(Content Warning: Language)
After a Georgia man stomped on a U.S. flag last month to protest perceived racism, his name was attached to a social media movement encouraging others to similarly desecrate the banner in public. In recent days, the Twitter hashtag #EricSheppardChallenge has attracted not only protesters who support the offensive gesture but those who are speaking out against it. One such critic is U.S. Marine veteran Shane Lawler, who unleashed a biting – and occasionally profane – rant about the phenomenon. “What we have is a group of people who are challenging other groups of people to stand on the American flag,” he said in a calm, measured tone, “and desecrate it, dance on it, jump up and down on it, all kinds of silly things.” He called the challenge “ridiculous,” offering a remedial history lesson for those who believe flag desecration is an appropriate response.