Cedar Rapids man responds to 'Eric Sheppard Challenge' - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Cedar Rapids man responds to 'Eric Sheppard Challenge'

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CEDAR RAPIDS (KWWL) - A student is still on the run after bringing a gun to a protest at Valdosta State University in Georgia.

At the protest, Eric Sheppard was pictured stepping on the American flag.

He said by stepping on the flag, he's stepping on white supremacy and racism.

The picture sparked a social media movement called the "Eric Sheppard Challenge," where people record themselves desecrating the American flag.

One Cedar Rapids man decided to take action against the challenge and start his own.

It's called the "Patriot Challenge" and his video on Facebook has received more than 5 million views.

Army reservist Michael Nugent says he never expected the video to get this big, he's received messages from people all over the country.

He says flag desecration is wrong under any circumstance.

"Just because it's freedom of speech doesn't mean its the right thing to do. It's disgraceful, disrespectful, when you step on the flag you're also stepping on the flag that comes home on caskets of fallen soldiers," Nugent said.

But lawyer and KWWL legal expert Karen Thalacker says flag desecration is completely legal.

While many state legislatures have tried to pass laws to ban flag desecration, including Iowa, Thalacker says it's nearly impossible to do so.

"It's a fundamental principal that the flag the law protects even those people that hold it in contempt," she said.

While there are no enforceable laws, there are federal guidelines for caring for the flag.

Nugent believes they should be rigidly followed.

"Watching the Eric Sheppard challenge was disgusting," he said.

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