He Wimped Out (UPDATED)
Just posted on Facebook:
ATTENTION LSU: According to Kristine Calongne, Assistant Vice Chancellor for Communications for LSU, Benjamin Haas has decided that he will NOT burn the flag due to him being “misguided” in his protest. This is OFFICIAL WORD FROM LSU. I just called University Relations to confirm this. Way to go Cody, Kathleen, and anyone else involved this week & last week in standing up for LSU! GEAUX TIGERS!!
(From David Jones II, student)
Looks like the flag-burner thought twice about his plan.
The fact that 1,000 people showed up in a surly mood for the festivities might have had something to do with it.
All in all, not a bad outcome.
UPDATE: Word is Haas actually did show up, but never burned anything and essentially high-tailed it out of there when he saw the crowd. Word also has it that he left in a police cruiser. Working on confirmation.
We did get this picture e-mailed to us, though…
UPDATE #2: Now we’re hearing that it went down this way – there was a huge crowd full of combative folks. Somebody in the crowd read an e-mail with the news above that Haas decided not to burn the flag. Big cheer went up.
But then Haas was spotted walking across the parade grounds, and he got rushed by some of the crowd. Water balloons were in full flight. Police were everywhere, and Haas was quickly escorted into a cruiser on Highland Road and spirited away.
You’ve got to appreciate the tactical skill of the crowd.
Water balloons, si.
UPDATE #3: This is apparently a shot of Haas when he showed up at the parade grounds…
UPDATE #4: Here’s a first-person account that came from a message board at TigerDroppings.com, an LSU site…
First of all the “bad field reporting” was because it was CHAOS out there. If you looked away to type something for 5 seconds you would miss something. Pics were hard enough.
I got there at around 1145 and there was a SWARM of people in front of the union. One man yelling about his son being shot in Iraq, a VERY vocal OT7 yelling non stop in a red dress, cops on horses, camera crews, tents, free flag giving, people for DAYS. At about 1158 a man announced, “Attention LSU students, this is from the Vice Chancellor, ‘Benjamin Haas has canceled the flag burning.'”
As I started to walk home I noticed people hauling arse to the parade grounds, I ran, and a circle formed around Haas. Cameras in his face and horses making sure no one cam close. Then the water balloons started, then ice, then actual military personnel yelling things like “my brother was killed for you.” shite WAS INTENSE. He pulled out a piece of paper and then proceeded to read something in front of the cameras (all while getting doused with balloons) then I GUESS he pulled out a flag and lighter? I couldn’t see. If he did it didn’t last long because he was immediately escorted by cops to the middle of the parade grounds and then back to the street in front of the law school where he got in a cop car and drove away.
From the time he was starting to be escorted through the grounds to the street and even into the cop car, it was CRAZY. people yelling all kinds of shit, horses stepping on people (not in a violent way), people running up to the cop car beating on the window, and still throwing water at him, cops, whomever was in the way.
And here’s a link to a quick video snippet – giving an indication of the size and intensity of the crowd.
UPDATE #5: Another video snippet…
UPDATE #6: And another…
What a Charlie Foxtrot.
UPDATE #7: One more video of the crowd following Haas to that cop car…
Meanwhile, the LSU Reveille has a photo gallery up from the affair. Classic shots. My two favorites…
I particularly like the second one. Haas was all wet before he showed up at the Parade Grounds, but now there’s really no doubt.
Oh – and here is a SIX-MINUTE video of the thing…
UPDATE #8: WBRZ-TV Channel 2 in Baton Rouge has this video of the fracas, including what Haas was trying to say (something about defending students and suspected terrorists alike) and what the ROTC guy said when he got in Haas’ face…
UPDATE #9: Also, LSU’s Daily Reveille has some video from Haas’ bad day, plus a little from the subsequent patriotic rally the LSU Student Government Association President Cody Wells organized after the fact…
UPDATE #10: In a nice piece of journalism, the LSU Reveille got an up-close photo of the piece of paper Haas was going to read from in the little speech he was trying to give. Here’s the transcript they came up with off that shot…
“Funny Facebook said that there were only going to be 64 of you. I initially began this flag burning protest to define due process for students and suspected terrorists alike, to call on LSU and universities across the country to defend basic human rights and avoid putting students into the criminal justice system when it can be taken care of internally.
Solidarity means standing with those who are treated as guilty until proven innocent, instead of the other way around. That’s what freedom is, standing with those who express their constitutional rights in ways that may be unpopular, especially the accused and the marginalized no matter the consequences.
In the name of peace, there will be no flag burning today. This country and the flag that flies over it stands for freedom, democracy, love, peace and the ability to question our government.”
– Benjamin Haas, communication studies graduate student