Burn, Baby, Burn!

Butch-lesbian nativist Laine Lawless loves incinerating Mexico's flag. Is she a dangerous wacko or a proud patriot?

Moments later, Pauly squirted lighter fluid all over a Mexican flag and Lawless bent over to light it. They both spat on it as it burned. Afterward, Pauly, hardly the sharpest hoe in the barn, engaged in a debate with a Mexican-American counterprotester he had accused earlier of being an "anchor baby" — that is, a child born in America to illegal-immigrant parents.

"We'd like anchor babies from Ireland to go back home, too," he assured the girl. "We don't care. We want all immigrants gone. We don't want noncitizens in this country."

It doesn't seem to bother Pauly that so-called anchor babies are de facto American citizens, but then, this is a guy who, according to Reuters, has called for the sterilization of Mexican women and for illegal immigrants to be shot on sight by Border Patrol snipers. He's not the sort to bother with facts, especially when they don't uphold his own prejudices.

Down by Lawless: The activist (left) and fellow anti-immigrationist Yeh Ling-Ling (right) join forces at the Sandra Day O'Connor U.S. Courthouse for the January 13 Freedom Riders protest.
Tony Blei
Down by Lawless: The activist (left) and fellow anti-immigrationist Yeh Ling-Ling (right) join forces at the Sandra Day O'Connor U.S. Courthouse for the January 13 Freedom Riders protest.
Make her day: Lawless channels Dirty Harry while using a Mexican flag as a doormat during the Freedom Riders event.
Tony Blei
Make her day: Lawless channels Dirty Harry while using a Mexican flag as a doormat during the Freedom Riders event.

"America is full," he informed the girl. "We want to clean it up."

When she asked why, he let her know it's because he needs the room to shoot his gun.

In any case, the freak show was over, and people cleared out. That eve, Pauly and Lawless shared a catered turkey dinner with about 80 assorted neo-Nazis and Holocaust deniers at the National Vanguard's annual Winterfest event, which also featured speeches, white-power poetry readings, and bagpipe and guitar recitals. For attending the racist fete, the Anti-Defamation League will denounce Lawless in a press release as "just another anti-Hispanic bigot using the border issue to forward her own hateful agenda."

A few months later, Lawless remains unapologetic about supping with supremacists, saying she went there out of curiosity. She compares it to the perverse pleasure she gets as a pagan watching fire-breathing Bible-thumpers on cable:

"I sometimes like to watch televangelists for fun, but that doesn't make me a holy roller, now does it?"


Bill Straus, regional director of the Arizona ADL, isn't buying Lawless' excuses, even though he agrees she's not the run-of-the-mill anti-immigrant activist.

"Sometimes in Arizona, don't you have the feeling that somebody went to Central Casting for some of these characters?" he asks, jokingly. Still, Straus regards Lawless and her flag burning with a wary eye, and as proof of the ADL's own warnings about Mexican-bashing nativist-nationalists.

"ADL issued a report on the border in '03," explains Straus. "We were accused by some of crying wolf. We were talking about the ability to attract extremists that this immigration issue's always had — even legal immigration. As these people come out of the woodwork, we try to expose them, generally through a press release. Laine Lawless is one more example."

Straus says he doesn't consider the pistol-packin' Lawless any more dangerous than anybody else trying to use the immigration issue to advance an agenda the ADL regards as "whites only." But he does perceive burning the Mexican flag as a possible incitement to violence.

"She knows what she's doing, and she's playing to her audience," Straus insists. "Unfortunately, there are some people who are going to rally to her."

December 16, 2006, in Phoenix was not the first time Lawless cremated Mexico's national symbol with a little help from her friends. The first time was on April 9, 2006, in front of Tucson's Mexican consulate. Present with her were Tucson activists Russ Dove, a bearded, potbellied former militia group member who looks like he'd be more at home ridin' a Harley, and Roy Warden, who likes to draw a circle around himself, dare his opposition to enter, and promise to blow the freakin' head off anyone who tries. Fortunately, the paunchy, middle-aged Warden hasn't killed anybody, but he was found guilty of assaulting a teenager last year at one of his "don't step foot in my perimeter" parties. The case is currently on appeal.

Despite being a rather modest affair, the April 9 incident made the wire and drew the ire of the Mexican government, whose Foreign Relations Undersecretary, Lourdes Aranda, stated in a news conference, "We consider any provocation or vandalism of national symbols to be unacceptable." But you can't expect someone who changed her name to "Lawless" sometime in the late '90s to heed the dictates of a foreign official. (For the record, she says she was inspired by a co-worker who'd named herself "Outlaw," and was not trying to ape the last name of heartthrob-for-lesbians Lucy Lawless, though it's very likely that the actress playing "Xena" put the bug in her brain.)

Lawless & Co. followed up with a two-flag-burnin' demonstration in Tucson's Armory Park on April 10, a day of nationwide pro-immigrant rallies with Mexican immigrants waving American flags and chanting, ", se puede" ("Yes, we can!") in the streets. Tucson's Mexican-American population swelled Armory Park with about 15,000 marchers. But what they didn't count on was Lawless and her ragtag band of buds yelling, "No, you can't!"

The footage of the April 10 Tucson rally is easily the most watchable part of Lawless' 89-minute documentary How to Burn a Mexican Flag, which she produced and edited from her laptop computer in the RV trailer she calls home, and which she sells for $14.99 via her Border Guardians Web site. The rest of the cottage-industry doc mostly features a gussied-up Lawless, a do-rag-wearin' Russ Dove in granny glasses, and a few other talking heads. Dove, Lawless, and the rest portray themselves as freedom-lovin' patriots who're victims of reprisals for their anti-Mexican stances, but this largely comes off as self-serving back-patting and boo-hooing on their part.

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My Voice Nation Help
32 comments
Joe Galvan
Joe Galvan

YOU GUYS ARE TOTAL PRICKS MEXICO IS A BEAUTIFUL PLACE AND MEXICAN PEOPLE ARE THE NICEST PEOPLE WITH RICH MORALS AND SELF RESPECT. AMERICANS OFFLOAD THEIR 70YR OLD PARENTS TO A SENIOR HOME VISIT THEM ONCE A YR MEXICANS STICK TOGETHER.. TILL DEATH DO US PART..

YOU RACIST PRICKS YOUR JUST MAD CAUSE WE DOMINATED YOUR LANGUAGE. EVERY RACE HAS A FLAW

100% PROUD MEXICAN AMERICAN ATTENDING UCSF MAJORING IN INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS. ALREADY HAVE A JOB LINED UP AFTER MY INTERNSHIP MAKING 120K A YR

WHAT YOU WHITE TRASH FOLKS MAKING 50K AS A WHOLE?

pepe
pepe

im hispanic and i dont care if you all burn mexicacan flags cuz im not mexican i dont like em either

William Keiser
William Keiser

So much ado about some irrelevant racist skank who's able to figure out how to operate a butane lighter all on her own. Other than the opposable thumb, what else you got that makes you worth your 15 minutes? I ain't reading this either.

BJ
BJ

Why is it when Mexicans march in this country carring their flag, it isn't seen as a racist move. As one American, I am sick of seeing my country distroyed by illegal immagation, even the legal immagration is flawed. Ask my ex husband who imported a family only to be used for the money he could provide. As taxpayer, we will continue to pay for his mistake in benefits offered to his immagrant family. American taxpayer will pay for his kids to go to school with assistance fromt he VA even after the marriage end. I say more of us should be standing up and burning forgien flags as they seek to over run us and we are to stupid to see it. You congress people don't obey the laws they pass and yet you do nothing. This country has become so sad. I suggest ou all go watch you mind control TV's as you have all lost you ability to think for yourshelf.

Ray
Ray

"This is our land. We have always lived here and will always do so. We didnt cross the border, it crossed us."1. Lie. It belonged to the Indians first if you want to be technical about it.2. It was a sh**hole until AMERICANS made it the civilization that it is today.3. Mexicans do nothing but talk sh*t about America, and yet, they seem in a hurry to get here.BTW, I'm half Mexican by decent. But I'm 100% American and I don't wave the Mexican flag around. I think I'll take America over all of the other crummy countries in the world.

cw
cw

Juan, you're a racist.

I met Laine Lawless once and I agree; in real life she's nothing like this article portrays. She is indeed unique. Outspoken? Definitely! Racist? I found none of that. Sense of humor? Absolutely. For shame on the author - he must be just another yellow jounalist hack.

EVERYONE in the western hemisphere is an immigrant - no one - not even American Indians are native to these continents. The "Go back to Europe" taunts only broadcast the abysmal ignorance of those who make them.

If you're here legally - then WELCOME!!If you overstayed your visa or crossed our southern border illegally - then find the cajones to go back and address your own governments. It's no secret that Mexico, in particular, treats the majority of its people poorly. It's a wealthy country, rich in natural resources and it is downright criminal that the the small ruling majority only enriches itself. Why doesn't this paper, or the media in general, adress that????

It certainly doesn't bode well for the future of the US that the majority of those here illegally are faint-hearted individuals who took the easy way out - crossing the border rather than standing up and demanding change in their homelands. Bottom line: When the going got tough - they cut and ran.

Juan
Juan

YOU RACIST UGLY ASS MOTHERFUCKER!!! I WOULD LIKE TO GET ALL MEXICANS, GO TO YOUR SHITTY RACIST FAMILY, AND KILL ALL OF U RACIST,REDNSK,UGLY,WORTHLESS WHITE PIECES OF SHIT!!!

Al C CoAir
Al C CoAir

at least she,s doing something about this disgusting problem,our own worthless self-serving government sure isn,t!

WTF
WTF

Hate??? Let us all conduct ourselves in a civilized manner...and cut to the chase - Fuck these God damm illegals!

Nathan Bedford Forrest
Nathan Bedford Forrest

I have yet to see a white female--much less a lesbian--take such a politically incorrect stance. The white females I see are pro-immigration, pro-government, pro-whatever they see as chic and left-wing. And the lesbians I have encountered have been the most left-wing of all and did nothing more than rant against white males and western civilization. Nice to see there is is one decent white woman out there--I commend her for her guts. She does indeed have more kojones than most of the sorry white males in this country. Go get 'em, lady.

J Thomas
J Thomas

Admittedly funny with snide comments on personal eccentricities and 80�s hairdos, this article portrays advocates of legal immigration as laughing stocks of America�s trailer parks.

But it is through legal immigration that the United States has people from India, China, Korea, Russia, Mexico, Peru, Egypt, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Uganda, Sweden, England, etc. among its citizens. We call this diversity.

Now if a reporter interviews the publicist for meatpacking corporations on the issue of undocumented illegal immigrants, the publicist will tell us unapologetically that what is good for corporate profits is good for the United States. These corporations have no interest in African refugees learning English because permitted workers and citizens are not so disposable. Somehow this perspective of corporate profits first is called �anti-racist� and �pro-immigration� when diversity is irrelevant to these employers and U.S. citizenship of their workers is clearly not desired.

Shall we then ask the corporate publicist his preferences on sex, TV shows and fine wines to ridicule his class background and pathologize the politics of his statement? Shall we ask this of Isabel Garcia or the Ambassador from Mexico?

The angle of this article is to claim that credible activists need vetted credentials to represent powerful blocks and paying constituencies, and the ridiculous little people who live in the United States legally are irrelevant to democracy. After all, this kind of vetted democracy obviously works well in Russia and China where the rule of law is arbitrary and the average person lives on less than $100 per month. Not a situation I aspire, Phoenix New Times.

Lisa Tee
Lisa Tee

Your jaundiced view of Laine Lawless is appalling. Iknow her, and she is not the person you havedescribed. Would it have stopped your (newspaper)circulation to have said anything positive or truthfulabout her? But of course, that wasn't your agenda!

Alex Armijo
Alex Armijo

When is the next protest she is having? Anyone know?

MIGUEL
MIGUEL

I FEEL SORRY FOR HER-HIM,I THINK SHE HATES EVERYBODY, NOT ONLY MEXICANS, ONE OF MY BEST FRIENDS IS AN AMERICAN , UN G�RO, SHE SHOULD FIND A LATIN FRIEND TO BE ABLE TO SPEAK ABOUT US.THANKS AND GOD BLESS MEXICO AND THE USA, OL�!!!

laine lawless
laine lawless

Thank you for stirring up hatred against patriotic Americans with your lying, slanted "profile" on me. The power of the press to influence the ignorant is wonderfully illustrated by the hateful comments here. This article no more reflects who I am than a drive-by photo of me bending over would, yet it purports to be "in-depth." Anything POSITIVE or GOOD that I said to Steve, which would reflect well on me (85% of our conversations), never made it into print. He lied like a rug on this one, making up things and emotions that never existed, over-emphasizing everything he could for the purposes of making me alook like a crackpot. My own friends couldn't even recognize me! If there's a hell for yellow journalists like him, he'll be going there for his afterlife.

Tina
Tina

She sounds like she is a total wacko, but what the heck. Other people spout off their opinions of the gringos and the rest of America just takes it because "we should be so nice to everyone". Ha.......! If we have to listen to the anti-American opinions, then everyone should hear the pro-American opinion.

Jorge Rodriguez
Jorge Rodriguez

Illegals are scum trash. We dont need them ,they offer nothing.They are mooching criminals.They are by majority ,drunks ,liars ,thieves and trash.

Drag every one of those pieces of shit out by the hair.

If you disagree,shove a taco up your ass and die.

Andre Croxie
Andre Croxie

While I respect Laine Lawless' right to free speech, her burning of the Mexican flag is both disgusting and pathetic. She is no better than the despicable human beings that burn the American flag. She presents as nothing more than a self absorbed, hate mongering hypocrite. If she is the face and the voice of the anti-immigration movement, I'm jumping to the other side.

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snerdly_mortsnerd
snerdly_mortsnerd

What she should be protesting is any and all Arizona based companies that hire illegal aliens. Make it EXTREMELY costly in fines and jail time for anyone found hiring illegals, then ship them back to Mejico, and send them the bill

Jessica Dimas
Jessica Dimas

All of this "anti-immigration" crap is just an excuse to be racist. And is she that ignorant to believe that every "illegal" is Mexican? And from what I remember correctly, white people killed entire nations of native Americans when they came here, so I don't think she's rightfully here either. Well, it's pointless to argue with white trash mullet heads...too bad she didn't live in the time when they burned witches.

Javier Chavez
Javier Chavez

Let me see if I have this straight � a wandering bored Lesbian who fantasizes about being Xena finds her mission in life in Arizona by helping oppress illegal Mexicans!? She could have saved herself a lot of trouble by getting more psychoanalysis at an earlier age to help her constructively channel all that trapped male energy. By aligning herself with the agents of hate, ignorance and intolerance (surprisingly some of the same groups that would have her kind and mine wiped off the planet) the true nature of Ms Dill is revealed. Can you say irony?

BTW who is this Rusty Childress and are any of his employees Hispanic? Are they there to clean up after his Thursday Mexi-bash get togethers? Have any of his dealerships sold cars to illegal Mexicans? Perhaps he can refund their money if he hates them so much.

Vlad
Vlad

i thought mexicans were useful to this country because they were the cacti who spent entire paychecks buying anything and everything an anglo would market to them

Willie
Willie

The law is the law. Cross the American borders illegally makes you a criminal. ALL illegal immigrants should be deported. Plain and simple IT'S THE LAW!

taylor
taylor

want to be an american, come here legally. Makes sense.

Molly Perkins
Molly Perkins

What is this woman's ancestry? If she isn't native american, then she came from immigrants too. Maybe she should be deported.

livvy ramirez
livvy ramirez

I think that this article is the most ignorant peaice of litriture that i have ever read. This bitch needs to realize that we are in the 21st centuary and she needs to deal with a diverse culture. It is very hipocriticle of her being that she is a lesbian to stand out how she does and and still be out and proud.... id like to see her burn a mexican flag in front of me..... I would also like to see her reaction when i burn a gay pride flag, get a life and understand that us "illigal imagrants" are never going any were, we are here to stay...and not all imigrants in the country are Mexican we are of all races so get your facts straight and if your going to protest something than do it properly, just realize youll never win this battle!!!!!!

robert romero
robert romero

whats up i"m new at ,this can i get some help to learn some new things.

Sandra
Sandra

This is our land. We have always lived here and will always do so. We didnt cross the border, it crossed us. You blame the people, blame the government of your so called soverign nation instead. Who's next? Should we send all the African Americans back to Africa as well??? How bout the Itlaians? Asians? You think that tax paying immigrants are leading us to economic ruin? Try the head of state of your soverign nation who does not care for the right of women to choose, much less the rights of mouthy dykes. I can understand why the article has been published, if not for shock value, then to portray multiple sides to every story. I also understand the moral obligation of a widely read and distributed publication to educate and empower its readers. This article, however enraging, is more disheartening than anything else. For the people who believe the injustices they have been told and continue to tell themselves, as well as the spineless editors who believe there is some value to this sort of garbage.

Rachel Barajas
Rachel Barajas

This woman is an absolute joke. Does she really believe she and her forefathers are natives? There will always be someone opposing immigration as there was early this century, against Germans, Italians, Irish, Puerto Ricans, Cubans, Asians, the list goes on and on. We must understand first hand that unless you are a Native American, you too come from immigrants. The Natives never handed out visas to your ancestors, right. This woman hates Mexicans, not only illegal, but every Mexican. I am sure she hates other minorities as well, but for now she concentrates on the Mexican race. Who knows which race will be next. I have to laugh at such individuals (extremists-fanatics). They don't want peace, ever. But this nation is changing drastically, who ever opposes, will break themselves against it. For this is the nation of all creeds and colors, not just white. If you don't like it, go back to Europe, build the Mayflower II and head off to start your own country, get out of mine.

MaryK Croft
MaryK Croft

Fascinating story. And the border issue has many different facets. It's not a cut-and-dried Bushism such as "If you're not with us, you're for the [insert enemy-du-jour here]" at all. And how can we decide for ourselves where we stand, if we cannot examine others' strong opinions?

Donna Akers
Donna Akers

Somebody ought to put a hex on this weirdo. And, can't anyone let this Anita Bryant thing go? Here's a woman who "got involved" in something for a so-called friend, and wound up with the media ruining her career. How about doing a nice article on Anita and what she's gone through? Afterall, doesn't she deserve some good publicity?

I don't see the media turning their backs on the child molester - Michael Jackson!!!

 
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