On May 17, 2007, Dave Bohmfalk became a member of a select group in North America. He was the fourth American to burn the Mexican flag! He burned it in front of the Alamo, in San Antonio, Texas! Here’s his story, in his own words. Our hat’s off to you, Dave!
At approximately 1500, 17 May 2007, while listening to the news on WOAI radio, I heard a report that the Senate had passed legislation that would grant amnesty to 12 million illegal aliens currently in the United States. Based on my background and passion for the rule of law in the U.S., I instantly became extremely angry, the type of anger which normally results in dangerously high blood pressure and/or attacks of GRD or acid reflux, inasmuch as I tend to internalize my anger. Instead, however, I grabbed a Mexican flag that I owned and went to the Alamo.
When I arrived there, I went to a walkway that was completely open, not near any people there at the time, and surfaced with stones and concrete, so as not to cause any hazards to property or people. I had intended to take a broom and dust pan with me, but I had forgotten them at home as I was leaving. After lighting a cigar, I opened out the flag and walked toward the area between the two benches. I noticed that a security officer from the Alamo was posing for pictures with tourists, and that the group was facing me as I walked to the spot with the flag.
Due to the type of cloth the flag was manufactured with, it took me approximately three minutes to get my style of lighter to ignite the flag. The security officer saw me, but was still posing with the tourists. As the flag ignited and slowly and evenly burned, several people began clapping and one man behind me started shouting “Hallelujah!” Due to my allergies affecting my voice, I did not make any speeches or say anything while I burned the flag.
When the flag had burned to its end, I placed the remaining strip of cloth on the ground and stomped it out. At that time, the Alamo security officer approached and demanded to know what I was doing, to which I answered that I was exercising my free speech, as outlined by the recent United States Supreme Court ruling that ruled flag burning as protected speech. He then answered that the topic was still under review at that moment. As he was doing this, one drunk approached, murmured an obscenity at me, and staggered away. Then, a hispanic man and his wife, who claimed to be from Colorado, approached. While the security officer was calling in the incident, the man began shouting obscenities and threats at me and taking pictures of me with a camera, while his wife made an obscene gesture between the camera and me. Several times, he shouted, “I’m gonna kick your ass!” and “Let me take you to Colorado and show you what we do to (censored) like you in Colorado!” While I was picking up the debris from the remnants of the flag, he spit at me, in view of the security officer, who simply told him to leave the area. On several occasions during the rest of the incident, he would approach and threaten me, shouting obscenities at me, but would only be told to leave by the security officers (and later, the police officers) who were at the scene. By this time, several Alamo security officers were running to the scene, including the chief of security there. I explained that I had left my broom and dust pan at home, and asked if one of the officers could get these items from inside, so I could clean up the mess I had made, inasmuch as I was not a litterbug and had every intention of cleaning up whatever mess I caused. One security officer told me no and made a comment to me that I found to be slightly abusive.
When San Antonio police officers arrived on the scene, I asked to go back to where I had left my cane at the bench, as the arthritis in my knees was acting up (I had also asked an Alamo security officer for this, but was denied). The police officers granted my request and I sat and fully cooperated with every request they made, including a pat-down.
At this point, the two officers, both Hispanic, began talking to each other about what felonies they could charge me with, and asking me questions, although I had not been advised of my rights under Miranda v. Arizona. The male police officer, I believe his name was Ramirez, advised me that I had not only committed arson, but that I had violated several state and federal Homeland Security laws and that I should now consider myself a “domestic terrorist”. Numerous times while he was questioning me, he repeated that I had committed an act of domestic terrorism, due to post-9-11 laws.
Nevertheless, I remained quiet, only answering the officers’ questions, including questions about my medication and if I was on any psychiatric medication, and if I felt depressed or like hurting anyone. This line of questioning continued for almost an hour, while the police officers conversed with other parties on their radios and cell phones, as to which statutes of arson and domestic terrorism I could be charged. I then asked the male officer (I believe his name was Ramirez) if I could have a broom and dust pan to clean up whatever ashes of the flag were left (I had placed the main remnant of the flag in a plastic bag for later disposal). The officer said, “No, we’ll just charge you with littering, instead.” While he was saying this, I noticed several people picking up small remnants, I suppose to keep as souvenirs.
When the police officers found that they had no standing to charge me with any patently criminal offenses, Officer Ramirez asked me if I frequented San Antonio, to which I replied no, just to the northwest side of town, that I always get lost downtown, and that I could not afford to drive to San Antonio all the time. He then asked if I knew of the city ordinance against burning within the city limits without a permit, to which I answered no. He then told me about it, and I replied that, if I had known, I would have applied to the city, and that I would have thought out my plan to burn the flag in such a way that no ordinance would have been violated. He answered that there was no way the city would have issued a permit for flag burning, and that, had I burned a Texas or U.S. flag, I would have been charged with a Class A misdemeanor, although I am fully documented as a patriot, who would NEVER consider burning either of those flags.
He then advised me that the other police officer would issue me a citation for violation of the city ordinance against burning in the city limits without a permit. While the officer was writing the citation, the Hispanic man and his wife again approached, and he began taking more pictures of me, with his wife making the obscene gestures between me and the camera. As he was taking the pictures, he told me that he was going to post the pictures all over the Internet, that he would kill me if he saw me when I left, and that he would call on the Internet for anyone recognizing me to kill me. He then made a very vulgar statement about my mother (who has been dead for 4 years). Officer Ramirez, apparently not knowing that threatening to kill someone IS a terroristic act under the Texas Penal Code, just told him to leave. He then left, but turned back to make more threats and obscene comments. As the original Alamo security officer was leaving, he told me that I was banned for life from going to the Alamo for any reasons whatsoever. He furthermore said it was a criminal trespasser’s warning, but he did not have me sign any such document.
Officer Ramirez and the other San Antonio police officer then escorted me back to my car. En route, however, Officer Ramirez told me that his ancestor also fought in the Texas Revolution, only on the other side, and that his grandfather was born and raised in Mexico, and that he would have been furious to see me burn a Mexican flag. I withheld asking if he would have been any more furious than me when I saw illegal alien protests in the UNITED STATES that featured burning American flags, or when I witnessed an American flag burning at the State Capitol during Desert Storm. However, I did say that I had been a substitute teacher in years past, and when I had written my name on the chalkboard, some student or another would ask as to my ancestry. I told him that, invariably, when I said “German”, at least one person in the classroom would shout “Heil Hitler!”, even though my family came to Texas almost 100 years prior to Nazism. I told him that I just let it roll off my back, and that’s how people should handle being offended by speech.
Editor’s Note: If Mr. Bohmfalk’s treatment by the law officers makes you angry,
write us at borderguardians and let’s plan to burn a Mexican flag together!