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Man Arrested For Photo of Burning Poppy On Facebook 534

Posted by samzenpus
from the sticks-and-stones dept.
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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Man Arrested For Photo of Burning Poppy On Facebook

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  • Re:better yet (Score:5, Interesting)

    by AmiMoJo (196126) * <mojo@world3AAA.net minus threevowels> on Monday November 12, 2012 @11:26AM (#41956465) Homepage

    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.

  • by ratbag (65209) on Monday November 12, 2012 @11:40AM (#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.

  • double standards (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 12, 2012 @11:51AM (#41956737)

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

  • by Kupfernigk (1190345) on Monday November 12, 2012 @11:51AM (#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.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 12, 2012 @11:54AM (#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.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 12, 2012 @11:56AM (#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.

  • by erroneus (253617) on Monday November 12, 2012 @11:57AM (#41956829) Homepage

    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.

  • Really? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Murdoch5 (1563847) on Monday November 12, 2012 @11:58AM (#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.
  • Re:Half to laugh (Score:4, Interesting)

    by slim (1652) <{john} {at} {hartnup.net}> on Monday November 12, 2012 @11:59AM (#41956863) Homepage

    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).

  • by concealment (2447304) on Monday November 12, 2012 @12:07PM (#41956959) Homepage Journal

    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.

    The standard wasn't "emotional acts," but speech that would fit into political analysis versus speech that does not.

    This isn't a negative standard, such as "His speech is emotional, ban it!"

    It's a positive standard: the free speech we want to protect comes in the form of political speech that is analytical, informative and discursive, thus is useful to making policy decisions.

    Anything else would not be protected.

  • by guises (2423402) on Monday November 12, 2012 @12:13PM (#41957023)

    The point of free speech to protect unpopular speech.

    That's what he said: "The point of free speech is to protect informative discussion and analysis of policy."
    What do you think that means?

    It's not really true regardless - free speech, like freedom of the press and many other rights, is an attempt to reign in corruption and tyranny. Protecting unpopular speech is just a means to an end. The GP really has a point here, he clearly wasn't trolling. Shame he was modded down just because people disagree with the point he was making.

    As for the point he was making: I disagree with it. It's true that flag burning can get in the way of rational discussion, but if you've ever been to a protest you know that they aren't places for rational discourse. They're places for outrage and people doing stupid shit. You don't want the people to do this, it can really harm a good cause when a protest turns ugly, but a protest that is guaranteed to be orderly is a protest over an issue that no one cares about.

    Outlawing flag burning, or outlawing cursing at authorities, or outlawing stupid chants, means outlawing protests. And as much as rational discourse is needed to find solutions to problems, protests are needed to implement those solutions. (Yes, really. Some protests are stupid, some are useless, but others have changed the world.)

  • by slim (1652) <{john} {at} {hartnup.net}> on Monday November 12, 2012 @12:40PM (#41957343) Homepage

    the white poppy symbolizes the deaths of civilians during wartime rather than the red poppy which symbolizes deaths of soldiers.

    In fact the white poppy symbolises all victims of all wars; civilians and soldiers on all sides.

    I've considered wearing a white poppy, but I decided that whatever my intention, it's going to upset people, which I don't want to do. The red poppy means different things to different people. For some it's "Let us honour these noble sacrifices", for others it's "Let's mourn these tragic and avoidable deaths". Unfortunately in wearing the white poppy, you're at least *suggesting* to *all* wearers of red poppies, that you reject *their* reading of the symbolism.

    You could wear both, of course. I choose to wear neither, and share my opinions on war in other ways.

  • Re:better yet (Score:5, Interesting)

    by slim (1652) <{john} {at} {hartnup.net}> on Monday November 12, 2012 @12:46PM (#41957441) Homepage

    It would have been quite cosy. Britain already had a German monarchy (and still does). I don't think Germany would have invaded the UK if an alliance with Nazi Germany had been made. Of course Jews, Gypsies, homosexuals and other minorities would have gone to work camps or extermination camps, books would have been burned, all sorts of awful things. But the British ruling classes would have been fine.

  • Re:better yet (Score:5, Interesting)

    by nukenerd (172703) on Monday November 12, 2012 @12:47PM (#41957463)

    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 ;-)

    I have always failed to understand this much voiced argument. If Britain had not declared war on Germany (in honour of a promise to defend Poland which was utterly impractical to keep), it does not mean you had to "trust" him. Britain would not have needed to scrap its navy and dismiss its army. It could have maintained a position of neutral distrust, and should have done IMHO.

    In fact Britain was militarily stronger just before the war than it was after Dunkirk. Its catastrophic involvement in trying to help the French (and Poland !) severly weakened it, not least in the loss of most of its army's equipment and troop morale. Britain was left MORE in Hitler's trust as a result. It seems that even then, after Dunkirk, Hitler withdrew from the idea of invading Britain partly because of that admiration factor mentioned by the GP poster. He would ideally have liked Germany to rule the Continent while Britain continued to run its empire (very effectively, he thought) as a useful trading partner for raw materials.

    Those other countries you mention were just a land march away for the German army, then one of the most effective land forces the World has ever seen. The existence of the English Channel and the British navy (which was 4-5 times the size of the German navy) made those other invasions irrelevant to the UK however. Goering's boast of making Britain vulnerable to invasion purely by the Luftwaffe was never more practical than a boast and it degenerated into a battle of attrition between two air forces.

    That is not to say that my parents and grandparents were not convinced that Hitler's main aim and obsession in life was to destroy them. Nothing would ever have convinced tham otherwise. We now know that Hitler's obsessions were largely against communists and Jewry, and the UK was not part of it.

  • Re:Really? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Murdoch5 (1563847) on Monday November 12, 2012 @01:04PM (#41957679)

    Lets face it, the point of war is to kill, just kill for no real reason.

    You can face what you want, however stupid that may be. (yay for free speech)

    Are you honestly claiming that the response to Hitler was a war to "kill for no real reason"?

    Do you think that the UK should just have waited for the inevitable?

    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!

    Oh to live in such a simple black and white world.

    The real world is full of colours. Sometimes, simply standing by and letting the first guy continue his violence is worse in terms of death, pain and suffering that actually fighting him.

    In that case you are positively advocating for NOT minimizing the suffering.

    War happens because people can't think of non hostel ways to settle issues.

    Um, yeah? You know, sometimes people cannot be reasoned with. Sometimes they will be hostile no matter how hard you try to negotiate. Some people are just plain evil. You know, like Hitler, for example.

    If you have to kill even 1 innocence person for 10 bad guys then the cost isn't worth it.

    WTF? What if the one innocent person gives up his life to save 1000 innocent people? Is that worth it? What if that is due to non human factors rather than human factors (e.g. a natural disaster)? Is that worth it? Why does that change things?

    You can face what you want, however stupid that may be? So tell me the point, if it's not killing then what is it, find me a war where no one dies or at least no one kills.

    Are you honestly claiming that the response to Hitler was a war to "kill for no real reason"?

    Thats exactly what I'm saying, lets face it we killed millions trying to stop Hitler from killing millions! Was Hitler wrong, YES! However the solution isn't to sent our people in to kill in attempt to stop him from killing, it's a double edge blade, the second we start killing to stop him were not doing much better then he is. The entire base for WW2 was Hitler so why didn't the world team up against him and just solely go after him and him alone. The entire worlds vs Germany would of stopped most of what happened, the only people that should of died as a result of WW2 are Hitler and his supporters, anyone else who died is a casualty of an unfair war.

    The real world is full of colors. Sometimes, simply standing by and letting the first guy continue his violence is worse in terms of death, pain and suffering that actually fighting him? You don't stand by and let him walk all over you but at the same time you don't throw thousands of people in the fire in an attempt to stop him, you stand back and think about an alternative way to prevent the death of your people as much as possible, something war has never been good at. Maybe and I'm not saying this is the best answer but maybe letting 6 million die to save another 6 million isn't worth it, maybe there is no need to let 12 million die to come out no better then you went in.

    Um, yeah? You know, sometimes people cannot be reasoned with. Sometimes they will be hostile no matter how hard you try to negotiate. Some people are just plain evil. You know, like Hitler, for example? I'm not saying there aren't truly evil people, I never made that claim but work to take out the singularity and the supporters instead of everyone. The problem with war is far to many people get hurt or killed in an attempt to disrupt sometimes a single of small group of people. In many cases more people die then your trying to defeat and that just isn't right.

    WTF? What if the one innocent person gives up his life to save 1000 innocent people? Is that worth it? What if that is due to non human factors rather than human factors (e.g. a natural disaster)? Is that worth it? Why does that change things? Thats not what I said but nice try. I said if 1 innocent person dies for 10 bad guys

  • Re:better yet (Score:5, Interesting)

    by nukenerd (172703) on Monday November 12, 2012 @04:32PM (#41959813)

    Anything that follows from the premise "if we had done (something other than what we did)" is necessarily speculation. The only question is how good the speculation is...

    Indeed. That does forbid speculation though, and we should not abandon attempting to learn lessons from history.

    The fact of the matter is, Britain did not get into the war to "try to help the French (and Poland)". They did it to try to save themselves. Whether it was necessary or not is unknown, but nation-states aren't known for committing to expensive (in both lives and money) tasks for altruistic reasons. Britain did what it did because it thought that was what was best for Britain

    The immediate reason Britain declared war on Germany was because, when Germany invaded Czechoslovakia in March 1939, Britain had promised to "help" Poland if they were invaded too. In September Germany did just that, so Britain's "help" took the form of declaring war and despatching some token long distance air raids against strategic targets in the east of Germany. Here is a reference if you need it :-

    This morning the British Ambassador in Berlin handed the German Government a final Note stating that, unless we heard from them by 11 o'clock that they were prepared at once to withdraw their troops from Poland, a state of war would exist between us. I have to tell you now that no such undertaking has been received, and that consequently this country is at war with Germany." [Neville Chamberlain, 3 Sept 1939]

    They did not do it "to save themselves". Britain was under no threat at the time. What is true about your statement is that it was not altruistic. Poland itself did not have a very savoury regime anyway. Britain was simply following its traditional European strategy of "balance of power" - ie supporting the weaker side to stop any one power becoming dominant (irrespective of principles), knowing that if things did go pear-shaped it could retreat to its nearly unassailable position behind the Channel. In this case it was supporting Poland and France against the militarily resurgent Germany. In th event, things went perfectly to the textbook - the weaker side collapsed anyway and Britain did retreat to behind the channel.

    Nice theory, but when you get to the "we now know" part, it makes me question if you understand what "know" means. Much of what you said might be true, but we most certainly don't "know" any of it.

    What I said was "We now know that Hitler's obsessions were largely against communists and Jewry, and the UK was not part of it." Do you need a reference for those being Hitler's obsessions? I should have put it more strongly in that diplomats should have known it back then too, if they had taken the trouble to read "Mein Kampf" for example or listened to his speeches properly. Funny thing was that Churchill was also an obsessed anti-communist. Just after WW1 he despatched British troops (with questionable authorisation) to assist the White Russians against the Reds. He and Stalin were hardly on speaking terms at the WWII conferences with the result that Stalin would really only negotiate with Roosevelt - and ran rings around that sick old man (one of his own aides was of the opinion that Roosevelt was not taking much in) who conceeded far too much to Stalin - to Churchill's despair.

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