The Confederate Flag


Since everyone else seems to be expressing an opinion about the Confederate flag, here’s mine. Take it down and put it in a museum.

I’m a Southerner. I was born and raised in Tennessee. On my father’s side of the family, my great-grandfather and great-great-grandfather were slave owners. On my mother’s side, my great-great-grandfather served as a captain in the Confederate Army. The Confederacy is a part of my heritage, but it isn’t something I’m especially proud of.

For some, the Confederate flag is a symbol of regional pride, but it has taken on a darker meaning for most of the world. Good manners suggest that it would be both polite and wise to avoid flaunting such a emotionally-charged symbol when it is likely to be offensive.

The question is not whether people have the right to peacefully display the Confederate flag. Of course they do; that’s protected by the First Amendment. The question is should they do so; is it wise? My answer, at least for places such as government buildings, is, “No. It’s unwise and unkind.”

Take it down. Put it in a museum.

UPDATE—I’ve held this same opinion concerning the Confederate flag since I was a kid. It wasn’t so much of a big deal among folks I knew until the Civil War centennial. I saw enough of it then, and I had seen enough of it by 1965. I suppose it boils down to this: I’m an American and not a Confederate.

Team Kimberlin Post of the Day


On June 11, 1980 petitioner was sentenced to four years following his conviction in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas for conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute marijuana.

On November 3, 1980 petitioner received a consecutive 12 year sentence following his conviction in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana for possession and illegal use of Department of Defense insignia, illegal use of the Seal of the President of the United States, and impersonation of a federal officer.

On June 4, 1981 petitioner received a consecutive five year sentence following his conviction in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana for receipt of explosives by a convicted felon.

On December 30, 1981 petitioner received a 50-year concurrent sentence from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana for possession of an unregistered destructive device, unlawful manufacturing of a destructive device, malicious damage by means of explosives, and malicious damage by means of explosives involving personal injury. As set forth in his presentence report, during a six day period in September, 1978 eight bombs made of Tovex 200 dynamite were detonated in the Speedway, Indiana area. One bomb, placed in a gym bag in the Speedway High School parking lot, detonated on September 6, 1978, when it was picked up by Carl and Sandra DeLong after a high school football game. Sandra DeLong received permanent nerve damage caused by bomb fragments in her leg. Her husband Carl lost his right leg and two fingers. Carl DeLong received additional injuries to his inner ear, stomach, chest, neck and arm due to bomb fragments, and endured a series of operations. On February 23, 1983 Carl DeLong committed suicide at the age of 44.

On October 23, 1983 a Marion County, Indiana jury awarded $360,000 to Sandra DeLong for her injuries, and $1,250,000 for the wrongful death of Carl DeLong. The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed the wrongful death judgment, holding that Carl DeLong’s suicide was, as a matter of law, an intervening cause. The Supreme Court of Indiana reinstated the wrongful death judgment on June 13, 1994, finding that Carl DeLong’s death “was within the scope of harm intended by Kimberlin’s intentional criminal conduct.”

Sandra DeLong attempted to collect on her judgment by obtaining a writ of attachment against petitioner’s prison commissary account after a United States Probation Officer informed her that petitioner regularly transferred money to someone outside the prison. Petitioner promptly sued Mrs. DeLong, her lawyer, the probation officer, and various Bureau of Prisons and Department of Justice officials for money damages. Petitioner’s action was not successful. See Kimberlin v. U.S. Department of Justice, 788 F.2d 434 (7th Cir.1986).

Kimberlin v. Dewalt, 12 F.Supp.2d 487, 489-490 (D.Md. 1998).

When Did America Forget That It’s America?


That’s the title of an op-ed over at WaPo by Natan Sharansky. He compares how America stood up to the Soviet Union with its failing to do so with Iran.

But in today’s postmodern world, when asserting the superiority of liberal democracy over other regimes seems like the quaint relic of a colonialist past, even the United States appears to have lost the courage of its convictions.

I’m not sure exactly when America forgot who we are, but I know who did the forgetting. It was my generation. Our parents had grown up during the depression and been on the front lines of World War II. As President Kennedy noted in his inaugural address, they were

tempered by war, disciplined by a hard and bitter peace, proud of our ancient heritage—and unwilling to witness or permit the slow undoing of those human rights to which this Nation has always been committed, and to which we are committed today at home and around the world.

When it was their turn to lead, our parents carried on with the struggle against tyranny, and faced down the Evil Empire.

Their children—my generation—were raised in the relative prosperity of the ’50s and ’60s and many of us avoided service in war when it was our turn. To paraphrase JFK, we have been relatively untouched by war, undisciplined through years of apparent peace, unsure of our heritage—and quite willing to permit the undoing of human rights in far-off lands so long as we aren’t discomforted.

We’re leaving one helluva mess for our children and grandchildren, and I suspect that it is our grandchildren who will face a world not unlike the one faced by our parents.