According to UNM officials, flying the flag was part of a celebration of Mexican independence day last Sunday, sponsored by the Mexican Student Association. The criminal complaint indicates that Lynch removed the flag, tore it in half, and proceeded to the Air Force ROTC office with flag (now flags) in hand. His objection... there was no American flag present. Mr. Lynch has been charged with misdemeanor criminal damage to property and of course the MSA called it a "hate crime."
You know, we're all for freedom, liberty and being able to fly whatever flag you want. However, UNM is a state school paid for with American tax dollars. It is wholly inappropriate for the UNM administration to allow the Mexican national flag to be flown in place of the flag of the United States. In fact, the act is against the U.S. flag code.
No person shall display the flag of the United Nations or any other national or international flag equal, above, or in a position of superior prominence or honor to, or in place of, the flag of the United States at any place within the United States or any Territory or possession thereof...Even more irritating is the fact that UNM's new President, David Schmidly promised the Mexican Student Association that they could raise the Mexican national flag again Thursday. The MSA enjoys the freedom of association and the freedom of speech provided by the U.S. Constitution and symbolized by the stars and stripes of the U.S. flag.
Is it really too much to ask that they respect the flag of the country that provides those freedoms even when celebrating the independence of their homeland? It's certainly not too much to ask that the administration and President Schmidly to abide by the United State Flag Code at a publicly funded university.
One other nagging question we have is... Would Mr. Lynch be facing charges if he had committed the same "crime" against the flag of the United States? Even if he did, we'd bet that some group like the ACLU would be out there defending his right to do so. Perhaps some enterprising, patriotic lawyer will step up to the plate and defend a man who was through his actions, defending the flag of the United States of America and upholding U.S. Code title 4, chapter 1, section 7.