Hero Who Removed Confederate Flag Knew She Was Taking a Dangerous Risk

A woman was recently arrested for defacing a national monument at the South Carolina capitol when she climbed up the flagpole and removed the Confederate flag from the premises. The Rebel flag has been at the center of controversy ever since a white supremacist proudly displayed it as he murdered nine black people at Bible study in an effort to start a "race war."

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Bree Newsome, 30, decided to take matters into her own hands after Republican governor Nikki Haley called for the flag's removal. Legally, two-thirds of the State legislature needs to vote in favor of removing the Confederate flag from government grounds, but Newsome didn't want to wait.

The activist was on Good Morning America on Thursday morning, and said, "I just felt very strongly that we needed that moment to say enough is enough ... We want an end to the hate."

She used a harness to climb the 30-foot pole in Columbia, South Carolina, while her friend James Tyson, 30, helped to make sure she did not fall. They were both arrested and spent 10 hours in jail before being released on $3,000 bond.

Newsome appeared to have no regrets about breaking the law, even though workers were forced to replace the flag within an hour of her taking it down. "A lot of people have been inspired by that moment," she said.

While at the top of the pole last Saturday, Newsome shouted, "You cannot get to me with hatred and oppression and violence ... I come against you in the name of God. This flag comes down today."

I think that what she did was very brave, although also potentially dangerous, and she should be punished for breaking the law. The misdemeanor offense could bring up to three years in prison and a $5,000 fine, which I do think is too extreme, but she did do something illegal.

More from The Stir: Confederate Flag Needs to Come Down -- Now

Civil disobedience is important and necessary sometimes, if for nothing more than causing an outrage when someone is arrested for doing something that just needs to be done. And the flag should come down. I know it represents Southern pride and heritage for many, but it's become a symbol of hate for too many for it to continue to be displayed on state property.

Newsome should be charged for taking the flag down before it could be done legally, to send an important message to potential looters that there are consequences for breaking the law -- even unfair laws. The last thing we need is looters breaking onto private property because they feel like they have a right to take down someone's flag.

And besides, isn't that really the bravest part about what Newsome did? She knew that she'd get busted for it, and get the national attention on this issue, so that hopefully something can be done about it sooner rather than later.

Do you think this woman should be punished for illegally taking down the Confederate flag?

 

Image via © JASON MICZEK/Reuters/Corbis

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