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Lindsey Stone Fired For Facebook Post Depicting Rude Behavior In Arlington National Cemetery

Lindsey Stone Fired For Juvenile Facebook Post

Another storm over First Amendment rights is brewing and this one is a doozie. Earlier this week, The Inquisitr told you about Lindsey Stone, the 30 year old woman in danger of losing her job over a photo she posted on Facebook. Just hours after initially suspending Ms. Stone, her employer, Living Independently Forever (LIFE), fired Stone along with the friend who took the photograph, Jamie Schuh.

The offending image depicted Lindsey sitting next to a sign that reads” Silence and Respect.” Stone appears to be shouting, while she gives the middle finger to the camera. The photo was taken near the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery and the storm of rage over the appearance of the image on Facebook is almost frightening.

LIFE posted a statement about the firings on the company’s Facebook page:

“We wish to announce that the two employees recently involved in the Arlington Cemetery incident are no longer employees of LIFE. Again, we deeply regret any disrespect to members of the military and their families. The incident and publicity has been very upsetting to the learning disabled population we serve. To protect our residents, any comments, however well-intentioned, will be deleted. We appreciate your concern and understanding as we focus on the care of our community.”

As might be expected, the usual conservative suspects are up in arms and calls have gone out for more Federal laws to punish people for disrespectful or unpatriotic behavior. Congress passed The Honoring America’s Veterans and Caring for Camp Lejeune Families Act of 2012 in August as a response to complaints about the Westboro Baptist Church. The bill contains a provision to limit protests at military funerals and if violated, protesters may be punished by criminal or civil action.

Naturally, First Amendment advocates are horrified. The photograph was taken privately and published on Stone’s personal Facebook page. She was not engaged in a protest or any civil disobedience at the time nor did she actually violate any existing law. Supporters of the two women question the right of an employer to fire someone for private behavior, no matter how juvenile, or for posting on Facebook, a website that prides itself on supporting free speech.

We decided to give the final word to Aaron O’Connel, a Marine officer and instructor at the Naval Academy, who spoke on the issue in an Op-ed in the New York Times. He expressed his dismay over the lack of critical thinking and the rabid militarism displayed by the Congress, four fifths of whom have never served in the military.

“Like all institutions, the military works to enhance its public image, but this is just one element of militarization. Most of the political discourse on military matters comes from civilians, who are more vocal about “supporting our troops” than the troops themselves. It doesn’t help that there are fewer veterans in Congress today than at any previous point since World War II. Those who have served are less likely to offer unvarnished praise for the military, for it, like all institutions, has its own frustrations and failings. But for non-veterans — including about four-fifths of all members of Congress — there is only unequivocal, unhesitating adulation. The political costs of anything else are just too high.”

“Uncritical support of all things martial is quickly becoming the new normal for our youth. Hardly any of my students at the Naval Academy remember a time when their nation wasn’t at war. Almost all think it ordinary to hear of drone strikes in Yemen or Taliban attacks in Afghanistan. The recent revelation of counterterrorism bases in Africa elicits no surprise in them, nor do the military ceremonies that are now regular features at sporting events. That which is left unexamined eventually becomes invisible, and as a result, few Americans today are giving sufficient consideration to the full range of violent activities the government undertakes in their names.”

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38 Responses to “Lindsey Stone Fired For Facebook Post Depicting Rude Behavior In Arlington National Cemetery”

  1. Scott Vock

    I would normally agree about her first amendment rights. Except she was on a WORK trip paid for by her employers. If she worked for me and was on the clock, I would have fired her as well for unprofessional behavior.

  2. Wolff Bachner

    From what I have been able to discover, the woman was on her own time when she went to Arlington, as a planned private side trip. If the company wants to claim they own the employee 24 hours a day, then we are a step away from slavery again.
    Reply · Like · 2 seconds ago.

  3. Wolff Bachner

    From what I have been able to discover, the woman was on her own time when she went to Arlington, as a planned private side trip. If the company wants to claim they own the employee 24 hours a day, then we are a step away from slavery again.
    Reply · Like · 2 seconds ago.

  4. Wolff Bachner

    She claims it was a side trip made on her own personal time, not the company's time. if the company wants claim they have a right to judge a person's questionably offensive but totally legally behavior 24 hours a day, what is the difference from slavery?

  5. Wolff Bachner

    She claims it was a side trip made on her own personal time, not the company's time. if the company wants claim they have a right to judge a person's questionably offensive but totally legal behavior 24 hours a day, what is the difference from slavery

  6. Brady Owens

    What about her employer's right to free speech? Was LIFE not exercising a protest of her actions by terminating her employment? The first amendment is meant so that the government cannot oppress free speech, not to regulate the ability of private individuals and organizations to distance themselves from words and actions that do not fall in line with their ideals. The bills brought into this story are likely unconstitutional; however, so too is the censuring of LIFE's ability to distance itself from conduct that it considers unbecoming. (It is worth mentioning also that there are certain protected behaviors such as homosexuality and religious prayers which are protected from this action because they are of cultural importance to their practitioners rather than lapses in judgement or statements of opinion).

  7. Geoffrey Bischoff

    Personal free speech: giving the finger and shouting (or pretending?) at Arlington.

    Commercial free speech: A company making the sovereign decision, based on bad publicity and projected loss of business, to fire a person in their employ who acts like an idiot.

    Freedom of speech prevents the government from taking action against her. Unfortunately for Lindsey she was not employed by the government.

    This vet says: "Yay Lindsey! You exercised your freedom! Yay LIFE! You exercised your freedom as well!"

    Glad to see America is working as intended.

  8. Wolff Bachner

    the first amendment also protects people from being punished for exercising their right to free speech, so yes, it can be said her employer violated the first amendment, if you lean towards that side of the argument. take it up with the supreme court. i dont have a side in this, im just reporting the story.

  9. Someones Angel

    Just because she has freedom to take and post a picture like this, doesn't mean her job doesn't have the right to take her stupidity into consideration, on or off the clock. She cannot be mad for putting something online if she doesn't want her boss to see it. We live in a time with a lack of wisdom.

  10. Brady Owens

    "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances." As I stated, the first amendment specifically restricts the government's rights to restrict speech. Actions (other than those activities that I also mentioned which have special legal protection) can be taken by a private company or individual to punish or protest those of other private companies or individuals for their behavior or speech (again…behaviors and speech that is unprotected by special legal exceptions). The reason for this is simple. The actions of the company are a form of speech. Plus, the courts have already upheld using Facebook as a means of pre-employment screening.

  11. Ryan Spetsnaz

    The same people on here crying First Amendment would be the same who cry for when a police officer happens to drop the F-Bomb during an arrest to have him fired. Which is it, people?

    Paid or volunteered her time – she was on a company trip representing her company. This activity was photographed by her supervisor. They both were in the wrong.

    A company has the right to terminate you for it. Especially when you, being 30 years old, on a company trip, at of all places Arlington, and you are still unable to behave like an adult.

    I personally think with her decision making skills and lack of common sense I would be fearful of having her help the people she was around.

    People have been fired for trash talking their place of work on Facebook. Where was the outrage then on freedom of speech? Oh, right. Because the freedom of speech only applies when you are being so EDGY and acting like an idiot trying to "challenge authority".

  12. Jon Griffiths

    That's like comparing apples to rocking chairs. Seriously, how does that have anything to do with slavery? The company she works for isn't some warehouse or no-name marketing firm, it is a non-profit organization that does work for adults with learning disabilities. They are very much in the public eye, and her actions reflect poorly on the company she works for.

    American's have the right to free speech, and companies have the right to fire their employees for poor conduct. Her actions sparked a nationwide controversy. Those who donate money to the company may think twice about giving them money knowing that they employ someone who blatantly disrespects deceased military members. She shat on the face of her company, plain and simple. As a former Marine who has lost dear friends in Afghanistan, I find her actions appalling, and her punishement fair.

    Does she have the constitutional right to do what she did? Absolutely. Is her company wrong for firing her? Absolutely not.

  13. Sherry Byes

    I also have the first amendment right to voice my outrage of her disrespect on the military 's most sacred grounds.

  14. Vince Serafini

    The first amendment right allows her the freedom of saying or doing basically anything legal she wants. Also, the first amendment right allows people who are offended by her actions to say or do anything they legally want. That is a rough summary. Just because we have the first amendment does not mean there aren't consequences that come from our words or actions. To me she is an ignorant person. I could care less she was fired. To me, the company has every right to fire her, it was at a company related event. Next time think before you do something or post something. You were at Arlington National Cemetery- Tomb of the Unknown Soldier- show some respect. Stupidity isn't an excuse.

  15. Moe Myers

    Your right to express yourself does not preclude my right to react to your free speech….free speech does not mean "retribution" free…only your right to say something.

  16. Jared Hemus

    I couldnt agree more vince. There are consequences for each amd every action. She only lost a job. Complete disrespect for people that lost their lives in combat so she can walk around free and shes gonna shit on them like that?

  17. William Brown

    if you ask the police free speech has its limitations, if someone can say they took offence to it. Then you violated the law but to me on that day and its location. Its a slap in the face to America and all we stand for. Having served to see such disrespect to a war monument for a person that gave their life with no recognition what so ever, is a slap in the face to every soldier that had fought and died for this country.

  18. Vince Serafini

    Do I think she was just being funny and it was a joke between her and the chick taking the picture…Yes…but sometimes you have to take the ass whooping for doing something stupid. Her ass whooping is to lose her job lol

  19. Vince Serafini

    Do I think she was just being funny and it was a joke between her and the chick taking the picture…Yes…but sometimes you have to take the ass whooping for doing something stupid. Her ass whooping is to lose her job lol

  20. Teri Dagel-Hennacy

    Obviously this woman and her friend care nothing for the men and women who gave their lives for their freedoms, maybe she should live somewhere else for a while so that she can see what the courageous people have done for her. Maybe then she'll have some respect. Who knows though it seems it is common these days to be disrespectful to anyone and everyone for no reason at all.

  21. Joel Hoffman

    CONGRESS shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech.. The first amendment protects us from the government interfering with our right to free speech. It does not protect us from the consequences of our free speech. Nor does it protect us from other people responding to her free speech with their own free speech… Her actions placed her employer and coworkers in a bad position. She was warned by friends more than a week before the photo went viral, that it was offensive and she chose to leave it posted. Did she deserve to be fired? That's a tough question, because I believe in challenging authority. But, I believe she should have been fired,, as her actions affected the company and her coworkers in such a negative way and left them no choice.. It was grossly disrespectful, but I sincerely hope that people will leave her alone now that she has been fired because I believe in second chances and she has received enough punishment.

  22. Joel Hoffman

    Full text of first amendment; "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances." The Bill of Rights, or the first 10 amendments were added to the constitution to protect us from the Government. Her employer is not the Government.

  23. Joel Hoffman

    Full text of first amendment; "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances." The Bill of Rights, or the first 10 amendments were added to the constitution in order to place restraints and limit the Government. It does not restrain her employer's freedom to fire her nor the people responding to her free speech wit their own free speech.

  24. Robert Browning

    It's just a picture…what's the big deal? People actually burn American flags and that's not illegal. She is on public property expressing her first amendment rights.

  25. Robert Browning

    It's just a picture. Go take on flag burners or the Westboro Baptist Church if you feel so strongly….just what I thought, armchair quarterback.

  26. Robert Browning

    Where were all of these protests when the Westboro Baptist Church was protesting funerals for dead soldiers and others. Where are the protests against the flag burners…the same flag which drapes a soldiers coffin? Why the herd mentality about one picture of nothing but a prank? Has anyone who is against this woman ever watched South Park? People really need to wake up and worry about real issues, not childish pranks.

  27. Glenn Cooley II

    WB, if you are just reporting the story then make sure you are accurate. She was if fact "on the clock" while the photo was being taken. This info is from LIFE's own Facebook page. That being the case it means at least at one point during the visit she was neglecting to take care of the people she was entrusted to take care of. That alone is reason enough for termination. And for your prior statement "if the company wants claim they have a right to judge a person's questionably offensive but totally legal behavior 24 hours a day, what is the difference from slavery" does that mean that Tiger's (Woods) sponsors had no legal right to drop him? What is the difference? Her act was in the public, it was not behind closed doors. I precipitated a negative backlash on the company that employed her. They had little to no choice but to dismiss her.

  28. Glenn Cooley II

    WB, if you are just reporting the story then make sure you are accurate. She was if fact "on the clock" while the photo was being taken. This info is from LIFE's own Facebook page. That being the case it means at least at one point during the visit she was neglecting to take care of the people she was entrusted to take care of. That alone is reason enough for termination. And for your prior statement "if the company wants claim they have a right to judge a person's questionably offensive but totally legal behavior 24 hours a day, what is the difference from slavery" does that mean that Tiger's (Woods) sponsors had no legal right to drop him? What is the difference? Her act was in the public, it was not behind closed doors. It precipitated a negative backlash on the company that employed her. They had little to no choice but to dismiss her.

  29. Glenn Cooley II

    WB, if you are just reporting the story then make sure you are accurate. She was if fact "on the clock" while the photo was being taken. This info is from LIFE's own Facebook page. That being the case it means at least at one point during the visit she was neglecting to take care of the people she was entrusted to take care of. That alone is reason enough for termination. And for your prior statement "if the company wants claim they have a right to judge a person's questionably offensive but totally legal behavior 24 hours a day, what is the difference from slavery" does that mean that Tiger's (Woods) sponsors had no legal right to drop him? What is the difference? Her act was in the public, it was not behind closed doors. It precipitated a negative backlash on the company that employed her. They had little to no choice but to dismiss her.

  30. Laraine Friend

    Good comments Joel. So many people seem to think that their right to free speech should mean "no consequences."

  31. Kevin Carlisle

    This really has nothing to do with first amendment rights, this has to do with someone being incredibly ignorant. EVERYONE knows that if you post, tweet, blog anything on the internet it will be discovered. She deserves to be fired for her ignorance. She doesn't deserve to work there anymore.

  32. Craig Turner

    Wolff Bachner It prevents people from being punished by the government. THE GOVERNMENT. Not the private sector, BUT THE GOVERNMENT. AS IN, "THE GOVERNMENT." GO-VERN-MENT.