Lindsey Stone says she was just joking around when she posed for this photo at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington Cemetery.
She swears she meant no disrespect to anyone.
It was all just done in good fun, Stone insists, although, she came to regret her notion of amusement after her own friends responded in outrage when Lindsey posted the photo on her Facebook page last month.
Stone and a friend Jamie Schuh, who took the photo, were visiting the National Historic site as part of their job. They work at a Cape Cod assisted living facility. The trip was an excursion for the disabled adults who live at the facility. (If the photo doesn’t make you uneasy enough, knowing that Lindsay Stone and her friend are in charge of the learning disabled ought to.)
I’m not sure you could call this a lapse in judgement, since Stone explained her actions this way: “This is just us, being the douchebags that we are, challenging authority in general … OBVIOUSLY we meant NO disrespect to people that serve or have served our country.”
Is it a lapse in judgement if you routinely commit it?
Her explanation did little to quell the outrage of people who may or may not have better sense. LIFE, Inc. (Living Independently Forever) who owns the facility where Stone works placed her on administrative leave while they considered what legal recourse to pursue. Over 14,000 people signed on to a Facebook page demanding Stone be fired –which is sort of ironic, if you consider it. The men and women who are buried at Arlington were fighting in part for Lindsey Stone to have the right to act the fool, any place any time. That’s why the Supreme Court ruled that Westboro Baptist folks can protest gay rights at the funeral of dead soldiers.
Such actions may appall us.
They may infuriate us.
They may disgust us.
But do you want to live in the country where respect is dictated, where honor is mandated, where people are imprisoned for acting the fool?
Be forewarned, however. If you are going to act the fool, best to do it in your leisure time and not while on the job. Given today’s unemployment numbers, there are plenty of qualified and responsible people waiting in line for the job you currently have.
The First Amendment does not guarantee you the right to act the fool on your employer’s dime.
Stone and Schuh were fired as a result of their actions.
A statement about the incident was issued by LIFE, Inc.: “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.”
What do you think? Should Stone have been fired? Would you hire a person who had been at the center of such a controversy?