Lindsay Stone Scores A Jumbo: The “I Didn’t Intend To Do What I Did When I Intentionally Did What I Did” Excuse

I have to give Lindsay Stone credit. You will seldom see as pure an example of an outrageous denial of the undeniable in a public apology as the one she just authored. Brava! And good luck with the job hunt.

Stone, who is an idiot, and her friend, who is an idiot whose name has yet to be tracked down by the media, collaborated on a photo showing Stone giving an upturned middle finger to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, while yelling something by the sign there that says “Silence and Respect.” The photograph was posted on Stone’s Facebook page and naturally went viral. Thousands of protesters bombarded the website of their employer, Living Independently Forever, with demands that the two be fired. Today, they were.

Before the inevitable axe fell (more on that in a bit), Stone posted this remarkable explanation:

Obviously? I don’t think when one is intentionally disrespectful by a sign that says “Respect”, “We OBVIOUSLY meant no disrespect” qualifies as a credible or even a sane explanation. And when such conduct takes place, again intentionally, by the sacred Tomb that symbolizes all of America’s heroes lost in combat, arguing that such disrespect wasn’t aimed at that very group is just a doomed and desperate attempt to deny the obvious—in other words, a Jumbo.

Various web commentators, like Gawker, which wouldn’t know an ethic if it came with an interactive exhibit, have suggested that it’s unfair for Stone to lose her job over the incident. My father is buried at Arlington, and I don’t feel vindicated or soothed by the firing of the two women. I agree that they shouldn’t be punished by society for one epically stupid gesture. That’s not the real issue, however.

The issue is whether her employers, a company that provides care and living alternatives for the cognitively disabled, should want to have two women working for them who grievously insulted a substantial part of the country, embarrassed the company, and showed such miserable judgment that it calls into question the competence of anyone who would hire such insensitive jerks. Realistically, Living Independently Forever had to fire them; I’d be shocked if any employer short of Howard Stern or Michael Moore wouldn’t fire them. “We Employ Utter Fools” is not a helpful marketing narrative. The tw0 women aren’t being punished. Their fate is just incidental to the actions they forced their employer to take, for the employer’s own survival.


Sources: The Blaze 1; The Blaze 2; Gawker

Graphic: The Other McCain

20 thoughts on “Lindsay Stone Scores A Jumbo: The “I Didn’t Intend To Do What I Did When I Intentionally Did What I Did” Excuse

  1. Jack,
    This reminds me of my last visit to Pearl Harbor. Despite repeated written and verbal warnings prior to disembarking, several people started loud cell phone conversations as they left the Navy lauch that ferried them to the Arizona Memorial. I fear the two nitwits above are only the tip of the iceberg of the erosion of societal ethics and respect for those who not only served, but “gave their last full measure of devotion…” (of course that phrase belongs to Lincoln: “But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate, we can not consecrate, we can not hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”) I doubt Ms. Stone has enough brain power to realize that the people she disrespects died for the cause of freedom that allows her to broadcast her reckless stupidity and ingratitude.

    Happy Thanksgiving

  2. This firing is just a firm reacting to public outrage, There was OBVIOUSLY no intent to remove employment opportunity or cause financial hardship by immediately terminating her employment without severance pay.

    It’s just a (former) employer being an employer.

    • Thinking about your reply – which at first I immensely disliked – I have to agree on one point. The firm could have have probably achieved the same PR results by immediately suspending her and followed that up with a formal disciplinary process. The result might be the same but the firm would have appeared more even-handed and less arbitrary. The end result is, though, the firm has to protect its own reputation if it wants to keep hiring and paying other workers. Therefore associations with thoughtless individuals such as Ms. Stone must be quickly mitigated.

    • Tongue in cheek? Why should she get severance pay for embarrassing the company, and creating the rebuttable presumption that it hires insensitive “douchebags” to care for vulnerable residents? The concept that we represent our employers in everything we do that comes to the public’s attention is hardly novel or extreme. Any financial hardship she suffers is entirely self-inflicted. It doesn’t take a lot of common sense to know that flipping a bird to the Unknown Soldier is going to offend a lot of people, with good cause—She may not be the first, but there haven’t been many. One moment of terrible judgment can define you. She learned it the hard way.

      • Compare and contrast:

        This is just us being the douchebags we are…OBVOUSLY we meant NO disrespect to people who serve or have served our country


        This firing is just a firm reacting to public outrage, There was OBVIOUSLY no intent to remove employment opportunity or cause financial hardship…

        Perhaps I was being too subtle. Maybe I should hum a few bars from The Mikado about “My object all sublime…” or talk about “He who lives by the sword…”

        Regardless of motivation for her actions, be it egregious thoughtlessness or actual malice, such a reaction by her former employer is exactly appropriate. Be that motivated by a strictly commercial desire to avoid a PR disaster, or out of personal distaste for obnoxious and hurtful behaviour.

  3. 10 years ago this picture would have been in a scrapbook, seen by 20 people at most. This, like the Pat Rogers case simply highlights the need to choose your words and deeds VERY carefully when online.

    I agree their employer had no choice but to fire them, but unless she’s part of some militant, anarchistic anti-war group, unless there was a visceral message accompanying the photo then it’s crystal clear it’s satire.

    The parallels to the Pat Rogers case are obvious and yet the reaction in both cases should neither surprise nor shock those involved. If you put it online it’s there forever and you should not be surprised if it is made public.

    • This is a fascinating category. Lindsay’s photo, however, is disrespectful—satire is always disrespectful, and the object of her disrespect was still the Tomb. She can’t credibly deny that. Rogers was pilloried for being disrespectful to Native American tribes, which were not, in fact, the target of his satire; he also used a private e-mail for his comment, unlike Lindsay, who posted her photo. Along the spectrum of just desserts, Lindsay’s a lot closer to “asking for it” than Pat, who had a hacked message of his intentionally twisted to make him look like a racist. But you are right–these are both in the same 21st Century category of Big Deals With The Web That Wouldn’t Have Been Deals At All Before The Web.

  4. OMG! Does it never end? What an idiot. How could she possibly think anyone would find this funny? What I agree with is that if this is her idea of humour, she is automatically not qualified to work with the cognitively disabled. What ‘jokes’ is she participating in at their expense? What a waste of skin.

  5. Don’t forget that many of her patients may be disabled veterans.

    I’m glad they fired her. And I’m glad we can see this kind of thing nowadays. When people can’t hide from the repercussions of their actions, maybe we can have a more just society.

  6. Three things:

    This is the Free Market at its best and worst in responding to non-crimes. Everyone has a right to be disgusted at the miscreants behavior, and they have every right to legally interact with her within their capacity according to how they feel. What that means is Joe Shmoe in California, who will never interact with her is completely fair in sharing his disgust with his friends and then moving on with his life (and not contributing to anti-Lindsay Stone websites). Johnny Smithers, who may interact with her as a friend, has every right to let her know her behavior is unacceptable and that he no longer wishes to hang out. Jerry Turd, who may also be her friend, may very well approve of her behavior and applaud it. Her bosses, who within their authority and relationship with her have every right to adjust her employment with them as they see fit compared to the behavior. The aggregate of APPROPRIATE responses will render her societal punishment both fair and complete. Of course, facebook pages calling for her stoning do not constitute APPROPRIATE responses, and more of these render her societal punishment both cruel and unusual.

    It really irks me when someone says “we’re just challenging authority in general”. Along with the “America was founded on rebellion” vomit that people spew. WRONG! America was founded on a belief in the Rule of Law. Rebellion against a King the colonists felt no longer followed Rule of Law was merely a vehicle to that end. Challenge authority all you want, when authority is no longer constituted nor fair. Until then, as long the authority is fair and constituted, it is proper to follow it.

    Next, since when does one aspire to be a ‘douche bag’? That requires no paragraph of explanation.

      • Dear Lindsay Stone,

        Authority does not seem to be generally challenged by you at all. In fact it would seem authority quickly shuffled your “challenge” to the wayside. Try supporting lawful, constituted authority for once. You may still have a job.

  7. I don’t believe she could have anticipated the consequences of taking this photo. At most, getting fired might be the appropriate response to her the reply she pasted, rather than merely documenting a disrespectful gesture.

    In the former, she was a victim of pure chance that it was her photo that that became the world’s outrage. In the latter, she chose to defend and qualify her behavior, rather than admit it was in poor taste and offensive. For the former, the public may have been satisfied with a suspension. By defending her actions in the flippant manor she did, dismissal might have been the company’s only option.

    • “I don’t believe she could have anticipated the consequences of taking this photo.”

      That isn’t the issue. You can boil this scenario down to 2 categories of decision-making. One where you know the behavior may be distasteful, but aren’t certain, therefore you weigh many possible outcomes. And one where you know right off the bat, this behavior is flat out unwholesome, regardless of the severity of consequence. This situation is the latter, but sadly as society continues its slide, we find more and more excuses to justify such behavior.

      “In the former, she was a victim of pure chance that it was her photo that that became the world’s outrage.”

      Victim of pure chance? She *chose* to post the picture on a WORLD-ACCESSED medium. Like people who kill themselves are victims of chance…

      “In the latter, she chose to defend and qualify her behavior, rather than admit it was in poor taste and offensive.”

      If she were the type of person to admit it was in poor taste and offensive, she would have been the type of person never to have done such an act in the beginning.

      “For the former, the public may have been satisfied with a suspension. By defending her actions in the flippant manor she did, dismissal might have been the company’s only option.”

      If I were an employer and my employee did something like this and NO ONE knew but ME, they would receive a severe censure, because at that point I would have the latitude to take a more parenting role and attempt to teach some fundamentals that apparently her original parenting failed to imbue at age 5! However, as that same employer, had only ONE other person known about this outside the company…sorry former employee, I can’t help you that you didn’t learn valuable lessons earlier in life. Hopefully the loss of this job with drive it home to you. You may be on your way with all compliments on your performance at work qualified by your behavior in public.

  8. My guess is that she worked on her high school or college newspaper. This seems like the type of “challenging authority” that is regularly supported by those organizations.

  9. Pingback: The Pregnant Person Fallacy – Final Project « Where's the other lady?

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