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I Don’t Care How “Disrespectful” – You Don’t Get to Hit Kids

Today we get to add another item to the List of Things I Thought We All Agreed On. Today’s addition is a 39-year-old man who assaulted a child because he said the boy “disrespected the national anthem”.

A 39-year-old adult slammed a 13-year-old boy’s head into the concrete outside of the Mineral County Fair and Rodeo because the boy didn’t remove his hat during the Star Spangled Banner.

In case there’s any confusion before you read further — if a child sits down during the anthem, takes their shirt off, falls asleep, yawns, or does ANYTHING during the anthem you might personally disapprove of — laying a hand on that child is assault and charges should be pressed. You don’t get to hit kids!

I don’t care how offended you are.
I don’t care if the amount of “disrespect” you feel is deep and profound.
You don’t get to hit kids!

And the words this man spouted instantly after the assault, are echoes, verbatim, of the same trash our Republican Representatives, Legislators, and sentiments the President has espoused about “disrespecting” the flag.

We don’t beat our fellow Americans into being Patriotic.
We don’t assault children until they show the proper amount of fealty.
We don’t abuse people until they conform to our brand of Patriotism and blind Nationalism.

This is why so many of us have lost friends over NFL players kneeling. Folks having the courage, taking a stand, or a respectful knee, to demonstrate THEIR patriotism and their love of an ideal America. Donald Trump doesn’t define Patriotism. Steve Daines is still trying to force a “sanctity of the flag” amendment down our throats to force blind obedience to a piece of cloth. Patriotism isn’t a love of country and the dream of America to these people – it is a silent, obedient, forced anthem/forced pledge of allegiance requirement. They don’t want you to question or demand better of America — just obey and demonstrate properly in public.

Or, as the man felt he was entitled on Saturday, you’ll be smacked down into the concrete for your “disrespect”.

The boy’s ears bled for 6 hours. He had a seizure on the concrete after the attack. He was airlifted to Spokane. He is home healing with his family as of this writing. He doesn’t remember any of the attack. And the man who beat a child? He’s out on his “own recognizance” tomorrow.

There are horrible people in all walks of life, but it is our duty to ensure that our language, our calls for justice, our demands for respect are not interpreted violently. As I have countless times before: I remind our elected leaders that their words do not fall on deaf ears. That we don’t get to yell “Fire!” in the theater unless the building is burning down. What message are we sending to adults who think this sort of corrective behavior is OK?

Take a stand.
Take a kneel.
Leave your hat on.
It is your right.

And I don’t care how disrespected you may be by someone else’s patriotism — your violence is NOT justified. You don’t get to hit kids. 


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About the author

Plains Feminist

Montana and national politics from a Southeastern Montana perspective, focusing on regional activism, womxn’s issues, LGBTQ equality, education, and revitalization of the Montana Democratic Party. Plains Feminist tries (sometimes fruitfully, sometimes not so much) to connect with the hard-working folks who *eek* out a living on the “not mountains” side of the state. Plains Feminist enjoys intellectual banter over coffee or beer preferably after dark. You can reach her at [email protected] or on Twitter @PlainsFeminist.


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