What the flag needs is protection from people who would make laws to "protect" it. The fact of the matter is, the flag needs no protection. The flag cannot be hurt. It is an inanimate object made of fabric and dye.
An attack on the flag is often seen as an attack on the idea that it symbolizes. But it is only a symbolic attack since the flag is only a symbol. Attacks against ideas are done with words or in the extreme case with violence against the people who espouse them.Bill Christofferson rejects the idea that such attacks on the flag constitute a form of speech (June 15 "Readers' Forum"). Attacks against human beings are not speech, they are assault. We already have laws against that. Attacks against other people's property (including their flags) are not speech but a form of theft against which we also have laws.
But attacks against symbols are a pure form of speech since language simply uses abstract symbols to communicate. You don't have to say or write words to com-mu-ni-cate.
What Mr. Christofferson wants in reality is to make a law against a behavior that he finds objectionable.
Making a law against an attack on the flag is the ultimate attack on the flag because it is an attack on the principles that the flag stands for, namely freedom and liberty. The very thing Mr. Christofferson wants to protect will be destroyed by such a law.
Richard C. Russell
Salt Lake City