Fields’ View: Draping Statue with Confederate Flag, Noose Is No Hate Crime




The FBI has been called to Mississippi to investigate a “Hate Crime.” It seems some jerks draped a statue of Civil Rights pioneer James Meredith with a noose and a Confederate battle flag.

While their message is clear, I am not sure this is or should be a crime.

As the attached story shows, it is apparently not illegal to drape the statue with flowers because they promote the message of James Meredith and his struggle to integrate Ole Miss in 1962.

How can the First Amendment have any meaning if the government is allowed to pick and choose which political messages are acceptable?

When all is said and done, I suspect this will prove to be the prank of some drunken frat boys and not the likes of the KKK bent on starting a race war.

It was not always like that.

In the Fall of 1962, I was beginning a short, inglorious career at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. Geographically it was a 150 miles from the turmoil in Oxford that led to riots and death.  In every other way, it was one and the same neighborhood.

The welcoming signs to Tuscaloosa, along with Rotary, Lions, etc., included The United Klans of America.  The Imperial Wizard, Robert Shelton, worked in the Fisk Tire store just off campus.

The Kappa Alpha Old South fraternity party celebrated the Ante-Bellum South–think slavery—by hiring local poor Blacks to dress up as slaves. These are people who probably watched Gone With The Wind backwards so that the movie would have a happy ending.

When Melvin Meyer, the Alabama native who was editor of the school paper, wrote a pro-integration editorial, the Klan burned a cross in the front of his frat house. The Good Ol’ Boys with badges did nothing. George Wallace, who would later by governor and run for president, called the university president and demanded he “kick that damn Jew out of school.”  Meyer stuck it out.

In those days Southern governments sided with the segregationists First Amendment rights.  The Meredith statue incident suggests that they have changed sides.

They should not be taking either side. Acts that physically hurt people or damage property should be punished.  Acts that hurt people’s feelings–no way, no how.

If the noose and flag are a crime, then so are the flowers.

7 Responses to “Fields’ View: Draping Statue with Confederate Flag, Noose Is No Hate Crime”

  1. Chachi says:

    It seems that there has been a lot of crying wolf on this subject lately:

  2. John Henry says:


    Spot on. Its funny Fields automatically assumes this was done by young,white males—I guess that fits his narrative & agenda.

  3. Ha Ha Ha says:

    Death threats aren’t generally regarded as political messages. They are instead considered instances of the crime of “assault”: At Common Law, an intentional act by one person that creates an apprehension in another of an imminent harmful or offensive contact.

  4. Duke says:

    Those drunken frat boys are in the KKK.

  5. Jerry Rogers says:

    You are right that the First Amendment protects assholes. Ol Miss itself can discipline the kids and throw them out. If they are not students, maybe they can be charged with trespassing or vandalism and the publicity will let everybody know they are racists.

  6. Garl says:

    Sam, were acts which are intended to hurt the feelings of others punishable, you would already be serving several lifetimes for the “guest” columns you serve up on this site. That said, the best line of today’s offering is this…”How can the First Amendment have any meaning if the government is allowed to pick and choose which political messages are acceptable.” I can only assume that your next guest column will focus on the Obama administration’s pilot project (overseen by the daughter of a powerful DEM congressman) to send “monitors” into newsrooms. Are you scared yet?

  7. Duke says:

    According to today’s news, one of the fraternities has been kicked off campus after it was discovered that 3 of it’s members were responsible. See my above post.