Shoe Flinger Goes on Trial

The trial has begun for the Iraqi journalist who threw his shoes at former President George W. Bush.

Muntadhar al-Zeidi ("Munty" to close associates) hurled his footwear during a press conference when he was laced by dual waves of patriotism and contempt.

This, of course, is heelish behavior and ominous news for those of us who value footwear freedoms. Think about it. We now take off our shoes at airport security checkpoints because one goofball fashioned his sneakers into a bomb and tried to light them while sitting in an airplane aisle seat.

Might Munty's Rockport toss likewise cause further clamping down on shoe liberties? How long before voices call for a three-day waiting period before a penny-loafer purchase? And won't several states want to ban Manolo Blahniks with heels longer than 3 inches? Can’t you see banks being robbed by masked men threatening tellers with strapless black pumps?

Tongue-in-cheek? Maybe. Let's stay calm -- but remain standing on good footing. San Diegans should step up if the government asks us to register our Reef flip-flops. New Yorkers ought to unite in outrage if legislators try to ban their right to bear galoshes.

Munty, meanwhile, has engendered a cult-hero status in Iraq. When he aimed his shoes at Bush's head, he yelled: "This is your farewell kiss, you dog." Uncouth, of course. But the travesty shouldn't be perpetuated in after-effects to his action. The curbing of shoe rights (and lefts) will not be taken lightly. U.S. Colonial era flags once bore the battle cry: "Don't Tread on Me." Indeed.

Ron Donoho, formerly executive editor of "San Diego Magazine," is a regular contributor to who covers local news, sports, culture and happy hours.

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