstantiated hearsay, I know. I'm just blowing off steam.

Would I be extradited (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41956689)

If I goatse the Kent Police department? I'm a US citizen.

Opium anyone? (1)

hackwrench (573697) | about 2 years ago | (#41956703)

And here I thought that the only thing that a poppy was good for was to make opium. That and making seeds to put on bread rolls that make people fail drug tests. "Officer, I wasn't using opium, it was poppy seeds on a roll, Honest!" They should arrest him for possession of drug paraphernalia, if anything. The current charge doesn't make sense and if it doesn't make sense, you must acquit.

What's a poppy? (3, Funny)

AK Marc (707885) | about 2 years ago | (#41956713)

Why is there no mention for those of us not in the UK what the symbolism of the poppy is. Is it like burning a flag? And why has nobody made the joke "Looks like the inmates are running the Aylesham"? Come on, it's easy.

Re:What's a poppy? (5, Informative)

Chrisq (894406) | about 2 years ago | (#41956815)

Why is there no mention for those of us not in the UK what the symbolism of the poppy is. Is it like burning a flag? And why has nobody made the joke "Looks like the inmates are running the Aylesham"? Come on, it's easy.

The poppy is the symbol of remembrance of soldiers who have died in war [wikipedia.org] . Burning the poppy is probably equivalent of the Westboro baptists "Thank God for dead soldiers" [msn.com] posters in terms of disrespect, upset to service family members, etc. In my view not nice but should not be criminalised

Re:What's a poppy? (2)

slim (1652) | about 2 years ago | (#41956825)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Remembrance_poppy [wikipedia.org]

Quite what it's meaning is, is a bit ambiguous. Is it an expression of pride in our war dead, or an expression of tragic sadness and desire it should never happen again? It means different things to different people.

Astonishingly, British prime minister David Cameron went on a jaunt to the Middle East to promote the British arms industry, while wearing a remembrance poppy. The same politicians who merrily continue to send cannon fodder on various foreign adventures, are seen looking solemn at remembrance day parades every year.

Re:What's a poppy? (0)

MacTO (1161105) | about 2 years ago | (#41956885)

The poppy represents those who died in war. Most people would consider burning a poppy as worse than considered burning a flag since you disrespecting those who gave their lives for our freedom.

Misleading title....of course... (4, Informative)

sunking2 (521698) | about 2 years ago | (#41956723)

It's about what was written in reference to it. The picture was fine, the words associated with it were deemed offensive. Debate all you want the worthiness of that, but at least report it like it is.

double standards (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41956737)

so its ok to burn a holy book, but its not ok to burn a poppy ? wtf britain ?!

Oh, just some flower. (1)

wvmarle (1070040) | about 2 years ago | (#41956759)

I really first misread it as "Man Arrested For Photo of Burning Puppy On Facebook". Shocked, I thought that would definitely be a good reason for arrest, for cruelty against animals.

Then I reread the headline, and realised it's an o, not a u. Poppies. So he's probably been smoking something bad. Reason for arrest, indeed. But who would be so stupid of putting photos of them doing drugs on Facebook? Shocking. The stupidity.

Then reading the summary I realised it's for burning some flower. Just a flower. Even more shocking - being arrested for burning a flower. OK that flower is a symbol of remembrance, and thus burning such a flower and telling the world you did it will certainly upset people, it's definitely not a nice thing to do, but also not exactly a reason for arrest imho.

So the whole issue is quite ridiculous. And a bit shocking, still.

1984 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41956761)

it's 1984

A polite word perhaps. Arrest is not the answer. (2)

HagraBiscuit (2756527) | about 2 years ago | (#41956767)

The good learned lawyer is completely right in his comments. I imagine there are graves of brave servicemen doing a 1200rpm spin-and-rinse over how much of a bureaucratic, oppressive, surveillance police state the UK has become. The flaming-poppy-posting tosspot has every right to act the goat. Everybody eles has the right to point out to him, his social network of choice, his ISP and the rest of the straight-thinking world how much of a tosspot he is and insist that he should obligingly remove evidence of his recent idiocy and keep his tosspottery to himself in future. This situation looks to have jumped a whole big wodge of escalation and gone straight to legal remedies.

How About That ... Cunts (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41956769)

The man in jail made a philosophical point -- along with the photo he wrote "How about that you squadey cunts" (as another poster informed us)

Well, how about that? He pissed some folk off, the police brought him in to have a little chat with him, and we've all learned a valuable lesson.

Speech may be free but it's not always cheap. Sometimes you have to pay a price. This asshat isn't going to spend the rest of his life in jail for making a cunt out of himself. He's lucky the police are talking with him, he should be more worried that a veteran might take his little joke personally and come around to explain in person just how offensive he was being.

Police are there to protect property (i.e. rich people's stuff) and keep the peace in general. Better the police quiet this guy down versus letting this thing escalate. Mister Asshat could end up dead and true innocents could get caught in a crossife

I've come to the conclusion... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41956791)

...that at least a certain segment of veterans were never fighting for freedom, but rather because they got a thrill from killing.

In Canada, a couple of years ago the President of the PEI Legion threatened lawsuits against the "white poppy" campaign. This isn't even burning poppies, this is objecting to others wearing a different poppy because the white poppy symbolizes the deaths of civilians during wartime rather than the red poppy which symbolizes deaths of soldiers. Considering the symbols both originated in the 1920s, this also isn't some insolent teenager trying to get a jab in at the old men.

Luckily, it seems the veterans who are willing to use threats of violence and suppression against others to prevent their freedom of expression are fewer in number than those who ignore what they were supposed to be fighting for.

What's more: a fake poppy (2)

findoutmoretoday (1475299) | about 2 years ago | (#41956793)

Poppy flowers don't grow in November, are in need of fresh earth and are ephemeral. No need to burn those.

Half to laugh (5, Insightful)

TheSkepticalOptimist (898384) | about 2 years ago | (#41956827)

I laugh every year about remembrance day controversies. In Canada there was a big stink this year about how school children should be allowed to opt out of remembrance ceremonies held at school. Someone gets arrested for burning a poppy.

Last I checked these men and women fought for our freedoms. While burning a poppy, speaking negatively about veterans, or skipping remembrance ceremonies because you rather sleep in makes you a dick, these men and women fought for the right and freedom to be a dick. Forcing someone to behave a certain way, or forcing people to participate in a ceremony is counter-intuitive to what veterans have fought for.

Freedom is not a give in, but people being dicks is a certainty.

Re:Half to laugh (3, Interesting)

slim (1652) | about 2 years ago | (#41956863)

Last I checked these men and women fought for our freedoms

Well, that's the narrative. In reality they fought and died because they weren't given a choice (at least, in WWI, which is the origin of the poppy as a symbol).

You have to blame the system (4, Interesting)

erroneus (253617) | about 2 years ago | (#41956829)

The players in the system are people who are often prevented from exercising their better sense and judgement by their regulations and policied. "Failure to act" generally leads to being fired. Here's a good case in point.

In many of my commentaries, I have shared the fact that I spent some time as a TSA screener. I have been faced with some rather unenviable duties both as a passenger screener and as a baggage screener. For the first two+ years of TSA's existance, I knew the system pretty well. (I don't think much has changed since then) Among these duties, I had to screen people who ... were not typical. While screening people, I had to do a manual patdown of a person with only one leg.

Though it seems unseemly, I actually did pat around the area where there was no leg. Something was in his pocket in that vicinity and had him pull things from his pockets. Among the items was a small bag of marijuana. I attempted to exercise my sense of better judgement and IGNORED the pot. (Oh, how I wished he told me "oh, it's green tea." because I could have easily had an out on the matter... in fact, I wish I had thought to say "oh! This must be green tea. I hear it is very healthy" giving HIM the idea...) But I attempted to ignore it. Another screener noticed it and started to report it. I had to fall into place or risk problems to myself.

The guy was held, then eventually wheeled away my police. Later, the police said "people, for such small amounts, please don't bother us?!" Policy actually changed to reflect better sense. But the fact was, there was no clear instruction at the time.

But we see policies and procedures often get in the way of better sense and judgement everywhere we go. From law enforcement to public education, we see stupid crap all day long. Are people REALLY that stupid or are we playing "CYA" too much to the point that things are simply ridiculous? I favor the second while I recognize that SOME people are not capable of particularly rational judgement.

Send everyone involved in the arrest to Iran. (1)

Kaz Kylheku (1484) | about 2 years ago | (#41956831)

Or North Korea.

They do not belong in the free world.

Really? (3, Interesting)

Murdoch5 (1563847) | about 2 years ago | (#41956847)

Why is this man in trouble, the poppy is a symbol of the worst mass killings to ever take place, which is infact all war is. Lets face it, the point of war is to kill, just kill for no real reason. The difference between a serial killer and a war vet is that the war vet was told to kill by the bully at school ( The Government ) and the serial killer took it into his own hands. I have absolutely 0 respect for any solder, war vet or anyone who plays a hand in hurting humans in an act of war. This goes for both sides!

People talk about a solder as a symbol of devotion and courage, my question is why? If the government hands me a gun and tells me to shoot someone, why should that make me a symbol for my country? I think the real symbols for a country are the people who progress science, technology and medicine. They are the people who we should respect, not the guy who grabs a gun and kills in the name of his country because he doesn't question them.

You always hear saying like "You wouldn't be here if they didn't fight" or "They protected your freedom", bull crap. War happens because people can't think of non hostel ways to settle issues. How about instead of getting hundreds of thousands of your own people killed you sit down and think before you act. I'm not saying that no one has to die but not the insane number of people who do. If you have to kill even 1 innocence person for 10 bad guys then the cost isn't worth it.
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