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ACLU Threatens Lawsuit After Wisconsin Police Seize Man's Upside-Down American Flag

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posted on Jul, 13 2009 @ 08:51 PM
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Originally posted by Phage
It is unlawful.
[edit on 7/10/2009 by Phage]


No it's not.


...At the national level, the Federal Flag Code (Title 36, U.S. Code, paragraph 170-178) provides uniform guidelines for the display of, and respect shown to, Our Flag, and conduct during playing of the National Anthem and the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag. The Code is designed 'for the use of such civilian groups of organizations as may not be required to conform with regulations promulgated by one or more executive departments' of the federal government, such as the armed forces. The Flag Code does not prescribe any penalties for non-compliance nor does it include enforcement provisions. Rather, it functions as a guide to be voluntarily followed by civilians and civilian groups.

While the Code empowers the President of the United States to alter, modify, repeal or prescribe additional rules regarding the Flag, no federal agency has the authority to issue 'official' rulings legally binding on civilians or civilian groups...


Source




posted on Jul, 13 2009 @ 09:47 PM
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I thought I was done with this thread and subject, but I wanted to address some new things that have come up.

First, I see a lot of people talking about this incident and relating it to shouting fire in a theater. Let me start by showing the actual reference for this case.

United States Code Title 4 Chapter 1 Section 8

a. The flag should never be displayed with the union down, except as a signal of dire distress in instances of extreme danger to life or property
The Flag Code:Respect for the Flag

This was agreed upon in December of 1942 and recognizing that since there is no stipulation for enforcement, the law is voluntary and ruled by respect for the flag and our country. Source

Now, no where in the code does it define 'extreme' or 'danger.'

Additionally, no where does it state or suggest what type of response should be given upon seeing a flag upside down.

I try to take a common sense approach in my assessment of that aspect. As I have stated before, the use of a flag to signal danger of any sort, seems far from the 21st or even 20th century, except for use in the naval arena, civilian or military. On land, I would only expect an inverted flag to mean 'extreme distress to life or property' if flown by an official government entity, of which the response would be complete response by military forces to 'recapture and secure' the facility.

Considering the increasingly heinous behavior and actions of the government over the past years, I would not react the same to an inverted flag being flown on a home or business, or carried by a person in any populated area.

All that being said, I did some how run across a new bit of information that I had never seen before and was taken a back by what I read.

United States Code Title 18 Part 1 Chapter 33 Section 700

a.1. Whoever knowingly mutilates, defaces, physically defiles, burns, maintains on the floor or ground, or tramples upon any flag of the United States shall be fined under this title or imprisoned for not more than one year, or both.
Desecration of the flag of the United States; penalties

This does not specifically identify misuse according to the flag code such as improper display. Also, I could not locate any specific fines for not adhering to this.

Furthermore, in 1976, the original Title 4 Chapter 1 Section 8(j) was amended and one sentence included states:


The flag represents a living country and is itself considered a living thing.


Now that, in conjunction with Title 18, really bothered me. First that they actually intend to regulate the use or display of private property seems so far from what the country is supposed to represent.

I completely disagree with the mans reason for and the use of the flag in that manner, but I disagree more with the actions of the DA and local law enforcement. Above both of those, I think that these regulations over the flag that exist on the books, referencing fines or penalties should be completely removed, and there should be nothing more than a guide for proper use of the flag.

If they want to keep everything as is, then they need to clarify some terms, and state fines as well as how to respond to an upside down flag. THEN, I would equate it to yelling "FIRE!" in a crowded theater.

[edit on 13-7-2009 by Wolf321]



posted on Jul, 13 2009 @ 09:50 PM
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Hmm... just read the original news article. Probably should have done that earlier, but at least it doesn't say that the restaurant was to be near the school. At least that's new.



posted on Jul, 14 2009 @ 01:39 AM
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Originally posted by Wolf321
Now, no where in the code does it define 'extreme' or 'danger.'
Additionally, no where does it state or suggest what type of response should be given upon seeing a flag upside down.
I try to take a common sense approach in my assessment of that aspect.
If they want to keep everything as is, then they need to clarify some terms, and state fines as well as how to respond to an upside down flag. THEN, I would equate it to yelling "FIRE!" in a crowded theater.
[dit on 13-7-2009 by Wolf321]


Well, as far as I know there is no legislation defining the use of the "hands up" gesture. But everybody seems to know that putting your hands up means "I surrender". A soldier or police officer that shot someone who was displaying that gesture would surely be prosecuted.

Likewise, there is nothing on "the books" that I know of that says that giving the middle-finger to someone means "@#$% you" - but everyone seems to understand that as well.

Displaying an upside down flag is commonly recognized as a display of extreme distress: help, our ship is sinking, our base is overrun, etc. Do you think there was the slightest possibility that one of the members of the local police was a veteran who saw that display and was familiar with the undefined meaning?

The idiot that displayed the flag in this manner WAS screaming "fire" to anyone who knew what the symbolism meant. Furthermore, according to the story, he was a veteran and should have been fully aware of what his gesture symbolized. No excuse there.



posted on Jul, 14 2009 @ 03:50 AM
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Originally posted by passengerDisplaying an upside down flag is commonly recognized as a display of extreme distress: help, our ship is sinking, our base is overrun, etc. Do you think there was the slightest possibility that one of the members of the local police was a veteran who saw that display and was familiar with the undefined meaning?


So people are supposed to all have an understanding enough to have a common definition of terms in this code, yet an apparent complete ignorance of the state of the nation and how people feel, interpret and are reacting to that. A little logic, not emotional reaction should be the prevailing point.

Likewise, you said yourself that means, "help, our ship is sinking, our base is overrun." All points I agreed with in my last post, yet demonstrated a clear difference when used such as in this case.



posted on Jul, 14 2009 @ 08:50 AM
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To compare flying a flag upside down to yelling fire in a crowded theatre is just silly. The latter could cause panic and so injury or death, the former has no capacity to do any such thing, at least not in the era of 911(the phone service, not the false flag operation). I don’t remember reading that neighbors, firemen EMT’s and police came running in a panic to see what was awry at the man’s house.

That being said, unless the city codes are being applied unequally to this man’s detriment, he’s just a poor businessman who didn’t do his research before investing. If this is the first reason he’s found to fly the flag upside down, then he’s really not paying much attention.



posted on Jul, 14 2009 @ 09:21 AM
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reply to post by The Soothsayer
 



With the flag issue, the cops in question removed the flag from the property so that the owner would not be harassed by the public. But, they have also stated that they were under order from the Marinette County sheriff's office to do so.


This is a perfect reason for their action. The article stated it was removed before a parade. Someone stated the police never "prevent" anything, but I totally disagree. I live on the FL-GA state line, and an upside down flag on a main route during a 4th of July parade would certainly draw unwanted and possibly violent attention!

At the very least, this business was set up for litter and vandalism, and the police PREVENTED that from happening!

I say good job to the police for having more common sense than this man. I could totally buy an upside down flag at the White House or Capitol building, they are obviously overrun and under spurrious control at best, but this guy was just whining, and I guarantee he would have welcomed police intervention when the first big redneck pulled into his parking lot to watch the parade, and decided to do a little 're-education' on this idiot!



posted on Jul, 14 2009 @ 11:29 AM
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UPDATE:

Apparently, the good citizens of Crivitz are going to stage a protest outside the man's house tonight (July 14th) at 8:30pm because he flew the flag upside down.

...

Even though it was removed by police.

Yeah, nice preventive measure. Good thing the cops trespassed to seize private property without warrant or provocation.

If anything, that's what I'm irritated about. Yeah, the guy should be expecting irate persons... but the fact remains that the cops, the very same cops that try to date high schoolers (yes, it's true, in addition to other things), the very same cops that have, hell, if an ordinary citizen had these issues they'd have been fired... these very same cops will once again ignore protocol.

You people have no idea about the type of cops we have within the village of Crivitz.

As I stated in an earlier post, why are people allowed to fly a Confederate flag above a Union flag, on the same pole? Why couldn't the police have just walked up to the owner and said "Hey, listen, would you mind blah blah blah, because blah blah blah? Thanks" But no... there's a reason why the village cops have nick names like Little Hitler and Creepy Craig.

...

But anyway, a protest is to be staged at the guys house at 8:30 tonight.

Idiots.



posted on Jul, 14 2009 @ 02:59 PM
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Originally posted by getreadyalready
This is a perfect reason for their action. The article stated it was removed before a parade. Someone stated the police never "prevent" anything, but I totally disagree. I live on the FL-GA state line, and an upside down flag on a main route during a 4th of July parade would certainly draw unwanted and possibly violent attention!


What a good line of thinking. They should have applied this type of thought in big cities when gangsters harass businesses and demand protection money. Instead of going after the gangsters the DA and cops could just shut down the businesses to PREVENT the crime.

[edit on 14-7-2009 by Wolf321]



posted on Jul, 14 2009 @ 03:45 PM
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Originally posted by Wolf321

Originally posted by getreadyalready
This is a perfect reason for their action. The article stated it was removed before a parade. Someone stated the police never "prevent" anything, but I totally disagree. I live on the FL-GA state line, and an upside down flag on a main route during a 4th of July parade would certainly draw unwanted and possibly violent attention!


What a good line of thinking. They should have applied this type of thought in big cities when gangsters harass businesses and demand protection money. Instead of going after the gangsters the DA and cops could just shut down the businesses to PREVENT the crime.

[edit on 14-7-2009 by Wolf321]


I think we both know that your analogy fails!

A little forethought goes a long way. Most people know to put their dogs inside on Halloween, they know not to park in the street on New Year's Eve, etc. That is not saying that drunk driving or vandalism is acceptable, it is a short-term inconvenience out of precaution for their own well-being.

And I agree with the earlier poster, that the police should have come to the man and asked him nicely to remove the flag during the parade, he would surely have refused, and they could have informed him about how "busy" they would be for the next few hours and don't be surprised if we don't come back to save you from getting exactly what you asked for!



posted on Jul, 14 2009 @ 03:52 PM
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reply to post by getreadyalready
 





This is a perfect reason for their action. The article stated it was removed before a parade. Someone stated the police never "prevent" anything, but I totally disagree. I live on the FL-GA state line, and an upside down flag on a main route during a 4th of July parade would certainly draw unwanted and possibly violent attention!

At the very least, this business was set up for litter and vandalism, and the police PREVENTED that from happening!


Notice to Law enforcement:

Do not violate my civil liberties in order to "protect" me from some possible future effect of my lawful decisions. If others would choose to forgo their civil liberties in order to allow law enforcement to act as their lifelong parents; I choose to retain mine.



posted on Jul, 14 2009 @ 03:56 PM
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Originally posted by Vasilis Azoth

Originally posted by Phage
reply to post by TheAssociate
 

The First Amendment does not give you the right to yell fire in a theater. The flag code is not unconstitutional (on this point anyway). There is one legal reason to fly the flag upside down.

[edit on 7/10/2009 by Phage]


That is totally silly.

You are comparing apples and oranges.

You guys crack me up...

Vas


Yes, because in this day and age when we have phones, cell phones, computers, CB radios etc., we need to still keep this rule on the books because there is NO other way to get help.



posted on Jul, 14 2009 @ 04:22 PM
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reply to post by harvib
 



Notice to Law enforcement:

Do not violate my civil liberties in order to "protect" me from some possible future effect of my lawful decisions.




Totally agree with that statement! Great point.

I guess my argument should have been for the police to inform him of the upcoming parade, and the possibility of repercussions, and ask him to take it down for the day.

I do hate all the laws meant to protect me from myself! But a little information never hurt anybody.



posted on Jul, 14 2009 @ 11:14 PM
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Originally posted by getreadyalready
I think we both know that your analogy fails!

A little forethought goes a long way. Most people know to put their dogs inside on Halloween, they know not to park in the street on New Year's Eve, etc. That is not saying that drunk driving or vandalism is acceptable, it is a short-term inconvenience out of precaution for their own well-being.

And I agree with the earlier poster, that the police should have come to the man and asked him nicely to remove the flag during the parade, he would surely have refused, and they could have informed him about how "busy" they would be for the next few hours and don't be surprised if we don't come back to save you from getting exactly what you asked for!


What you cite as examples are citizens taking personal steps to prevent damage to their person/effects. Not government/law enforcement making preemptive decisions for them. Should you leave your vehicle out over New Years Eve, and damage occurs, are you in the wrong at all? Not even. And is being drunk an excuse for vandalism for any who would cause damage? Nope. Same for this case. The man is not in the wrong if others are upset by the display and resort to violence. Still, he ain't the brightest bulb up that way.

I was glad to see you come to a reasonable after though on the matter. Such actions would have clearly put the law more in line with the "To Protect and Serve" motto. Although many know, they actually are not legally bound to do either.



posted on Jul, 15 2009 @ 07:33 AM
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reply to post by Wolf321
 


Thanks wolf. By the way, I noticed your signature yesterday, I had a Mason's meeting last night, and today your signature seems 1000% more appropriate!

Things have changed a bunch over the last 2 months. Things that I never dreamed I would hear in an open discussion were commonplace last night! The turnout was a lot higher than usual, and everyone (we have some very liberal views as well as conservative), but everyone seemed to be on the same page.

This next round of Tea Parties (Sept. 12) should be very interesting!

I may start a thread about this later today.



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