If you haven’t heard of Lindsey Stone, she’s the woman who got caught giving the middle finger while mock-screaming to the “Silence and Respect” sign at Arlington National Cemetery. Stone works for a non-profit that assists adults with disabilities — at least for the time being. She’s on unpaid leave while the organization decides her fate.

It took me years to actually visit Arlington because I knew that it would be incredibly hard to control my emotions. As I’ve already disclosed in previous posts, it’s often difficult for me to even thank veterans for their service without getting a lump in my throat or misty eyes. I’ve always been a bit embarrassed by this, which is why it took me longer than it should have to finally pay my respects. Ms. Stone’s behavior, more than anything else, gives me an opportunity to encourage you to make the trip if you ever have the opportunity. It’s worth it.

With that said, perhaps the best piece of I’ve read so far comes Mistress Carrie’s Blog:

[U]p until she posted the photo on her Facebook page, and all hell broke loose, I think Lindsey Stone was one of the luckiest people on the planet.

First, she is a woman, born in the U.S.A., which the odds are against in the grand scheme of things. She could have been born in Afghanistan, China, or in the Congo, where she would have led a very different life. She could have been born in N. Korea, or Iran where I’m sure they do not look kindly at disrespecting their war heroes. Here in the U.S.A.., what she did isn’t a crime, it’s protected by the First Amendment.

Second, in one of the most tragic economies America has ever seen, Lindsey is employed, at what looks like an amazing organization, that is really helping people and changing the world for the better. How many of us can say that about where we work?

And finally Lindsey, judging by her actions alone, has made it through life without knowing anyone in uniform. That has to be the case right? I mean, how could she have family who has served in previous wars and do what she did? Or, how could she know someone now that is currently serving, after 10+ years of war and terror, and make the trip to Arlington and do what she did?She’s never had to say goodbye, or cry herself to sleep worrying. She’s never packed a care package, or written a love letter to someone far away. She’s never had to pray for a Skype call, or be afraid of the doorbell in the middle of the night. She’s never had to see someone she loves go and look evil in the eye, only to come home a different person.

She doesn’t  know anyone buried at Arlington, except for the few that she learned about in school like JFK. She probably doesn’t even know what Section 60 is. …

She’s part of the 99% that don’t have someone they love, in harms way. How amazing for her. Up until a month ago, Lindsey Stone was living the American dream. The dream where Memorial Day and Veterans Day means long weekends off for BBQing, beer drinking, and good deals on new cars.  Up until a month ago, Lindsey Stone wasn’t afraid. Now, as the hours go by, she learns more and more that her “innocent” joke, wasn’t a joke at all. Somehow, she made it through the gates at Arlington, and wasn’t overcome with the sadness and loss that everyone else feels. But, now she feels sadness and loss … and regret too I bet.

Ms. Stone has apologized, although like most apologies these days it seems more like a “sorry I got caught” than a sincere apology. And, it’s based on the idea that simply saying “sorry” when we act like “douchebags” (her words) makes everything okay.

Some of the worst comments I’ve read across the net on this story say, in essence, that we need to stop worshiping the military, which is odd to me coming from people whose cult-like admiration for President Obama knows no bounds. If there is one group on the planet we should cherish, it’s the men and women who safeguard our freedoms. One of the few legitimate functions of the federal government is to provide for the common defense. The world will always be filled with men like the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohammed Morsi, who seek to make themselves gods among men. In the United States all that’s really asked of the population is to show the soldiers who held the hordes at bay a little respect. For Ms. Stone, even that simple request was too much to ask.

This incident will follow Ms. Stone for years, and while I believe that it is rare that one event should be used to define a person’s entire life (Let he who who is without sin cast the first stone…), we must be held accountable for our actions. When I started this blog years ago I worked at The Heritage Foundation, and I had to be very careful about what I said, knowing full well that how I conducted myself outside of work could be used to damage the reputation of my employer. My new jobs gives me more leeway in regards to what I can say politically, but I still strive to conduct myself in ways that will not cause headaches for my employer. That’s what adults do. Unfortunately, modern America is filled with immature, narcissistic men and women in their late twenties and early thirties who never grew up. There is a difference between being a dad and being a father. Legally, you can be an adult while demonstrating for all the world to see that you are a child. Exhibit A: Ms. Stone.

The great thing about life is that it’s filled with learning experiences. Every moment of every day offers an opportunity to grow as a person and nurture our better angels. It is our choice to take advantage of them or let them go wasted. Hopefully, Ms. Stone will draw upon this moment to mold herself into the better person she was meant to be.


About the Author Douglas Ernst

I'm a former Army guy who believes success comes through hard work, honesty, optimism, and perseverance. I believe seeing yourself as a victim creates a self-fulfilling prophecy. I believe in God. I'm a USC Trojan with an MA in Political Science from American University.


  1. She’s an idiot. Talk about no respect for our military… I too find it odd that we’re supposed to stop supposed to stop worshiping the men and women who put their lives on the line to defend our freedoms and worship Barack Obama as though he’s some kind of god. Stone exemplifies the narcissism that’s prevalent among young people today, and which is why I’m quite often ashamed of people in my age group. Their self-entitled attitudes disgust me.

    1. We shouldn’t let our elders off the hook either, my friend. Someone helped to instill these values in younger voters. We now have a president who proudly states that he’s in favor of a redistribution of wealth … and no one blinks.

    2. Yeah, you’re right, Doug. There are older people out there (like those in my aunt and uncle’s generation) who indoctrinated younger voters with those values. People like that have jobs at colleges all across the land. The fact that Obama wants redistribution of wealth is scary.

  2. She is a member of Club Idiocy. However, I would have become a spontaneous charter member because if she had bent over in front of me, I would have kicked her hiney down to JFK’s gravesite…before the honorable Old Guard did their duty and hauled us all away…but it would have been well worth it for me. 🙂

  3. Just another garden variety slack jawed bottom feeding mouth breathing new age hipster moron.

    I could go on and on.

    Give her a pack of Luckies, a lukewarm beer, a trampstamp tattoo and she’s happy.

  4. “Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel” is a quote attributed to Samuel Johnson which he
    made in 1775. What this quote means, in my opinion, is that when all else fails, bring out the flag.
    Everyone will love you then.
    The US spends more on its military than the next ten nations combined. Almost everyone has either served in the military, or has friends and relatives that are or were in the military. The US society is closing in on a full generation that has never lived in a country that was not at war. The US is a very military-centric nation. To a large extent the US military now defines America and its values.
    Samuel Johnson’s quote is hundreds of years old, and Americans have learned on their own that supporting the US military is a quick and easy way to get approval. This creates a symbiotic relationship between the military people and civilians. The military people can elevate their social status by flaunting their service. The civilians can show off by displaying fawning adulation for those in the military. The military people
    enjoy being the object of all this attention. This creates a self reinforcing feedback loop between the two groups, where the military is elevated further and further to reach god-like status, and the civilians fall all over themselves to pay tribute to these idols. The result is an orgy of exhibitionistic narcissism. When it is perceived that someone is not participating in this groupthink, it creates an opportunity for everyone
    to confirm and reinforce their patriotic zeal by attacking this threat to their belief system. When it is a blatant and deliberate insult, as Lindsey Stone’s picture appeared to be, the result is an insane competition to see who can be most offended, who can display the most anger, who can be the most publicly hostile, all with one goal- to make that person look good. The more outraged you get, the better you look.
    So, to the pack of wild dogs, to the (aptly named) congress of baboons who self-organized to destroy Ms. Stone for tugging at their psychological security blanket, I have this to say- The Lindsey Stone episode is not about disrespecting dead soldiers, or free speech, or a prank gone wrong, or anything else like that.
    It’s all about you.

    1. I’d say it’s painfully obvious that your entire diatribe was all about you, John.

      You let me down. I really wanted you to say “military industrial complex” and perhaps “neocon.” Alas, it was not meant to be.

    2. Doug,

      I know you are quite proud of your service. As am I of that performed by both of my parents during the Vietnam War, but John does have a valid point here. His analogy of a narcissistic feedback loop is pretty interesting stuff, and he has backed himself with some credible history and statistics. Obviously, Ms. Stone isn’t the sharpest knife in the drawer, but that does not mean an intellectual audit of our military and its purpose is unwarranted. We DO spend an inordinate amount of money doing others’ dirty work, and the term “military industrial complex”, which you snarkily mention was in fact coined by Dwight Eisenhower. I find it hard to believe that somebody with your education and background would ever doubt President Eisenhower’s credibility in terms of military and defense.

      You seem to suffer from the same knee-jerk response that most military people in this country have when ANY reference to being a sacred cow is mentioned. John’s point about the contest to see who can be the most “outraged” by Ms. Stone is case in point.

      Many who have served were very brave and courageous, and I think any rational person is thankful for that; however, John raises a great point in questioning the overall purpose and use of our military by our ruling elite (just look at the demographics of those in Congress vs. those who serve).

      Yes, the military in this country is a sacred cow, by definition. And I am curious to see a response from you to John’s post that is not written in haste or anger. I think it would be an interesting debate.


    3. I guess first I would say that I don’t agree with his premise. My transformation into a conservative began when a college professor of mine said, “Only redneck Republican hicks who are happy to get a free pair of boots join the military.” Other professors followed (e.g., “The military only knows how to destroy things and cause problems.”), as I made my way from Chicago to Los Angeles to Washington, DC. I can see right through John, and comments like “The military people enjoy being the object of all this attention,” give him away instantly. Most military vets I know who are thanked in public are bashful about it.

      He’s not interested in having a debate because his mind is already made up. And so, I have no use for him. You, on the other hand, I can converse with.

      If you have a specific question, I will gladly respond. If your question is about doing another nation’s “dirty work,” then I’d be happy to go through a list with you. In general, Europe has funded its welfare state with the money saved by leeching off the security the U.S. military provides. The Johns out there never ask what the world would look like if the U.S. crawled into its shell and “led from behind.” Well, we’ve had four years of that and … how’s that working out? The Muslim Brotherhood in charge in Egypt, dead ambassadors in Libya, Afghanistan and Iraq sliding backwards (the enemy has a say in when a war is over, as much as President Obama might not want to admit it), etc.

      It all comes down to whether or not you think the U.S. is a net stabilizing force in the world or not. We rebuilt Europe. Take a look at satellite images of North and South Korea at night and the impact of American security is glaringly evident. Look at Japan. Do you believe that if the U.S. didn’t have a presence in the Pacific that the region would be even remotely as peaceful as it has been for decades? I think not.

      If liberals are upset about the so-called “God-like” status of the military, they only have themselves to blame — for spitting on our troops and calling them “baby killers” during Vietnam. The “flower children” weren’t peaceful — they were mean-spirited, self-centered, self-righteous jerks. They’re the same Baby Boomers who now refuse to make any meaningful concessions on Medicare and Social Security (the main drivers of debt) to ensure the programs exist for future generations. They would rather bankrupt your kids and your grandchildren so they could get their entitlements than to make the fiscally sound (but tough) decisions to roll back our $16.4 trillion dollars of national debt.

  5. Being a conservative athlete who went to an incredibly liberal college in the Northwest (big surprise) I can completely relate to your conversion to conservatism. My experience did actually cause lean me to lean left on some issues and become open to some of their policy ideas; however, overall, it became very apparent that liberals are anything but tolerant. Also, my mother, as a data tech for the Marines during the Vietnam War was herself spit on by protesters, so you will never hear me defend people of that cowardly ilk.

    That being said, your post hits on something, or a problem rather, that I have with many fellow conservatives. You are absolutely correct in referencing our defense of Europe and many good deeds we have done with out military. But, in typical pro-military fashion, you ignore the many elephants in the room. For example, killing 2 million Vietnamese, killing 200,000+ civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan and calling them “collateral damage”, the use of the atomic bomb and rationalizing it as saving lives when in fact many credible historians and military minds for the past 60 years have had real debates if it was necessary or rather just a power move directed at the Soviet Union…those are just the base examples, but I am sure you get my point. And, being a firm believer in the New Testament, I see no credible rationale for the death of civilians by military proxy, let alone the brave young men we lost in those unfortunate encounters.

    As for a “stabilizing force”, that is very debatable. Yes, the Pacific is now quiet, but do not forget the Korean and Vietnam wars fought as proxy…which were both incredibly questionable, in tactics and ethics.

    And, I will admit that most of my argument against the USA being a stabilizing force is more of an attack on the CIA and our other clandestine services than our actual military branches. I think over the last 60 years, a very credible argument can be made that our clandestine services have done more harm than good, and have been mostly used to further the interest of our ruling elite (see: Philipines, Honduras, Cuba, etc.).

    I guess my whole point, if I have one, can be summer up by a minivan I saw recently in San Antonio (where I live most of the time). On it, there was a bumper sticker and the Christian fish very close to one another. The bumper sticker read: God bless our troops…especially the snipers.

    That bumper sticker, and the kind of thought it represents, appalls me, and sometimes sickens me to know that person most likely calls themselves a conservative with Christian leanings, such as myself. Nowhere in the Gospels does Jesus say anything or do anything that indicates it is EVER okay to denegrate the death of another human into some sort of joke or snarky comment. And, I guess it’s somewhat different than the blind “worship” of the military that John mentioned, but I get his point, and I understand the hypocrisy coming from fellow conservatives…and it intellectually hamstrings the Right’s claim to moral superiority. Which is really the problem I have.

    So, I am sorry if I do not have a specific point or question. I just figured this is a good forum to get this off my chest. For the record, I do not attend church very often and would not call myself a strong Christian. I was just raised Catholic, and believe in the teachings of the New Testament. That is all.


    1. Hi Tanner,

      Feel free to get things off your chest at any time.

      With that said, I think you should ask yourself what the world would look like if the Germans or the Japanese had acquired nukes before the U.S. We could have taken it all. Everything. And we didn’t. The fact that we had the capability to nuke the world into submission and we instead chose The Marshall Plan says all you need to know about the U.S.

      My feelings on our snipers can be found here:


      If you ever feel as though I’m being flippant or court with some readers, it’s usually because I detect a “tell” that they are like the professors or students I went to school with — the “tolerant” liberals who tolerate you until … you disagree with them.

    2. Never gonna hear a statement that would anyway support the Axis gaining nukes before us from me. That would be ridiculous. But simply because we had the power to destroy the world and didn’t isn’t an argument to support American foreign policy.

      And as for the snipers…of course we need them, and they play a an important role. My point was more directed at the trivialization by the Right of the deaths of people from other cultures and countries. The moral superiority that i believe the Right can often claim is simply not in line with killing civilians in questionable wars. It just isn’t.

      This can be best illustrated in the famous Vietnam documentary, The Heart of Darkness, when a leading American general is on film saying that the large numbers of casualties to Vietnamese civilians could be rationalized because of their large population and third world status…and can thus be inferred that they do not value life as much as we do.

      You’re right, we didn’t nuke the world into submission..but we did do a lot of killing via conventional warfare and clandestine actions. And, I know this will probably piss you off, but going by actual definitions of the word “terorrism” (definitions being those used formally by the UN, NATO, and Bush administration itself) it can be said that the biggest practitioners of this over the past 60 years has been Israel and the USA.

      This might be a sore spot for you, but after this recent election, were you not curious as to why so many white males simply didn’t show up to the polls? Even those that are right-leaning? Being one myself, I can not stand Barack Obama, but voting for a Republican candidate who refused to admit these self-evident truths is the last thing I will ever do. And guys like me are not alone.

      I am worried that the Republican party is itself in an ideological war. There are the Pro-War Reaganite types…and then there are the Barry Goldwater (my political hero) and Ron Paul (who i also support) types. I have a very hard time taking any Conservative who says Reagan was a great president…much like any Liberal who says Clinton was.

      So how do we solve this ideological split in our Conservative side? The polls show that simply if more white men had voted, Romney most likely would have won. Is that the problem of these white men who didn’t vote, or the problem of a party who panders to its center and pays only lip service to what I would call its more intellectual wing?

    3. Please tell me the definition of terrorism, as defined by the United Nations.

      Also, from Ho Chi Minh: “You can kill ten of my men for every one I kill of yours, but even at those odds, you will lose and I will win.”

      Communists do not value human life. We do. Likewise, terrorist scum who hide in mosques and hospitals, and behind women and children, etc. do not value life. We do.

    4. Just because a Communist leader uses the tactic of mass humanity to try to win the war, does not mean that the civilians in said country do not love theirs mothers, fathers, brothers, and sisters who were unnecessarily killed. And I sincerely hope you do not think that. And, for the record, the Chinese our buying up our debt in unprecedented levels…yes, that’s right a Communist country. The same Communist country whose trade was normalized by a Republican, Richard M. Nixon…yet another reason I distrust my own party.

      You seem to have a lot of venom against pretty much anyone who isn’t American, and you’re not addressing my point of being politically hamstrung in our own domestic politics. If we want to defeat someone like Obama, people like you and me have to come to a common ground, and/or we will always be split and outnumbered by the people on handouts.

      And yes, terrorists who hide amongst civilians are dirtballs…but i would counter that so are those in our military who sit in a computer lab, running drones, and killing people 2000 miles away. I see that as cowardly, and eerily Brave New World-ish. In fact, I think it’s disgusting, especially that they now are trying to push for the use of drones in our own airspace. Do you support this?

    5. Hmm, given that my wife was born in China … I’m going to just laugh off much of this response. Given that my brother-in-law is from the Philippines … yeah, you get the point.

      No, I only have venom for Communist thug goons and terrorist subhumans who use civilians as shields. They hide behind civilians, and then when our bullets or bombs kill the wrong people the world tries to portray us as the bad guy.

  6. And, for the record, I agree that the entitlement spending is our largest fiscal problem…but I have looked at the Federal budget many times, and the military is a very large piece of it…and I worry a great deal about how much of that is being spent on “police state” type activities rather than legitimate defense needs, which I fully and unequivocally support.

  7. Terrorism is the use of coercive means aimed at civilian populations in an effort to achieve political, religious, or other aims.

    Nagasaki & Hiroshima + Reagan’s 1985 Beirut bombing + Clinton’s missile attacks in Serbia + overthrow of the Iran government + the list goes on forever.

    I am not saying we are always in the wrong…but can you really sit here and say that we are always some “Global Force for Good” like the US Navy ads say? Which, by the way, is incredibly creepy and verrrrrry Team America-ish. If so, that just reeks of jingoism and naivety.

    Like being a Roman Legion, and being convinced that every order that comes out of Rome is good for the common man. The naivety is laughable.

    1. I react to self-loathing Americans who pretend as if we’re the only country with skeletons in our closet. I react to the fools who act as if we only packed up shop and went home or disbanded the CIA … that foreign nations would do the same.

      I have my disagreements with U.S. foreign policy. I have my concerns. But there are plenty of blogs dedicated to national self-flagellation. Call me when Saudi Arabia has a course in “Western Civilization appreciation” and I’ll consider modulating the kind of content I provide.

    2. “Terrorism is the use of coercive means aimed at civilian populations in an effort to achieve political, religious, or other aims.”

      Can you please link to the United Nations agreed upon definition? If this is it, there should be a link at the United Nations’ official site.

      If you can not find one, just say so and let me know where this definition came from.

    3. Five years later, and Tanner still hasn’t given you a definition of terrorism as defined by the United Nations. Very telling.

  8. I don’t think I mentioned this before, although I have discussed my liberal college professors’ failed attempts to indoctrinate me, but your mention of your professor’s nasty comments about the military reminded me of something, Doug.

    In my senior year of high school, we had the annual Veteran’s Day pep fest where we’d honor the relatives of the students who had served or were serving in combat. As always, we sang the National Anthem before the presentation began. What made that one pep fest stand out in particular was this one kid from my class who refused to stand up. I happened to be sitting right next to him, and noticing that he wasn’t be respectful (and he talked to his friends and played with his cell phone the whole time, too), I turned to him and said, “Put your phone away, stand up and be respectful. These people put their lives on the line to protect your freedoms.”

    This kid (a liberal hipster type with communist sympathies who planned on moving to China someday; I’m dead serious about this) turned to me and scowled, saying, “I do not support mindless fascism that kills innocent people. These people are tools of an oligarchy that runs on racism, oil and jingoism. They kill innocents in Iraq and torture them for no reason.” He also said some other things to me that were rather profane and probably shouldn’t be repeated, but suffice to say he sounded like your average Noam Chomsky or Democratic Underground acolyte.

    Having had relatives who served in WWII and Korea (and other wars, too, even the Civil War), I almost lost it right there. If I hadn’t managed to control my anger right there and then, I probably would’ve thrown a few punches and would’ve gotten myself in trouble; I haven’t been in a fist fight since middle school, and I guess I wanted to keep my high school record clean. I was that angry. I couldn’t believe the level of disrespect this punk had for the military. But this kind of attitude is prevalent in today’s day and age, unfortunately, and Lindsay Sloane is another example of that.

    As an aside, after the Veteran’s Day celebration was over, the kid bolted out of the auditorium because I think he WAS afraid that I’d go after him.

    1. Wow. I’ll say it was worth it! It shows you how evil the communist regime in North Korea really is.

      As for my classmate, I’ve been fortunate enough that I haven’t seen the punk since shortly after graduation four years ago. Last I heard he and his girlfriend were living in Cairo together, studying abroad.

    2. Haha! I bet he’s getting a great education on freedom and tyranny. If he lives to tell about it, being in Egypt for the dawn of the Muslim Brotherhood will be a life-changing event.

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