A photo circulating around the social sites this past week has sparked outrage.  Social media site users, the media, and members of the military are demanding action – many requesting that the subject of the photo lose her job.

The photo in question is of Lindsey Stone, a 30 year old business traveler “joking around” at Arlington National Cemetery, right in front of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.  Stone’s co-worker snapped a photo of her pretending to shout and raising her middle finger next to a sign asking for both silence and respect:

Our apologies for the offensive nature of this image.

I’m guessing that Stone thought she was being funny, defying the sign.  What she likely didn’t think about, however, are all of those that she disrespected with her actions.  The soldiers buried at Arlington, the soldiers currently away from their families, any soldier – past or present, and all of their friends and families.  She likely didn’t think about all of our military members who will be spending the holidays away from their families this year in order to protect the very right that allows her to behave this way. She also probably did not think about the fact that this single moment in time could very likely cost Stone her job.

Stone was traveling for work.  She works for the LIFE organization, a non-profit that provides housing for people with disabilities around Cape Cod.  Although both Stone and her employer declined to comment, Stone did share on her Facebook page that she was not disrespecting the place she was in, she was merely “challenging authority in general. Much like the pic posted the night before, of me smoking right next to a no smoking sign.” and LIFE issued the following statement: “This photograph in no way reflects the opinions or values of the LIFE organization, which holds our nation’s veterans in the highest regard.”

The Old Guard, who is tasked with protecting the Tomb of the Unknowns, stated that Stone is entitled to her freedom of speech, and that her photo deserves no further comment.

I disagree.  Let’s talk about this one.  Does Stone deserve to lose her job?  She was traveling for work, and a coworker took the photo.  Are we blowing this out of proportion?

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