Let me say at the outset that I think what this man is doing is stupid. It’s insulting to Muslims and our military says it puts our overseas troops in danger. However, he was arrested on his way to do something that is not a crime. It is not illegal to burn books. They know that, therefore:
Sheriff’s deputies in Polk County, Florida, arrested Pastor Terry Jones, 61, and his associate pastor, Marvin Sapp Jr, 44, each on a felony charge of unlawful conveyance of fuel.
Sheriff’s officials said that Jones was also charged with unlawful open-carry of a firearm, a misdemeanor, and that Sapp faces a charge of having no valid registration for the trailer.
That’s according to the UK’s Daily Mail. This story has gotten lots of coverage, much more than it deserves. Why are news outlets so interested in a story about one silly man when there is so much important news they won’t cover? The story only incites hostility. Really, nothing good can come out of publicizing his activities.
However, he was arrested on his way to do something that is not a crime. What sort of precedent does that set? Imagine how many things you do that others don’t like. Imagine the government setting up DHS checkpoints on Sunday mornings, at the time Christians are on their way to church. Not only would many be late for service, but some would be arrested. Perhaps most wouldn’t be so blatantly law-breaking as the Koran-burning man with his unlawful open-carry, but think of all the stupid laws that no one knows about because they’re never enforced. If “they” wanted, they could have someone stopped and fined, or even taken to jail, over something most people don’t know is illegal.
However, this is how it’s done. They take someone like this man, who most don’t agree with and don’t mind seeing arrested, and the public becomes convinced that harassing unlikable people is okay. Well, it’s okay until you’re the target. Therefore, instead of applauding his arrest, we should be asking ourselves who’s next.